Tag Archives: Val McDermid

News Roundup: New books from Jody Klaire & Jenny Frame, AL Brooks Talks Sex, Cari Hunter Talks Frogs…

29 Jul

Like much of the country, we’re winding down for our summer break here at UK LesFic. So, grab your beach towels, your factor 45, and a hanky knotted in the corners, and prepare to hunker down with a good book.

We’ll be back – tanned, rested, and ready to roll – with more news and features in early September.

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The-Club-by-A.L.-BrooksThis update is a bit of a blog fest, so let’s kick off with sex because…actually, do I need a reason?! Anyway, no matter what your lesfic genre of choice, the chances are you’ll have read a few sex scenes in your time. New Ylva author AL Brooks has been discussing “vanilla” versus all the other possible flavours of lady lovin’ in a new blog:

Don’t get me wrong, if they (love scenes in lesbian romance) are written well they can be sexy as hell, without the need to use particular words or phrases that would be more likely to be found in an erotic story. But, it seems to me, in making a clear distinction between romance and erotic romance, a lot of the joy of lesbian sex has been lost in the former. I’m talking about the sheer variety of lesbian sex that two women can share, both in actions and positions. Let’s face it, the list is pretty much endless, so why aren’t those being brought into stories of lesbian romance?

Good question. To read the rest of the piece and add your own two penn’orth, follow the link.

The Giveaway winners from AL’s recent UK LesFic guest blog are: Holli (who won the paperback copy) – just how many bottles of douche did it take to deskunk that dog?!, and ebooks go to Devlyn and BarbaraG. Congrats to all three, and thanks to everyone who entered the draw.

Ms Brooks will also be with Andrea Bramhall at Norwich Pride this Saturday. They’ll be in charge of the Ylva stall in the forum from 10 a.m.

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Over on the Women & Words blog, Jody Klaire has been talking about her new book Hindsight, and wondering whether a person’s past affects the way they see things:

For some in the book, those scars had created mental barriers that made it difficult for that character to “let the walls down.” Her past affected her relationships and her level of trust. With a lot of experiences, they can make you lose confidence in yourself as much as your view of your surroundings. I wanted to pay special attention to that in my writing so that it reflected that…

Hindsight is due for release on August 1st, and you can read Jody’s guest blog here.

nobleheartAnd a quick check on Amazon has just brought me news of Hindsight‘s sequel, Noble Heart, which is slated for publication in March, 2017. Its blurb reads like this:

Some things are worth more than they appear. Aeron Lorelei finds herself thrust back undercover once more. This time it’s to secure the freedom and safety of three generations of one family. Frei, Renee, and Aeron have to pull off their most difficult challenge yet. Infiltrating Frei’s hostile past means maintaining a cover, protecting the POIs, and revealing the truth before it’s concealed for good. Only then do they have a shot at ensuring the POI’s freedom. All Aeron has to do is help save a family, stay true to her cover identity, wrestle the feelings of everyone around her, and wipe a family history from file . . . In other words, business as usual. True gold lies within noble hearts.

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Another new book for 2017 is Jenny Frame‘s contemporary romance Unexpected. Jenny just revealed the cover and the blurb over on Facebook. The exact release date is still TBC.

unexpectedSelf-made business owner Dale McGuire has always enjoyed two things in life: women and fast cars. Now in her midthirties, she’s restless and can’t work out why. Then one day a ten-year-old boy turns up, claiming to be her son, and her simple ordered world turns upside down.
Rebecca Harper bears the emotional scars of her father’s crimes, and now she has two rules: never let anyone too close, and never admit weakness. Thanks to an anonymous egg donor, infertility didn’t stop her from having her son Jake. Now pregnant for a second time, she’s horrified when Jake brings home the woman he believes is his other mother.
When distrust turns to understanding and passion, can Dale and Rebecca, two women bound by fate, make a family neither expected?

