Tag Archives: Suzanne Egerton

News Roundup: Rainbow Award honourable mentions, new books, events and a loo break

5 Nov

fireworks-728413_640Ooooooooooooooooooo, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah…

I lost my bra
I left my knickers in my girlfriend’s car.

I digress.  It’s that time of year, when children eat apples of their own volition and parents gleefully encourage them to hold white hot pieces of metal. It’s Fireworks Night!

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First up, the Rainbow Awards and a few of the British entries are already sparkling away. No shortlists yet, but the honorable mentions are being rolled out (books that have scored highly with at least one judge):

no good reasonCari Hunter’s No Good Reason has been described as “A fabulous mystery, well grounded in setting, creepy and steadily paced, reminiscent of the television show Broadchurch.” and by another judge as “Very good craft. Great story”.

season's meetingsAmy Dunne’s Season’s Meetings has been very well received: “I really enjoyed this book.  You could feel like you were with the characters especially when they were stranded in that decrepit car in the snow.  A wonderful holiday romance!”

too late I love youKiki  Archer’s Too Late… I Love You: “Another well written book by Kiki Archer.  Hard to put down, kept my interest throughout.  I really liked Connie and how her story was told.  Liked Kiki’s writing style as well.” I liked it – I liked it a lot – the premise was fresh and new and the humor in the romance most welcome.

blindtrustAnd Jody Klaire’s Blind Trust: “Heroine Aeron Lorelei is the kind of “aw, shucks” down home woman it can grow tiring to read about in less skilled hands, but in Klaire’s care, she’s a paragon of many virtues, none of them cloying or unbelievable. I fell in love with her over the course of the novel, and when I finished, I wished I had my own Aeron.”

Let’s hope they all make it through to the final short lists. Good luck folks!

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On to bits and blogs and something’s been bugging Jen Silver:

Maybe it’s my age, but I find myself being critical of stories where the characters can seemingly go for days without going to the loo. I mean, really. How many of us, get up, get dressed, and rush out of the house without stopping to pee? Let alone any other morning rituals – shower, teeth brushing, coffee, food.

For the rest of Jen’s thoughts on bathroom breaks have peek over here.

There’s a new episode of the Lesbian Book Club with Clare Lydon available. This month she interviews best-selling Kiki Archer. Kiki has a natter about writing what you know, overgrown bushes, where that pen-name came from, her ultra-successful Too Late… I Love You, and tips for authors wanting that best-seller. And a hint or two about her work in progress Lost in the Starlight. Sounds intriguing.

At the end of the show Clare also reads an extract from her new novel All I Want For Christmas. Pop over here to listen.

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New and upcoming books and a brand new author.

TheRetreatJane Retzig has a new book out and it’s already available on Amazon: The Retreat: A Kind of Lesbian Romance.

Jo and Ed are unlikely best friends. He is the only son of wealthy parents. She was born on ‘the wrong side of the tracks’. He loves sport, messing around with cars, and drinking. She’s ambitious and hardworking. They are, in fact, a perfect team. They’ve stood by each other for almost thirty years. They’ve built a successful business together.

There’s just one problem. Jo is having an affair with Ed’s wife. And now someone knows their secret. It’s Christmas Eve 2014. And nothing is ever going to be the same again…

ReluctancePat Adams-Wright has her second novel, Reluctance, out late November:

Two women, whose hearts and worlds have been torn apart by the loss of their partners, in drastically different ways, are thrown together by chance. Fate has brought them to live side by side, but can love dispel the reluctance that lives in both their hearts and give their burgeoning romance chance to take flight.

ShapeofthepathAnd now to new author EH Smith: a fiction and fanfiction writer who lives in Kent with her wife and two cats, studying for a BSc in Natural Science and working towards a second novel.

Her Shape of the Path is already available on Amazon. Here is the blurb:

The Shape of the Path follows Kathryn Cayliss on her coming-of-age journey through negotiating her first love, homophobic parents, and the temptations of recreational drugs as a means to escape her suffering. Through a difficult and unpredictable journey, will there be redemption as her path wends in unexpected directions.

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polaribirminghamAnd finally a reminder about some events:

You can catch Suzanne Egerton at the Local Author Showcase, Motherwell Library, where writers talk about the writing process and read from their work. They’ll be a Q&A session too. Saturday 28th November, 2pm. Call 01698 332626 to book a place.

Polari-on-Sea is coming to an end, but you still have a chance to catch one more night of the Hasting’s outing of the literary salon. Diana Souhami and VG Lee are among the writers featured on the final night, on Monday 23rd November. More details here.

There’s also still a chance to get tickets for the Birmingham leg of the Polari tour on November the 14th. This sold out last year and was an excellent evening. The line-up is fabulous with VG Lee, Kiki Archer, Karen McLeod and Karen Campbell. Don’t miss out! Grab a ticket here.

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And that’s it. Wrap up warm. Mind where you stick those sparklers. And have a happy bonfire night!

L Fest 2015

21 Jul

The sun shined DSC_1606on L Fest this year, and a fun and cozy event it was too. Live music got the big top treatment and the arts stage was hosted nearby in an airy bright tent. Stalls lined the edges of two grassy areas with everything from busking to dog shows. There were fewer author panels this year, and no fiction workshops, but what the sessions lacked in quantity they certainly made up for in quality.

