Tag Archives: VG Lee

All’s Well That Ends Well…

27 May

For the past four years, Tig and I have had a blast creating this blog and this community of readers and UK authors. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege, and we owe a lot to the authors who’ve contributed, offered freebies, written blogs, and kept us up to date with their news and releases. To finish things off with a bang rather than a whimper, we corralled a few folks to answer one simple question:

What are your hopes for the future of lesbian fiction?

This is what they had to say…

Manda Scott

My hope for the future of lesbian fiction is that it remains vibrant, inspiring and above all, literate – that we continue to write stories that are not confined to the ghetto, but that spread to the wider world. At this time of global chaos, with the collapse of eco-systems and the 6th extinction happening all around us, and yet, with LGBTQ rights under threat in ways we thought were long gone, we need a resilient, informed, emotionally intelligent response that helps people to understand at a core level that we have more in common than that which divides us. The best of lesbian fiction has always offered that. My hope is that it will continue to do so.

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Manda Scott’s novels have been short listed for an Orange Prize, nominated for an Edgar Award and translated into over twenty languages. She was a long term columnist for the Glasgow Herald, is a reviewer for the Independent and has contributed to the Telegraph, Times, Daily Express and BBC History Magazine. She has appeared on Time Team as an expert on the Boudican era and contributed to Radios 4 & 5. Her most recent release is Into The Fire, a dual timeline mystery set in 2014 and 1429.

VG Lee

VGLeeOutside of the lesbian book-reading community, I feel that lesbian fiction – with a few notable exceptions – isn’t highly regarded.  For a change to take place, our authors may need to widen the scope of their work. I’ve said this before, but the number of respected mainstream lesbian authors can be counted on the fingers of our hands and this list hasn’t altered very much in years! I’m glad that there are many younger authors coming up, some I very much admire, so I do believe that the situation is going to get better.

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VG Lee is the critically acclaimed author of five novels: The Comedienne, The Woman in Beige, Diary of a Provincial Lesbian, Always you, Edina, and her latest release Mr Oliver’s Object of Desire. In 2012 VG Lee was nominated for a Stonewall Award for writing and in 2014 she won The Ultimate Planet award for Best Established Author. In her sixtieth year she decided to become a stand-up comedian and is now a regular performer at Laughing Cows comedy nights in London and the Midlands.

Jody Klaire

I’m really blessed that UK Lesfic was around when I started publishing books. Being an author is a wonderful career but it’s a really tough to establish yourself in a busy marketplace and having you guys supporting and cheering made a real difference. It’s been fantastic from my point of view to watch your own efforts, hard work and talent get more and more recognition. I’ve been cheering you guys too.

I think it’s important that, like a wonderful friend wanted, the bar is raised and continues to be raised. If we are respected for the polished prose, story-telling ability and high-quality of our work then our authors will be in a better position to reach, entertain and promote understanding in readers. I’d like to see more family friendly fiction with an emphasis on showing a positive, uplifting message that you can be sassy and classy. It’s important that message is clear. Self-respect is something I feel passionate about. I’d like any reader to be able to pick up my work and feel that they are unique and deserve respect whoever they are. The community is blessed with a perspective of what intolerance feels like and why it’s all that more important that to understand the right to be happy and loved should be universal.

Men’s strengths are often displayed in fiction but everyone seems to miss that women are incredible. We step up when needed; we run homes, work long hours, raise children (or furries,) seek to help others, feel compassion for others, take on so many different roles at once yet, usually, without complaint or hesitation. No, we roll up our sleeves and get on with making a difference every day. I try very hard to show that strength in my characters. I try to show just how beautiful we are as human beings inside and out. I hope it shows: Sassy but classy, intelligent and kind, compassionate yet strong and we should demand high-quality fiction that gives us the respect we deserve.

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Jody has been everything from a serving police officer, to recording artist/composer and musician until finding her home in writing. She lives in sunny South Wales in the UK with a ‘lively’ golden retriever called Fergus and other furry friends. She has four books released in the Above and Beyond series, and two in the Renovating Hearts series. You can find out more about her and her novels here at her blog.

Jen Silver

I had a dream…and awoke to find I was as famous as Sarah Waters…

A few months before my first novel was published, I attended a residential writing course and on the first evening all the participants were asked to give a brief description of what they were working on. I suspected I was the only ‘gay in the room’. So, when it came to my turn, I told them that I’d had a novel accepted for publication and it was a lesbian romance. Someone piped up, “Oh, like Sarah Waters.”

This was obviously the only lesbian author they’d ever heard of and I could only nod and say, “yes, like Sarah Waters”. Well, unless any of my books get made into TV series or films, I’m not likely to become that well known. But this is what came to mind when I thought about answering this question – what are your hopes for the future of lesbian fiction?

I hope that it will continue to flourish and grow. We need a strong presence—visibility—in the world, now as much as in earlier times. As both a writer and a reader, I want to create and read stories about lesbians who come across as real people leading normal lives, free to love who they want…not portrayed as monsters to either be hidden away or destroyed.

Later on, at the course I mentioned above, one young woman asked why I referred to my books as ‘lesbian romance’. Why didn’t I just describe them as ‘romance’? I don’t know what answer I gave her, but thinking about it now, my answer would be that a separate genre is necessary so that we can find books about ourselves.

Maybe, in time, that will change too.  A time when Sarah Waters won’t be the only name that defines lesbian fiction. A time when we no longer need a neatly labelled niche to share our stories with the world.

That is my hope.