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jensilverJen Silver has written a GCLS blog discussing the torment of being at a lesbian book fest and only having a limited amount of space in her suitcase:

I was constantly balancing the number of my books that I sold with the number I could take back home. But there were three books I wasn’t going to leave Washington DC without purchasing…

To find out which books those were, click the link.

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330x235valmcdermidWe’ll wind things up with a couple of rainy day links, the first of which is Val McDermid‘s episode of Arts Night on iPlayerIs fiction the best way to access the truth? Val McDermid explores the relationship between fiction, video games and crime documentary.

The episode will remain available for just over three weeks. I’m guessing we’ll probably see some wet weather before that deadline.

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Podcast-episode-30And if you’re still stuck for things to do, you could have a toot at an interview that I recorded with fellow author Alexandra Amor for her It’s a Mystery Podcast. We talked about the Dark Peak books, genre, the (in)visibility of queer characters in mainstream crime, and, um…frogs.
The interview is now up at Alexandra’s blog, where you can listen to it or download it, and there’s also a video over on YouTube.

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Whatever your plans might be for the summer, have a pleasant and safe one. Eat loads of ice cream, stay up late, and generally muck around🙂

summer

News Roundup: New Releases from Jane Fletcher & Jen Silver, Free Audio Book from Jane Retzig, Wrapping up 2015 with Clare Lydon, Events, Awards, and More!

16 Jan

The tinsel is stashed away for another year, the party poppers are popped, and we’re back with our first news round-up of 2016. I suspect most of our authors are still slightly hungover, because things are a little quiet on the UK LesFic front, but I’ve done my best to dig up a few tantalising tidbits with which to welcome in the new year…

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Writer-Sarah-Waters-006Let’s kick off with some good news on the awards front, with both Sarah Waters and Ali Smith making the Bailey Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist, for The Paying Guests And How to be Both respectively. The winner will be announced on June 3rd, and you can see a complete list of the finalists here.

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bold books logoBold Strokes Books have seen in the new year by giving their website a complete overhaul, and they’re rewarding punters with 10% off their current and backlist releases all through January. The website is far easier to navigate, looks rather pretty, and now comes with the facility to pre-order e-books. There are loads of UK authors publishing with BSB, so now might be a great opportunity to take a peek and catch up on those you might have missed.

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the-shewstoneI’ll stick with BSB for the moment, because Jane Fletcher is an author of theirs we’ve not heard from for a long while. If you’re a fan of Jane’s fantasy/romance novels, you’ll be delighted to hear that June 2016 will see the release of The Shewstone, the blurb for which reads like this:

In the port city of Fortaine, two young girls acquire new families.

Four-year-old Eawynn, the unwanted illegitimate daughter of an ambitious noble, is dumped in the temple. When she is old enough, she will be initiated into its sisterhood of priestesses. Meanwhile Matt, the street urchin, earns a crime lord’s admiration, so much so he adopts her as his daughter and heir to his underworld clan.

Nearly two decades later, their paths cross when Eawynn is appointed custodian of the Shewstone, the mystical orb of prophecy. Unfortunately for her, Matt is on a mission to steal it.

Clicking the link up there will take you to the pre-order page and allow you to jump to Jane’s BSB profile and all of her back catalogue.

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For those who enjoy resting their eyes and reading with their ears, Jane Retzig has released an audio version of her lesbian mystery/romance, The Photograph

the photographEverybody’s worried about Becky. She’s too rich, too young, and much too cute for her own good. And she’s driving her friends and family to distraction, playing fast and loose with the bored housewives she meets through Girl Power, the offshoot of Marsten Builders, which she co-runs with her best friend, Frankie. When she hears Niamh busking in the center of town, Becky is stunned by the intensity of her attraction to the itinerant young musician. The feeling is mutual. For Niamh, Becky has a familiar feel that reminds her of the home and family she has lost, and she quickly finds herself looking for ways to meet this intriguing young woman again.