Karen Campbell

Jubilation at working microphones and a brilliant reading from Karen Campbell

First up was the Indie Panel ably captained by Clare Lydon. HP Munro had the unenviable task of kicking off the show before the microphones arrived but was beautifully audible by the time her reading of the merkin scene from the much-loved Stars Collide came around. Sally Edwards read from her self-confessed highly autobiographical debut How to Love. Karen Campbell enthralled the audience with a brilliant reading from her work in progress about a lesbian dwarf. And Suzanne Egerton, who has one of those voices you need for Book at Bedtime, delivered her humorous story Diva like a pro.

Polari Panel

The fabulous Polari panel: Diana Souhami, host Paul Burston, VG Lee, Kiki Archer and VA Fearon

Sunday morning was time for Paul Burston‘s Polari panel and a large and eager crowd was up early to see some sparkling readings. VA Fearon started the session with a reading from her gritty London gangland thriller The Girl With the Treasure Chest. Some light relief was dished out by Kiki Archer with the shitting-mobility-scooter-icecream scene from Too Late…I Love You, much to the delight of the audience. Diana Souhami was a great inclusion, effortlessly entertaining with her own witty observations and reading wonderful snippets from her biography of the fascinating Alice B Tokas and Gertrude Stein. VG Lee supplied the grand finale with two Deirdre stories to a most appreciative crowd.

Manda Scott

Manda Scott

The last author session was from the big-selling Manda Scott. The historical fiction author took a handful of questions and then talked most impressively about everything from living in round houses to knights steering horses with their bums and how genuinely terrifying battle reenactments are. She offered a few interesting tidbits about her writing career such as her name change (to MC Scott) being forced upon her for the Rome series, much to her chagrin, and the barriers to writing the Boudica series – pressure to keep to her previous thriller brand and established historical authors suggesting there was not enough material to support new fiction – Manda went on to write a series of four sizable tomes.

It was, all in all, a fabulous festival. But let’s hope 2016 sees a beefed up arts side to L Fest.

Polari

Polari panelists VG Lee, Paul Burston, Kiki Archer, Diana Souhami

HP Munro

HP Munro reading the merkin scene from Stars Collide

Suzanne Egerton

Suzanne Egerton

News roundup: new books, old books, events and more events! Everything from L Fest to Aye Write and Manda Scott to Nicola Griffith

28 Mar

Whoever is planning the festivals this year has suddenly got their arse in gear because events are being announced every which way this week. But first, some other tasty morsels from around the interweb.

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You Are What You Eat, and if it’s a biscuit you’re probably a Brit, and if it’s a cookie you’re more likely to be from the US. And that’s before you even get to different brands. This causes a problem for the likes of Cari Hunter who can’t go two chapters without someone having some’t nice to eat. Her trials and tribulations with the great food divide across the pond was explored in a Curve article this week by Diana Simmonds:

no good reasonHunter says, of her culinary concerns, ‘I think it’s a fear of chucking a reader out of a scene by throwing something at them that’s so completely alien it makes them stop and go ‘huh?’ I’ll probably swap custard creams for shortbread. But I am sad Americans don’t have Battenberg cake, though, I mean look how pretty it is!’

And so it is, even if you don’t like marzipan, and whether you care or not that it might have been named in honour of Queen Victoria’s husband. But that’s the thing: if you don’t explore, you might as well stay home and guzzle more S’mores.

Read the rest of the entertaining article here.

There’s more from Cari as she gears up for the publication of No Good Reason in June with a taster of her life as a paramedic, which closely resembles that of her heroines.

I’ve worked for the ambulance service for thirteen years, eleven of those as a paramedic, and the last four of those leading a dual life as an author. My books tend to resemble my world – medical themes, with police, doctors, chaos, and violence – and I’ve always tried to keep them on the right side of realism. Bearing that in mind, none of my leading ladies are uber-heroines, those striding, muscle-ripped superwomen so beloved of cop/doc fiction, and the central pair in the Dark Peak series are no different. Sanne and Meg are bright, intuitive, and good at their jobs, but they get knackered, get puked on, laugh at the wrong things, and fuck up just like any of us.

Have a read of the post No Angels Here for an excellent taster of life as a paramedic – it’s a typically gripping and funny read.

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On to new books and pieces.

Lesley DavisPlaying in Shadow is now available from the Bold Strokes website (it will be available on Amazon April 20th). This is the link if you want to get your mitts on a paperback or have your ereader gobble up an ebook.

Lesley has also revealed the blurb and cover for the next book in the pipeline, Starstruck, which is due out January next year. Here’s the blurb and cover:

starstruckActress Cassidy ‘CJ’ Hayes is famous for her role in “The Alchemidens”, a fantasy show where she plays a kick-ass heroine. Her rising success has brought her quickly under Hollywood’s glaring spotlight. It also gained her the unwelcome attentions of an obsessive fan who wants more than just an autograph. Aiden Darrow is both a well-respected screenwriter and a writer of lesbian romances. As a big fan of actress C.J. Hayes, Aiden is astounded when the woman of her dreams ends up moving into the house next door to her. Their attraction is undeniable but Cassidy is understandably nervous about getting too close to anyone. Aiden, meanwhile, is trying to separate reality from fiction because Cassidy is nothing like the character she portrays so well. All through her childhood, Aiden dreamed of a hero to come rescue her. Can she be the hero that Cassidy so desperately needs now?

reloadKiki Archer has been quiet of late, beavering away on a screenplay and waiting for news from various production companies in between the odd appearance on Sky News. But she has been tinkering with a short story or two. Her latest is another funny piece, Reload and Try Again, and has been published in the digital magazine Cracked Eye. Head on over here to download the app and buy a copy of this promising new magazine.

intothefireManda Scott has released the synopsis for her forthcoming novel Into the Fire (release date of June). It starts:

FORGET WHAT YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW…

2014 – A man’s charred corpse is found in the latest of a string of arson attacks in the French city of Orléans. There’s a secret, hidden within the body that changes everything.

