Tag Archives: VG Lee

A Frolicking and Festive Q&A

18 Dec

We close out this year with our annual romp beneath the mistletoe with some of our most popular UK LesFic authors, who very kindly took the time to discuss their reading highlights of the year, the books they’re most looking forward to in 2016, and their traditional festive indulgences…

 

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Clare Lydon

Clare-Lydon-LV-cropClare had a busy old year in 2015. Not content with releasing two novels (This London Love, and the festive frolic, All I Want for Christmas), she continued to hosting her popular Lesbian Book Club over on the Lesbian Lounge, and appeared at LFest. Keep up to date with Clare, here at her blog.

– What was your favourite read of 2015 and why?

all the littleI read quite a few books in 2015, but two stuck in my head. The first was G Benson’s All The Little Moments. It’s a debut novel about a family dealing with grief and it had me in floods of tears – I mean, *sobbing*. But as well as being a family drama that put me through the wringer, there was romance, no shortage of humour and two gorgeous little kids running around the novel too. The characters stayed with me and continue to pop into my head months after reading it.
My second choice is a book written in 1969 but only read by me this year. It’s called Patience And Sarah by Isabel Miller and it’s the story of a love affair between two women in the 19th century and is loosely based on a true story. It’s poetic, sublime, romantic and made me want to crawl inside the pages and just lie there, soaking it up. I loved every delicious word and plan on reading it again soon. If you haven’t read it yet, do it!

– What’s top of your reading wish list for next year?

at the waters edgeI’ve interviewed loads of fab authors on my Lesbian Book Club podcast and quite a few have new books coming out next year. I’m particularly looking forward to new novels from British authors Angela Peach and HP Munro – we’ve been waiting a while, but I’m sure it’ll be worth it! Also, Harper Bliss is planning on producing something every month, so she’s going to be interesting to keep an eye on – I really liked her At The Water’s Edge. It’s going to be a stellar year I’m sure!

– What’s your favourite seasonal traditional or indulgence?

I love Christmas and all its traditions. I love the invisible deadline whereby you have to see all your friends beforehand, so end up having dinner out for 20 days straight (it’s already started for me). I love autumnal weather. I never get bored of hearing Wham!, Mariah, The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl. I love The Holiday, Elf, The Muppets Christmas Carol. I love buying presents, sending cards, inhaling tins of Quality Street and glugging mulled wine. But most of all, I love the excitement and anticipation of Christmas. The build-up is pure, blissful magic.
The Boxing Day hangover, though? Not so good.

HP Munro 

hp munroHP lives in Edinburgh with her wife and a wauzer named Boo. Her début novel Silver Wings was shortlisted for the Golden Crown Literary Society Historical Fiction award in 2014, her second novel Grace Falls was published in Feb 2014, swiftly followed in late May by novel number three, Stars Collide. 

– What was your favourite read of 2015 and why?

the red filesjpgIt’s been a good year for reading, as most of my favourite authors all published this year (some of them twice!) but I’m going to go with one that I sort of stumbled across. The Red Files by Lee Winter, had everything that I wanted and more. Action, suspense, and political drama. Not to mention my absolute favourite plotline of a love story -two protagonists who start out from a point of dislike who are thrown together to unravel a bit of a mystery.

– What’s top of your reading wish list for next year?

In the interests of my own sanity I’d love to have a book out there next year, aside from that – non lesfic I’m impatiently waiting for Christopher Brookmyre’s new book in January and lesfic wise I’ll settle for all my favourite authors publishing again….twice!

What’s your favourite seasonal traditional or indulgence?

My favourite thing about Christmas is my wife’s face when I inevitably select the most humungous tree (last years was over 12ft) When we get it home I put on the festive music, crack open a bottle of bubbly and dress up in my Santa suit to decorate the house.

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Karen Campbell 

karencampbell2Karen has just published her fourth novel The Strange Adventures of Mavis Street, and won the Ultimate Planet (New) Author of the Year Award in 2014. Karen is Scottish, grumpy in the morning, supports Arsenal and Rangers, and drinks lots of Irn Bru. She is partial to a tattie scone and square sausage when she goes home. She likes music to be played loudly and is not keen on spiders. At all.

– What was your favourite read of 2015 and why?

all my friendsI don’t read lesfic, although I did read The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, which was good once I got past the 200 page mark. I found it slow to begin but she writes beautifully so I didn’t mind. My favourite book I read this year was called All My Friends Are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman.

– What’s top of your reading wish list for next year?

I am getting a Jeanette Winterson book for Christmas called The Gap of Time. It is a reworking of Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale. I love Jeanette, she is my favourite
author in the whole wide world.

– What’s your favourite seasonal traditional or indulgence?

I don’t have any. I am the only Scottish person I know who doesn’t get drunk at Hogmanay. I participate in Christmas for other people, I don’t care one way or the other. It’s nice to see my nephews happy but other than that, I think the message has been lost. We need to be kind and thoughtful all year.

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Jenny Frame

jenny frameJenny hails from the small town of Motherwell in Scotland, where she lives with her partner, Lou, and their well loved and very spoiled dog. She made her lesfic début in 2015 with A Royal Romance, and her second novel Heart of the Pack is due to be published in May, 2016.

– What was your favourite read of 2015 and why?