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Jen lives near Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire with her long-term partner whom she married in December 2014. She has always enjoyed reading an eclectic range of genres including sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction and lesbian fiction. As well as reading and writing, other activities include golf, archery, and taking part in archaeological digs. Jen’s latest novel, Christmas at Winterbourne, was published by Affinity in October 2016.

Anna Larner

As I wrote this blog I began to think about what it means to have hope, after all hope is one of the most important strengths an individual can possess. It takes tremendous tenacity, resolve, vision, belief, and courage to hope for something. It is at the heart of the human spirit. Without hope very little can be achieved.

Have you noticed that hopeful people are rarely naive fools, but individuals who have spotted the possibility of something – they have seen what others blinded by scepticism may have missed. The hopeful see the potential in things.

Hope, like optimism, is infectious. A hope which is shared by others has energy to it and gathers a momentum which builds and grows to the point where it is unstoppable.

So with this in mind here are my hopes – I hope that we will continue to promote and carve out the physical and emotional space we deserve for the literature we cherish. I hope that we will remember the writers who went before us, who bravely put into words what many could not speak. And I hope that we will have the same self-belief and courage as them as we continue to imagine characters and narratives that console, captivate and inspire.

The only limit for the future of lesbian fiction is our ability to have hope for it.

I know that what we hope for together, as writers and readers, we can and will achieve.

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Anna has a degree in English Literature and Master’s degrees in The Word and Visual Imagination, and Museum Studies. She has written and curated a permanent exhibition of LGBT voices and memorabilia, based at Leicester’s LGBT Centre, one of the first permanent exhibitions in the UK. As a former member of the Steering Committee for the Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland LGBT History Project, Anna is passionate about preserving LGBT history and ensuring that LGBT voices are heard. Anna’s debut novel, Highland Fling, was published by Bold Strokes Books in April, 2017.

Clare Lydon

What are your hopes for the future of lesbian fiction?

Crikey, no biggie then.  I’d say the future for lesbian fiction looks bright – there’s never been a better time for lesbian fiction than now. More choice, more authors, more books, more sub-genres – you name it, it’s here.

But what I’d like to see is more crossover into the mainstream and more coverage in mainstream media. I already know it’s not just lesbians who read my books – they’re enjoyed by a cross-section of people representing all flavours of the sexuality and gender spectrums, which is great.

But I’m greedy – I want lesbian fiction to have a positive impact on more lives around the globe, to see our lives reflected back not just to us, but to millions more. And as the world gets more connected every day, the growth potential is there.Lesbian fiction to the masses! Hurrah!

Finally, in the romance and crimes genres especially, we have some cracking stories just begging to be made into films or TV. So my ultimate hope would be to see these stories hit some kind of screen, large or small, and watch their reach widen even further. Why not Cari’s Dark Peak series or my London Romance series on Netflix? Why not Tig’s Poppy Jenkins as a movie? I’d be watching, and I wouldn’t be the only one.

Thanks to you two for shining a light on UK lesfic over the past few years and for taking part in the rise of lesfic. When I first started writing, your site was invaluable, and you’ve been a constant support to countless writers over the past three years. We all owe you both a debt of gratitude.

I’m going now before I start sobbing ;0)

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Clare is a London-based writer of contemporary lesbian romance. She’s a No.1 best-seller on lesbian fiction charts around the globe with five full-length novels to her name, as well as writing the All I Want series, which concluded with its sixth instalment, All I Want Forever in January, 2017. Clare is a lively and enthusiastic member of the UK Lesfic community and regularly hosts the Lesbian Book Club podcast over on the Lesbian Lounge.

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And the final words go to…

Cari Hunter

I still remember how exciting it was to go into Gay’s The Word as a fledgling, still in the closet, wet-behind-the-ears lesbian, and discover shelf upon shelf of lesbian fiction. My girlfriend (now wife!) and I bought a copy of Sarah Dreher’s Stoner McTavish and dashed back a few days later to buy every other book in the series.

Almost twenty years later, fledgling lesbians are spoiled for choice in terms of lesbian fiction. As mainstream authors still have a tendency to sideline or closet their LGBTQ characters, the small presses and the indie authors have stepped in to fill the void, and they’re doing it in a considerable amount of style, climbing the bestseller charts, and proving that UK lesbian and bisexual authors are writing and that, more to the point, they’re being read.

My hopes for the future of lesbian fiction, then? That our community continues to thrive and to grow, and that the mainstream publishers and the mainstream media eventually sit up and recognise that we’re here and that we’re worth supporting. That UK authors continue to set their books within their own regions, and write in their own dialect, chucking in slang and foodstuffs that make people scratch their heads and hop over to Google. When it comes down to the nuts and bolts, I hope authors continue to write and readers continue to read, because that will ensure that lesbian fiction continues to exist.

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Cari Hunter lives in the northwest of England with her wife, their cat, and a pond full of frogs. She works full-time as a paramedic and dreams up stories in her spare time. Although she doesn’t like to boast, she will admit that she makes a very fine Bakewell Tart.

Cari has just finished a new crime series based in the Peak District. The first book – No Good Reason – won the 2015 Best Lesbian Thriller/Mystery Rainbow Award, and its sequel Cold to the Touch won a Goldie and a Rainbow Award for Best Lesbian Thriller/Mystery. The third book in the series – A Quiet Death – was published in January 2017.

Clare Ashton

Most of all I hope people keep writing, whether it be that detective of iron integrity or the hapless heroine of the romcom who wakes up in the armpit of the wrong woman. Comfort reads that delight even after the tenth reading are magic and a nugget of happiness for many.

