Tag Archives: Sky Croft

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!

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News Roundup! Polari a hit in Birmingham, Clare Lydon hits the Airwaves, Dangerous Dykes at the Virtual Living Room, New Books, Reviews, and More!

20 Nov

With the festive season nigh upon us, the LesFic world shows no signs of hanging up its stockings and settling down with some mulled wine. Which has made for a rather lively news update…

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polaribrumFirst up this week, the Polari Tour made a very popular stop in Birmingham. Clare Ashton opened the evening to the packed theatre with a reading from The Dildo in the Kitchen Drawer which warmed up the crowd nicely. Frances Gapper followed that up with a very humorous reading about a superstitious friend. And Kiki Archer finished off the first part of this high energy evening with a reading from Alana Molton-Croft and Me (from the new L is for… UK charity anthology) which had the crowd crying with laughter. Gerry Potter enthralled the audience with fierce, funny and touching kikiarcherpolarianecdotes and poetry. VG Lee finished the evening with a tour de force of stand up comedy, a gem of a reading and smidgeon of erotica in a style that only VG could do.

You can see videos of Clare’s reading here, and Kiki’s reading here. For anyone who fancies catching up with Clare’s first foray into the romcom genre, her third novel That Certain Something, is currently on sale for the bargain (and slightly random) price of £1.94, but only till the end of November, so get your skates on!

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clare lydon

Speaking of Clares, the lovely Clare Lydon dropped us a line to let us know that she has teamed up with MyLesbianRadio.com to begin a new podcast, The Lesbian Book Club. She’ll be interviewing authors, discussing publishing processes, and giving listeners the low-down on what’s new and noteworthy in the world of LesFic. First in the hot seat is author Angela Peach, who chatted to Clare about the aforementioned UK LesFic charity anthology, L Is For… You can listen to, or download the episode here.

Clare’s second novel The Long Weekend, has recently been reviewed at Planet of the Books, who had this to say:

The Long Weekend is a page turner full of authentic, likeable characters (with their flaws of course, making them all the more interesting!) and a story that unfolds worthy of its set up. The novel is self aware and Lydon is careful not to trip into stereotypical, cliched pitfalls, keeping the pace and the twists just ahead of the reader, whilst delivering a satisfying conclusion all round.

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cover_A_Unwrap-These-Presents_500x800L.T. Smith and the apparently ubiquitous Clare Lydon are amongst twenty-three authors contributing to a new festive Ylva anthology Unwrap These Presents. According to the blurb, these holiday stories give you “snow, presents, plenty of food, Holiday cheer and nicely wrapped curvy women under the tree.” All profits will be donated to the Albert Kennedy Trust in the UK and the Ali Forney Center in New York City. Both organizations provide housing for homeless LGBT youth.

L.T. is also running a book giveaway for “anyone who is interested!” In her own words:

This could be for many many reasons. One, it could be to celebrate the release of the new anthology from Ylva, Unwrap These Presents. Two, it might be because I had completely forgotten to do a book giveaway for Still Life and also for Forget stilllifeMe Not. The list could go on, but I don’t think you will be interested in knowing the ins and outs.

Up for grabs:
Signed copy of Still Life, e-book of Still Life. Three e-book copies of Forget Me Not, and one e-book copy of either Hearts and Flowers Border, Puppy Love or See Right Through Me.

What you have to do is simple. Let me know you are interested. So, either in a comment on my facebook page or to my e-mail fingersmith @ hotmail.co.uk let me know two of your choices. Closing date: 22 November at midnight.

As ever, take the spaces out of that e-mail address before you use it!

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Cari HThe Virtual Living Room Yahoo group (a place where readers and writers of lesbian literature in its permutations can come together and discuss the works and the topics within them) are holding a Dangerous Dykes fest this coming weekend 21-23rd November.

The three day weekend will be devoted to discussing the Crime/Mystery/Suspense genre of Lesbian Fiction, and is “a must for those of you who like a bit of intrigue in their reading.”