Both women are deeply wary of any kind of new relationship. Their early experiences have left them wounded and vulnerable. But for some reason, they can’t help but trust each other. But even as the pair are taking their first shaky steps toward love, they begin to realize that their apparent chance meeting is already part of a much bigger drama unfolding. Events of the past are starting to catch up with them, and they are about to be faced with challenges and decisions that will change their lives forever….

The audio book is narrated by Danielle O’Farrell and available on Audible, Amazon and iTunes, but Jane is marking the launch by giving away free Audible copies to you lucky UK LesFic readers. If you are interested, please contact Jane at: janeretzig @ gmail . com  Be sure to take the spaces out of the address before you use it.

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clare lydonClare Lydon has wrapped up 2015 with a Ten Things I Learned… blog post, in which she discusses the joys of discovering Scrivener…

If you don’t know what it is, it’s a writing program that enables you to jump around your manuscript at will, keeps notes and most importantly, turn your novels into ebooks at the click of a button. Scrivener has made my life so much better. Apart from the morning it ate This London Love the day before I was due to release. That wasn’t pretty.

…And how rubbish she is at choosing titles:

Being a former magazine editor, titles should come easy to me, but they don’t. Time to start eating dictionaries for breakfast and pun books for lunch.

See the above link to have a toot at the other eight highlights!

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carved_final (1)Always busy on the blogging front, it seems that Jen Silver has been ramping up the novel writing as well, with new releases due in February and March. February will see the publication of Carved in Stone – the conclusion to the Starling Hill trilogy, and the re-release of all the books in that series, with a makeover cover for the central book in the trilogy. Meanwhile a standalone novel, The Circle Dance, is due out in March:

Another book, due out in March, is a completely new story with different characters and is called The Circle Dance. No archaeology in this one, but there is a nod or two to the surfeit of stone circles in the UK. You don’t have to go far to find one here. Not all as magnificent as Stonehenge, but compelling evidence of an ancient culture’s communication network.

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catherine hallA few events for your calendar now:

Val McDermid will be headlining at the York Literature Festival in March (if the city has dried out by then!). Poet Carol Ann Duffy is also on the guest list.  Find a full programme of events, ticket booking and the usual gubbins at the festival’s main site.

Catherine Hall has three events to discuss her most recent novel, The Repercussions, planned for spring. Find a listing of them here.

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And that about wraps things up. Brr, speaking of wrapping, it’s cold out there! Get plenty of layers on and don’t be slipping on any icy puddles. In fact, best just to stay inside and read a good book.

News Roundup: Kiki Archer Live Q&A, Amy Dunne Goes Renegade, New Release from Karen Campbell, and More!

25 Sep

Welcome! It’s a bit on the nippy side, but the sun is shining, flowers are still blooming, and I’m taking a quick break from squinting at page proofs to bring you all the happenings in the land of UK LesFic. Enjoy!

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renegadeAmy Dunne is first up this fortnight with a couple of stops on her publicity romp for her new futuristic, apocalyptic adventure-romance, The Renegade. Amy has been talking survival (and her absolute lack of survival skills!) over on Women & Words:

Let me start with an honest admission. I’m 90% certain that I wouldn’t survive in the post-apocalyptic world I’ve created. I’ve no survival skills to speak of, I’m awful at basic camping, I’m a complete technophobe to the point I don’t know anything other than switching something on and off and maybe hitting it if it still doesn’t work, I have OCD, I’m a hypochondriac, and generally don’t cope well in the great outdoors…

And she has actually been talking to Marion Dries in this Voice of Lesbian Literature podcast.

The Renegade is available to buy right now.

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strange adventures ofKaren Campbell has been teasing a new release over on Facebook, with this enigmatic quote:

“I am Mavis Street and this was the day I married the love of my life and gave her my name. ‘I love you’ says it all but never says enough.” Coming soon – The Strange Adventures of Mavis Street.

