Tag Archives: VA Fearon

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 new author, new books, Polari evening, Lesvos Literature Festival and love over a battered king prawn

26 Feb

A short and sweet news post this week!

First up is new author Rebecca S. Lazaro from Gloucestershire. She has recently published her debut Unravel which she describes as a “deliciously scandalous love story between a teacher and her student, but told with psychoanalytical perspectives that keeps the reader guessing what actually occurred.” You can keep up to date with news from Rebecca on her Facebook page. Here’s the blurb:

unravelMaria Calver, 31, teaches exam tuition in a Gloucester High school. When she is referred a transfer from Ireland, 16yr old Nadia Sheridan, Maria finds herself drawn in by the troubled girl’s needs and desires, and soon develops troubling feelings of her own. Maria is tortured by her fears and lies, and suspecting her student may not be sincere, she plans to keep her feelings secret at all costs. Following Maria’s introspective, UNRAVEL weaves sensually through the complicated relationship between two females, divided by age, professional boundaries, and social and moral codes. Maria has to decide whether to remain faithful to her career or take a gamble with an inappropriate kind of love. Some months later, Maria stands accused of conducting a sexual relationship with Nadia, and is investigated by forensic psychologist, Dr Evelyn Richmond, who interviews witnesses close to the couple in her search for the truth. With explicit excerpts from Nadia’s journal, UNRAVEL invites readers to pick apart the alleged facts from fiction to understand what really occurred between Maria and Nadia.

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Cari HThe good folk at Women and Words didn’t let Valentine’s day sneak by without cornering a few authors about their real-life romantic moments. And they even managed to pin down Cari Hunter. Here’s what she says about meeting her wife:

Our dinner date was a meal in Chinatown. I managed to squeeze an entire battered king prawn into my mouth, and she says she knew right there and then that I was the woman for her. Our date ended like all great dates: on the big wheel in Piccadilly Gardens, sailing above the drunks and the city skyline. The bloke running the wheel stopped it when we were at the top. We spent a lot of time kissing. I thought that this was where our teeth clashed, and I definitely remember that she tasted of strawberry lip salve. I think the bloke knew we were on a date. He left us up there for ages, kissing in the cold night sky.

I may never look at a battered king prawn in the same way again. For the full moment and those from other authors here’s the link to the full piece.

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A couple of events for your diaries:

Mari-Hannah-008The next Polari evening in London honours female voices as part of Women of the World festival and will hear from several women who depict queer life in literature. Headlining is  Mari Hannah (who won the Polari First Book Prize in 2013 for her debut The Murder Wall). The evening also features readings by Janet Ellis, Jacquie Lawrence, VA Fearon and Sophie Sparham.

The event is on Wednesday 9th March and you can find out more details and book tickets here.

lesvoslesfic
Gill McKnight
is organising a week-long literature festival with publisher Ylva on the island of Lesvos this summer. With the big lesfic events being Stateside it’s nice to see something in Europe. They promise “Author Q&As, readings, signings, and craft workshops. Food, wine, sun, music, and friendship.” The schedule so far includes successful German author Jae who will reveal her tips and tricks to becoming a prolific writer and finding more time to write.

The festival takes place from 9th-14th June. For more information see the event website.

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On to new books and reviews.

circle_finalJen Silver hasn’t wasted any time and is deep into editing her fourth book. She has this to say about The Circle Dance:

I’m very excited about this one. It’s completely different from The Starling Hill Trilogy books. Be prepared to meet new characters embarking on a rollercoaster ride of emotions as they experience numerous ups and downs in the course of the story.

The action takes place in northern England, mostly in the market town of Hebden Bridge, with forays into the city of Manchester. Most of the characters are in their mid to late forties so you would think they might have settled down by now. But, as often happens in real life, the path to true love  isn’t always strewn with rose petals.”

Read more about her work in progress here.

When I Knew YouKE Payne has had her first review for her new novel When I Knew You. This is what The Romantic Reader Blog had to say:

When I Knew You by KE Payne is angst filled roller coaster. When I say angst, let me clarify, this is the ultimate angst fest and it was so good… It’s well written, the characters are interesting, and KE Payne really lets the reader feel their pain. These two ladies have one foot in the past and one in the present. Their breakup sixteen years ago has defined their lives in so many ways. So, when their friend that passed on, Livvy, asks them to fulfill her final wishes. They have no choice but to confront each other

You can read the full review here.

And finally thanks to KE for doing a guest post and giveaway of When I Knew You on UKLesFic last week. It drew a lot of interest. She’s drawn two people at random from the comments list and the lucky winners are Cheshire Cat and Angela! Enjoy!

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And that is all. Have a good weekend folks!

 

News roundup: new author, new books, an unmissable Polari Tour and more!

11 Sep

Holidays are up and the kids are back at school, and it’s time for a scamper through the UK lesfic news:

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First up, new books and new authors!

nofallenangelBella Books have signed up new author Sadie Winters. Sadie is one of those lucky folk who live by the sea in the South West, pottering about on the beach, baking and gardening when she’s not doing a spot of lesfic writing or freelance work. Her book No Fallen Angel has a shiny cover and a release date of February 2016. Here’s the blurb:

Angel Khoury is sick and tired. Tired of her job dancing in a London Gentleman’s Club and sick of her troubles with women. But when Angel is offered freelance work in a sleepy little village on the southwest coast of England and ends up taking a second job at a local garden center to make ends meet, things start heating up. And soon they are sizzling.