A broad range of literature is essential for expanding your horizons and developing empathy towards others but finding yourself represented, validated and worthy of a happy ending is precious. So please, keep writing!

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Clare Ashton lives in the Midlands with her partner and two lovely distracting kids. She loves a moody atmospheric novel but she’s a big softie inside and can’t resist writing romcoms. Her latest award-winning romance is Poppy Jenkins.

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So for one last time: that’s all folks, from Cari and Tig.

News Roundup: New Release from SJ Campbell, Q&A With VG Lee, Blogs, Free Fiction, and More!

25 Feb

With Storm Doris (Doris? Really?!) upon us and the kids all off school, it’s probably a good idea to hunker down with a book and a brew. But first, the news…

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ishinnieIf you’re looking for a new book to take into the storm bunker with you, Ishinnie by SJ Campbell (who also wrote Diary of a Broken Heart and the Strange Adventures of Mavis Street) is fresh off the press:

ISHINNIE. Perfect love in a world where same-sex relationships are expected and heterosexuals are the minority. This is a book of two love stories.

Annie, who falls in love with the beautiful and career-driven Christina, never feeling good enough with her small dreams of a happy family. Annie is haunted by the death of her alcoholic father, destroyed when his husband leaves him for a woman, but Annie believes in ‘Ishinnie’ and that her perfect love with Christina will get her through.

Their son, Jim, tells his story as he falls in love with a girl at school, learning to hide his love for fear of ridicule and bullying. As Jim matures and his passions grow stronger, he has to learn what ‘Ishinnie’ is and take a stand.

Annie and Jim, mother and son, on a collision course because of their love, held together by Christina. Will they learn that the hardest part of love is forgiveness?

You can buy Ishinnie in e-book or paperback from all the usual places.

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emma-donoghue-illo_2373764bIf free fiction is more your thing, then The Globe and Mail (no, not that homophobic, bigoted pedlar of shite, but the Canadian one, which should be far more sensible and polite) are celebrating the occasion of Canada’s sesquicentennial by inviting a group of writers – from home and abroad – to celebrate the country’s history in fiction. Stir Fry and Frog Music author Emma Donogue is one of the first to contribute, and you can find her story – The Big Cheesehere.

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Skipping on to blogs now, and AL Brooks has a dual offering for us. First up is her Valentine’s Day piece, The Love of Writing about Love:

Every time I read such a book, I am in awe of the story-crafting that has been employed by the author to elicit such a reaction in me. How did they know which exact words to write, in that exact order, to make my heart beat just that little bit faster, and my stomach do that kind of tightening thing it does when I’m getting the “feels”?

You know what I mean, right? That indefinable combination of emotion and physical response to a scene that has you tingling with joy at what those two characters are sharing. It’s a good dose of empathy (if you’ve been there yourself), maybe envy (if you haven’t), a definite dollop of awwww, a hint of arousal, and an all-round deep satisfaction that you just cannot explain…

To get all squishy with AL, click on the link.

darkhorseTying in with the release of her new novel, Dark Horse, AL has also been blogging about her time spent in Australia:

I also spent a few weekends in Ballarat, a country town about 90mins drive from Melbourne. My housemates were from there originally, and still had friends back there they would meet up with for dancing at the (only?) nightclub in town. Ballarat was the only Australian town in which I ever really experienced homophobia – it was pretty redneck back in those days. And when I started plotting out Dark Horse, for me it was a no-brainer to set the main part of the story there, and show the new, grown-up version of Ballarat that is a significantly more tolerant place to visit these days.

Read the rest of the blog here.

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Anna LarnerNew BSB author Anna Larner is pretty damn chuffed about having her short story accepted for the forthcoming anthology Girls Next Door. Anna’s story – Hooper Street – will be available in the collection, scheduled for a June 2017 release:

Sometimes the most intriguing girls are right next door—BFFs, ex-girlfriends, new girls in town, party girls, study mates, team mates, and sexy strangers. All it takes is a night out, the right moment, or an accidental kiss to discover what’s been there all along—the perfect girl for a love that lasts a lifetime. Best-selling romance authors tell it from the heart—sexy, romantic stories of falling for the girls next door.

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vghome34The LGBTQ Arts Review has been chatting to VG Lee, who will be sharing an extract from her new book, Mr Oliver’s Object of Desire, at the WOW Festival Polari Salon on March 8th:

I was inspired to start writing when my long-term relationship broke up. At the time I was devastated and found myself writing sad, angry & self-pitying poems on scraps of paper. When life took a turn for the better, I joined a Creative Writing Class in Hackney and found myself writing quite humorous prose. At a local reading event the Editor of the then Diva Books liked one of my short stories and asked if I had a novel? I didn’t, but set to work on my first novel, The Comedienne, published by Diva Books in 2000 when I was 50!

The full Q&A can be found here.

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And that’ll about do us for this fortnight. Have a good weekend everyone!

 

 

News Roundup: New Author Nita Round, Festive Fare from Clare Lydon & Jade Winters, Polari with Kiki Archer Tonight in Brum, and More!

19 Nov

Hard to know what to say, really, when the last fortnight has seen the world whacked off its axis and many of our overseas friends are now terrified that all their hard-fought progress and steps towards equality could begin to unravel. As governments lurch to the right, it’s now more than ever that we need our community and our mates and our wits about us. And our stories, of course – we need to keep telling our stories…

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So it seems apt that we start this week by welcoming a new author to the site. Nita Round has been writing all of her life in one form or another, and she loves telling stories. Her head is full of them, and they all scream for her attention. Chosen as one of the winning entries in a short story competition, publication was the catalyst for her to write more, and she now writes full time.