As soon as we have any more information on the book, we’ll let you know, but in the meantime you can feast your eyes on its cover…

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Kiki-264Any fans of Kiki Archer who have this Saturday (26th September) evening free, will be wanting to head to the Big Tent LesFic group on Facebook where Kiki will be participating in a live Q&A at 7pm (Brit time!) These Q&As are usually good fun and even more so when there’s an enthusiastic bunch of inquisitors beneath the canvas.

The group is a community of lesbian fiction readers and writers which is inclusive of anyone no matter where they may fall on the gender/sexuality spectrum.You can request to join the group here.

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clare lydonIf you only know ten things about Clare Lydon and feel that perhaps your life has been lacking for want of another fifteen, then you definitely need to check out her latest blog where she’s listed a massive 25 eclectic and entertaining things about herself:

What would I put in my room 101? Crunchy Nut Cornflakes. Pink wine. Coldplay. Offal. Chelsea FC. Pink fizzy wine. Goat’s Cheese. Maroon 5. Parsley. Crocs. Especially Crocs. Enough with the Crocs.

Check out the other 24 fascinating factoids here.

Clare has also been chatting to Jen Silver in the latest episode of her Lesbian Bookclub podcast. With Jen’s third book The Circle Dance due out in February, 2016, she discusses the representation of older lesbians in LesFic, and how life is treating her post-retirement. You can listen to the show at the link.

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Tis September, which means that the Rainbow Awards are nigh upon us. Kick starting the annual festivities is the cover contest, where you can add your votes for your favourites and help see them through to the next round of the competition. There are loads of covers in the initial round, and plenty of UK authors – namely, Kiki Archer, Crin Claxton, VT Davy, Amy Dunne, Cari Hunter – who need your support. Head here to make your vote count!

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lavieenbleuIt’s been far too long since Allo Allo “graced” our tellies and if you’ve been missing the ridiculous accentage then Jody Klaire might just be able to fill the void. Jody has recorded a reading from her continental romantic hit, La Vie en Bleu, complete with daft accent, for which she has already posted an apology:

I heartily apologise to any French folk out there for sounding more Allo, Allo than an actual French person. It seems to add to the comic effect so I hope that you enjoy!

Plug in and listen here.

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330x235valmcdermidFinally this fortnight, a heads up that Val McDermid and Sarah Waters have both updated their forthcoming events pages with plenty of opportunities to see them in discussion in the upcoming months. For Val’s appearances, head here, and you can find all of Sarah’s events here or summarised on our own Events listing.

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I reckon that about covers it. If you spot any news that we’ve missed, be sure to let us know (uklesfic @ gmail.com) and have a fabulous weekend!

 

News Roundup: Jody Klaire’s new RomCom, Clare Ashton Stops Hearts, Blogs from Amy Dunne & L.T. Smith, Sarah Waters Competition & More!

29 Aug

Things are livening up a little on the lesfic front as people mosey on back from the beaches, pack away their sun cream, and hunker down to wait for autumn – fireworks, golden leaves, parkin, treacle toffee, trick or treatin’, what’s not to love?!

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untrained eyeIt’s been an exciting week for Jody Klaire with the release of her romantic comedy La Vie en Bleu, and the cover reveal for the third instalment of her Above & Beyond series – Untrained Eye. If you like a little music to go along with your reading, Jody has posted a rather…eclectic (let’s just say that there’s a few Spice Girl’s tracks on it!) play list for La Vie en Bleu here. Meanwhile, the blurb for Untrained Eye reads like this:

When Aeron’s burdens are dimmed to help her recover and understand that she can’t heal everyone, she welcomes her new found freedom. Her only worry is that Renee will feel guilt for the price she’s paid and so Aeron resolves not to tell anyone. When CIG boss Ursula Frei comes to her for help with a personal mission, things start to get tricky. Frei enlists Aeron’s help to prevent a group of children in Caprock Academy becoming victim to the same deep scars Frei herself bears. She needs the help of the Criminal Investigation Team but that can’t happen without Lilia or Aeron. So Aeron fakes a vision.