There’s a great crowd of authors taking part, with me being the lone Brit in the gang! These are the ladies who’ll be in the hot seat:

Xenia Alexiou, Kim Baldwin, Barrett, RE Bradshaw, Cari Hunter, Isabella, Jae, Anne Laughlin, Leslie Murray, Cathy Rowlands, Shelley Singer, Baxter Clare Trautman, and Ali Vali.

There will be loads of book giveaways throughout the weekend, as well as the opportunity to ask questions and generally chat. To join in, hit the above link and sign up to the group. You can receive the e-mails in digest form, which is very much recommended for events such as this!

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Writer-Sarah-Waters-006You’d think us remiss if we didn’t mention Sarah Waters at least once a fortnight, so here’s an interview that she did with The Guardian, in which she discusses turning her talents to the stage for her new play The Frozen Scream (co-written with Christopher Green).

It would be exciting if it was a hit. But I would still feel very tentative and alarmed by the idea of writing my own dialogue. It’s been an education working with Chris because this is a different way of telling a story for me. My instincts are to signal things. I would say: “Right, we need all the audience to be looking in this direction at this point.” And Chris would say: “Oh, it’s OK if some people notice and some people don’t.” That was amazing to me because my novels are plotted so carefully. It’s been good for me to explore a looser way of creating a narrative effect. But I’m not sure I could do it alone.

Frozen-Scream-main-300x178The Frozen Scream will be at Wales Millennium Centre Cardiff from 11 to 20 December and then Birmingham Hippodrome from 7 to 17 January. Audiences should apparently wear “warm clothes and sensible footwear” (shouldn’t be too much to ask of lesbians!) and “expect the unexpected.” Ooer.

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mountain rescue on the edgeWrapping up this week with a couple of new books. Sky Croft‘s sequel to Goldie award winning Mountain Rescue: The Ascent will be published in December, and is now available to pre-order.  Mountain Rescue: On the Edge sees Dr. Sydney Greenwood and expert climber Kelly Saber return in a new adventure:

Having settled into their relationship, life is sweet for the devoted couple, and a brief trip away allows Saber to meet Sydney’s family. Upon their return, rock slides, torrential rain, and surging rivers cause no end of problems for the Mountain Rescue team, while on the home front, Sydney needs her partner’s support more than ever when faced with a family tragedy. Together, the two women have to navigate between personal trials, and the trials of the mountain. This is…On the Edge.

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believe meProviding further proof that sequels are the new orange, Jade Winters has just previewed the cover for her second Ashley McCoy novel, Believe Me. This follow-up to A Walk Into Darkness is set for a January release. More news on this one as we get it. Meanwhile, Jade is still publishing chapters of her new novel, The Hidden Truth, at this link here.

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And that should just about do it for this last couple of weeks. If anyone is planning on kicking around in the Virtual Living Room this weekend, I’ll see you there!

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 books, interviews, blogs and dates for the Polari tour

26 Jul

The sun is shining and if I don’t blow up a paddling pool soon, a large one, then two small children will cry. So let’s get on with the news.

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Upcoming books first with some lovely shiny new covers

smaller coverCari Hunter‘s landed herself a particularly lovely cover for her next novel No Good Reason due out spring next year. It features one of my favourite bits of rock (Stanage) in one of my favourite bits of the world (the Peak District). Here’s the all important blurb to get you wishing that spring 2015 was a bit closer:

Detective Sanne Jensen (not blonde, not tall, definitely not Scandinavian) and Doctor Meg Fielding (scruffy, scatter-brained, prone to swearing at patients) are lifelong best friends, sharing the same deprived background and occasionally the same bed.

When a violent kidnapping stuns the Peak District village of Rowlee, both women become involved in the case. As Sanne and her colleagues in East Derbyshire Special Ops search for the culprit, and Meg fights to keep his victim alive, a shocking discovery turns the investigation on its head. With the clock ticking, Sanne and Meg find themselves pushed closer by a crime that threatens to tear everything apart.

mountainrescueSky Croft‘s sequel to Goldie winner Mountain Rescue: The Ascent is pencilled in for December. Kelly Saber and Dr Sydney Greenwood are back and will need to tackle everything that life and the mountains can throw at them. Here’s the blurb:

Dr. Sydney Greenwood and expert climber Kelly Saber are back in this sequel to Mountain Rescue: The Ascent.