1429 – Joan of Arc, warrior-knight, leads the armies of France into victory, and escorts her king to his consecration. But even then, her story was a lie.

SOME LEGENDS NEVER DIE – but they may be rewritten…

Brilliantly linking past and present, Manda Scott’s exhilarating thriller challenges us to think again about one of the most enduring legends in history.

swordfishUKLesFic doesn’t know if there is any lesbian content, but that sounds like a cracking read. The whole synopsis and excerpt is available from Manda’s website, which is looking beautiful after a recent make-over.

And a quick mention of Andrea Bramhall‘s Swordfish: her sequel to Ladyfish is now available from Audible. Flutter over here for a copy.

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Now for some books that have been out for a while but which have had rather nice mentions this week:

hild coverNicola Griffith‘s Hild has made it onto a list of 29 Awesome Books With Strong Female Protagonists (and for some reason it bugs me that they didn’t find 30). This is what they had to say about the epic: “Nicola Griffith’s Hild is a sweeping, historical novel that takes place in Britain during the Middle Ages, where a bright, curious child named Hild, the king’s niece, becomes his seer in a brutal, violent time. Strong-willed and gifted, Hild grows up to become one of the most powerful women in seventh-century Britain: Saint Hilda of Whitby.

Go and have a shufty at the rest of the list here.

(Do you think that looks like Nicola on the cover? Apparently six out of 10 readers think Nicola looks like one of her heroines. Here’s the pie-chart to prove it.)

pennanceClare Ashton‘s books got a favourable mention on Indie Reader in an article about how indie publishing is allowing marginalised authors to reach an audience beyond the traditional publishing world, often criticised for being being male-, hetero-, cis- and white-centric.

The article lists nine authors who don’t fit the usual publishing industry mould. Of Clare’s books, it says “[they] are shining examples of literature featuring lesbian romance. Her first novel, Penance, is a hauntingly moving ghost story, and the romance that blossoms from tragedy demonstrate Ashton’s unique ability to spin a yarn.” All true you know :p

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Right, on to those events.

LFest2015Hot off the press is the lineup for L Fest in July, and it’s looking mighty fine with a first showing for the literary salon, Polari, at the festival. VG Lee and Kiki Archer will be appearing as part of that session and will pretty much guarantee a good guffaw from even those with the most insensitive of funny bones.

There also looks like a great mix of indie authors on the panel entitled Close & Personal with the Indie Authors: Desire, Dramas & Divas. Go and rub, err, shoulders with HP Munro, Karen Campbell, Veronica Fearon, Suzanne Egerton and Clare Lydon, who’ll be hosting the panel.

AND Manda Scott will be there. She’ll be doing an hour-long slot on Women Warriors: “from Boudica to Jeanne d’Arc to Christine Grenville, Nancy Wake and Violet Szabo of the SOE, there have always been women that wanted to fight – and were good at it. In this hour, we celebrate their victories, and look at what’s changed – and what hasn’t – when fighting flows in our life blood.

L Fest is a unique lesbian festival with three days of entertainment from fabulous UK authors, bands, cinema, workshops and you can have a laugh with a great big bunch of lesbians in a field, all for £99. Have a look at the rest of the lineup here.

ayewriteThe Polari Salon will also be popping up in Glasgow as part of the Aye Write Festival in April. Paul Burston will be the fabulous host as usual to guests Jackie Kay, VG Lee and Patrick Gale. Not one to be missed! The session costs £9 and will be held at the Mitchell Library at 7.30 on April 23rd. More details and tickets on the Aye Write website.

Kerry Hudson and Jackie Kay will also be appearing on the Out There panel. They will be reading their work from the anthology of the same name and discussing issues around LGBT literature in Scotland. The panel is in the same place on the same date as Polari, just a little earlier in the evening. More details and tickets here.

Kerry Hudson will also be appearing at the Ullapool Book Festival in May, as will Val McDermid. More details here.

catherine hallCatherine Hall gets around a bit.  On Wednesday 22nd of April, she’ll be taking part in the Reader Series at Canterbury Christ Church University at the Sidney Cooper Gallery.  The event is bargainously free. More details here.

She’ll also be appearing at the Brighton Pavilion, which is where her latest book, The Repercussions, is set. The event is on Friday 24th April, costs £8 and includes wine. You can’t get much more convivial than that.

Meanwhile, Maureen Duffy will be appearing at Poetry at The Print Room on Tuesday 14th April. This is part of a series of intimate evenings in the company of contemporary poets at The Coronet in Notting Hill. More details here.

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Phew! Nearly there.

And finally, don’t forget to catch up with the latest Lesbian Book Club podcast with Clare Lydon. Clare has a romp through the UK and US Amazon lesfic charts and also gives us a quick update on progress on her own writing with book 3 – the yet unnamed follow up to London Calling. She then interviews Karen Campbell about her gritty novels.

Karen reveals (in that rather lovely Scottish accent) how she started writing years ago with Violet’s Story after mulling over a story centred on mental health and featuring that favourite name of hers. They cover a great range of topics, including the follow up to The Knowing, a hint of the supernatural, the madness of writing and being shy and introverted, with some hints about a collaboration with Angela Peach. Oh, and football. Have a listen here.

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That is all. Good night!

News roundup: a bumper edition with festivals, blog tours, new best-sellers and more!

