Tag Archives: Stella Duffy

News roundup: the Diva literary festival, a busy Cari Hunter, AL Brooks, new author Wendy Temple and new books!

28 Jan

diva_lit_festNow something I moan about, often, is the lack of a literary festival for lesfic in the UK. It’s been a few years now since the big festivals in York (YLAF), of which I only caught the last fantastic year, so it’s very exciting to kick off this week’s post with news that Diva is launching its own festival!

The inaugural event will be in Birmingham in November and signed up already are: Stella Duffy, Kiki Archer, Val McDermid, Clare Ashton, Rebecca Chance, VG Lee, VA Fearon and Jacquie Lawrence. Hopefully there’ll be more announcements over the year as more authors are brought on board. For more details see the press release which has email addresses for interested authors.

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AQuietDeathCari Hunter’s A Quiet Death, the final book in the Dark Peak crime series, was reviewed over on C-Spot reviews and by the Velvet Lounger at The Lesbian Reading Room and what fab reviews they are of this gritty crime novel focussed on a sex trafficking case:

I heavily suspected that I’d enjoy this book since I’ve not yet been disappointed by anything written by the author and I was right. Hunter has not only a talent for bringing her characters to life and dropping the reader into the scene but also for balancing dark, deadly serious story lines with levity and humor so the reader doesn’t get lost in despair over the heartbreaking cases. I look forward to reading whatever she comes up with next.” More from C-Spot here.

Once again I cannot recommend this series enough. If you like crime, a thriller, and suspense with a cast of real life everyday folk and unassuming heros, written with excellent if unpretentious style, you really cannot do any better than this.” More from the Velvet Lounger’s review here.

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Cari’s also been blogging about her work as a paramedic which feeds into her writing. This post covers her new year’s eve shift and, just like her books, is a poignant mixture of brutal life and humour:

Our last patient of 2016 is a tiny little boy with a life-limiting genetic condition. He’s had a high temp and diarrhoea since noon, and he’s poorly, with a feeble cry and poor respiratory effort. His parents have already lost a child to the same condition and they seem to know that their son is unlikely to make it out of the hospital this time. I sit with him on the stretcher, cooing at him and stroking his cheek as K flies us in on our second red paeds standby of the night. I hand over the baby and reams of paperwork, including end-of-life care wishes, to the waiting team, and stagger out of Resus, adrenaline fading fast. “Right, drunk people only from now on,” I say, back in the cab and through a mouthful of chocolate. “Drunk people being smacked in the head.”

You can read the rest of the piece here.

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albrooksIt’s the first of Clare Lydon’s Lesbian Bookclub podcasts of the year. She gives us an update on her writing including the latest installment of the All I Want series and what’s hot in the lesfic charts. This month’s guest is Brit AL Brooks whose erotic debut about a sex club in Manchester caused a stir last year. They talk about The Club, being out as an erotic writer and her next book, the romance Dark Horse. Have a listen here.

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A quick mention now of a writing course based online and in Scotland. For anyone looking for help finding their voice as a writer and with developing their social media presence, Orla Broderick has developed a course to help with both of these aspects of writing.  You can find more information about the course and contact Orla here.

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charming-the-vicarRight, on to upcoming releases and new books.

Jenny Frame has been a busy bee and has three books pending for 2017! Her latest cover reveal is for Charming the Vicar, the second in the Axedale village series, which tells the love story of Bridget Claremont, Axedale’s unconventional vicar.

New author Wendy Temple has released the cover of her debut and its blurb. defensivemindsetDefensive Mindset will be out late April 2017.

Star footballer and successful businesswoman Jessie Grainger has her life set, and doesn’t need anything getting in the way. That includes rebellious rival player Fran Doherty, a burnt-out barmaid with a past as messed up as her attitude. So when the clashing pair find themselves on the same Edinburgh women football team, how will they survive each other, let alone play to win?

Wendy is from Scotland and started writing fanfiction in 2005. She is nutty about sports and it should be no surprise that includes playing football. You can find out more about Wendy from the Ylva website.