The source of the heat is Nell Frank, the blond woman who owns the garden center, whose life is complicated enough without an exotic dancer in the picture. After encounters under moonlit skies, on beautiful Cornish beaches, and in greenhouses under fragrant flowering vines, the couple must face their demons. Both have deep scars, and temptations abound.

Can they overcome these obstacles for a future together? Is Nell’s lover the fallen angel she fears? Soon Angel and Nell must decide if they’re ready to leave their past behind to find their happily ever after.

fivegunsblazingEmma Rose Millar‘s Five Guns Blazing will be published on the 15th. The novel is a tale of piracy, slavery and treason based on the true story of lesbian pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read. Here’s the blurb:

Never had she imagined she would be brought so low, and all for the love of a very bad man.

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Convict’s daughter, Laetitia Beedham, is set on an epic journey from the back streets of London, through transportation to Barbados and gruelling plantation life, into the clutches of notorious pirates John ‘Calico Jack’ Rackham, Mary Read and the treacherous Anne Bonny.

In a world of villainy and deceit, where black men are kept in chains and a woman will sell her daughter for a few gold coins, Laetitia can find no one in whom to place her trust.

As the King’s men close in on the pirates and the noose begins to tighten around their necks, who will win her loyalty and her heart?

And Jenny Frame announced that Bold Strokes have signed up her third book. Courting the Countess is a contemporary romance. No cover or blurb yet, but it will be available in 2016.

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On to author blogs.

ngradvisory“[N]ever kill a puppy, be nice to small children, and always include a bit of romance.”  According to Cari Hunter, these are the cardinal rules for writing lesfic, if you do not want to feel the wrath of the reader. For Cari, a writer of crime and characters whose lives are far too complicated to indulge in anything as straightforward as love at first sight, this can cause the odd issue. Cari goes on to talk about the expectations of some lesfic readers and how these restrictions might stifle the genre. Have a read of the full article here and a run through of Cari’s non-formula tales.

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Jody Klaire has been blogging about her experience of the Festival of Writers, although it was touch and go whether she would make it there:

I loved listening to Julie Cohen, Tamsyn Murray and Allie Spencer discussing their experiences, their struggles and how they overcame them. I got to hear from agents, publishers, authors on how the industry is and then how to take risks and find icebergs with Shelley Harris. It was an adventure!

Read about the rest of Jody’s adventures here.

You can also catch up with Jen Silver‘s news with her latest blog. It’s been a busy year for Jen with a trip to the GCLS conference and local author readings and her novels are still getting great reviews. The Wild Times Tavern is the latest to fall for her Starting Over:

A saga of lesbian love set in the wilds of Yorkshire? You’ve got to be kidding – how could I not be hooked? Jen Silver introduces an array of colourful characters – some gay, some straight – and then sets them off on a series of romantic trajectories, often resulting in messy head long crashes, angst and trauma.

You can read the full review here.

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polaritourNow get your diaries out. You really don’t want to miss out on this year’s Polari Tour. The tour kicks off in London on Tuesday night when the shortlist for the 2015 Polari Prize will also be announced. The tour then heads off Cambridge, Cardiff, Bristol, Brighton, Hertford, Liverpool, Birmingham, Nottingham, Newcastle and Bedford. Performers include the likes of VG Lee, Kiki Archer, Karen Campbell, Mari Hannah, VA Fearon and Ali Smith.

For full details and dates see the Polari Website.

Paul Burston and VG Lee are also running free writing workshops to accompany the events. At each event, there will be a From Page to Performance workshop in the afternoon. For more information and to reserve a place on the workshops please contact VG Lee (vglee at dircon.co.uk).

And finally, a quick reminder for anyone in the environs of Manchester on Saturday afternoon: you can catch readings by several UK authors at the Lesbian Authors Festival. The event is held at a new lesbian cafe, The Hideaway Café, in Urmston. Readings start at 2.15 and will include Andrea Bramhall, I Beacham, Cari Hunter, Michelle Grubb, Jen Silver, Karen Cambell and Veronica Fearon.

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Now run along there and have a spiffing weekend. Toodle pip!

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 from Clare Lydon, Jody Klaire & Jade Winters, New Ylva Author A.E. Radley, Events, Blogs, Giveaways, & More!

4 Jun

Torrential rain and gale force winds? It must be summer in the UK! The manky weather doesn’t seem to be denting the enthusiasm of our authors, though, and there’s a ton of news for me to get through. Also I am typing around a cat, so please bear with me. Now, without further blathering…

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How’s about we start with some new books and a new author?

This-London-Love-CoverClare Lydon has recently revealed the cover and the first two chapters of her (tentatively scheduled for) June release This London Love:

And to get you in the mood, here’s the new cover in all its shiny redness, plus the first two chapters to whet your appetite. This London Love is a spin-off of London Calling, focusing on Jess’s flatmate Kate and her search for her London love. The exact launch date is yet to be decided but I’m hoping for some time in June. Watch this space for more soon, but for now, it’s time to get acquainted with Kate and Meg…

You can read the chapters here or listen to Clare reading from them in her latest Lesbian Book Club podcast.

