Tag Archives: VA Fearon

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:

~~~

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.

~ ~ ~

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.

~~~

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.

~~~

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…

~ ~ ~

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.

~ ~ ~

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.

~ ~ ~

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.

~ ~ ~

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.

~ ~ ~

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.

~ ~ ~

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.

~ ~ ~

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.

~ ~ ~

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.

~ ~ ~

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.

~~~

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.

~~~

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.

~~~

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.

~~~

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.

~~~

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

 

News Roundup: Clare Lydon at Brighton Pride, Sarah Waters is Just About Everywhere, New Author Kirsty Grant, Call to UK Authors & Loads More!

1 Aug

For some reason everything in our house is breaking, blowing up, leaking, or flat-out refusing to work. So, before my laptop decides to join in the fun, I’m going to whip through this week’s news…

~ ~ ~

clarelydonThe sun is still out, the beaches are packed, people are wandering around in ill-advised shorts, and Pride season is upon us! Anyone off to Brighton Pride this weekend (1st-3rd August – forecast: warm with isolated showers) should head directly to the Literature Live tent in Preston Park on the Saturday, where Clare Lydon will be first up with a reading from London Calling. It is your civic duty to go cheer her along and maybe buy a book or two. I’m sure she’ll be happy to scribble on a copy for you. All the details about this fabulous three-day weekend event can be found here.

Clare has also been waxing lyrical about her recent festival experiences, with her blog post listing the Top Ten Things About L Fest, 2014:

9. The Fishfinger Butty stall

When the rains came and all else seemed lost, there was the fishfinger butty stall. £3 bought you two slices of spongy white bread, fishfingers & ketchup. An extra quid for a potato waffle. This was the stuff of festival dreams.

Read the full 1-10 at the link.

~ ~ ~

loved settledWe have a new author to welcome to the site this week. Kirsty Grant was born in Edinburgh, raised in Bonnyrigg, and now resides in Stirling. Her debut novella, Loved, Settled and Understood, was published by Melange Books in July:

Following the death of her best friend, Laura, Sophie’s life is thrown into turmoil. Torn between the stability of her long term relationship with her boyfriend, Jeff, and the unexpected raw desire for Laura’s sister, Jane, Sophie finds herself questioning her sexuality. Acting upon her desire, Sophie discovers that following her heart has unforeseen consequences and she finds herself tangled in a web of complicated love and heartache. Loved, Settled and Understood is a passionate love story which takes Sophie on a life altering journey of grief, lust, love and anger. How many hearts will be broken in the quest for true love? Is it easier to walk away from love to avoid heartache? Will the words of her late friend, Laura, echo true and will Sophie ever be loved, settled and understood?

You can find out more about Kirsty here at her blog, or over at her author page on Facebook.

~ ~ ~

598px-Sarah_WatersThe pre-release publicity romp for Sarah WatersThe Paying Guests is kicking up a gear, with Kirkus whetting the appetite of pretty much every lesbian with a pulse with the opening line of this review:

An exquisitely tuned exploration of class in post-Edwardian Britain—with really hot sex.

Okay, okay, so it goes on to say slightly more reviewy other stuff as well:

Waters is a master of pacing, and her metaphor-laced prose is a delight; when Frances and Lilian go on a picnic, “the eggs [give] up their shells as if shrugging off cumbersome coats”—just like the women. As life-and-death questions are answered, new ones come up, and until the last page, the reader will have no idea what’s going to happen.

The full text of the review can be found at the second link up there.

~ ~ ~

paying guestsIf all that talk of sex and egg shells has got you chomping at the bit, then you may want to take the opportunity to “spend an evening” with Sarah Waters at Stylist’s second book club event, which is being held on Thursday 28th August, 6-8pm. Here are the details from the site:

An exclusive preview copy of The Paying Guests will be sent to you before the event, three weeks ahead of its official publication, so you’ll be ready with your questions.

On the night, Sarah will read an excerpt of her new book, followed by an audience Q&A, and you’ll get the chance to have your hardback copy, available to collect on the night, signed by the author.

The venue, Holborn’s chic Rosewood London hotel, is particularly apt: it was formerly the HQ of Pearl Assurance Company, the building where Leonard works in The Paying Guests.

Tickets are £35, which includes a glass of wine and two exclusive copies of The Paying Guests – a preview copy sent in advance and a hardback copy on the night. The last time I checked, tickets were still available at this link.

~ ~ ~

Frozen-Scream-main-300x178Finally in our Sarah Waters round up (!): not content with launching a book and touring the country, Sarah has also co-written a play with Olivier award winning entertainer, Christopher Green.