She loves being outdoors in the garden or visiting sites of National heritage, but she also loves reading, cooking and gaming, and no matter what she always finds something to do. She lives in the heart of England with her wife of 21 years and their King Charles Cavalier, Rosie.

knightssacrificeHer first novel, Knight’s Sacrifice, is due to be published by Regal Crest in February (tentative release date), with a second, The Ghost of Emily Tapper, set to follow hot on its heels. This is the blurb for Knight’s Sacrifice:

For most people, running a funeral home is a dull and conservative line of work, but when Catherine Samuels inherits the family business she discovers that it is anything but straightforward. For a start, the dead do not always stay dead, they sit up, and they bite. In this strange world, Catherine needs help, and that comes in the form of Cassandra (Cassie) Evans, a heavily armed problem solver, knowledgeable in all things arcane and undead.

Cassie, however, hates her posting to Catherine Samuels. Her charge knows nothing of family, her heritage, nor her duty as the sole remaining caretaker of The Gate, a sentient construct that guards the way to hell and stops the inhabitants of Hell finding their way to the land of the living. Anyone who does not understand the importance of this duty is a liability. Catherine is a liability. Except that Cassie finds an unsettling attraction developing between them that she neither expects nor wants. Duty first, there is no room for emotional entanglements, and certainly not with a woman who rejects all that Cassie thinks is important.

When Catherine finds herself on the brink of losing everything, Cassie, her family, and even life itself, then she must awaken. She must become The Samuel, The Gate Keeper and guard the way between the living and the dead. To make it safe she must travel to hell, with the warrior that she has chosen, and there, if they survive, she must heal the problems of the Gate before all hell breaks loose.

You can read more about Nita here on her website.

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content_it-had-to-be-you-3d-smallJust in time to offer a bit of pre-festive cheer, Clare Lydon is giving away copies of her new Christmas-themed novella It Had To Be You over on her website:

When Georgia meets Milly, she knows she could be a game-changer. But then she meets her mother, and all hell breaks loose.

To get your freebie gift, hit this link and complete the small form on the page.

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a-christmas-kissAnd, judging by the new cover on Jade Winters’ Facebook page, it would seem that she also has something in mind for Christmas. No details of release or content as yet, but we’ll do our best to keep you updated.

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NicolaGriffithNicola Griffith has written a blog post in remembrance of her US editor, Ellen Key Harris-Braun, the woman who was the first to see the potential in Ammonite (“this sex-romp-on-girlie-planet, or radical-reexamination-of-gender, or biological-What-If”). It’s a very fond and interesting look back at those initial steps towards publication and well worth a read:

And then one day the president of Ballantine, Linda Grey, walked through the Del Rey offices, caught sight of the sketch, and said, “What the hell is that?” Ellen started to explain but Linda Grey gave her a look and said, “Del Rey’s an SF imprint; put a spaceship on the cover.” So that’s what happened. Ammonite, my precious first novel about self- and other-worldly exploration acquired a lurid orange and yellow illustration, complete with jelly-bean spaceship…

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never-enoughNew Bold Strokes author Robyn Nyx has been blogging on the publisher’s official site about the gamut of emotions involved in publishing as a first timer:

There’s disbelief when you read the email offering you a contract for your pretty paper baby. Then comes elation, because someone actually believes you’re talented enough for them to invest $10,000 to edit, produce, and market your manuscript. A few short months later, there’s pain…

You can read the full piece here, and her debut, Never Enough, was released this week.

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kikiarcherpolariPolari, the LGBT Literary Salon, is making an appearance as part of Birmingham’s Shout Festival at the Mac, TONIGHT (Saturday 19th November). Kiki Archer, Scott Campbell & VG Lee will be reading from their latest novels, and a good time is always had by all. The evening sold out when it was held last year, so for tickets and more specifics, hurry over to the main site.

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Finally this week, for anyone who has been following Jody Klaire‘s downloadable Whistleblower series, the fourth part, Not Genuine, is now available by following this link at Jody’s blog.

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Whatever you may be up to this weekend, have a safe one.

rainbow-hands

 

News roundup: new books, free books, blogging, reviews and the C word!

8 Oct

Dig out your woollies and grab a mug of hot chocolate – it’s time to snuggle up with some books.

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And there’s lots of new lesfic for you to get your mitts on this week.

flirting-with-dangerFirst up is Jade Winters with Flirting with Danger.

When the stepdaughter of a celebrated tennis player goes missing, ambitious journalist Astrid is determined to find answers.  This is the high profile story she’s been waiting for; the case that could bring her the recognition she so craves.

In her hunt for clues, Astrid’s attention is piqued by an intriguing tweet from Callie—a family friend of the missing girl.  

Convinced Callie might be a strong lead, Astrid follows her instincts and tracks Callie down. The encounter is one which will throw her whole being off balance.  

As the pressure to find the missing girl intensifies, so does the attraction between the two women.  With so much at stake, can Astrid hold her nerve and heart enough to deal with the shocking conclusion?

aquestionoftrustJane Retzig has a sequel out to The Wrong Woman. A Question of Trust is a lesbian mystery romance and is FREE on Amazon this weekend! Grab a copy here.

Three months have passed since the events of ‘The Wrong Woman’. Saskia is now working part-time with Jaiden, who is struggling to hide her feelings for her new friend and co-worker. Saskia thought Jaiden was flirting with her when she invited her to work ‘undercover’ and she’s frustrated that their private investigations have never wandered even remotely close to the erotic.