Clare will also be hosting the literature tent at this year’s Brighton Pride (August 1st). She’s promised us more details on the line up as it’s confirmed, but the main site should be enough to whet your appetite for now…

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Everything-to-LoseSneaking past us in a manner befitting a thriller, and heading straight into the charts, is Jade Winters’ Everything to Lose, the sequel to her first Ashley McCoy novel, A Walk into Darkness. The book is widely available from the usual places, and its blurb reads thusly:

Detective Sergeant Ashley McCoy is about to face her most challenging case yet, when her own brother is accused of the callous murder of a young woman. Though desperate to prove his innocence, Ashley is prevented from investigating the case. Instead, she is sent to solve a strikingly similar murder.
As she struggles with the immense pressures of work, her own personal life starts to implode when her partner abandons her. Just as things can’t seem to get any worse, a past case comes back to haunt her. Sometimes it takes the pain of the past to uncover the mysteries of the present…

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lavieenbleuJody Klaire has revealed the cover for her forthcoming romance La Vie En Bleu. She has also been chatting about the book’s French setting in this blog piece:

I specifically wanted to chat about the area I chose to place the story. Ajoux-Sur-Rhône to be exact and those of you who are used to me will know that, yes, I created a new little town just for Pippa to inhabit with her friends. It is based in a beautiful region. Provence and the Côte D’Azur are some of the most romantic settings in the country.

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selected playsOberon Books have just released a collection of selected plays by Emma Donoghue:

Adapted from her book of thirteen revisionist fairy tales of the same name, this play interweaves four classic plots – Beauty and the Beast, Donkeyskin, the Goose Girl, the Little Mermaid – with an invented one about a desperate girl going to a witch for help. Kissing the Witch finds the gritty in the fantastical, and excavates magic to find what’s really going on.

Synopses for each of the plays can be found at this page of the publisher’s website, with the book available to purchase at the same link.

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INTO-THE-FIRE-largeFinally in the brand new books bit is the chance to win a signed copy of Manda Scott‘s forthcoming dual timeline thriller Into The Fire. Manda has five copies to give away and all you have to do is hop over here and complete the entry form. The draw will take place on Sunday 7th June, 8 p.m., so get your skates on. The book is released June 18th, and there’s loads of information including a preview of the opening chapters on Manda’s website.

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bio-pic_ae-radleyYlva has snapped up a new British signing, with A.E. Radley joining the wolf pack in the last couple of weeks. A.E. Radley is already a popular fan fic author (curvypragmatist at fanfiction.net), and her début novel – Flight SQA016 – will be published in March 2016.

Spurred on by overwhelming and ever-increasing debts, Emily White takes a job working in the first-class cabin on the prestigious commuter route from her home of New York to London with Crown Airlines. A gruelling transatlantic schedule means she is in the air nearly as much as she is on the ground and desperately misses her five-year-old son.

On board she meets Olivia Lewis, who is a literal high-flying business executive with a weekly commute, a meticulous schedule, and terrible social skills.

When a personal emergency brings them together, will Emily be able to swallow her pride and accept help from Olivia? And will Olivia be able to prevent herself from saying the wrong thing?

You can read a little more about A.E. Radley here at the Ylva website.

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too late I love youSummer tends to bring with it a slew of events, and Kiki Archer will be reading at L Fest on the Sunday (July 19th) Polari panel. Click this YouTube link to find out about tickets and – in the words of the irrepressible Ms Archer – “Win at life”. There’s more information on this weekend of lesbian-themed shenanigans over on our Events page.

Sticking with Polari, London’s award-winning LGBT literary salon will be at the Stoke Newington Literary Festival on Saturday June 6th at the St Mary’s Old Church, Stoke Newington, Church Street, N16 9ES, at 7.30pm. Tickets are £5, and V A Fearon will be appearing along with VG Lee, James Maker and Sophia Blackwell. Hit this link for all the necessaries.

And just sneaking in under the deadline is the cover for Kiki’s new book Too Late… I Love You. No blurb as yet, but the book is due out at some point this month, and the cover (designed by Jayne Fereday who also takes the credit for the cover of That Certain Something) is very pretty indeed.

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bsbpanelAlso this weekend (6-7th June) is the UK BSB Fest in Nottingham, which kicks off at 11.00 at the town centre Waterstones bookshop. In preparation for the event, the attending authors have been blogging on the theme of “Change”, with Andrea Bramhall, Crin Claxton, I. Beacham, Rebecca Buck, Jane Fletcher, Amy Dunne, and myself (Cari Hunter) posting entries since our last news roundup. You can read the blogs by clicking the links, and the pertinent info for the weekend’s festivities is on our Events page.

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Writer-Sarah-Waters-006If all that’s not enough to be getting on with, Sarah Waters will be discussing The Paying Guests at the Guardian Bookclub, which offers a chance to chat about the novel with the author on Monday 8 June 2015, 7pm – 8.30pm at Amnesty International UK , London, EC2A 3EA. Tickets are £15 and you can book them here. Spoiler warning as per the website: this event assumes you’ve read the book!

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jensilverA quick hop around the blogs now, with an opportunity to Meet Jen Silver on Lyn Lawler’s blog. Jen has been chatting about her latest novel Arc Over Time, writing in general, archaeology, and golf, amongst other things!

In terms of writing, I like to get straight into the story. That’s something I might be criticised for. I don’t go in for lengthy descriptions, which is why my books aren’t likely to go over the 200-page mark. Telling a good story is important to me, and I hope that’s what I’ve managed to achieve so far with these two books.

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that certain somethingThe Lesbian Review has picked out its Top 10 Lesbian Covers (that’s book covers, not rehashes of songs!) with Clare Ashton‘s That Certain Something – “a perfect representation of this sweet, light romance”, and Clare Lydon‘s London Calling – “The colours, symmetry and image style show that it is a light chicklit book and the white space gives it a lovely balance” – both finding a spot on the list. Head to the website to see if you agree with the team’s choices.