In that vision, Aeron, Renee and Frei go undercover to Caprock, rescue the children and walk away stronger.
Unknown to Aeron, Lilia has had the same vision and allows the CIG team to get involved. The problem is that the two visions differ in one essential part. Whereas Aeron’s version sees them successful and united, in Lilia’s vision, she’s seen the three agents implode under the weight of secrets, misunderstandings and their mission unravel.

Lilia has faith in Aeron, Frei and Renee and believes they can get the children out…even if it means one of them gets left behind.

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that certain somethingSpeaking of romcoms, Clare Ashton‘s That Certain Something recently made it onto About Entertainment‘s list of Must Read Heart Stopping Lesbian Romance Novels:

That Certain Something is an adorable chick-lit romance about two people from totally different backgrounds finding one another, and connecting on a such a deep level that they click right from the start. The main protagonists, along with the secondary characters shine in this feel good romantic comedy.

So, fire up the nearest defib and grab yourself a copy🙂

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This-London-Love-CoverLastly on the light and luscious lady lovin’ front, is this review from The Lesbian Review for Clare Lydon‘s This London Love:

The writing style embodies what I love about British books, it’s tight, clean and witty. And while the book follows a pretty standard romantic comedy plot, it manages to not be formulaic…
I loved that Meg was not perfect, and while Kate pretty much falls in love with her at first sight, Lydon never lets her be on a pedestal. The friction between Meg and Kate mirrors the hurdles that real life relationships go through, and it shows that happy endings can happen to real people, and that they are not possible without some work along the way.

Read the full piece at the link.

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renegadeWith The Renegade due for release next month, Amy Dunne has been blogging about her writing processes over at the Bold Strokes site:

Scenes play in my head like a movie clip. While I’m typing away on the keyboard and words appear on the screen, I’m actually writing what I’m seeing in my mind’s eye. Almost like I’m experiencing everything with the characters. I’ve always had an overactive imagination and I enjoy daydreaming these scenes. I can vividly imagine seeing, smelling, hearing, and touching things in each scene.

The full text of When The Magic Happens can be found by clicking on the title.

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val mcdermidHopping north of the border now where Val McDermid recently met one of her most famous fans – Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon – at the Edinburgh festival. The interview is available to watch on the BBC’s iPlayer for the next 28 days.

Also this last week, in a frank and revealing interview with the Guardian, Val has been chatting about misogynistic trolls, our current government taking the UK back to Victorian times, and Scotland’s future:

I really worry we are heading more towards the Victorian ethic where those who have the capacity to claw their way to the top will do, and the rest will be sweeping the shit out of the doorway. We’re going back to Bleak House – it doesn’t feel like we’re moving forward at all.

Read the full piece at the link.

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Driving Me MadSix weeks holiday hasn’t been nearly enough for L.T. Smith, who’s been getting an entertaining whinge on in a new blog about her absolute reluctance to get back into the classroom (get back in there! I’ll finally be able to go swimming again once the kids are out of the pool!) Hidden amongst the highly amusing grumbles are nuggets of information about forthcoming books and short stories:

But I have been writing. Two short stories are finished but not edited. Attic Space is a ghost story that I originally penned for the Ylva anthology but she came out too big. I’m undecided what to do with her, but she will get my attention again before long. One thing I need to say though is that Attic Space did not have one single F word throughout. Not one! It was a challenge I set myself and through her I realised how hard it was for me to write without being a potty mouth. But, I did it. Go me. F**k yeah!

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Writer-Sarah-Waters-006Finally this fortnight, for anyone who’s harbouring a secret stash of period photos, there’s a new competition on Sarah Waters‘ website that’s right up your street. She’s looking for pictures from London in the 1920s to match scenes in The Paying Guests, and a complete set of her novels is up for grabs for the best entrant. Go here for more details.