Neither Jaiden nor Saskia have had much luck with love. But when they finally kiss, it feels different… passionate… and unconditional. Then a major problem comes crashing into Jaiden’s life and her first instinct is to hide it.

And as secrets and lies start to spiral out of control, Saskia questions whether she should ever have trusted Jaiden with her already wounded heart.

mroliverVG Lee’s new book, Mr Oliver’s Object of Desire, has a male protagonist but I believe it also contains lesbians. In any case, who wouldn’t want to hear about a new VG Lee book.

Mr Oliver was a man of the moment in the 1960s, but as he reaches his fiftieth birthday he’s a decade out of date. From his bachelor flat to his relationships with women, he orders everything around him with the same rigour and precision that he uses to manage The Store in London’s Oxford Street.

Yes, he knows his Aquascutum from his Berkertex, can spot a linen mix fabric from twenty yards, but he doesn’t recognise his nemesis, Claire Daker, when she walks into his life.

Hired as ‘the face of youth’ by the impeccably trouser-suited Head Buyer Miss Frances, Claire, with her pleated mini-skirts and citrus lemon knee socks, proves to be the agent of change for both of them.

Enter Doreen Mildmay, a passionate woman who always gets her man, and the man in her sights is Sydney Oliver. She knows a broken man when she sees one and she’d like to fix him. But does he want to be fixed or would Mr Oliver rather pursue his object of desire?

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Cold to the TouchJudging is underway at the Rainbow Awards and Elisa is rolling out honorable mentions throughout October. Those books that scored at least 36 out of 40 get a mention, and Cari Hunter ran off with three for Cold to the Touch:

Talk about cold! Cari Hunter writes winter so that you feel the snow creep down your collar or the wind whistle through the rip in your pants. She makes you feel the ache of fatigue from three nights in a row of too little sleep, and the terror of thinking you’re losing your job, your career, your best friend, and your chance at love.

The-Club-by-A.L.-BrooksYou can read the other judges’ comments here.

AL Brooks has also garnered praise for her erotic debut The Club which seems to be hitting the spot:

This was an interesting first time offering. Definitely loaded with juicy erotic scenes and well-developed characters.

More here.

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Jen Silver has been blogging in the run up to the publication of Christmas at Winterborne and introducing readers to her characters:

christmasatwinterbourneWinterbourne is the name of the lesbian guesthouse – almost a character in its own right. And the story takes place over Christmas when guests arrive for a seasonal holiday programme starting on the 23rd through to the 27th of December.

With five weeks leading up to the release of this, my fifth novel, I thought I would drip-feed some information about the house and the characters involved. I hope I’m not going to put off some potential readers by revealing that there are fifteen characters with an active role in the story. And that’s just the human ones.

There are also horses and dogs because this is, after all, a country estate. So I’ll start by introducing the two oldest characters, both in their late 70s.

Catch up with the cast list revealed so far, including the young Londoners on Jen’s blog.

TheLongWeekend-640x1024Clare Lydon’s been a busy gal this year with her All I Want Series, but don’t forget her other novels including The Long Weekend. Clare has been reading an excerpt from her second novel for the Lesbian Talk Show. You can have a listen here.

kikiarcherprofileKiki Archer has been answering The Lesbian Review’s author profile questions. Have a look here to find out what inspired Kiki to start writing and how she describes her style. She also delves into what inspired each novel and of her latest, Lost in the Starlight, she says:

I just wanted to create a story where a hidden secret keeps you from being your true self. I love the world of celebrity and shows like The X factor. I’m also led to believe there are stars who choose to hide their sexuality for fear they’ll no longer be popular. I wanted to write about someone who was brave enough to be honest and how this could actually enhance their popularity and success. Thus Honey Diamond was born.

annelisterNot fiction but very lesbian and fascinating: Sarah Waters visits Anne Lister’s home of Shibden Hall and talks about her life and loves and reads from her diaries. Tootle over here to listen to Sarah and to have a nose around Shibden Hall.

hindsightMeanwhile Jodi Klaire has revealed a sneak peek of her forthcoming book, Hindsight (book 4 of the Above and Beyond series).

Have a shufti over here for a taster.

Also on Jodi’s blog is her free downloadable series, The Whistleblower, which features Susan from The Empath and also other characters familiar to readers of the Above and Beyond series. The series is downloadable as a PDF and is up to episode 3. Here’s the link to the beginning.

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The Lesbian Review has been busy with the Brits this week and had great things to say about them all.

no good reasonCari Hunter’s No Good Reason:

“This novel is dark and brooding and brilliantly written. Sanne is one of those women with zero self confidence but so much heart that you cannot help fall in love with her. She takes everything very seriously and acts tough but is really quite unsure of her own value.

Meg is a quirky character who is known for swearing at irritating patients. She and Sanne have a deep bond and she is protective over her friend, always knowing when she needs something more than she is saying.

It is beautifully written. Hunter transports you right into the world she creates and keeps you firmly in the grip of the icy weather, craggy rocks and oppressive atmosphere.”

lostinthestarlightKiki Archer’s Lost in the Starlight:

“Lost In The Starlight is an absolutely charming, hilarious and gorgeous story or two women from different backgrounds learning that life is a little more complicated than they thought when it comes to love and secrets…

I was not sure that Archer’s book could live up to such a good title but it did. And the title was explained in the book in a well thought out moment. (I was a little worried it would be cheesy but it wasn’t.) Apparently I worry about things that I have no need to be concerned about. I was in safe hands with Kiki Archer.

poppy jenkinsClare Ashton’s Poppy Jenkins:

Ashton did an amazing job with the characters. Every one was beautifully explored. The quaint town of Wells was as much a character in the novel as the human cast and I could not help but fall in love with it.