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Adding a full stop to this mammoth round up are two blogs I’ve posted in relation to the forthcoming release of No Good Reason. The first – a menu and swearing guide – might be a Takeaway Fish and Chipslittle like teaching British readers to suck eggs, but it is full of pretty pictures of delicious food. Then I’ve been discussing the joys and terrors of kicking off a new series in Serial Thriller, which was recently posted on the BSB blog:

For my shift-addled brain, remembering to put knickers on in a morning can be enough of a stretch, so keeping track of continuity details across two novels has required an extensive series bible, timeline, cast list, and the occasional map. As an avid series fan, I know that there’s nothing more annoying than an author who can’t be bothered getting it right, and that there’s always someone out there who will spot an inconsistency.

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And I think the topic of knickers is as good a place as any to draw the proceedings to a close! If you are planning to come to Nottingham this weekend, be sure to say hello – all being well, Tig and I will both be there on the Saturday.

News roundup: a lot of blogging and chatting from Emma Donoghue, VG Lee, Nicola Griffith, Amy Dunne and more!

27 Feb

A whiff of spring is in the air, or at least the green shoots of a busy lesfic year are coming through at last, and there’s quite a bit to tell you this week:

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emma-donoghue-illo_2373764bEmma Donoghue has been answering Seven Questions for the Working Writer over on Jenna Leigh Evans’ blog. She answers questions about juggling writing with earning a living (she’s never had a day job) and how she knows when a passage needs editing (it makes her stomach twinge). Read the full piece here.

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NicolaGriffithNicola Griffith has been busy on her blog. This week she has been talking a little about how to avoid cliched characters when writing fiction and how to create a memorable cast.

But a great story or novel—oh, a great story is dense. The characters’ actions are plot-driving and characteristic and specific. These people are fully human, the kind of people we would recognise this year, last century, tomorrow. In this fiction, the writer is almost profligate in her generosity: we know a lot about the protagonist just by the way he flips his hair, just by the speed with which they blinks before they kill someone.

Here’s the full piece.

It also turns out that even the best get the odd duff review. Nicola has been braving Amazon and reading Hild reviews and details her reaction to some particularly snide 1-star reviews. It only bothered her, mildly, for 5 minutes. Still, an entertaining and interesting piece which is here in full.

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vgleepolariVG Lee was interviewed by Sacha Black about VG’s writing process. She talks about her technique of prolific note taking as first draft, what and who inspires her characters and her take on the publishing industry. This is her advice for aspiring novelists:

Not to be influenced in any way by friends and family. They will be biased. To aspiring novelists I would recommend a writing group, creative writing classes at local colleges or universities. Here you will get unbiased feed back. Friends I made through a creative writing class when I first began writing, I am still friends with them now. We are all still writing and we have all been published, in fiction, non-fiction, flash fiction and poetry. We help each other.

VG is always an interesting read and here’s the full interview.

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LT Smith has been catching up her readers on her writing exploits. And she’s been busy. Beginnings is out in its second edition and she talks about the horticulture involved in that. She’s also having a shufty at Once and a few other things besides:

I can remember not long after Once was published and I won an award from the Lesbian Fiction Readers’ Choice Awards for comedy. Obviously, I was really excited, as anyone would be if his or her book had been given the big thumbs up by the reader. But, I can still remember thinking ‘I thought it was sad’. Shows how much I know doesn’t it. Maybe if I write a comedy I may get an award for drama. Food for thought.

Read the full article, and keep an eye out for an imminent book giveaway too, over on LT’s blog.

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Clare Lydon continues with the book club on Lesbian Radio. And this week she had a good natter with Amy Dunne author of Secret Lies and Season’s Meetings. Amy gives some insight into her writing approach to each book and what inspired her to write the gritty Secret Lies. Have a listen here.

Amy also revealed the cover and blurb for her next book this week. The Renegade, a post-apocalyptic romance, will be available in September. Here’s the blurb:

renegadeIn this post-apocalyptic world, you have a choice: survive as a slave or fight for your freedom.

The Red Death pandemic wiped out most of the human population, and the world that remains is dangerous and unforgiving. Survivor Alex Clarke and her companions are rescued after a vicious attack and welcomed into the Rapture’s Haven Camp. Although given medical treatment, food, shelter, and protection, Alex senses something sinister lurking beneath the camp’s friendly exterior.

Camp medic Evelyn Bennett is instinctively drawn to Alex and warns her that the camp is a dangerous cult and the women are slaves. While planning to escape, their secret relationship is discovered. Escape is no longer possible. They must fight for their freedom—or die trying.

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V.A FearonMeanwhile Cherry Potts and VA Fearon have been chatting about lesbian fiction. Cherry talked about running Arachne Press and trying to fit in her own writing. VA Fearon revealed her obsessive writing habit and also chatted about the Dani series. All five books have been written – although only The Girl with the Treasure Chest is out so far. Here the video of their conversation.

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A few items in brief:

thehysteryappVT Davy‘s second ‘state of the lesbian nation’ novels, The Hystery App, is now available. VT has produced a trailer for the book which is a blend of science fiction, romance, and women’s history. The trailer is available here on YouTube.

Jenny Frame has been putting the final touches to the forthcoming A Royal Romance and has an update on her other work here.

Gill McKnight, author of the Garoul werewolf series, has been quiet of late, but she’s just about to get a lot noisier. She’s joined Women and Words as a regular contributer and she’s already received a very warm welcome. She has a new book, Soul Selecta, is due out in April.

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hp munroFinally, you can catch HP Munro in the Virtual Living Room today. The online discussion group is hosting a Hollywood weekend where authors of novels with a film theme will be chatting about their books. Authors include Melissa Brayden (Waiting in the Wings), Karin Kallmaker (Stepping Stone), Krystin Zimmer (The Gravity Between Us), Jae (Departure from the Script) and Chris Paynter (Survived by her Longtime Companion). You can join the group here.