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News roundup: it’s quiet…

14 Aug

It’s rather quiet in UKLesFic land this week, with every other bugger on holiday, so here’s a mini news bulletin:

If you’ve read all your holiday novels and want a taster of some forthcoming delights, then look no further than these free samples and a short story.

renegadeThe Renegade by Amy Dunne is a post-apocalyptic story set in a camp run by a dangerous cult where the women are slaves – a slight change in genre from her Christmas romance Season’s Meetings. The book will be published in September but you can have a nose at the first three chapters here.

lavieenbleuJody Klaire is another flirting with a different genre – a rom-com this time with La Vie en Bleu. You can have a shufti at the first chapter on Jody’s blog here.

And if you fancy sitting back and having a short story read to you, then the audio version of Clare Lydon‘s short story Once Upon a Caravan (published in the L is For anthology) is available on her website here.

too late I love youIf your holiday reading didn’t yet include Kiki Archer‘s Too Late…I love You, then here are a couple more reviews that may sway you:

She Magazine from the US says “Too Late…I Love You is the queer answer to rom-com classics like Notting Hill, only with more toddlers. This one is sexy, fun, and adorable, with a twist that’s truly clever. Pick it up before the summer’s over.” And lesfic blog The Lesbrary has a longer review which ends “this book is hilarious. The dialogue and the goofy physical comedy shine. I cared about the characters and had a great time reading about them. I highly recommend this to fans of lesbian romance and anyone looking for fun light reading.” You can read The Lesbrary review in full here.

arc over timeJen Silver is back in the UK after her jaunt to the GCLS conference and she has a few pictures on her blog. She also continues her series of posts about her characters from Arc Over Time and Starting Over.

And finally, the Manchester Literary Festival provides an excellent opportunity to catch some of the big lesfic names this year with appearances from Val McDermid, Carol Ann Duffy and Jeanette Winterson. Events are spread throughout October and you can find the full list here.

That’s all folks!

News Roundup: New Books from Karen Campbell and Jen Silver, Clare Ashton Hits a Top 10, Val McDermid webchat, Sarah Waters video, and much more!

9 Apr

Be warned, this week’s news is fuelled by unseasonably warm sunshine and loads of Easter chocolate, so things might just get a bit giddy. On the bright side, if I do decide to write this whilst wearing shorts, at least you won’t be able to see them!

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diary of a broken heartLet’s kick off with the news that Karen Campbell has published her new novel The Diary of a Broken HeartThis is Karen’s third novel, and its blurb reads like this:

The Diary of a Broken Heart is a year in the life of thirty-eight year old lesbian, Vivian Westwood. Viv is an over-weight night-shift Tesco worker, who likes to eat, watch ‘Jeremy Kyle’ and lament the state of her love life.

The diary introduces Viv and her friends: Trace at work with the topsy-turvy love life; best friend, Lor, that Viv is hopelessly in love with; and her pen-pal Flash (Morag Gordon) who obsesses over Kate Bush.

But this is more than just a diary. This is an insight into the mind of an ordinary woman, who gets through her ordinary days in an ordinary way until she is diagnosed with cervical cancer. This diary will bring her self-deprecating humour to the fore as she fights this ghastly disease and begins to see her life in a new way, finally seeing the truths from her past and making decisions for her future happiness.

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that certain somethingMeanwhile, over at the Lesbian Review, Clare Ashton‘s Lammie nominated RomCom, That Certain Something, has been included in their Ten Best Lesbian Books:

This is a delightful, quirky romance with a boatload of angst thrown in for good measure. This is my favourite of Ashton’s books. It manages a lightness not generally present in her work. The characters are well written and believable. The book is filled with moments so lovely you wish you could frame them and keep looking at them.

The site has a full review of the novel here.

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clarelydonClare Lydon (AKA: The busiest author in LesFic) has narrated the first chapters of The Long Weekend and London Calling for your listening pleasure. You can find both excerpts here.

If you’d like the chance to meet Clare in person, she will be chatting to readers and selling her books at the 2015 Indie Author Fair, April 17th at Foyle’s bookshop in London. For more details about this Indie extravaganza and a chance to win one of 40 books, see Clare’s blog or our bang-up-to-date Events page.