Having settled into their relationship, life is sweet for the devoted couple, and a brief trip away allows Saber to meet Sydney’s family.

Upon their return, rock slides, torrential rain, and surging rivers cause no end of problems for the Mountain Rescue team, while on the home front, Sydney needs her partner’s support more than ever when faced with a family tragedy.

Together, the two women have to navigate between personal trials, and the trials of the mountain. This is…On the Edge.

BeyondMidnightEllen Dean has a new novel out now. Beyond Midnight is book two in the Hyacinth Dickinson series – tales of thrilling romance, witchcraft and intrigue:

Beyond Midnight, from best-selling author Ellen Dean, is the second book in the Hyacinth Dickinson Series. Two years on from a terrible helicopter crash charismatic Dr. Hyacinth Dickinson, world renowned gynaecologist/obstetrician and Mistress of the Amethyst Coven, is out for revenge.

Those who betrayed her must pay, including the beautiful Sofia Roberto-Sabatini, who is in line to be a Mafia Don.

Sofia has a rare blue diamond, knowledge that is supposed to be secret. But, secrets have a way of leaking. Hyacinth is determined to possess that diamond by fair means or foul. If magic needs to be used, then so be it.

But things don’t always go according to plan. Hyacinth has enemies who want the diamond as badly as she does, and so the chase begins. The two women end up running for their lives.

Will they survive? Will love conquer all?

Beyond Midnight is available on Amazon and Smashwords.

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On to interviews.

hp munroGoldie award winner and author of the very popular Stars Collide, HP Munro, was interviewed by AJ Adaire. HP’s answers are typically humorous and she talks about her books, which span chick lit to award-winning historical fiction. Talking about her characters:

“I guess my approach is to try to make them normal, I want readers to think that if they were to meet the character in real life they would be able to sit down and shoot the breeze with them and not be intimidated.

They have hang-ups. They can be funny, they can be snarky and they can be supportive or angry and hurtful. Just like we all can.”

The whole interview is well worth the read and can be found here.

Kerry-Hudson-008Kerry Hudson, author of Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma, has also been busy with interviews.

She answers questions in the Irish Times such as: What advice would you give to an aspiring author? – “Work hard, don’t be an arsehole, buy a good chair”; What’s your favourite word – “A (definitely unpublishable in a respectable paper) word from the first line of my first novel”, which UKLesFic thinks is one of “cunting”, “shitting”, “little” or “fucker”. Here’s the link to her book for you to decide.

Her answers are great and here’s the full article. Also don’t miss her interview on Writers&Artists where she talks about her writing in general and her second novel Thirst.

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HILDUKNicola Griffith‘s acclaimed novel Hild has at last made it to these shores and she’s started a blog tour to tie in with the UK paperback edition. The tour includes Q&A sessions, reviews and essays. The full schedule is here and this week included a piece on Women and Words on Hild, history and sex:

I’ve been asked questions about my characters’ sexuality ever since I began to publish. Sometimes I answer more patiently than others…Hild, my novel set in seventh-century Britain about the early life of St Hilda of Whitby, is about to be published in the UK. I know that someone won’t be able to resist asking, ‘So why is Hild a lesbian?’

First, she’s bisexual. Second, why the fuck not?

While it may not matter about the sexuality of a character for a good novel, Nicola does go into some detail about the historical basis for Hild’s sexuality. Here’s the whole article.

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Mari-Hannah-008Mari Hannah has been writing about her experience of the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival which takes place every July. The Polari Prize winner (The Murder Wall) has been attending the event for many years and this time took part in the first panel of the event about routes into publishing.  You can find the full post here complete with a list of ten things overheard at the festival.