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That’s all folks!

Merry Christmas Q&A!

18 Dec

snowmanIt’s becoming a bit of a festive tradition here at UK LesFic to corral a few of our finest (or drunkest!) authors and ask them to answer three book and Christmas-themed questions.

Our questions to round out this year were:

– What was your book of the year and why?

– What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

– And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

Here’s what they had to say…

 

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VGLeeVG Lee is a stand-up comedian and novelist and, in the words of Stella Duffy, “funny, smart, clever, witty, not afraid to be honest and poignant at the same time.” Her first novel Diary of Provincial Lesbian is treasured by many, and Sarah Waters described her most recent book, Always You Edina, as “A real treat of a novel”.

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What was your book of the year and why?

petite mortI read Petite Mort by Beatrice Hitchman, published by Serpent’s Tail, when I was a judge on this year’s Polari First Book Prize and thought it was excellent. (The novel made the shortlist of five.) The heroine is Adele Roux, seventeen years old and the story is set for the most part in Paris in 1913. It is beautifully written, atmospheric and thrilling.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

I’m going to go backwards to answer this because I want to re-read Emma Donoghue’s The Sealed Letter which was published in 2008. Someone lent me a copy and I thoroughly enjoyed it but then had to give it back and I find I miss it. The story is set in Victorian London and based on a real-life scandal and it’s absolutely gripping!

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

As there are several people I would like to be the angel on the top of my tree, I shall be diplomatic and opt for my cat Lettuce. I can easily imagine her climbing up the tree, hanging from a branch, bringing the whole thing crashing down…

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kikiarcherpolariKiki Archer is the mistress of lesbian chicklit and all five of her novels have been massive lesfic best-sellers. She’s been quiet of late, working on a screenplay to that bestest selling of them all, But She is My Student.

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What was your book of the year and why?

love is enoughI loved Melissa Brayden’s Kiss the Girl. It was smart, sweet, and really sexy. Plus there was a huge focus on snogging, perfect.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

My ‘to read’ pile is so high now, but top of the list is definitely Cindy Rizzo’s Love is Enough. I had the pleasure of meeting Cindy over the summer when she read on my Creating Chemistry panel at L Fest, and she was such good fun. I loved her debut book, Exception to the Rule, and I’ve heard this one is just as good.

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

I would love it to be Gillian Anderson, Stella Duffy from The Fall. I have a huge crush on her power lesbian vibe and her array of satin shirts!

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catherine hallCatherine Hall is a Cambridge graduate who enjoyed careers in documentary-film production and international peace-building before she became a freelance writer. Her début, Days of Grace, was critically and commercially successful, and The Proof of Love won the Green Carnation Prize. Her latest novel is the vivid and intriguing The Repercussions.

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What was your book of the year and why?

thirstI really loved Kerry Hudson’s Thirst – it’s easy to see why it was shortlisted for this year’s Green Carnation prize. It’s a love story with a difference that takes you from Hackney to Russia with complex, damaged, beautifully portrayed characters who really make you care and yearn for them to be all right in the end.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

My Christmas stocking is bound to be bookishly bulgy. Hopefully with Stella Duffy’s new collection of short stories, Everything is Moving, Everything is Joined. I’ve read a couple of them and they’re fantastic. If there’s also a copy of The Paying Guest by Sarah Waters to curl up with in front of a roaring fire and a hot toddy, I’d be a very happy girl indeed.

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

Laura Prepon, in her incarnation as Alex Vause in Orange is The New Black would be the perfect naughty angel to grace my tree. Hopefully she’d fly down and join me under the mistletoe for a bit of Christmas cheer…

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KePayneBath resident KE Payne is an author with Bold Strokes Books. She has written five Young Adult novels, including the very funny 365 Days. She also writes short stories for women’s magazines. Her latest novel, Once the Clouds Have Gone, is her first adult lesbian romance, and she has been dead chuffed with its reception.

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What was your book of the year and why?

kiss in the darkThe book that stayed with me long after I’d read it this year was A Kiss in the Dark by Cat Clarke. It’s the kind of book that grabs you from the first page and doesn’t let go. I loved her flowing style of writing and the fact that the book is written from two different perspectives, which added a nice twist to it.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

Can I cheat and have two? I know I’m late to the party on this one, but I’m itching to get my hands on the latest Sarah Waters novel, The Paying Guests. I absolutely love her flowing style of writing, so that’s definitely on my list. I also hear rumblings that Kate Morton has a new book on the horizon too, so I’ll be keeping my eye out for that one. I love Kate Morton; I find her writing so beautiful and soothing. Reading her books is akin to snuggling on the sofa under a blanket on a winter’s night with your fluffy PJs on. Just lovely.

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

Who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree (and why)? Oh, this is going to sound cheesy, and he never did suit a tutu, but I’d like my father to come back and visit me again. He died a long time ago now, and I sometimes struggle to remember what he sounded like, so to hear his voice again just one more time would make my Christmas.

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veronica fearonVeronica Fearon was born in Hackney, in the east end of London to West Indian parents. She has a degree in psychology and has worked as a criminal lawyer in London for most of her adult life. Her début novel, The Girl with the Treasure Chest, was longlisted for the Polari First Book Prize.

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What was your book of the year and why?

mitchieMy book of the year is called Mitchie by Catherine Blackfeather. It’s a story about a young girl forced to flee her home town, and make a life disguised as a boy. It’s full of reprehensible characters, which I love, and Mitchie’s voice is earnest and comical even in the face of some quite serious issues.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

Top of my wish list for next year is Always you Edina by VG Lee. She is one of those rare writers who can inject humour into every word or sentence she chooses.