And squeaking in just under the deadline – the sixth episode of Clare’s Lesbian Book Club podcast, which features an interview with Katie Bennett-Hall of Planet Of The Books, is available to listen to right here.

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arc over timeSome news on forthcoming books now, and Jen Silver recently revealed the cover and blurb for her second novel, Arc Over Time, the sequel to her début, Starting Over.

Dr Kathryn Moss, professor of archaeology, has much to think about. The job offers are flowing in after her exciting archaeological discoveries at Starling Hill the previous year. Now she has choices to make that could jeopardise her relationship with Denise Sullivan, the fiery journalist, who has become her lover.

Den has her own worries. She feels they have moved beyond the casual sex stage to something more like a true relationship. However, she’s not sure how to handle Kathryn’s continuing infatuation with Ellie Winters, the beguiling owner of Starling Hill farm.

Arc Over Time is a journey of discovery for all involved. I hope you will be tempted to come along for the ride.

The first chapter is available to read here, and the book is due for publication in May.

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PLayinginshadowSticking with the theme of sneak-peeks, a quickie reminder that Bold Strokes Books publishes excerpts of their forthcoming novels that are far more expansive than the traditional Amazon “Look Inside” feature. This means that the first three chapters of Gill McKnight‘s Soul Selecta, Lesley DavisPlaying in Shadow – both released this month – and Jenny Frame‘s May début, A Royal Romance, can be found by hitting those handy links and clicking on the Excerpt tag.

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With a general election pending, those of you who have ever wondered about the political bent of thrillers and crime fiction can hop over to this link where Val McDermid will set it all out for you. I’m not sure it’ll help you choose which idiot will make the least mess of our country over the next five years, but it does make for interesting reading:

val mcdermidThe current preoccupations of the crime novel…lean to the left. It’s critical of the status quo, sometimes overtly, sometimes more subtly. It often gives a voice to characters who are not comfortably established in the world – immigrants, sex workers, the poor, the old. The dispossessed and the people who don’t vote.

The Guardian also ran a live webchat with Val towards the end of March, the full transcript of which can be found here.

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intothefireRemember the days before Facebook, e-books and Twitter? Remember modems and dial-up? It’s hard to believe that fifteen years have passed since the release of Manda Scott‘s Dreaming the Eagle, but my grey hairs would seem to suggest that that much time has actually gone by, and this blog by Manda adds further credence to the claim:

We’ve sold somewhere around a million books since then. And this week, the e-book of Eagle was reduced as a way to introduce Boudica and her era to a new generation of readers around the world (we’re working on the US/Canada digital version, trust me on this) and to give them time to work through the series before the launch of Into the Fire in the middle of June. (It’s a dual time line book. Half is set in the world of Jeanne d’Arc, another woman warrior whose story is not remotely as we’ve been led to believe: the other half is contemporary – if you want a taste of my contemporary thrillers, head back to No Good Deed). 

Read the full blog here if you want to know more about Manda’s novels, and get all nostalgic about waiting till after midnight to access the Internet because the lines were busy!

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Writer-Sarah-Waters-006A treat now for Sarah Waters fans, with a new video interview being posted over at her website. Sarah was chatting to Canadian LGBT online magazine Daily Xtra, and you can find the full 20-minute interview here. The Events page of Sarah’s site has also been updated to give details of a tour that’s taking in Scandinavia, South Africa, Australia, and um…Norwich. Some of the details are still pending, but you can get an idea of the locations and dates here.

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I think that about covers it for this week. The sunshine and my back garden bench are beckoning, so I shall bid you all a fond farewell.

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

28 Mar

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

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

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

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

Read the rest of the entertaining article here.

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

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

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

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On to new books and pieces.

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

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

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

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

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

FORGET WHAT YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW…

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

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

SOME LEGENDS NEVER DIE – but they may be rewritten…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Right, on to those events.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Phew! Nearly there.

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

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

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That is all. Good night!