Robyn Nyx posts free short stories from time to time, and her latest for January is called Heart Halfway Gone – a short erotic romance. Scroll to the bottom of Robin’s books page to find a choice of file downloads. 

And finally!

alliwantforeverOut now is Clare Lydon’s All I Want Forever! It’s already at the top of the UK Amazon lesfic charts. Here’s the cover and blurb:

They’re engaged, but they’re living 5,000 miles apart…

Everyone says Tori & Holly are meant to be, but when distance means barriers in their love affair, can the pair overcome them? The wedding’s booked, Tori’s mum has bought a new dress, but will they be in the same city come the big day?

Join Tori & Holly on their final adventure as they grapple with their destiny. Can they agree on their future and finally grasp their happy ever after?

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That’s all folks!

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: loads of events and tons of new books!

28 Jan

It’s been a while since I’ve had a gambol through the news. So time to limber up those digits and romp through this week’s edition (did you know that your fingers don’t have muscle inside. It’s all in the palm and forearm apparently…).

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Lots of fabulous events coming up where you can catch your favourite authors.

Stella Duffy, writer, actorThe award-winning Stella Duffy and Catherine Hall are both appearing at this Friday’s Polari evening. Grab yourself some tickets here if you’re lucky enough to be in the area. Also a reminder that the Manchester Polari evening is hot on its heels (February 10th). Beatrice Hitchman, whose debut Petite Mort was short-listed for the Polari Prize, will be appearing.  You can book tickets here.

catherine hallCatherine Hall will also be appearing oop north in Manchester as part of the first ever National Festival of LGBT History. She’ll be reading from The Repercussions on the afternoon of Saturday 14th February at the Central Library. For more details and a full list of events tootle over here.

VGLeeEventThe ever-entertaining VG Lee will be doing a gig in Bedford on 17th February (7 p.m.). She says of the evening “I shall be chatting, a bit of reading, a bit of comedy – no singing or dancing unless too much wine is imbibed.” You can also catch her on March 7th in Huddersfield as part of the Polari frolicks up North session at the literary festival – more details for the event here.

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swordfishAndrea Bramhall has been blogging on the Bold Strokes site about her latest action-packed novel of genius scientists and terrorists – Swordfish (the sequel to Ladyfish).  It’s a personal piece where she delves into the past of one of the characters and how it’s taught her a thing or two about herself.

Every character has a little something of me in them. And I do mean everyone. Good guys and bad guys. It’s my way of connecting with them, of making them real to me, and making whole characters rather than flat two dimensional ones that are just a jumble of actions and words that don’t make sense. Now, that can make writing some things very dark. If you read this book, you’ll meet Masood and see what I mean, but it can also be enlightening. This is what I mean when I say Cassie taught me things.

Here’s the full piece.

The Velvet Lounger has also been passing her critical gaze over Andrea’s book and this is what she had to say:

a mad romp full of twists and turns, high tension deadlines, scientific breakthroughs and shoot ‘em up confrontations with the bad guys. It is fast paced when the story is hot, but manages to combine gentler, slower moments of intimacy and tenderness…A great fun read, fast and furious.

You can read the full review here.

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On to new and forthcoming books.

The_Wrong_Woman_Cover_for_KindleJane Retzig has published her fourth novel The Wrong Woman, and it is already doing very nicely indeed, bouncing around at the top of the Amazon lesfic charts. Here’s the blurb for her new romance:

Kate is a rapidly rising star of the trauma therapy world – London based, shy, uptight, and with an air of aloofness that masks a deep sense of insecurity. When she has to relocate her ‘Traumatology for the 21st Century’ conference to Horton Hill ‘Deluxe’ Hotel and Conference Centre in the heart of industrial West Yorkshire, she is understandably horrified by the state of the place.

Horton Hill is a mess. The car park looks like the surface of the moon. The pool is a health hazard. And the staff seem incapable of speaking intelligible English. When Naz, the hotel’s ‘Hospitality Assistant’ finds Kate struggling with her luggage, she instantly stops to help. Bright, enthusiastic and hard-working, she is drawn to Kate’s barely concealed vulnerability, and desperately wants to make a good impression on the harassed, but undeniably attractive conference organiser.