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

As for the Angel at the top of my tree, I’d have Angelique Kidjo who could sing a mixture of crimbo, politics and just plain powerful songs.

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JodyKlaireJody Klaire hails from Wales, where she lives with a host of furry friends: her golden retriever, several gerbils, some sneaky house mice, and a neighbour’s cat. She loves writing, sport, music, art, and teaching herself new subjects. Jody is a proud member of the GCLS, and is delighted to be a part of the Bedazzled Ink family. Jody’s début novel, The Empath was a runner up in the recent Rainbow Awards.

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What was your book of the year? Why?

the midnight moonThat’s a toughie if I’m honest. There’s been so many wonderful books out and so many awesome big hitters. We seem to have been planning a British invasion too if the Rainbow Awards are anything to go by. (Big cheer to UKLesfic’s own Cari.) I also got to see my début, The Empath get in on the act too and I’ve got Fractured to release in Nov/Dec.

All that being said, My favourite book of the year has to be The Midnight Moon by Geri Hill. She’s someone who I love reading. It doesn’t seem to matter where she takes me, what characters are there or what the topic is. As an author she makes me want to read anything with her name on it, I get excited when her books are due for release. She’s a master and The Midnight Moon is an effortless, feel-good romance with some witty, fun-filled dialogue. The characters are cool, the location is sunny and warm and well… it’s Gerri!

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

There’s a couple of novels I’m quite looking forward to. Obviously I’m always excited to read my fellow Bedazzled authors’ offerings and I’m also really looking forward to Melissa Brayden‘s book Just Three Words. (Bold Strokes folks are pretty cool bunch.) I guess it goes without saying that Gerri’s offerings will be a must-buy for me, right?

just three wordsOn the writing side of things, I am releasing three books next year, the second in the series, and follow-on’s of both The Empath and Fractured. (Blind Trust – Above & Beyond Book II and Blood Run – The Black Wolf Chronicles Book II.) I’m also set to release my first ever romance La Vie En Bleu around May time which takes a scatty Englishwoman and a suave French artisan and throws in a whole load of Notting Hill/Oscar Wilde humour. It looks set to be an exciting year on both reading and releasing fronts!

Who would you most like as the angel on top of your tree?

Not that my dear little puppy would fit on the tree (he’s ten weeks and already the size of a lion,) but my Goldie Fergus would probably be my pick. One, because if he’s on the tree, he’s not stealing tissues, my socks, chewing the couch, chewing me… And two, Fergus and angel in the same sentence seems as apt as the name Little John was. Failing getting the fluffy fiend to behave enough for us to place him on top, I’ll go for cake. Simply, because cake is always heavenly!

Have a peaceful, love and laughter-filled time. Merry Christmas!!

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karencampbell2Karen Campbell is the author of Little Whispers, a collection of short stories, and Violet’s Story. Her second novel The Knowing is a supernatural drama set in Glasgow. Karen is Scottish, grumpy in the morning, supports Arsenal and Rangers, and drink lots of Irn Bru. She is partial to a tattie scone and square sausage when she goes home. She likes music to be played loudly and is not keen on spiders. At all.

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What was your book of the year and why?

the five peopleThe book I read this year which had the most impact on me was The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom. I know it’s not a new book but I only just came across it and it’s fantastic. I was trying to tell my girlfriend the story, once I had just finished it, and I broke down in tears because it was so beautiful and it had touched me so much. If I had to pick a LesFic book, it would need to be The Comedienne by VG Lee, as I have just re-read it for the second time. I love her turn of phrase, it totally appeals to my sense of humour. She’s a very talented writer.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

Next year, I want to publish two books. I want to get better as a writer. I want the world to be my oyster. Oh and Scotland to get independence. I can dream, can’t I?

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

I would like Siouxsie Sioux to be the angel on top of my Christmas tree, so that I could prod her with my finger and make her sing to me. “Dazzle it’s a glittering prize.” Then Robert Smith from The Cure would come to rescue her for the sake of old friendships and I would make them gig in my living-room. Then I would make them roast chicken and mashed potatoes, and serve intoxicating cider so that I could get them drunk and record all their stories. Before she left, I would ask Siouxsie to do my make-up.

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BeatricehitchmanBeatrice Hitchman’s début, Petit Mort has been a bit of a stunner. Short-listed for the Polari Prize and Historical Writers’ Association Debut Novel Prize, and adapted on for Radio 4 as a series, Beatrice’s intriguing debut has drawn comparisons with the writing of Sarah Waters and Angela Carter and with films such as Moulin Rouge.

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What was your book of the year and why?

we are all completelyWe Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. I feel duty-bound to admit that it doesn’t feature any lesbians, but it’s a book about relationships in the most enlightening and unpredictable way. The narrator, Rosemary, a college freshman, has not one but two missing siblings…telling their story and her own, she’ll redefine your very concept of family. It’s such a funny, beautiful book.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

A film: Carol, the adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Carol was a 1950s landmark in fiction, daring to portray women differently at a time when most lesbian characters met a sticky end. The Blanchett/Mara combo will be absolutely boss, and Todd Haynes made Far From Heaven. O for Over-excited.

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

Patricia Highsmith. She’d be hilarious! But she’d drop fag-ash on your presents (on purpose).

 

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A big thank you to all our participating authors! And a Merry Christmas to everyone, from myself and Tig 🙂

rainbow tree

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: Great British Giveaway, Ylva Call For Sensual Submissions, Polari on Tour, Reviews, Blogs, and More!

