Tag Archives: UK GLBTQ Meet

News Roundup: We’re all Melting but UK Authors are still doing Cool Stuff!

22 Jul

england-flip-flopsSo, I’m sitting here covered head to toe in ice pops, wearing naught very much at all, with a fan blowing directly into my face, and my fingers are still slipping around on the damn keyboard. Yes, summer finally hit the UK! The roads are melting, people are getting told off for turning up to work in flip flops, and everyone’s looking a bit pink and peely. Naturally, stuff is beginning to break, not least my Internet connection, which for some reason is refusing to allow me to log onto WordPress. Consequently, I’m writing this but my lovely co-mistress is putting it all together, and we’re hoping that nothing else goes pear-shaped before we get it posted. Ha! Fat chance.

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The weekend of 12-14 July saw my hometown of Manchester hosting the UK GLBT Fiction Meet, and I popped along on the Saturday to wave the flag for LesFic, invade one of the panels, eat some amazing flapjack and meet some very nice people indeed. The event has been growing in leaps and bounds for the last four years, and there was a real family atmosphere as old friends were reunited and new ones were welcomed to the fold. The emphasis was still very much on M/M fiction but the panels were relevant and entertaining for authors and readers of any genre, and as an F/F writer with an American publisher I found it fascinating to learn of other British authors’ experiences of writing “in Brit”. By the end of my panel (Leave my “ou” alone How do I retain my Britishness in a world of American publishers) I felt very fortunate indeed to be writing with Bold Strokes, who did “leave my ou alone” and let me use the word pillock.

One of the event’s co-organisers, Josephine Myles, has posted a fun, comprehensive overview of the meet here and here. Stay tuned for details of the 2014 Meet as soon as we get them!

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PopeJoanCover2The aforementioned technical difficulties have buggered the timing of this news post ever so slightly and prevented us from giving you a heads-up about the bookflash for Rachel Dax’s The Legend of Pope Joan, Part 2 – Athens that took place at the Virtual Living Room on Sunday 21st July. For those of you who want to catch up with the posts for this event, hit the link to join the group and they should be there in the archive for you to read.

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Ke Payne has been keeping herself (and us!) busy of late, with a flurry of interviews and blog posts to tie in to the release of her new book The Road to Her. There’s an in-depth and illuminating interview with Ke over at the Hannah’s Nook blog and she’s also been wrestling with her latest edits at Women and Words. As if all that wasn’t enough to be getting on with, she recently announced that Bold Strokes have signed her fifth novel Because of Her, which should be ready for publication in 2014.

Lastly but by no means leastly in the Ke Payne section of this roundup: Ke has stuck the proverbial pin into the entrants of last week’s giveaway and we have our winner, Sue H. Congrats, Sue. We’ll be in touch for your contact details, and shortly afterwards a signed copy of The Road to Her will be winging its way to you 🙂

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rebecca's hatHeading back to the subject of new contracts, Rebecca S. Buck has just announced the signing of her fourth novel. A little while ago she was chatting about a novel set around the time of the Great Fire of London, but so far she’s keeping the details of this current contract under her hat. Which is fair enough; it’s a fabulous hat.

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A little music for the soul now, with Val McDermid discussing her favourite tunes on Desert Island Discs. You can find out what Val picked to be stranded with by listening along at the BBC iPlayer (UK only).

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One of the newest authors to the growing list, Catherine Blackfeather, is offering her debut novella Mitchie for free on Kindle. Head over to Amazon to download yourself a copy today or tomorrow.


awalkintodarknessRounding out this roundup is Jade Winters, whose new novel A Walk Into Darkness has just been published. And when I say just, I mean today! Here’s a little blurbage to tickle your fancy:

Twenty-five years after a young girl goes missing from her home in South-East England, most have given up hope of ever finding closure. But when a renowned psychic has visions of a murder the police reopen the case, placing the puzzle of the ‘woodlands killer’ in Ashley McCoy’s capable hands.  Firmly set in the harsh reality of a world where the young and beautiful are not safe from dangerous hands, A Walk Into Darkness navigates the ups and downs of Ashley’s life; desperate to solve the cold case without letting the trials and intrigues of life get in the way. When the delectable Tasha comes onto the scene, both women struggle to find a balance between their responsibilities and the undeniable chemistry behind their growing friendship. 