31 May

Here is the  late news:

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Things are hotting up in the events calendar and it’s looking like a great year for catching your favourite authors.

bold books logoWe’re in the final stretch in the run-up to the Bold Strokes Nottingham Festival on the 7th and 8th of June. The Bold Strokes UK blog has been hosting posts by authors attending the event.

Cari Hunter kicked things off with a post about coming home to Britain. After running around the US in Desolation Point and Tumbledown, she’s glad to be back in her home Peak District for her fourth novel No Good Reason.

Amy Dunne followed up with a post about being really bloody excited about the Nottingham Festival and why everyone should go. She’s had a big year with her debut Secret Lies being a Goldie finalist and working on two more novels which weren’t even a twinkle in her eye this time last year.

Andrea Bramhall talks about her new novel Nightingale – a story about an British Muslim woman forced to choose between love and her family. Andrea talks about the reality faced by women in less tolerant cultures and countries, and their harsh treatment.

And last, for this week, is Lesley Davis who likes her leading ladies. She talks about what it is that captures her attention in heroines on TV and in her own novels.

It’s a fab and free event in a great city, definitely recommended.  And you may find the odd indie author lurking in the audience.

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paulburston

Paul Burston by Krystyna FitzGerald-Morris

Down south that same weekend is a pop-up Polari at the Stoke Newington Literary Festival. Paul Burston will be hosting the panel which includes the wonderful VG Lee. You can get tickets here. For a taster of what the Polari events are like you can read an account by Jon Dolores of last Monday’s event with Veronica Fearon. Pictures here.

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lfest

 

The lineup for L Fest was also announced this week. As well as bands, caberet and fun workshops, there’s a great group of authors going this year. On the Creating Chemistry panel are best-selling indie authors Jade Winters, Clare Lydon and Clare Ashton with the session hosted by the bestest selling of them all Kiki Archer. VG Lee will be holding writing workshops and Bold Strokes authors are also out in force this year with Andrea Bramhall, Amy Dunne, Crin Claxton, Gill McKnight and I. Beacham. US authors Cindy Rizzo and Justine Saracen will also be there.

This is another great event. Well worth the money with all that’s on offer and just the fabulousness of sitting in a field with so many lesbians.

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Onto new books and upcoming releases.

stars collideGoldie finalist HP Munro has just released Stars Collide and it’s had a stellar start hitting the number one spot on Amazon pretty much everywhere. Here’s the enticing cover and blurb:

It’s tough growing up in the spotlight and Freya Easter has had to do just that, being part of the Conor family, who are Hollywood acting royalty, has meant that every aspect of her family’s life has been played out in the spotlight. Despite her own fame Freya has managed to keep one aspect of her life out of the public eye, however, a new job on hit show Front Line and a storyline that pairs her with the gorgeous Jordan Ellis, may mean that Freya’s secret is about to come out.

In a world of glitz and glamor, Jordan Ellis has come to the conclusion that all that glitters is not gold. She has become disillusioned with relationships and is longing for a deeper connection, and is surprised when it comes in the form of the most unexpected package.

Whilst their on screen counterparts begin a romantic journey, Freya and Jordan find themselves on a similar pathway.

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amazonia_impossible_choiceAnother Goldie finalist, Sky Croft, has revealed the cover and blurb for her forthcoming novel Amazonia: An Impossible Choice. It’s the follow up to Amazonia and will be available in August. Here’s the blurb:

A year after the events in Amazonia, Blake and Shale are preparing for their upcoming joining ceremony. A few days after celebrating their union, a savage storm hits the Amazon village, unearthing a long lost secret – a clue to the location of a sacred relic, which was once stolen from the Amazon tribe. Accompanied by Kale and Amber, Blake and Shale set out on a quest to reclaim the treasured artefact. Away from the safety of their village, the four women encounter thieves, deadly foes, and predatory animals. Their search leads them underground to a vast cave system, where darkness is a constant enemy, and one mistake in the perilous terrain could mean death.

As echoes from the past come back to haunt them, Blake and Kale are both put into life-threatening situations. With only time to save one, Shale is faced with an impossible choice–her wife or her twin? Who will she choose?

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theempath_lgJody Klaire‘s The Empath is also out this summer. She is very keen for you to meet the heroine from her story. She’s written a short prequel so you can get to know her. You can find the teaser here.

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Things have been busy in the blogosphere this week with the writing process blog hop and the Lesbian Reading Room interviews with Goldie finalists.

catsCari Hunter talked about writing her sequel to the forthcoming No Good Reason. In this series I’m very excited to see that Cari’s bringing the thriller and adventure elements of her writing to the fore. Here’s what she says about her foray into the crime genre:

I prefer to write regular women, women you could bump into on the street and have a laugh with, so even though the case in No Good Reason is horrific, there’s plenty of humour as well, which is not particularly in keeping with the genre. Many mainstream crime novels have po-faced leads, but in my experience the people working in emergency services laugh more often than they cry, and I want my writing to reflect that.

Cari’s blogs are always entertaining. Have a read of her writing process too for the familiar phases of “self doubt”, “procrastination” and “the hissy fit” here.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother hugely entertaining lady is Suzanne Egerton who also answered the writing process questions. Her work in progress has the 1970s London as its backdrop with its cultural and fashion highs and police corruption and gang land lows.

Nina is initially shy and has been brought up to assume that her husband knows best. She is still grieving for the baby she miscarried. Georgie is a fun, flirty girl who would love to have swung through the sixties, but she is sole carer and provider for her mother, an ailing ex-actress with whom she lives in a grim, draughty flat; there is never enough money. The lives of Nina and Georgie change utterly when they start work at the casino; its tawdry glamour has a transformative effect. Plenty happens as the girls experience a new sense of freedom, enjoy friendships, party, mix and match, and see a darker side of Swinging London.