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polariflyerFinally, there are lots of events for your diaries now the dates for the Polari tour have been announced. The award-winning literary salon will be heading out from its London home to places as far flung as Brighton and Newcastle. The events will be hosted by the colourful Paul Burston and many give readers a chance to catch VG Lee. You’ll also be able to see VA Fearon at the Brighton event and Clare Ashton in Brum. Here’s the full list of dates and almost finalised lineup.

Now go get some ice-cream. Ta ra a bit! 

News Roundup: New Author Jenny Frame, Goldie and IndieFab Winners, New Novel from Jade Winters, Sarah Waters goes on a Paying Guests Tour, and More!

17 Jul

And we’re back! Refreshed and ready for a steamy summer of LesFic-themed romps, mischief, and general shenanigans. Let’s get on with it then, shall we?

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jenny frameFirst up, a warm welcome to a new UK author, Jenny Frame, who hails from Motherwell and recently signed with Bold Strokes Books. Jenny’s début novel, A Royal Romance, will be published in 2015, and the blurb goes like this:

Georgina, Princess of Wales, has always known her destiny, but she never expected duty to call so soon. When her father dies suddenly, she is called back from her Royal Navy post to assume the crown. While the people acclaim their new Queen, Great Britain’s first openly gay monarch, all George feels is the isolation of her station.
Beatrice Elliot’s staunch anti-monarchist views have always been a point of gentle contention with her working class, royalty-loving parents. When Bea—director of a hospice charity—must spend six months working with Queen Georgina, her charity’s new patron, sparks fly and passion blooms. But is love enough to bridge the gap between Bethnal Green and Buckingham Palace?

As with many LesFic authors, Jenny started her writing career by dipping her toe into the fan fiction arena (Xena Uber, if I’m not mistaken), and there are several stories available for downloading on her website. She can also be found on Facebook, and her bio is now up on our Author page.

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GCLS clean logoBrits scored a hat-trick of wins in this year’s Goldie awards, with gongs going to H.P. Munro for Silver Wings in the Historical Fiction category, Sky Croft for Mountain Rescue: The Ascent in the Romantic Suspense/Intrigue category, and Amy Dunne for Secret Lies in the category of Young Adult.

The GCLS site seems to be kaput at the moment, but a full list of the winners can be found here.

indiefabRounding out an excellent week for the UK, Crin Claxton‘s The Supernatural Detective has been awarded an Honorary Mention in the 2013 IndieFab awards, which celebrate the best of the best, the cream of the crop, the cherries on top a metaphorical ice cream sundae of indie books.

Massive congrats to all four authors! We reckon you’re all fab 🙂

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lfestSpeaking of fabulous authors and sunshine, L Fest is happening this very weekend (July 18-21), and there are loads of Brit authors – VG Lee, Kiki Archer, Clare Lydon, Clare Ashton, Jade Winters, Amy Dunne, Andrea Bramhall, Crin Claxton, Gill McKnight and I. Beacham – heading to the festival tents. The forecast is hot, hot, and occasionally thundery, so grab your Factor 30 and a pair of wellies and get out there! All the details can be found at the above link.

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faking itDue to our little hiatus, we missed the release of Jade Winter‘s new novel Faking It. Well, it’s out, it’s doing fantastically well in the amazon charts, and you can catch a promo video for it here. I’ve added the blurb to the New Releases page, but for those of you who just can’t be bothered clicking…

Danni Gardener is a talented writer. The only problem is, nobody else seems to think so. Rejected by what seems to be the entire global publishing industry, her gay best friend Josh makes her ‘an offer she can’t refuse’. Pretend to be his fiancée for one night only and he will open doors for her in the elusive publishing world. It all seems so simple. Across London, successful non-fiction editor Brooke Gibson is wondering how long she can carry on living with her partner, Megan, who seems unable or unwilling to commit to their relationship. When Danni and Brooke are introduced, the chemistry between them is explosive. This seemingly ‘professional’ encounter will throw them into emotional turmoil and a situation neither could have foreseen. Will aspiring writer Danni jeopardise a literary opportunity and break the cardinal rule of mixing business with pleasure? Will Brooke reciprocate, risking everything for a woman she believes to be engaged? After all, there is nothing so desirable as forbidden fruit…

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Sarah Waters is heading out on a Paying Guests Tour, an August-September hop around the UK which is taking in the cities of Edinburgh, Nottingham, Oxford, York, and London, amongst others (no Manchester, Sarah? Why? Why?!) Tickets are variously priced, very reasonable and often redeemable against a copy of the novel. Head to this page for more details. Having listened to Sarah read and chat at YLAF events, I can highly recommend that you go along to see her.