Despite her natural caution, as the weekend progresses, Kate finds herself warming to Naz’s kindness and obvious interest in her.
But she is unaware that her carefully constructed life back in London is starting to unravel. And when she finds herself accused of a terrible crime, Kate discovers that sometimes friendship and love can be found in the most unlikely of places.

thehysteryappV.T. Davy (author of A Very Civil Wedding) has just signed off on the cover for novel number three. It’s due out in February and “blends science fiction, lesbian romance and women’s history to ask whether the rights that women espouse today are those that were fought for by the pioneers of feminism or whether they have become distorted beyond recognition.” Here’s the intriguing blurb:

When the biophysicist Dr Brogan Miller and her partner, the women’s historian Dr Honor Smith, stumble upon a cosmic phenomenon that enables them to film the everyday lives of women from the past, they believe it will bring about a revolution in the way that women’s history is taught and studied.
 
On the release of the Hystery app, their initial euphoria is not dampened as astonishing uploads from all over the world pour in showing women from all centuries at home, at work and at play. But, as the uploads take a more sinister turn, they realise that, in their excitement, they overlooked society’s appetite for new technology that bends each innovation to satisfy its basest cravings. It is only when tragedy strikes the couple and the extraordinary Erin James enters Brogan’s life that she finds the courage to put right what she has let loose on the world.

blindtrustJody Klaire has revealed the cover and blurb for her sequel to The Empath. Blind Trust is the second book in the Above and Beyond series. No release date as yet, but here’s that blurb:

Aeron Lorelei finds herself part of the mysterious Criminal Investigations Group and is looking forward to catching up with Commander Renee Black after being locked in bootcamp for six months. However, something isn’t quite right with Renee and Aeron can’t figure out why she is pushing her away. When mother nature puts a mountain in their path (literally) and Renee does the unthinkable, it is left to Aeron to clear Renee’s name. Stuck in a small Colorado town with only a few days to solve a mystery, Aeron needs some ‘spiritual’ support.’ Saving Renee involves using the burdens she loathes and every ounce of belief she has. It looks bleak for Renee, and when the danger lurking in the past snakes its way into the town, it is up to Aeron alone to stop it.

SecretsAnd finally, Jade Winters has a novel out… soon. Secrets is written with Alexis Bailey with whom Jade co-wrote her first published piece of erotica. Here’s the blurb:

To the outside world, Lauren’s marriage is picture perfect, but she is hiding a secret. Beneath the smile lies an unquenchable yearning: Lauren craves intimacy with a woman.

Until now, these desires have been mere fantasy, harmless daydreams. That is until Lauren meets a beautiful woman on her daily commute, a stranger with whom she has an immediate passionate connection.

Torn between loyalty to her marriage and a passion for another woman, Lauren struggles to do “the right thing”. But she is about to discover that her marriage is not what it seems. It is not just her who is hiding a secret…

And if that’s whetted your appetite, go and indulge in chapters one and two for free here.

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Until next time…tara a bit!

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

9 Dec
gambolling

copyright Roger Fereday

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

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

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A few bits and pieces from around the web now:

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

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

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

You can read the full piece here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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That’s all folks!

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

10 Oct

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

In that vein, here is the news:

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

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

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

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

Lesbian Mystery / Thriller: Tumbledown by Cari Hunter

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author of the year:

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

Debut author of the year:

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

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

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Interviews

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

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

So first, I had to learn to speak English!

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

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

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

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


Reviews and blogs

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

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

Still Life by LT Smith was reviewed by Terry Baker:

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

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

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

You can read the full piece here.

New and future releases:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finally, don’t miss:

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

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

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

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Until next fortnight… ta ra!

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

26 Sep

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can read the full text of the review here.

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

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

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

“These poor, poor, tragic lesbians!”

Go read it at the link.

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

News Roundup: 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 🙂