For inspiration and her unique take on things, Suzanne casually drops in “My own ten years of experiences as a croupier and later a pit boss have been a huge source of inspiration,” and “I have spent many a late hour labouring over an engraving machine, inscribing sports trophies, or tokens of love; I have cleaned toilets, worked in a factory, sold door-to-door. I have committed crime. A great education for a writer.

I’m keeping my eyes peeled for this one – it sounds excellent. Here’s the full piece. You can also find Suzanne’s tips for readings here too.

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PopeJoan

Free this weekend!

Rachel Dax has been at it too. She’s currently working on part 3 of The Legend of Pope Joan trilogy:

In this novel Joan reaches the pinnacle of her journey and becomes Pope. Her existence is precarious but equally invigorating and addictive. She has immense power yet at the same time is more vulnerable and isolated than ever before and this only leads to more danger.

Of her writing process she says:

Usually I will get an idea or image that totally consumes me and then I start writing. The first part of the writing process is like a giant vomit. I just spew it out and get the key story or plot points/images on ‘paper’ and then after that, I work towards making it into a complete work.

The Legend Of Pope Joan, Part 2. Athens has been nominated for a Goldie Award in the Historical Fiction category.You can have a taster of this unique trilogy for FREE by downloading part 1 this weekend.

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Goldie finalists Amy Dunne and Andrea Bramhall have been answering questions at the Lesbian Reading Room. The set questions ask authors about their favourite books, inspiration, support, their next work and what it means to them to be a Goldie finalist.

swordfishFor her work-in-progress Andrea notes that “The inspiration for [The Chameleon] came from the BSB UK event last year. I was talking to a lady from South Africa and she was drinking a glass of wine. The idea struck me of writing a story set in the vineyards of the Western Cape. Exploring the themes and idea’s that have affected me a great deal since I spent a portion of my childhood in South Africa in the eighties. When opposition to Apartheid was at it’s highest and the world was watching…But the idea for my latest proposal for a novel, set in a coastal village in the UK, came from one of the women in my village threatening to shoot her neighbours cat because it was hunting birds in her garden.”

Andrea is “currently researching for The Chameleon, and working on the proposal for Collide-O-Scope (with the crazy village cat lady), but up next publication wise is Swordfish due to be published in January 2015.”

season's meetingsFor Amy,  “Season’s Meetings is up next for publication. It’s due to be released this December coming. I can’t wait to share it with everyone. I’m already counting down the weeks and trying not to dwell on the prospect of the hardcore editing that’s fast approaching.

My wife and I are huge fans of Christmas. We love everything about it. As soon as December 1st arrives we’re decorating out house without a hint of hesitation. It’s a time for family, laughter, fun, indulgence, and love. I tried to incorporate all of things we love into the story and I had an absolute blast writing it.

Here are the full interviews for Amy and Andrea.

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Finally a quick look at reviews.

playing my loveAngela Peach‘s very popular Playing My Love was reviewed over on Girl Guide London. Here’s what they had to say about the story with two endings that has intrigued readers:

Playing my Love is certainly a tender novel full of romance but also some laughs, and characters that made me read the whole book through in one sitting – I literally couldn’t put it down. The rocky journey of the two main characters, both holding back their feelings from each other, is an equally gripping story-line… Playing my Love is a great read, perfect for any holidays you’ve got planned lazing on the beach, or cheering up your afternoon on a rainy day

You can read the full review here.

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that certain somethingAnd since I was a bit of a useless arse this week and did the news late, I missed the opportunity to tell you about my chat with Beni Gee on the VLR last night. It was terribly good, you should have been there. So instead, I better tell you about some reviews of That Certain Something by people with impeccable taste. These are the best reviews I’ve ever had so you’re not going to get away without hearing about them 🙂

The Velvet Lounger over on the Lesbian Reading Room had this to say:

Clare Ashton has written another winner. That Certain Something was a joy to read from start to finish. It warms your heart, tickles your fancy and captivates your mind…You will be captivated, entertained and fall in love, all while belly laughing your way through Pia’s bare-arsed antics

And TT Thomas also said “Ashton’s writing is smooth as glass in this one, and yet manages to layer texture, tone and timing into a love story that would burn down Londontown if it got any hotter! There’s not a misstep in this wonderful novel, unless you count your own as you bump into walls while reading because you can’t put it down! Read That Certain Something, and then give a copy to someone you like…you know, in that way.

Huzzah!

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News Roundup: Brits Listed as Lambda Award Finalists, Reviews, Interviews and a Call for Submissions…

7 Mar

I think there’s something wrong with UKLesFic writers. Why aren’t you all procrastinating and naval gazing like normal writers. Shouldn’t you be surfing the web and wasting time on Facebook rather than doing something constructive like writing new books, getting great reviews and being short-listed for awards? Here is an awful lot of news:

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LammySealLet’s start with the Lammys. As one of the most prestigious LGBT fiction awards, it’s fantastic to see some UK names across the categories. A loud whoop and a very British handshake to these Lambda Literary Award finalists:

Nicola Griffith for Hild: A Novel in bisexual fiction
Jeanette Winterson for The Daylight Gate in the lesbian general fiction category
Val McDermid for Cross and Burn in lesbian mystery
and Andrea Bramhall for Clean Slate in lesbian romance

Finalists get a swanky night out in New York where the winners are announced on 2nd June.