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Stella Duffy, writer, actorSticking with events for the moment, this one is very short notice but I’ll pop it in anyway: Stella Duffy will be discussing the thorny issue of Is there a gay gene and should it matter? along with other panellists tonight at Hall 2, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1. Tickets are £20/£26 (this price includes a copy of Julie Bindel’s Straight Expectations). For details call 020 7520 1490 or hit this link.

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stilllifeThe Writing Processes blog tour seems to be winding down, but LT Smith got herself a last-minute tag and has been answering the questions over on her website. Putting the rest of us to shame, she seems to have about five million projects either pending or in progress, so head over there to read all about them and/or wonder how the hell she finds the time to squeak everything in:

I have just finished editing Still Life, my new story that is due out in September. If it hadn’t been for Day Peterson, I think I would have run screaming from the house every five minutes. But, I am really happy with how she (I mean the story, not Day) is turning out, although editing is very time consuming.

Driving Me Mad has just been accepted for publication for spring next year, a story I started to write last year and sent along to the Academy of Bards as a short piece. I had such great feedback that I decided to add to her – and she ballooned like a greedy piglet. To be honest, I am really happy at how she came out. The story seemed it had to be written.

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Nicola_05-08-30_003rFinally this week, an event you’ve got plenty of time to prepare and save up for, as Nicola Griffith has been confirmed as a guest of honour at Reader Con 26, an annual conference or convention devoted to “imaginative literature” — literary science fiction, fantasy, horror, and the unclassifiable works often called “slipstream”. The con will take place in July, 2015 in Burlington, Massachusetts. For more details, keep an eye on the main website.

Over on GoodReads, Nicola has also been chatting about Hild’s sexuality:

Hild isn’t lesbian/homosexual. She’s bisexual. I doubt they had such terms back then, though. I’ve seen no evidence that who you did or did not have sex with defined how women thought of themselves…

You can catch the full response at the link, and still ask Nicola questions by signing up to the site.

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the knowingJust sneaking in at the last minute, we have the winners of the giveaway for signed copies of Karen Campbell‘s new novel The Knowing. Congrats and a shiny paperback go to Marie Foose and Rebecca Layer. For those of you who missed out on a copy, the book is now available in Kindle or paperback.

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And I think that about covers everything. Or most things. I’m sure I’ve missed stuff, but I’ve done my best 🙂

Q&A With Sky Croft

10 Jun

Under the UK LesFic Q&A spotlight today is Sky Croft, Regal Crest author of the Mountain Rescue and Amazonia series, lover of wilderness and women, and 2014 Goldie nominee. With two novels set for release later this year (Amazonia: An Impossible Choice in August and Mountain Rescue: On The Edge in December), we’d like to thank Sky for finding the time to let us pick her brains…

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mountain rescueFirst things first, congratulations on the Goldie nomination for Mountain Rescue: The Ascent. How did you feel when you saw your name on the shortlist? And who would you thank most in an acceptance speech?

I was over the moon when I first saw my name on the shortlist – though I re-read it umpteen times, thinking I must’ve misunderstood somehow. I never imagined I’d be a finalist among such big-name authors!

In an acceptance speech (which is really getting ahead of myself!) I’d have to thank my parents the most. They always believed in me, and their support allowed me to realise my dream of becoming an author. Also, I’d like to thank the readers for their kind words regarding Mountain Rescue: The Ascent, as I never would’ve had the courage to enter the awards otherwise!

Tell us a little about yourself. How would your nearest and dearest describe you?

Hmm…let me think. Most people say I’m funny, though whether they’re laughing at me or with me I can never tell! I like to think with.