Based on the lost 1928 supernatural murder-mystery novel, The Frozen Scream tells the chilling tale of a group who find themselves stranded at an abandoned lodge in the depths of winter. Forced to entertain themselves, they begin to tell the tale of Jack Frost, the most terrifying of the Frost Giants. But as the story takes a shocking twist, they discover they should have heeded the early warnings to ‘beware the ice’.

A series of mysterious deaths apparently led to claims that the original novel was cursed, so it should be interesting to see what happens with this stage version. The play will run in Cardiff from December 11-20th, and then move to the Birmingham Hippodrome January 7-17th. To buy tickets for either venue, follow the links, and to read more about the adaptation, head here.

~ ~ ~

KikiAndBoobsA call now to UK authors who fancy being included in a charity short story anthology. I’m going to be a right lazy sod and just let Ms Angie Peach tell you all about it:

So, after chatting with lots of authors at L Fest, Kiki Archer and I have decided to open up the genre of admissions to include any and every genre! And that’s not all! We’ve also extended the deadline for you to submit your short story to us, which will now be the end of September. So if you are Indie, published or even unpublished, and want to be involved in this amazing opportunity, get in touch with either Kiki or myself. Please also share this status so word can get around! Unfortunately, it is still only open for UK authors. Here’s a link to the charity! Thanks everyone! 

You can contact both authors via their Facebook pages. Just click on their names to hop over to their pages.

~ ~ ~

hild coverA big congrats this week to Nicola Griffith and Sarah Waters, who – with Hild and The Paying Guests respectively – have both made it onto the Guardian‘s Not the Booker Prize list, a selection of books nominated by readers and intended to be a little more balanced than those the Booker may have chosen. A list of around 90 books needs cutting down to a shortlist of 6, and that’s where you lot come in. To vote for your favourite two novels from the list (which must be from two different publishers), write a review of around 100 words for each book in the comments section on this post. The deadline for votes is midnight, 3rd August, and you don’t need to write anything particularly erudite, just be enthusiastic!

~ ~ ~

veronica fearonMore congratulations to V A Fearon (The Girl with the Treasure Chest) and Sarah Westwood (The Rubbish Lesbian), who have been longlisted for the Polari First Book Prize. The prize is open to any work of poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction published in the UK in English within the 12 months of the deadline for submissions (this year Feb 1, 2013). The shortlist for the award, which was won by Mari Hannah‘s The Murder Wall last year, will be announced at the Polari Literary Salon on September 8th 2014,  and the winner will be revealed on October 8th 2014 in the Purcell Room at the London Literature Festival.

Good luck to the four authors on both of these longlists! For a sneak peek at the line up for forthcoming Polari events head here.

~ ~ ~

Okay, I’m going to quit while the going is good and the laptop is still functional. If you are off to a Pride event this weekend, have loads of fun and shake your rainbow booty!

rainbow fan

 

News roundup: new books, interviews, blogs and dates for the Polari tour

26 Jul

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

~~~

Upcoming books first with some lovely shiny new covers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will they survive? Will love conquer all?

Beyond Midnight is available on Amazon and Smashwords.

~~~

On to interviews.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~~~

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

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

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

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

~ ~ ~

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

~~~

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

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

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

31 May

Here is the  late news:

~~~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ ~ ~

paulburston

Paul Burston by Krystyna FitzGerald-Morris

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

~ ~ ~

lfest

 

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

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

~~~

Onto new books and upcoming releases.

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

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

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

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

~~~

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

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

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

~~~

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

~~~

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

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

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

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

~~~

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

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

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

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

~~~

PopeJoan

Free this weekend!

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

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

Of her writing process she says:

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

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

~~~

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the full interviews for Amy and Andrea.

~~~

Finally a quick look at reviews.

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

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

You can read the full review here.

~~~

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

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

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

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

Huzzah!

~~~

News Roundup: New Blogs from Clare Ashton & RJ Samuel, Interviews with Stella Duffy & Emma Donoghue, Kiki Archer Gets Her Tatts Out, & Much More!

22 May

After Tig copped lucky with a quiet spell last week, the recent sunshine seems to have made this week’s news fairly blossom. There’s loads of it to catch up on, so slap on some sun cream, and enjoy…

~ ~ ~

V.A FearonIf the fine weather has you hankering after a night out in the Big Smoke but you’re stuck for entertainment ideas, VA Fearon and Sarah Westwood (AKA  The Rubbish Lesbian) will be appearing at Polari on May 27th. Tickets are £5 and you can book them here.

~ ~ ~

that certain somethingThe Writing Processes Blog Hop continues apace, with Clare Ashton copping a tag from VG Lee and subsequently posting her entry, in which she chats a little about the inspiration behind her current best seller That Certain Something:

It was sparked by a conversation on the VLR discussion group where I was larking about answering questions for one of their spot-on weekends. Someone found my answers entertaining and fun and asked if my novels were the same. I had to respond that actually they were rather angst-ridden and miserable, so it had me wondering why on earth wasn’t I writing something humorous?