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POLARIpinkLARGEProceedings for the annual Polari Prize have also kicked off with a call for submissions. This respected and regular feature in the literary calendar judges début works by UK authors that explore the LGBT experience. It is open to poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction, published (including self-published) in the UK between 2 February 2013 and 1 February 2014. Last year’s prize was refreshingly won by a crime genre novel – The Murder Wall by Mari Hannah.

The Bookseller also reports that WH Smith is supporting the event this year and will be selling short-listed books (announced September) in its travel stores. The winner will be announced in October.

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Onto reviews.

OutLateWithFriendsThe Rainbow Reader reviewed Suzanne Egerton‘s Out Late with Friends and Regrets. Not one for simple glowing praise, The Rainbow Reader always gives insightful and thoughtful reviews and she found a lot to admire and recommend in her critique of Suzanne’s book.

Ms. Egerton offers up a long list of interesting and engaging characters, and sprinkles the narrative with entertaining, clever, and colloquial dialogue. Her pacing is quick, the detail is descriptive without being burdensome, and the humor is honest and charming.

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tumbledownforblogCari Hunter‘s Tumbledown was reviewed over on the Lesbian Reading Room. This is what they had to say about the action/thriller sequel to Desolation Point:

“Once again Ms Hunter outdoes herself in the tension and pace of the plot. We literally know from the first 2 pages that the evil is hunting them, but we are held on the edge of our seats for the whole book to see what will unfold, how they will cope, whether they will survive – and at what cost this time….Well written, edited and effortlessly enthralling, Tumbledown is a wonderful read. “

Here’s the full review.

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BSB_Because_of_HerTerry Baker reviewed Ke Payne‘s Because of Her – a tale of of 17-year-old rebel Tabby Morton who is forced to move to London and attend a posh school in the hopes that it’ll make a lady of her.

“Although this is a young adult book, don’t let that stop you from buying it and enjoying it. I was hooked in from the first page right the way through to the last page. KE Payne has a wonderful way with words and her stories are well written and emotionally charged…Homophobia, teen angst, teen romance, coming out, keeping secrets, is all dealt with in a sympathetic and understanding way against a back drop of an upper crust school and parents at the end of their tethers with their teenage daughters… I’m looking forward to reading more from this up and coming author soon.”

You can read the full review here.

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Moving swiftly onto events:

JessPauline George will be launching her book Jess on 29th March in Brighton. She will be reading extracts and signing copies. Get there early for a free glass of bubbly followed by nibbles. Full details are: The Marlborough, Brighton, 29th March from 6.30 p.m.

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VG Lee is guest author at another writing masterclass by Paul Burston. This one covers performance and promotion skills and has the following topics:

  • Overcoming stage fright
  • Working with audiences
  • Establishing the right atmosphere from the start
  • What makes a bad performance – from voice to body language
  • What reading aloud can teach you about your writing
  • How – and what – to tweet to get the right kind of attention
  • Social media promotion strategies for authors

About the course VG Lee says:

I’m thrilled to be Paul Burston’s special guest at his Performance and Promotion skills for writers Masterclass. I think for authors taking part in readings, and who want to energetically promote their work, this will be invaluable. So often over the years I’ve seen an audience lose interest in a well written book, just because the author is reading so badly or reads for too long.

You can find full details here.

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say somethingJade Winters revealed the cover for her next book. She gave readers palpitations by starting off the announcment with “Sadly this will be the last book I write”.  Fortunately for them this sentence ended with “without the need for glasses”. Release date for the book is “soon”.

Jade’s Guilty Hearts is reviewed in this month’s Diva. In the issue she also gives her writing tips to budding romance writers.

Terry Baker also reviewed Jade’s Caught by Love. This is what she had to say:

This book is a well written, page turner. I was totally hooked from the very first page, right through to the last page. There are so many twists and turns and ups and downs, it was like being on a rollercoaster…. This story is definitely one of Jade’s best. Somehow though, I get the feeling I’m going to be saying that about each new book of Jade’s I read.

Full review here.

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clarelydonOne of the worst offenders of high work-rate and efficiency this week is new author Clare Lydon.

Clare’s début was released last week and shot to number on the Amazon UK lesfic charts. The novel was reviewed on Planet of the Books. This is what they had to say about the story of Jess who finds herself back in London, living in her parents’ spare room, jobless and single:

“A well crafted and juicy lesbian chick-lit that is one of the strongest to come in publication since the deluge of self-e-publishing came along. While accessible publishing has led to a marked increase in lesbian fiction, the quality across the board is variable. That is not the case with Clare Lydon’s London Calling which is as strong as any mainstream straight chick lit from a major publisher.  It a nutshell, it’s got everything you would expect from the genre, along with a heavy dose of real-world lesbian culture thrown in.”

Full review here.

Clare has also been busy with Q&As. Over on LGBTQA Culture you can find out about when she started writing, her favourite authors and music, and who she’d like to be stuck in an elevator with. And in G3 she talks more about the book and of whom she is the literary lovechild.

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best lesbian romanceBold Strokes author Jane Fletcher has a short story (The Things You Don’t Do) in the anthology Best Lesbian Romance 2014, edited by BSB’s Commander in Chief, Radclyffe. The anthology is currently available on Kindle and will be released as a paperback on March 20th.

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NicolaGriffithFor those who like to rest their eyes every now and again, and give their ears a bit of a work-out, Nicola Griffith has a new podcast up, in which she chats with her partner Kelley Eskridge, Jonathan Strahan, and Gary Wolf:

It’s the kind of conversation that would have suited a late night in a hotel bar: Hild, historicity, genre, reading stance and more from four people who love to read and think.