A story of murder, intrigue and the twisting path of life and love.

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And on that note, all my ice pops have melted, so I’m going to go and grab a mop and leave you in peace.

News roundup: UK GLBT meet, new authors, books and reviews

11 Jul

Cari’s off somewhere in the north of England saving lives (I always picture her wearing a cape over her paramedic uniform) so it’s my turn to get out the ice-cream (home-made strawberry) and bring you the news.


UKmeetSquare_zpsb289200bThe UK GLBT Fiction meet kicks off in Manchester tomorrow with the main sessions and panels over the weekend. Bold Strokes is well-represented this year with Cari Hunter, Andrea Bramhall and Victoria Oldham all attending. Cari will be appearing as part of a panel discussing British authors in a US dominated market: “Leave my OU alone!”. Vic will be at the Bold Strokes table and on a publishing panel. She’ll also be hearing pitches for Bold Strokes publications (contact the organisers if you want to pitch your novel to her, there may still be time).


the road to her bigKe Payne‘s new book is off to a cracking start with a great review from Terry Baker. This is what Terry had to say about The Road to Her:

KE Payne has written a wonderful, heart warming story of love, unrequited love, betrayal, self discovery and coming out. She has also giving us a first hand insight into life on a television soap opera. From the dialogue, it was very easy to immerse myself in the story amongst the characters….Personally, I’d love to see more of these characters and more of the soap, Portobello Road.

You can read the revew in full here.


HanselGretalNiamh Murphy has a new novella out: Gretel: A Fairytale Retold. Here’s the blurb:

Starving and lost, Hans, and his sister Gretel, are saved from a pack of bloodthirsty wolves by a woman, who seems to ask for nothing in return. Seduced by her kindness and beauty, Gretel grows closer to her, while Hans becomes ever more suspicious of her motives. Torn between her brother and a woman she has just met, Gretel soon learns she must make a choice between long held loyalty and newfound love. Gretel: A Fairytale Retold is a six chapter novella of over 12,400 words. Retold as a fast paced, lesbian love story, this novella contains some explicit passages.


We have two new authors this week. Catherine Blackfeather describes herself as a dancer, live story teller and poet. Her first book is a novella called Mitchie, a tale of self-discovery set in 19th century Canada.

Angie Peach has managed to sneak three novels past us without us noticing, although she does keep very quiet about. She has published The Blurring, In Reflection, and 47 (a novella) in the last year and she’ll be appearing on the Shifting Desires panel with Kiki Archer and Clare Ashton at L Fest.


Meanwhile Sarah Waters celebrates 40 years of women’s fiction at Virago with this quiz. How many extracts do you recognise from classic women’s fiction? I’ll show you my score if you show me yours first.


Finally, Crin Claxton is throwing a book launch for The Supernatural Detective, at WW Gallery in London tonight from 6pm-9pm. If you fancy going, be very very quick and drop her a message on Facebook!


Did we miss something? Then let us know at uklesfic at gmail.com.

Guest Blog: Victoria Oldham – Pitch it to Me

2 Jun

Today’s guest post comes from Victoria Oldham, one of the commissioning editors for Bold Strokes Books. We’ve mentioned a few times that Vic will be hearing pitches from prospective authors at next week’s BSB bash in Nottingham and the forthcoming UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet in Manchester. Then we realised that folks might not have a bloody clue what it meant to “pitch your novel” (clue: it doesn’t mean kicking it into a hole!) So here’s Vic to shed a little light…

Pitch it to Me

Andrea Bramhall signs books at States of Independence

When you work in publishing, you throw terms around like confetti, just expecting folks to know what they mean. POV, ms, fancy-tagger, white space, etc. You kind of just figure a writer will know what you’re talking about.

But that’s not always true. How can you possibly know what I mean when I tell you your white space balance is off, if no one has ever mentioned that before?