This book is beautifully written, yet easy to read. It is filled with conflict but you like all the characters. It is set in a small town that is dying and you hope for its resurrection. It really is a special novel.

AllIWantForChristmas-Clare-LydonThe last two are also included on The Lesbian Review’s list of Light Romances That Delight together with Clare Lydon’s All I Want for Christmas of which the article says:

As Christmas comes hurtling towards us, I start to feel all warm and mushy. I love Christmas, but after reading this novel I am pretty sure that Lydon has me beat in that department.

This is the novel that made me crown Lydon as the queen of lesbian rom/com. It is utterly charming and has some of the funniest lesbian moments that I have ever read.

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Ooooo, makes you want to start Christmas already. (Apologies to non-Christmas fans who are struck down in paroxysms of outrage at the mere mention of the C word before December. Actually I don’t mean that. CHRISTMAS!!!)

News Roundup: New Author CK Martin, Reviews, Threesomes, Bargain Books, Giveaways, and More!

24 Sep

With the debacle of the Great British Bake Off’s C4 sell-off travesty hanging heavy over us all here at UK LesFic, it’s a good thing we have so many new books to cheer us. So, Ready, Steady…BAKE READ!

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dirty-little-warFirst up, we’ve recently added a new author to the UK LesFic listings. C.K. Martin loves writing character-driven stories, so you’ll find her books in the romance, crime and fantasy genres. She believes that realistic, diverse and engaging characters shouldn’t come at the expense of great plots – readers deserve to have both – and is a big fan of the slow burn when it comes to relationships, so be warned!

When she’s not writing, she can usually be found with her nose in a book (or pressed against the Kindle screen). Her third biggest passion in life is travel, so although she says she’s based in England, for much of the year you won’t find her there. Instead she’ll be hanging out with her wife in some amazing city or, more likely, at the beach. Read more about CK and her novels here at her blog.

CK’s current release is Dirty Little War, the blurb for which reads like this:

Evie Baedeker knows her place in the world. Born into a life of organised crime in the gritty East End of London, she has endured nothing but hardship and disappointment. Then one night, in a sleazy bar, fate sends a dangerous opportunity her way.

Carmen Trogan, daughter and heir apparent to a rival business, has no idea who Evie is when their eyes meet across the dance floor. But Evie knows all about her. The chance to bring the rich and beautiful woman to her knees – both figuratively and literally – is too good to pass up. Sparks fly from their first kiss, but Evie is playing a dangerous game. There are consequences that come with spending the night with a woman like Carmen.

Will she be able to walk away from the best night of her life, or will she risk it all to see Carmen one more time?

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lostinthestarlightIf you’re fond of relaxing and letting someone else do the work for you, then take a peek at Kiki Archer reading the first chapter of her new super smash hit Lost in the Starlight. Kiki will also be appearing alongside VG Lee and Scott Campbell at the Polari Shout Festival on Saturday 19th November at the Birmingham Mac. The event sold out last year, so get your skates on and head here for more details and tickets.

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Never one to shy away from a contentious subject, AL Brooks has been discussing threesomes in her There Were Three in the Bed post over on the Ylva blog:

The-Club-by-A.L.-BrooksThe other main issue women have with it is that, somehow, saying you’d want to experience a third woman in the bed equates to you saying that there’s a problem with your sex life as it is. That there’s something ‘missing’. That may be true in some instances, but I think if both women in the couple are open to discussing sex freely and without judgment, they could find that it’s something that appeals to them both, and add a whole new dimension to the way they enjoy each other. There could also be a specific reason why a third woman could compliment their existing relationship – for example, if the couple has a very established top/bottom dynamic and one (or both) wants to occasionally play with the other role.

If that snippet has tempted you into reading the full piece, hit the above link.

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Some reviews now to tempt you in the direction of recent releases…

Les Reveur (ooh la la!) has thoroughly enjoyed Nothing to Lose by Clare Lydon:

I found the novel light, sexy and easy to read. It was exactly what I was in the mood for. The characters had genuine life and love obstacles and I found myself cheering them on throughout…This was the first novel by Clare Lydon I’ve read and I’ll definitely be watching out for her next. 

AllIWantForSummerMeanwhile the lasses at The Lesbian Review have been casting their critical eye over All I Want For Summer:

This book reminded me why I hate camping, but it also reminded me why I enjoy this series. It’s charming, light and fun and keeps you reading until you realise you’re at the end. I am super surprised at how this one ended though, much darker than usual. I can’t wait for the next book to see what happened.

And Gill McKnight‘s Welcome to the Wallops:

I love when an author gives me a great storyline, wonderful rich setting, believable characters, and new information that enhances the story, but never interrupts  or takes away from it. Ms McKnight ticked all those boxes for me.

Read the full text of those reviews here and here.

Clare Ashton‘s Poppy Jenkins continues to garner strong write ups. This first from Jess van Netten at the Lesbrary:

poppy jenkinsThere is underlying current of chemistry between Poppy, the out lesbian, and Roslyn, the seemingly straight friend, that moves the story along at varying speeds. At times, it reaches fever pitch, with sexual innuendoes providing very funny conversations between the leads. I laughed out loud many a time, explaining little plot points to my wife as though talking about my friends.