The unedited podcast runs for about an hour and is available at this link.

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ylvaYlva Publishing have put out a call for submissions for a Christmas anthology. It will be a collection of romantic, erotic and humorous stories with as wide a range of moods as Christmas elicits. Proceeds will go to good causes that provide a roof over the heads of homeless LGBT youth: the Albert Kennedy Trust in the UK and the Ali Forney Center in New York City. The deadline is 31st July and stories should be between four and eight thousand words. You can find full details over on Women and Words.

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baliholidayNow writers, go and take a holiday, or have a plot crisis, or something, and give UKLesFic blog an easy week hey? Here’s some inspiration – no, for a holiday not another book.

News Roundup: Mari Hannah Wins the Polari Prize, Nottingham’s Newest Book Shop, Interviews with Kiki and KE, New Novels, Reviews, and More!

21 Nov

And good morning! The fabulous British weather has put paid to our plans for the day, so I’m cunningly delaying reading through page proofs to bring you this week’s news. Never let it be said that I don’t make sacrifices for this site…

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Mari-Hannah-008First up this week, big congratulations to Mari Hannah, whose début novel The Murder Wall was awarded the Polari First Book Prize in a ceremony held at the Southbank Centre on November 13th. A piece written by Mari was subsequently featured in The Guardian, where she spoke about writing a crime novel with a lesbian protagonist and suddenly finding herself a “go-to person on lesbian issues.” Mari also has some encouraging words for any authors whose submissions suffer repeated rejections from publishers:

Monument to Murder cover imageDid I ever think about giving up? Hell, yes. I had to dig very deep to keep the faith. Fortunately, I had the financial means to keep going. Often, aspiring writers don’t. They work full-time, indulging in their passion whenever they can snatch a moment or two to write. Thank God for a patient agent like mine. If he had waivered, even once, I was sunk. He didn’t, so I ploughed on, determined to give Kate a voice.

You can read the full feature at the above link. Meanwhile, Monument to Murder, the fourth novel in the Kate Daniels series (it has been quite a busy year for Mari!) is released in hardback and on Kindle today.

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five_leaves_bookshop_openingFabulous news for anyone living in the Nottingham area, as the brand new Five Leaves independent bookshop is now open. I dropped the shop a line to find out what sort of books they had in stock:

Our lesbian books range from political/biography etc. to “literary” and “romance”. The section is clearly marked – or rather LGBT is marked and has various subdivisions including lesbian fiction and lesbian non-fiction. We also stock Diva and Curve (and Gay Times). The section is modest in size, but growing already!

The shop is open 10-5.30, six days a week (Mon-Sat), and is located at 14a Long Row in Nottingham city centre. Directions and a handy map can be found at the link. As bookshops are currently closing down at a rate of knots, it’s lovely to see a new one bucking the trend and opening instead!

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KikiArcherIn the last news, I mentioned the opportunity to send in questions for a video interview with Kiki Archer. Said video is now up and ready to view here. Take a peek and see who got to ask what, and how many people managed to make Kiki blush…

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KePayneSpeaking of interviews, KE Payne has been chatting to fellow author Jae over on Jae’s blog. In the Q&A piece, KE talks about the benefits and pitfalls of life as a full-time author, her current and upcoming novels, and the perils of setting herself a daily word count:

I never have a daily word-count as I don’t like to restrict myself, or ever want to feel like I’ve failed if I don’t match that word-count! As other writers will testify, words either flow like a river, or trickle out like a dried-up stream in summer. I write because I love it, and have never coped well when my back’s against the wall, because then I feel like I’m forcing it.

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

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guilty-hearts-187x300Someone else who likes to keep herself busy is Jade Winters, who has just posted details of her next novel on her blog. The novel is called Guilty Hearts, and the first part of the synopsis goes a little (well, exactly) like this:

When a doting husband becomes suspicious of his gorgeous wife’s true sexuality,  he decides to set a honey trap to reveal the truth, however painful.  Little does he realise that the honey trap is to leave a bitter-sweet taste for everyone… 

You can read the rest of the blurb at this link, and as soon as we have a release date for the novel we’ll let you know.

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playing passionNews of another upcoming release now, albeit one that won’t be around for a while yet, as Lesley Davis has recently announced that her next book Playing In Shadow is to be published by Bold Strokes Books in early 2015. In Lesley’s own words: “this is the sequel to Playing Passion’s Game so that means one thing….more Trent!! Game on!!!”

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OutLateWithFriendsThose of you who are quick off the mark can pick up an early Christmas treat at the moment, as Suzanne Egerton‘s début novel Out Late With Friends and Regrets is currently free on Kindle. I’m not sure how long this offer is valid for, so be sure to hit the link sooner rather than later.

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HILD_jacket_closerWith Hild now a whole week old, Nicola Griffith has apparently been “enjoying blinking and catching up with my reading (and sleep.)” She has, however, managed to find the time to compile two further Hild roundups, featuring links to all the interviews, reviews, and discussion pieces that have been posted to tie in with the novel’s release. Hop on over to Hild #3 and Hild #4 to read more.

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mosaic of airFinally this week, Cherry Potts‘ rereleased short story collection Mosaic of Air has been reviewed at Sabotage Reviews. The review discusses the enduring relevance of stories examining the era of the 1980s, and finds much to like about the collection:

Then there’s the reclaiming of myths. The great joy in reading a Feminist collection like this is the re-imagining, from Woolf to Winterson, Cherry Potts also reimagines Helen of Troy as a mere beautiful pawn in the powerplay of the ancient world, but who, like most women in today’s society, negotiates the system. If you read nothing else in this book you must read ‘Arachne’s Daughters’; this takes apart a myth about Arachne (a human) challenging Athene (the goddess)

The full text of the review is available at the above link.