And goes on to reveal how she actually begins to put pen to paper:

A lot of that daydreaming at first. Playing with the glimmerings of a plot, characters and themes. I start jotting down bits of dialogue that I keep hearing in my head and ideas for scenes in a new Moleskin notepad for each book…

To read the full blog, hop over here.

RJ Samuel reading on FridayRJ Samuel also got nabbed and provided some insight into the influences behind her novels:

I don’t really write by genre. I write the story I need to tell, and everyone’s story is different. I draw from my diverse background as an Indian, born in Nigeria, living for many years in Ireland, and with all my family in America. From my educational and career background as a doctor, an IT person, a restaurant/bar owner, a writer. Even from my brief experiences in summer jobs as chambermaid, inventory clerk, pizza cutter, physiotherapy assistant, flower-stall ‘manager’.

Click here to read the rest of RJ’s answers.

~ ~ ~

Stella Duffy, writer, actorWe’ve found a couple of interviews with Stella Duffy to catch up on. In a lively feature in The Guardian this weekend, Stella hopped through a multitude of topics covering family, work, cancer, and Nigel Farage (to name but a few).

Nigel Farage is probably fun to have a drink with, which is a problem. Some people might think: “Working class, lesbian, left wing – ugh!”, but they’d find I’m fun to have a drink with. Without space for dialogue, there’s no reconciliation.

And while I was hunting down the link for that chat, I came across another piece from the British Council in April that we somehow managed to overlook – never let it be said that we’re infallible! In Brussels to debate the concept of a national literature, Stella had this to say on the topic:

“The idea of there being a British national literature sort of confuses me anyway, making it ripe for a good discussion! The range of people in Britain is amazingly interesting – rather than there being a particular ‘national identity’, there are so many different ‘national identities’. One of the reasons the different regions of the UK are so important is because they didn’t used to speak the same language. There’s an incredible diversity in dialogue which comes through in prose, which is one of the things that makes British writing so exciting.”

You can read the full text of both interviews by hitting the links.

~ ~ ~

FrogMusicMeanwhile, Emma Donoghue has been Making Beautiful Music over at Lambda Literary, where she chats about Frog Music, the rise of queer literature, and her quandary over whether to kick off her writing career with Stir Fry or Hood:

I think that what I would say is that I was entirely wrong. I remember my editor talking me down. I rung her up to say, Stir Fry’s really immature and shallow, it won’t work!
She said to me, “Emma, lots of people are going to prefer
Stir Fry,” and she was entirely right. It sold much better. Clearly, it’s not that I was insecure in general—I wasn’t—I just had this feeling that Hood was much stronger stuff. I would still say it is, I would say it’s a far better book. But readers need all sorts of things from their books.

Click the first link up there to read the entire piece.

~ ~ ~

HanselGretalIf you’re a better woman than I am (not difficult!) and one of the 186.9 million people who understand what the hell Tumblr is all about, you can join Niamh Murphy over there on her brand new page. There are handy links to each of Niamh’s books and to the reading she recently posted from Mask of the Highway Woman. For those of you who aren’t so down with the kids and remain befuddled, head here, where WikiP will make everything as clear as mud.

~ ~ ~

Kiki-ArcherKiki Archer has been getting her tatts out (quite literally) for all those lesbians who might struggle with the tricky concept of letting a potential love interest know that they too are a big old friend of Dorothy. In five handy steps, you can learn how to drop hints, let the cat out of the bag, and if all else fails, flash a bit of tatt. For Kiki’s How To guide, click here.

~ ~ ~

nightingaleA couple of reviews now to wind up the week, both for Andrea Bramhall‘s Nightingale, and both resoundingly enthusiastic:

The Lesbian Reading Room had this to say:

Nightingale is an amazing and sometimes brutal tale of the fate of women forced into arranged marriages and abducted by their husband’s family to places where western law and western agencies cannot reach them. At the same time it is a wonderful romance that tells the tale of two women who’s souls connect from the very first day and are destined to love each other despite their separation.

While over at Rainbow Book Reviews:

This multi-tiered story with a hot and sexy love story, an extremely exciting intense military-like task force operation marvelously intertwined with a host of outstanding supporting characters makes this book a wonderfully balanced and supremely entertaining read. I easily give this my highest recommendation. Truly, not to be missed!

As a Lambda finalist, Andrea also took part in an ongoing Q&A blog spot at the Lesbian Reading Room, where she chats about finding the inspiration for her novels, what the nomination means to her, and what’s up next.

~ ~ ~

Righto, that’s me done for the week. Apologies to my neighbours, but I’m getting my shorts on!