I love nothing more than a long walk in the countryside or down at my local beach, followed by an evening at the cinema. I’m an avid film buff and my DVD collection takes up half my home! When I’m not writing or working my way through another TV box set, I’m usually enjoying the rare few minutes of free-time with my fiancée and our pet budgie.

My family would say I’m caring, overly sensitive and talk way too much.

Personally, I think a comical, hypersensitive, non-stop talker is quite an apt description of me.

Your work is very varied: the supernatural Shadowstalkers, the adventure romance Mountain Rescue series and the fantasy Amazonia series. What, if anything, links them? Do you feel there are common themes?

ShadowStalkersBoth the Mountain Rescue and Amazonia series are romances at heart, so the obvious theme there is love, and how it enriches our lives.

Family is a central theme throughout my books. In Shadowstalkers, the Valentines are an incredibly tight-knit family. Amazonia displays the bonds of sisterhood, with both the twins, and the ties of the tribe as a whole. Mountain Rescue shows how friends (the rescue team) can become family without needing the connection by blood.

Loss is also a recurring theme. Mountain Rescue and Amazonia both have the loss of the family home, while Shadowstalkers has the loss of a parent. Over the course of the stories, the characters have to come to terms with those losses and move forward with their lives. They have to find hope again after tragedy.

All three of my books explore heroism, without it being overly contrived. I’m a big believer in female empowerment, so my stories tend to have feisty, strong-minded women at the core.

The sequel to Amazonia is out in August. What can readers look forward to in book two?

amazonia_impossible_choiceThere’s a wedding in store for the main couple (which I really enjoyed writing), and an Indiana Jones style treasure hunt with lots of trials for the Amazons to overcome. The women also have to face extreme weather, predatory animals, and deadly foes. They’re certainly kept busy in this book! Oh, and the past resurfaces in an unexpected way.

I was always fascinated by the idea of putting Shale into a situation where she had to choose between her twin or her love. I know I’m morbid, but I like to challenge my characters, and I felt that dilemma would be the biggest of her life. So naturally I took the story there in book two. You’ll have to read it to see what happens!

You say on your bio that you’re an “avid film buff”. Which of your books would you most like to see up on the big screen, and who would you cast in the leading roles?

I would love to see Shadowstalkers as a TV series. I think there’s lots of scope within that world to make numerous stand-alone episodes, as well as a bigger story arc for a season. Cassie’s such a conflicted heroine, her story would be fascinating to watch on-screen.

For the matriarch of the family, Eve Valentine, I would pick Lena Olin. Not only is she beautiful, she portrays strong characters without losing her femininity. She’d be ideal for showing both sides of Eve – the protective mother, and the lethal qualities of a shadowstalker.

summer-glau

Summer Glau – lovely lady, but she does have an unfortunate habit of starring in doomed TV shows…

As the lead, Cassie Valentine, I see Summer Glau playing the role. Cassie is written as exceptionally attractive, which Summer certainly is, and I could easily picture her kicking ass (witnessed when she was the terminator in The Sarah Connor Chronicles). Despite Cassie’s physical prowess, she is vulnerable mentally, and I think Summer would be wonderful at portraying that aspect of the character (she did a fantastic job playing the damaged River in Firefly/Serenity).

I could easily envisage Evan Rachel Wood as Vicki Valentine. I loved Evan’s depiction of the spoilt Queen Sophie-Anne on True Blood. Vicki’s self-importance causes quite a few problems for the Valentine clan, and sometimes you love her, sometimes you hate her. I think Evan would be more than capable of taking on such a misunderstood character.

Where do you get your ideas and how do you start developing stories?

I love to daydream. I can sit for hours thinking over different characters and scenarios. When ideas emerge, I focus on those that have enough merit to hold my interest, and I begin to ask questions around that subject. An obvious example would be: What’s the main character’s background? What led them to be in the scenario they’re now in? Etc. These questions lead me deeper into the original idea, and from that a plot begins to take shape.