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Righto, that’s yer lot for this week. I’m back off to the page proofs – wish me luck!

Halloween Q&A

31 Oct

halloweenIt’s Halloween and whether you have a tub of sweets ready for trick or treaters, or the lights off to pretend you’re not in, it’s a fabulous night to curl up with a creepy book.

We asked several authors which books frightened them most and which character scared the bejeebers out of them. Here are their answers:

I Beacham
The most frightening book I’ve ever read is Ghost Story by Peter Straub (it was made into a movie of the same name with Fred Astaire).

ghoststoryWithout giving too much away, the story is about four aging men in a town someplace upstate New York who get together on a regular basis and over firelight and whiskey, exchange ghost stories. They call themselves The Chowder Society. It is clear that the men have known each other for years and were once teenage / early twenties buddies. The key to this story is that they all hide a tragic secret of something they did during their youth.  It is this tragedy that now returns to haunt them in the most chilling way. As the book progresses, the more frightening things become.

Without any shadow of a doubt, the most scary character is the woman in the book (I’m not giving any names away here for fear of spoiling a wonderful read).  Just know that the beautiful woman who is now going out with one of the aged men’s son is not all she appears to be!

If you’re looking for a good ghost book (and the movie was brilliant too), seek no further!

Niamh Murphy
DraculaI went through a phase of reading Gothic Horror books in my early teens (Point Horror just didn’t do it for me!) and although I found the imagery somewhat unsettling and the penny dreadful plots were enjoyable escapism, no book really ‘frightened’ me until I read about the grimly realistic dystopia set out in George Orwell’s 1984.

Things that go bump in the night are all well and good, but the really frightening thought for me would be to live in a world without art, where literature and expression are suppressed and love is forbidden. Even now, over sixty years since it’s release, the book still feels as though it is talking about a future almost within reach. Scary stuff.

For most scary character: I have to say that although Bram Stoker’s Dracula is not brilliantly written, nor is the plot particularly captivating (I seem to remember there was an awful lot of administration and paperwork) the one character I have found genuinely creepy in any book has been the eponymous Dracula himself. It wasn’t his murder of every last person aboard the ‘Demeter’, his bloodsucking or his shape shifting that bothered me, it was one description early on in the book in which Jonathon Harker looked out from a window in the castle and saw the Count crawling along the castle walls like a spider. That was really quite awful!

To this day I still have visions of it.

Angela Peach
bone collectorI read The Dark by James Herbert when I was about 11 years old, and it scared me for months! Ironically, I don’t mind the dark now, but at the time, I was scared lifeless. Not been scared like that since! As for character that scared me the most, I guess the killer in The Bone Collector is an example of what scares me – real life killers with no remorse or conscience for their victims.

Suzanne Egerton
My most frightening book is, I think, one by Graham Masterton, read many years ago. I thought it was called The Manitou, but reading the blurb just now didn’t bring up the memory, so maybe it was one of his others. The cover depicted a heavily-carved chair, I recall. The chair was possessed by a (very) malevolent spirit, which caused it to writhe and wreak havoc on the owner, a decent chap who had taken a fancy to it.

So the scary character is the chair (snigger if you will, but I imagined it manifesting itself at the bottom of the bed for ages – stupid girl!)

I tend to avoid scary stories, on the whole. Wasn’t bothered by The Rats (the ones on I’m a Celeb etc. are so obviously well-fed pet-grade animals, I worry about the celebs hurting them, rather than vice versa). And I find these ‘most haunted’ programmes too ludicrous to watch. What I find horribly frightening are psychopaths and sadists, rather than sobbing blobs of ectoplasm!

Clare Ashton
pitandpendulumMost of the scary stories that made an impression on me I read as a kid – Lord of Rings and the ring wraiths, gothic Edgar Allan Poe short stories (I’ve got a knot in my belly just thinking about the Pit and the Pendulum).

As an adult it’s actually taken kids’ stories to have that same deep emotional impact. The book that made me most fearful was His Dark Materials trilogy with its concept of daemons (people’s souls embodied as most loved companion animals). The experimenters irrevocably separating children from their daemons and Lyra being painfully parted from Pantalaimon were some of the most vivid and moving pieces of writing I’ve read.

Scariest characters? Dementors. Just for that chilling scenario of being locked away in your own head in inconsolable despair. Wonderfully terrifying creations.

Kate Snowdon
rats The most frightening book I’ve read is James Herbert’s The Rats. And it wasn’t a character that had me checking under my bed and blocking off gaps under my door, it was those delightful furry / hairy creatures.

Lesley Davis
I have thought long and hard on these questions and have to say I can’t answer either! I have never really read scary books (I don’t call Stephen King / James Herbert scary!) and have no memory of anything I’ve read frightening me. I’ve always been more drawn to Sci-fi than horror. I’m not a big fan of being scared, the closest I get to horror is playing the zombie maps in the Call of Duty games!

 Ke Payne
womaninblackI’m not a huge fan of horror novels as such, but I’d have to say that the book that I can distinctly remember giving me the heebie jeebies was James Herbert’s The Rats. There’s a revolting scene in a cinema which still creeps me out when I think about it.

The scariest character which has me hiding behind cushions is The Woman in Black (from Susan Hill’s novel). There’s something about how she silently stands in the cemetery of Eel Marsh House watching Arthur Kipps that makes me want to put all the lights on in the house. And have the dog on the sofa next to me – just in case.