I’ve come to realize that’s the case with the term “pitch”. When I tell you to come “pitch your novel to Bold Strokes”, I’m guessing you have an inkling of what I mean. You should come tell me about your book.

At the Bold Strokes Nottingham event, and at the GLBT Fiction Meet in Manchester, I’ll be hearing pitches for Bold Strokes. This is a fantastic opportunity to meet someone who works for the company, to get the idea of your novel across and potentially get it reviewed in full. That’s a big deal–it’s not easy to get face time with publishing houses! (Particularly publishing houses in the States, as there aren’t any lgbtq publishing houses left in the UK).

In the interest of convincing you to sign up to pitch to me, so I’m not sitting there listening to crickets, here are the three steps to pitching your novel:

  1. Know your time allotment. In the case of the pitches I’m hearing, it’s a ten minute time slot.
  2. Give me a solid overview of your book. Beginning, middle, end. Primary characters, major conflict, resolution. Know what you’re going to say in advance–don’t wing it! This is your moment to shine, to convince me your book is just what I’m looking for. But, for the love of God, don’t tell me “this book is the best thing ever and if you don’t take it you’re stupid”. Let me be the judge of whether or not it’s the best thing since rocky road ice cream. Be concise, be clear, be interesting. (If you can’t make your story interesting and explain it in a straightforward manner, who can? And if you can’t, perhaps there’s too much going on…but, I digress into editorial mode. Back to pitching…)
  3. Make sure you’re pitching to the right people. If you’re pitching a hetero, sci-fi, memoir, we’re not going to be interested. You’ll want to pitch that novel to someone who publishes that kind of novel. If you’re pitching to us, we want positive lgbtq fiction.
  4. Leave me with a single page synopsis and your contact details.

states of indieThat’s it! It’s that easy, and that difficult. My advice: practice. Write it down, read it out loud, make sure it makes sense. Don’t leave me with a synopsis full of spelling mistakes! Have someone else check it over. Sit across from someone (your dog, your cat, your plush toys, an actual human) and say exactly what you want to say to me, and time it. There are folks signed up before you and after you, so you don’t want to run over your ten minutes.

That’s what it means to pitch your novel. Convince the publisher that you’re serious about writing, and you have something they should consider.

If you have any questions, you can drop a comment below, email me at  bsbediting @ gmail .com , check out the writing section of my personal website, or even just ask me on Saturday at the Bold Strokes event (pitches will be heard on Sunday morning. TBD in Manchester).

Victoria Oldham is the development editor and UK Rep for Bold Strokes Books and runs the literary consultancy Global Words.  

News Roundup: Loads of bits and pieces!

22 May

Whew, been a busy old week on here but we just have space to squeeze in some news, so I’ll stop blathering and get on with it, shall I?

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Following on from last Friday’s conversation piece between Jane Fletcher and Nora Olsen, the concluding part of their blog-hopping chat has been posted at Women & Words. Be sure to get over there before May 24th to be in with a shot at winning a signed (or e-book) copy of Nora’s new novel Swans & Klons.

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UKmeetSquare_zpsb289200bSticking with Women & Words for a moment, Stevie Carroll – a veteran of all four UK GLBTQ Fiction Meets – has been blogging over on W&W about why this summer’s Manchester event (12-14th July) will be absolutely splendid. With tickets selling fast and the date approaching at a rate of knots, now is a good time to find out why you should be signing up for the weekend. Here are three reasons just to kick off with:

  • Thoroughly British organisers, who’ve put together an appropriately British programme in a northern city with a thriving (and world-famous) gay village (aka Canal Street)
  • A small and intimate-feeling event, due to the organisers keeping attendee numbers within limits they are comfortable with
  • Social, workshop, discussion panel and speaker-based elements spread across two rooms to provide a range of ways for readers, reviewers and writers to learn more about their favourite brands of fiction.

I’ll be there with bells on** – will you?

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bold books logoSpeaking of Fests, the UK BSB website recently published the programme for their upcoming Nottingham festival (8-9th June.) You can find details of all the panels and panellists, timings, and event locations over at this link.