What has surprised you most about the feedback on your books?amazonia (1)

I’ve been surprised by how many people are committed to the series of Mountain Rescue, and their loyalty to the characters and the story. They really want to see what happens next in the lives of Sydney and Saber, where they’re going as a couple, and what adventures they have next on the mountainside. I certainly hoped there’d be a following for them (to allow me to write many follow-ons!) but it’s exhilarating to realise so many people relate to the characters, which, as I mentioned in an earlier question, is what pushed me to enter the book into the Golden Crown Literary Society awards.

A lot of people seem surprised that I vary my work genre-wise, and that in turn surprises me. I’ve never understood why an author needs to be boxed into one area of writing. Even from a young age I’ve always crossed the genre-lines. For me personally, I feel it helps to keep my work fresh – it stimulates my mind to create other worlds, and other scenarios for the characters to contend with.

What’s up next?

I’d like to revisit Shadowstalkers and write the sequel for that, as I’ve already got quite a bit of the story planned out. Another Mountain Rescue is definitely on the cards, and after those I have a sci-fi tale I’d like to tell. I’ve also got my own wedding to plan 🙂

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Cheers, Sky!

For more information on Sky and her novels, her blog is here, and her official author page at Regal Crest is here.

 

 

News Roundup: Lambda Win for Andrea Bramhall, Free Stuff from Clare Ashton & Amy Dunne, L-Fest & BSB Fest, Blog Hops, Reviews, and Lots More!

5 Jun

Okay, there’s no polite way of putting this: some of you UK authors need to go on an early summer holiday or something, and stop doing so much bloody stuff. Please? I hear the Balearics are lovely this time of year…

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cleanslateWithout further ado, let’s kick off another mammoth week of news by saying a huge CONGRATULATIONS to Andrea Bramhall, whose second novel Clean Slate was awarded best Lesbian Romance at the 26th annual Lambda Literary Awards on Monday evening. The Lammies are one of the most keenly sought after awards in the field of GLBTQ writing, so it’s lovely to see one heading over this side of the pond.

Andrea has just blogged her reaction to the news in a post entitled: Keep Calm and Wait for the Recount:

I’m trying to play it cool and not run around the house shouting ‘I won, I won, I won’ but part of me is still waiting for the results of the recount–that must surely be underway–and I don’t want to look like an idiot when the powers that be politely inform me that I shouldn’t have gotten myself all excited in the first place…

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Amy_Dunne_lgSkipping along from shiny stuff to free stuff, as the True Colorz blog (“your source for all things YA in the GLBTQ community”!) has just hosted a Q&A with Amy Dunne, and there’s a chance to win a copy of Secret Lies if you leave a comment on the page. The interview is well worth a read, although I’m hoping Ms Dunne didn’t write a college essay on The Yellow Wallpaper for the same reason I did: it was far shorter than Moby Dick.

Question: If you could travel back in time and tell the teenage you one thing, what would it be?

“Amy, you’re a lesbian. Surprise!”

To read all of Amy’s answers and to enter the comp, head here.

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that certain somethingSticking with the theme of free things, Clare Ashton is also giving stuff away over at Women & Words, where she has been chatting about That Certain Something and encouraging people to Add a Little Sunshine to their day:

Pia enlists the help of an enchanting third character – London. I have a soft spot for the charismatic city and I’ve adored living through the scenes in some of my favourite settings: the romantic Serpentine Lake, Brixton market on a noisy morning, an old bombed-out church – now a peaceful garden in the heart of the city. A balmy summer in London has been a nice place to daydream about.

To be in with a chance of getting your mitts on a copy of That Certain Something (in e-book or paperback – winner’s choice), hit the above link and add your two penneth to the chat about favourite classy film dames in the comments section.

Terry Baker has cast her LesFic-loving eye over That Certain Something this week and not found the book lacking in the slightest:

This story is a beautifully written, multi layered, lesfic, romantic comedy. It is chick lit for lesbians as its very best. Clare Ashton has got the balance between the romance and the comedy just right. Neither one overshadows the other. This is a refreshingly different book from Clare’s other two full length, more serious novels. Although we did get a taste of her wonderful sense of humor in her short story, published last year.