15 Aug

It’s the height of summer! Which obviously means we’re all snorkelling our way to work , paddling to the shops, and generally getting soggy every time we step outdoors. Bearing that in mind, hang up your brollies for a few minutes and take a look at this week’s news…

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CurveFollowing on from the recent Curve article highlighting The Best of British Reads, the Lesbian Reading Room is holding a giveaway to celebrate the piece. A signed copy of a book (or an e-book) from each of the authors mentioned in the feature – Clare Ashton, Andrea Bramhall, Amy Dunne, Veronica Fearon, Cari Hunter – is available to win over at the LRR. All you need to do is head over to the site, have a toot at how the competition will work, and enter your name into the hat. Easy, eh? The closing date is Sunday 17th August, so get your skates on.

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the skeleton roadVal McDermid is gearing up for the release of her new standalone novel The Skeleton Road:

Set in McDermid’s hometown of Edinburgh, The Skeleton Road centres on a Cold Case investigation. A skeleton is discovered, hidden at the top of a soon-to-be renovated Gothic building. Detective Karen Pirie is tasked with identifying the decades-old bones and soon finds herself unearthing a series of past conflicts, false identities and secrets that have long been buried. 

I have no idea as to the lesbian content in The Skeleton Road (if any), but it’s set for release on 11th September, and Val will be appearing at the Norwich Playhouse on 12th September, 8pm (tickets £12) to chat about the novel and her other books. For more details and ticket information, hit this link.

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clareashtonTickets are now on sale for the Midlands Polari evening that Tig mentioned in last week’s news. Scheduled for Saturday 15th November, the event will be held at Mac, Birmingham and feature readings from Kiki Archer, Clare Ashton, and VG Lee, amongst others. These evenings always look like a blast, so if you’ve never been able to make it down to the Big Smoke for the regular London events, take advantage of this travelling salon! Tickets are £5, with a special £2.50 offer for the first ten early bird bookings. For more information and ticket booking, head over here.

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ylvaYlva have sent up a call for erotica submissions (not submissives, although they might be looking for those as well!) for a new short story anthology focusing on the naughtier things in life.

Writers, send us your most lustful, lascivious, even lewd stories for this one. Plot? Yes, we’d still like your story to have one. But this particular collection will focus on the sensual, red-hot delights of sex between women and the celebration of the female form in all its diverse hedonism. So what we want are tales of lesbians getting down and dirty in the bedroom (or any other place they find arousing) and having loads of fun doing it.

The deadline for submissions is March 15th 2015, which should give you plenty of time to think up something suitably juicy. As ever, all the details you could possibly need are at the above link.

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theempath_lgWith the release of her début novel imminent, Jody Klaire has been blogging about the Celtic influences at play in The Empath:

One of the things is that some places have a funny looking language on them. Things like ‘Croeso,’ which in the green (currently soaked) fields of home means ‘welcome.’ And you get to try putting on a funny accent to say it, you ready? Croy-see-yo. That’s it, you got it. Try rolling your r for extra points.

You can read the full piece – which includes the opening paragraph from the novel – here.

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paying guestsSarah WatersThe Paying Guests was recently featured in The Guardian‘s feature Book Now: The essential new fiction from the big names in 2014:

South London, 1922: genteel Frances and her widowed mother have fallen on hard times, rubbing along in a big suburban house that used to be busy with menfolk and servants. During the war, Frances saw opportunities for freedom and love; now duty and bereavement have resigned her to confined spinsterhood and the kind of domestic hard labour previously unknown to a woman of her class. Until a couple of the “clerk class” move in as lodgers, and surprising intimacies develop … Waters has created both a page-turning melodrama and a fascinating portrait of London on the verge of great change.

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HILD_jacket_closerA couple of reviews now to round out the week, starting with a full page write-up of Nicola Griffith‘s Hild in the September issue of the BBC History Magazine:

This is a powerful, clever novel. Griffith illuminates the so-called Dark Ages, reconstructing an often alien historical world with great precision, and in Hild has created a sympathetic, complex character to act as a guide. 

The full review isn’t available online, but the magazine is on sale now.

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WhenYouKnowLast but by no means least, The Lesbrary has been catching up with Kiki Archer‘s novels, with Elinor reviewing the best selling One Foot onto the Ice and its sequel When You Know:

These books are campy, full of slapstick, and made me laugh. They are mostly light, and easy and fast reads. I enjoyed them a lot. Archer manages to show Jenna and Susan’s chemistry through delightful banter…I recommend these books to anyone interested in lesbian romance. The books are best together, and as a pair they make one of the most fun lesbian romantic comedies I’ve read.

You can read the full and very comprehensive review here.

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Right, as the heavens open once more above Manchester and I banish all hopes of getting my washing dry, that’s the lot for this week. Toodle-pip!

 

 

 

 

News roundup: The Best of British in Curve, the return of Jane Retzig, Sarah Waters in the Literary Review, blogs and there’s always more!

8 Aug

I’m multitasking. This is not something I do well. So forgive me, while I have an 18-month-old on my knee watching Frozen and mop the brow of a fevered 3-year-old sleeping next to me, if things go slightly awry… Here is the news:

boundariesFirst, thanks to Henriette Bookgeek for pointing us in the direction (northwards for me) of Jane Retzig. The Yorkshire lass originally published her first novels with The Dimsdale Press in the 90s but has re-released the Yorkshire-set Boundaries for Kindle and in paperback. thephotographShe’s followed this up with a new novel The Photograph, also set oop north, and a rewrite of her second novel The Full Legacy. She describes her writing as (fairly gritty) lesbian romantic fiction and lists as her influences great Northern writers of the 50s and 60s – Barstow, Braine and Waterhouse – as well as Jane Austen, Patti Smith, British novelist Elizabeth Taylor, Daphne du Maurier, and almost all the output of Naiad Press. Jane is currently working on her new novel The Wrong Woman.