And this in-depth review from Shira Glassman on her blog Welcome to the Mangoverse:

Poppy may as well be a 21st century Anne of Green Gables or other costume drama small-town girl, full of buoyancy and enthusiasm, as well as love for her village and its people. But by making her this, the author doesn’t rob her of her sexuality, and that’s what makes this so wonderful. A woman’s sexual–not just romantic but sexual–attraction to another woman is depicted as innocent and wholesome. Do you have any idea how fucking healing that is?

Click both links to read the full text.

Just-My-Luck-by-Andrea-BramhallAnd finally, The Romantic Reader has had fun with Andrea Bramhall‘s new comedy release Just My Luck

While Bramhall’s other novels have serious plots, murder, kidnapping … this book is just more fun. These characters talk to you, the reader, and it took me a few chapters to get into it, once I did I was hooked on them. I loved being in their headspace, feeling their struggles right along with them.

If you fancy trying your luck to win a copy of this book, Andrea is running a Goodreads giveaway for five signed copies. The closing date for entries is October 7th.

Wendy Hudson is also running a GR giveaway for three signed copies of her new Scotland-based thriller/romance, Four Steps. Closing date for this one is September 30th.

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Bargain books!

snowbound-for-blogFrom free books to very cheap books now, with Clare Lydon‘s second novel The Long Weekend currently on e-book sale for the whopping bargain price of 99p.

And Cari Hunter‘s debut romantic Peak District-set thriller Snowbound is today’s e-book Daily Bargain over at the Bold Strokes website (Saturday 24th September only.) It’ll be on sale for $2.99 (about £2.30) until 11.59 p.m. (EDT) and will also come hand in hand with Jenny Frame‘s short story Dapper, which is free with all BSB e-book purchases throughout September.

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Hopefully there’s enough in that little lot will tide you over for a while. Meanwhile, let’s just remember the good times before they get taken away from us…

bake-off-gif

News roundup

15 Jul

It’s a topsy turvy week when Britain puts forward the Blonde Bombshell Boris Johnson as the face of UK diplomacy, but things have been a little more sane in lesfic land.

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GCLS clean logoCold to the TouchTo start with, that talented writer Cari Hunter got what her books deserve at the Golden Crown Literary Society Awards this week when she was awarded the best Crime novel. Both books one and two of her Dark Peak Series made the short list but Cold to the Touch came out on top. Congratulations Cari!

No other Brits won awards this time. Maybe Boris can put a good word in for us when he nips over to see Hills.

On to forthcoming books.

BeforeKE Payne is done checking the proofs for her new YA romance Before.

The novel will be out in September and here’s the blurb:

When the confident, determined Alex Brody joins the successful band Be4, sparks fly between her and her bandmates, none more so than with Tally Mullins. But as their success continues and Tally learns more about Alex, her dislike turns to admiration. Soon Tally finds out that there’s far more to Alex than she first thought.

AllIWantForSummerClare Lydon continues the adventures of Toni and Holly in the next of the All I Want series.

The next installment, All I Want for Summer, is out in two weeks. No blurb yet, but watch this space. Not this space literally. But that kind of space, or thereabouts in the next news. I digress….

Meanwhile, we do have a blurb for Jody Klaire’s Hindsight. This is part of the Above and Beyond series, and here’s that blurb in this space:

hindsightEscaping your past isn’t always easy. Aeron Lorelei gets a vision that her general and close friend, Ursula Frei, has been captured and seriously hurt but Aeron doesn’t know by who, where and why. All she knows is that Frei is getting weaker and they have to find her… fast. So Aeron and her commander, Renee Black, set out on the trail using the only information they have to go on: the memories of Frei’s past which are triggered when Aeron touches a padlock, a padlock that shows the depth of the scars Frei holds inside. As the memories get more vivid and Aeron’s still dimmed burdens begin to drain her, Renee is faced with losing both the women she adores. But, the memories begin to point to just why Frei is missing and Renee faces the decision to keep faith in Aeron’s “burdens,” and what her own heart is telling her, or pull Aeron out and lose Frei, her best friend and the woman who once saved her life.

Hindsight will be out in August and is available for pre-order on Amazon.

poppy jenkinsOn to reviews and the Romantic Reader enjoyed Clare Ashton’s sunny tale of romance in mid-Wales.

“This book is a true gem. For the very first pages you are taken by the beauty of the Welsh village as much as the main character Poppy. You become invested in the characters, rooting for their triumphs, and sharing their sadness. Poppy Jenkins is not the book to pass on. This one will steal your heart. Good luck on getting that back!”

You can read the rest of the review here.

heart of the packAnd Jenny Frame’s hairy tale of love, Heart of the Pack, was reviewed on Inked Rainbow Reads:

“I thoroughly enjoyed this book from the first page! I was pulled into the story and couldn’t put it down. The romance between the two women was beautifully written. I loved finding out about the pack and meeting many of them. The pack dynamic they have is so interesting. I wouldn’t mind moving there!”

Read the full review here and also catch Jenny reading from the Heart of the Pack on the Lesbian Talk Show podcast.

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PolariOnSeaLastA couple of reminders before I go and check the news and inadvertently extend the kids’ vocabulary in an unfortunate way.

It’s the last Polari on Sea event on Wednesday the 27th July with an impressive lineup including Maureen Duffy and VG Lee.

It will be held in the evening at the Printworks in Hastings and you can get more information and tickets here.

The-Club-by-A.L.-BrooksAnd a quick reminder about new books.

The Club by AL Brooks is available now from the Ylva site and from Amazon on the 20th (pre-order is available).