Click here to read the full review.

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NicolaGriffithFor those who like to plan ahead, here’s an early shout out about an Ask The Author session with Nicola Griffith on Goodreads. The details are a little vague (in all honesty, I don’t have any), but the shindig kicks off on Friday, and keeping an eye on Nicola’s Goodreads author page would probably be a decent place to start.

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lfestAs the rain pours non-stop over here (hmm, I bet it’s lovely and sunny in the Balearics), what better time to think of summer festivals?

L Fest 2014 (18-21 July) has updated its arts page with loads of info about the authors, poets, panellists, and comedians who will be heading over to Staffordshire for the weekend. Tig gave the line-up in last week’s news, but novelist and poet Maureen Duffy is a more recent addition. For profiles, info and pretty pictures, click the arts page here.

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bsbpanelWith just two days to go before the Bold Strokes Books UK Festival, a blog hop featuring the attending authors has continued apace. In an effort to prove that fiction writers also lead adventurous factual lives, I. Beacham has somehow managed to avoid all mention of gratuitous pussy jokes in an entertaining piece about rescuing her cat from a vicarage. Jane Fletcher has been speaking historically, Rebecca Buck has been fighting labels, Crin Claxton has been shaking her tassels, and Victoria Oldham – editor and organiser in chief – has brought things full circle back to cats (but not pussies – no one goes for the obvious gags these days!) with her summary of what exactly goes into organising a book festival, and why she comes back and does it all over again each year:

crin and cheriThe authors get to meet readers, the readers get to meet authors. We connect and reconnect, and it’s all over the power of words, both written and spoken. I get to meet readers and new authors, and sometimes I’m fortunate enough to hear pitches from aspiring authors who want to work with us, and that makes me feel incredibly lucky. I get to tell people about the amazing company I work for, a company that works to provide quality literature to the queer community, and a company dedicated to helping authors grow and learn at every step of their career.

If you want to come along to Nottingham this Saturday and Sunday (7th & 8th June) and find out what the BSB Fest is all about, click here for the necessary details. Once again this year, Vic will be hearing pitches from aspiring authors, and she has some advice for potential pitchers in this blog post.

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amazonia_impossible_choiceThe Writing Processes blog hop has snared another couple of British authors (okay, I snared one of ’em!) with Sky Croft and Manda Scott posting their entries in the last few days.

Speaking about potential future novels, Sky had this to say:

I have a few other ideas on the go right now, but I’m not sure which to focus on first. That’s always a dilemma for me, which book to start on – I have so much I want to get down, and not enough time to do it all, so naturally some ideas fall by the wayside. It’s tough to decide which ideas to let go of and which to pursue, especially if you’re passionate about them.

manda-scottMeanwhile, Manda is busy working on edits of The Girl Who Walked Through Fire:

I did the line edits in January and somewhere, stalking the hallways of my publisher, is a copy-editor who will require that I make fundamental changes to the plot and structure in the name of ‘consistency’ and I will chew large lumps out of my desk in frustration and do about half of them, writing long, detailed notes about why and how the other half prove the editor in question just didn’t bother to read the text. Then I’ll give up and do them anyway.

To read the full text of both blogs, go to the above links.

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cover_hearts-and-flowers-borderLast but by no means least, L.T. Smith has gone and launched a new blog, where you can find information on all of her novels, forthcoming releases (including the blurb for September release Still Life), and what she’s up to at the moment:

Buying a book is like choosing a friend to spend time. It’s not an easy choice, especially because you are going to invest time, emotion and money in the venture. That’s why I have included excerpts for you to read. A case of “try before you buy”. There are also some sound files to listen to if you want to hear how I think my stories should “sound”. However, if you treasure your hearing, maybe you might want to listen to music instead.

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Right-O, that’s about yer lot for this week. If anyone reading this blog is heading to the Nottingham BSB Fest, please do come over and say hello – Tig is hoping to be there on the Saturday, so no doubt the daft Blog Mistress picture will get an update 🙂

 

Yup, this one!

Yup, this one!