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It’s great to see some coverage of UK lesbian fiction in Curve magazine this month. The article by Sue Fidler, aka TheVelvet Lounger, addresses the resurgence of British lesfic in the last couple of years.
CurveSue talks about the breadth and quality of fiction now being produced and covers Lammy award winning romances from Andrea Bramhall, gritty YA fiction by Amy Dunne, unusual and some comic romances from Clare Ashton, exciting and well-crafted thrillers from Cari Hunter and Veronica Fearon‘s gritty and demanding The Girl With the Treasure Chest. Have a peek at the article here. (If you’re quick you can also grab a copy of August’s Diva which has an interview with Veronica.)

AmyandwifeSticking with Amy for a moment, she has a letter over on the site Dear Teen Me – a collection of letters from authors to their teen selves. Have a read. It covers some rough times but rest-assured it all ends in Dolly Parton and fur babies.

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amazonia an impossibleOnto blogs. Sky Croft‘s been blogging over on Women and Words about the wedding fever that’s been hitting her novels and own life. Sky’s sequel Amazonia: An Impossible Choice, one of the books she talks about in the blog, is out this month. Sky is running a giveaway over on Goodreads, so head over here before the 8th September to be in with a chance of winning one of two paperbacks.

Jody Klaire‘s also gearing up for the release of The Empath. Here are her in-flight instructions as she gets ready for publication takeoff including who’s on-board, the view out the window and the best way to get hold of the book. Here’s the full piece.

rjsamuel2RJ Samuel has been interviewed by AJ Adaire. The interview is a nice mix of frivolous, serious and personal questions and answers. RJ talks about her unique background and books, including the concept of a vision painter and how her books uncannily predict the future:

My books have been weirdly prophetic, some of the bad stuff in them seems to happen in my life. And A Place Somewhere has proved the same in that my move to America is turning out to be quite similar to Alex’s (and my job might now involve accounting), just that it didn’t involve an online girlfriend. An interesting fact (not necessarily bad) is that I have an Excel sheet for the book with character names written out which I started in March 2013 and the family that turned up to lodge in my house in August had the same names as three of my characters.”

Naturally I and others wondered if she was going to write herself a wonderfully happy fairytale next. You can read her answer to this and the rest of the questions here.

HILDUKNicola Griffith has been busy blogging about Hild with its release in the UK. Here’s her latest news roundup with links to interviews and posts including Ten Things About Hild – things that are known and things that Nicola madeup about Hild:

“6. How well she got on with her family. Hereric died and that death left Hild and her mother and her sister at the mercy of the world. I imagine there was a bit of irrational blame there: you bastard, you left us alone! And then the three women would have to had to stick together to face the world. But mothers and daughters don’t often get along so well after puberty. And Hereswith got the good marriage (at least insofar as we know). There again, Hild was the one who got the prophecy about being a light of the world.”

Here’s that article in full and the link to the full roundup.

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faking itTerry Baker reviewed Jade Winters‘ latest best-seller Faking It – a story of a writer pretending to be her gay chum’s fiancee in return for a promise of being published, just as she bumps into the love of her life.

Another winner from Jade Winters. This book is well written and edited. A true lesfic chick-lit romance with a good dose of humor thrown in for good measure. A quick and fast paced page turner from start to finish…Although this is chick-lit, this story did have a more serious side to it too. There is lies, deceptions, angst and homophobia all entwined with a light hearted sense of humor. So, it’s not all doom and gloom, but a very well thought out and put together work of art.

Here’s the full review.

PayingGuest_D-2-186x300Is it August the 28th yet? Not long now though and Sarah Waters‘  The Paying Guests will be in our eager mitts. Meanwhile it’s reviewed in the August edition of The Literary Review. The review goes into some enticing detail with the characters and setting although it’s careful to avoid spoilers:

As previously, lesbian desires are prominent and prove critical but – in keeping with the period – they announce themselves upon Waters’s protagonists, Frances and Lilian, awkwardly and initially inchoately. Frances has had Sapphic experiences but now lives alone with her mother. The household having fallen on hard times (there are prominent references to servants previously in attendance), they take in a married couple as lodgers – or ‘paying guests’, a preferred neologism. Leonard and Lilian Barber move in with all their clutter. Waters is excellent on the psychic disturbance this generates in Frances, faced with ‘the oddness of the sound and the sight of the couple going about from room to room as if the rooms belonged to them’.

The reviewer notes that with Waters’ track record and consistent high standard the novel is likely to be successful in terms of awards. However he comments on the story: “The prospective challenge for the reader can be that witnessing so much expressive, articulate forbearance and hand-wringing proves exhausting or confining. At times, I longed for reticence or stoicism“. Quite frankly, I’m glad to hear there’s a lack of it.

Have a good read of the full review here.

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VGLeeFinally, as well as Polari evenings hitting the provinces with the likes of Veronica Fearon, Kiki Archer, Clare Ashton and VG Lee performing across the country, five workshops will also be run. The first one has been announced for Brighton on the 25th September with the title “Who Am I? The LGBTQ  Monologue”. It’s a 2-hour workshop led by VG Lee and Paul Burston. The pair will help you kick-start those personal monologues and give guidance about how to perform them and get published. More details here.

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That’s all for now. This post was brought to you by Frozen and Cadbury’s chocolate buttons.