What kind of club do you think those two gals have joined…?

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Toodle-pip!

 

News roundup: new books from Clare Lydon and Cherry Potts, BSB and Polari events, and a good natter with Cari Hunter

30 Jan

News comes from the cold-virus reservoir that is the Ashton household this week. There’s a lot of it around I was told, when I was clearly asking for sympathy. Anyway, the more helpful suggested whisky as a relief, so let’s hope this doesn’t go too awry…

New books

AllIWantForValentines_FinalHot off the press is Clare Lydon‘s follow up to her Christmas bestseller All I Want for Christmas. All I Want for Valentine’s is the second book in the series that continues Tori and Holly’s story. And Clare has more novellas planned which follow their story through the year – All I Want for Spring is due out in March.

Here’s the blurb for book two and you can read more about the series here:

Did you read All I Want For Christmas and love it? Great news – Tori & Holly are back, ready to tackle the New Year as a loved-up couple! But what would complete the picture? A cat, of course. But to make that happen, Holly sets Tori a challenge. If she completes it, she’ll get a kitten for Valentine’s Day. But nothing’s ever that easy, now is it?

Step back into the lives of Tori & Holly in this funny, romantic and heart-warming story, the first in a series set to follow the lives of London’s favourite lesbian duo throughout 2016. Clare Lydon’s books are packed with sharp wit and charm, guaranteed to leave you feeling upbeat! Don’t delay – snap up this book today!

The Dowry Blade FRONT Cover finalMeanwhile, Cherry Potts, is also on the verge of publishing her lesbian epic fantasy, The Dowry Blade, a labour of love and an epic task in itself. The book is due out on the 25th February and there are launch events at Lewisham Library (24th February at 6.30 pm), Clapham Books (25th February 7.30 pm) and Beckenham Bookshop (3rd March at 7 pm).

Other launch events are being planned and she’ll be doing a giveaway on Goodreads from 25th February. Here’s the blurb.

Trust anyone, even an enemy…Trust no one, not even a friend

Nine years after the loss of her sister, and near obliteration of her clan, Brede is living unwillingly in the marshes. The sudden ending of a decade long drought, brings with it many changes: rumour has it that the rain was bought at the price of a King’s head, and the sword needed for such a sacrifice is missing. Change comes for Brede with the arrival of Tegan, a wounded mercenary. Brede’s discovery, first of the Dowry Blade and then a stolen horse, sets in train a journey in search of her missing sister and leads to an unexpected role in the Queen’s household, and a powerful lover.

starstruckAlso a quick reminder that Lesley Davis‘ latest, Starstruck, is now available. Lesley has been blogging about her new novel on the Bold Strokes Blog:

What was fun this time around was nearly everyone plays two parts. Cassidy Hayes is an actress so you’re introduced to the character she plays as well as her true self. Aiden Darrow is a writer, someone well used to having one foot in the real world and another in imaginary realms. She also loves the character Cassidy plays on screen and that’s where the idea for my story originated. Can someone very fantasy minded separate the actress from the character she plays? Especially when she is such a fangirl of the show the actress stars in?…Did I mention Cassidy has a stalker?

You can read the rest of the post here.

Blogs and interviews

Cari HClare Lydon’s continuing the Lesbian Book Club and this week she had a good natter with Cari Hunter. Definitely worth catching up with the podcast to hear Cari talk about how she got into this writing lark, how she’s found working on her excellent Dark Peak series, and of course a mention or two about biscuits and a brew is never far away. Here’s the link.

(As part of the interview Clare did ask her how the UK LesFic blog came about, but Cari couldn’t remember. I’d take offence, but I can’t remember either.)

gillmcknightIt’s been Gill McKnight‘s turn on the Ylva blog hop and she’s been ruminating about how she came up with her latest book The Tea Machine:

“The Tea Machine really began with a kernel of a thought, something my history teacher said eons ago that stuck. She was one of those teachers that make the subject they teach come alive. She pointed out that if the Romans had used steam as a source of power, the way, say, the English industrialists had, like George Stephenson (the father of the locomotive steam engine) for example; then we would probably all be living on Mars now

Here’s the full post.

lavieenbleuJust time for a quick review. The Lesbian Reading Room reviewed Jody Klaire‘s romcom La Vie en Bleu.

“La Vie en Bleu is an absolutely lovely read. It is well written, humorous and full of excellent human observation combined with an interesting version of the classic re-united lovers romance. It is very different from the Above and Beyond Series, but like all Ms Klaire’s work is extremely well done.

You can read the full review here.

Events

Some details on forthcoming events now.

bold books logoBold Strokes will be hosting another book festival in Nottingham. The event is in its seventh year and a great opportunity to meet some of the UK Bold Strokes authors (and the odd stray American) and hear about their latest books. The event takes place on the weekend of June 4th-5th and you can find more details as they come available on the Facebook event page.

VGLeePolari-on-sea is back after its successful run in Hastings last year. The next event is on Wednesday February 24th and includes readings from VG Lee – you can book tickets here.

VG is also running the Polari Writing Class at The Printworks in Hastings. It’s a set of six afternoon workshops that coincide with the season’s evening events. Dates and topics are:

Feb 24th – Ways into writing
March 22nd – Characterization.
April 27th – Flash fiction and poetry
May 25th – The short story
June 29th – Memoir and storytelling
July 27th – Ways to take your writing forward.

Attend all the classes or pick and choose. Price is £5 per workshop (or £25 for all six) payable in cash on the day. To reserve a place, email VG at vglee@dircon.co.uk.

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That’s all folks!