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For any prospective authors thinking about publishing their work online but floundering a little when confronted by the numerous available platforms, Niamh Murphy has been weighing their pros and cons over on her blog. If, like me, you are someone who gets confused by all kinds of technology (including the telly remote control), having Niamh do the hard work for you can only be a good thing.

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vgleeVG Lee’s one woman play, The Lady of the Wild West Hill seems to have gone down a storm in Brighton this last week. If you missed the play this time around, she will be performing it again at L-Fest on Friday 19th July. For more information on the festival’s arts line up, head here.

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Over on her personal blog, Stella Duffy has been ruminating on the joys of writing a book (her Stella Duffy, writer, actor14th!) with no contract attached:

This has been sold to no-one and promised to no-one, I hope they’ll all like it. I’m really excited by it and have been since the idea first started bubbling up about 8 years ago. But I didn’t start writing it until last year because there wasn’t time and it wasn’t the right book. The Theodora books were the right books for the last 6 years. This is the right book for now.

Ahh, writing for the love of it; Stella, you are a woman after my own heart.

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Rounding up the news this week with a bit of international flavour for any of our readers who might live Stateside. Nicola Griffith‘s first public reading of Hild will be taking place at McNally Jackson Books in New York city, May 30th at 7pm. For more details, hit this link.

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** It is actually unlikely that I will be wearing bells. I’m taking part in a panel and they would be far too bloody distracting.


20 Feb

UKmeetThe fourth annual UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet  is to be held in the lovely city (okay, so I’m slightly biased!) of Manchester this summer and several lesbian authors are already signed up to attend. We were intrigued, so we asked novelist and organiser Charlie Cochrane to tell us more about it!

Charlie writes:

UK Meet started in 2010 with a dozen authors drinking tea and eating cake above a library. Since then the event has expanded, although the tea and cake and the chat—lashings of all three—still feature.  Now it’s more like a convention, although the social side of the weekend is just as important as the panels and the networking.

The single best thing about UK Meet is you can be yourself and it’s fine. Nobody will make you justify what you read or write, nor will they ask, “Why don’t you stop writing same sex romance and write a proper book, instead?” because we all know that we read and write proper books. Nobody looks down on you because of who you love or what you wear. Even when you’re a fifty something woman wearing a mini skirt that’s far too short for her.

ukmeet20123From that first meet, we’ve had writers of f/f (and transgender) stories involved. The anthologies linked to the event, such as Lashings of Sauce, have always featured contributions which reflect the whole GLBTQ spectrum, although there has always been a higher proportion of “gay”, mirroring pro-rata our delegates’ interests and our authors’ submissions.

That’s something we’d like to redress. Last year we had our first “We’ve got the gay, what about the other letters?” panel, something we’ll repeat this year. We’ll also have a table at the Buffet of Banter (small discussion groups focussing on particular areas of interest) dedicated to lesbian genre fiction and are keeping some tables free so that delegates can decide in advance what they want to focus on.

ukmeet20121Of course, many of our panels have a generic appeal to readers and writers, as they tackle subjects like blogging or self publishing which cross genres and interests. Last year’s “The pitfalls of being published” session would have benefitted aspiring and fledgling authors of any type of fiction (or non-fiction!) One of the keys to representation is participation, so—as head honcho i/c programme—I’d love to have more volunteers to take part on panels from amongst writers/publishers of lesbian/trans/genderqueer stories.  We all have so much to share, so much wisdom and experience and ideas. And nobody understands the whole “whose leg is it anyway?” and she said/she replied problems of writing same sex romance as another author of the same genre!

ukmeet20122But don’t take my word for how good the weekend is. Here’s what one of our new attendees said of their experiences at UK Meet 2012.

“This was the first ‘writerly’ conversation I’d ever had like that, with someone else who understands what you’re talking about, and it was like a whole new world of friends and possibilities had opened up to me.”

And that makes all the hard event-organising work worthwhile.

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Loads more information about the meet, this year’s location, and ticket prices for authors and readers can be found over on the official site. If you needed any more incentive to go along, Charlie said there were jelly babies last year…