PLayinginshadowI’m way, way, behind on my 2015 reading list, but of the ones I’ve gotten through I enjoyed, Playing In Shadow by Lesley Davis, and Just Three Words by Melissa Brayden, and The Romance Vote by Ali ValiPlaying In Shadow I really enjoyed because it had lots of elements I really enjoy, including video games references and gothic rock. Just Three Words is a sweet book. So utterly romantic that it makes you swoon. The Romance Vote was really enjoyable to read. I knew next to nothing about the American political system, and I came away from the book with a little bit more of an insight into it. The second thing thing that made it so great was the deliciously handsome butch character, which you can always be sure to find in a Ali Vali book.

prescription for loveWhat’s top of your reading wish list for next year?

I’m hoping to catch up on my reading list over Christmas and the New Year, and first on the list is, Ready or Not by Melissa Brayden, and Radclyffe‘s Prescription For Love.

What’s your favourite seasonal traditional or indulgence?

Terry’s Chocolate Orange. Yum yum!

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Andrea Bramhall

BSB-AndreaBramhallLgAndrea is a Stockport native who now runs a campsite in Deepdale, and is planning a move to the Lake District in the not too distant. Somehow she finds time to write novels and scuba dive! Her second novel, Clean Slate, scooped the 2014 Lambda Literary award for best lesbian romance. Her sixth novel, Collide-O-Scope is due to be published by Ylva in 2016.

– What was your favourite read of 2015 and why?

The Red Files, by Lee Winter. Funny, good mystery, great characters, and some pretty hot love scenes. Well worth a read.

What’s top of your reading wish list for next year?

the fifthTop of my reading list for next year – hmmm, tricky. There are so many books on my “to read pile” right now. Building a house is not conducive to keeping up to date with new releases. But I’m really looking forward to Michelle Grubb‘s upcoming release The Fifth Gospel. I’ve really enjoyed Michelle’s previous two books, so I’m excited about this next one.

– What’s top of your reading wish list for next year?

Fave seasonal piece – I don’t really have a fab seasonal book. I like to spend time with my family and friends so I spend more time away from books at this time of year than any other. We do have a sort of tradition though. On Christmas Eve my partner and I watch Christmas movies…lots of them, but A Christmas Carol is always one of them. Used to be the old black and white one, but we’ve modernised. Patrick Stewart as Scrooge works best now.

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Manda Scott

manda-scottManda Scott’s first novels were a series of critically acclaimed crime stories featuring lesbian detective Kellen Stewart, and her debut Hen’s Teeth was short-listed for the Orange Prize. More recently she has been better known for her best-selling historical novels – the Boudica Series and then the Rome spy thrillers set in the same era. Into the Fire published in 2015 is a historical thriller linking arson attacks in modern-day France with the story of Joan of Arc.

spygames2My favourite read is always the most recent – which is Spy Games by Adam Brookes. It’s not remotely lesbian, but it’s an exceedingly good spy thriller, one of the best I’ve ever read.  This man really is the new Le Carré.

Of the rest, Tuesday Falling was excellent (by S Williams) and I always love the work of Andrew Taylor: his most recent A Silent Boy is exceptional. Non-fiction would have to be This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein and in the light of the Paris climate talks, this has to be required reading for everyone, along with The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert. If you haven’t read both, they’re essential.

– What’s top of your reading wish list for next year?

The new Neil Gaiman, whatever that is. The new Andrew Taylor, whatever that is. The new Imogen Robertson

– What’s your favourite seasonal traditional or indulgence?

Christmas indulgence… I give myself a week of reading between the solstice and the end of the month – which is sheer, unencumbered indulgence and gets me through the seasonal hostilities. I’m really, really looking forward to this.

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VG Lee

VGLeeVG Lee is a fond favourite of many a lesbian fiction reader. Her first novel Diary of a Provincial Lesbian was a treasure back in the days when lesbian fiction was thin on the ground. And now in more plentiful times, her work
stands out for its quality, comedy and poignancy. Sarah Waters described her most recent book, Always You Edina, as “A real treat of a novel”. As a judge of the Polari First Book Prize, VG samples a good selection of queer fiction and her recommendations are always worth heeding.

carol– What was your favourite read of 2015 and why?

I re-read Carol by Patricia Highsmith as the film was due out. I’d feared that it might sound dated but quite the contrary. It’s a great, exquisitely written book – the characters aren’t particularly likeable but that seems very in keeping with much of the fiction today. Haven’t seen the film yet but the book would make a great Christmas present.

– Which novel is top of your wish list for next year?

DeliriumDelirium, the Rimbaud Delusion by Barbara Scott Emmett. Now I’m not sure if this is lesfic as I’ve only heard a short section from it when the author, Barbara Scott Emmett was chosen from the Polari Workshop in Newcastle to read at the evening event. It did sound as if there is at least a lesbian element in it. The piece the author chose to read out captured the entire audience and I’ve now ordered the novel on Amazon.

– What’s your favourite seasonal traditional or indulgence?

I may have mentioned this before but I spend the whole of Boxing Day in bed with Christmas present books and cheese and pickled onion sandwiches for lunch and dinner. Pickled onions courtesy of author Rose Collis!

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Kiki Archer

Kiki-264After a year out screenplay writing, the original lesbian chicklit favourite came back this year with a scorcher of a novel. Too Late I Love You smashed the lesbian fiction charts and had a foray into the contemporary fiction charts too. Rumour has it that a glitzy novel is on its way for next year.

– What was your favourite read of 2015 and why?

justthreewordsMelissa Brayden‘s Just Three Words. It’s the second in the Soho Loft Series and focuses on Hunter and Sam, two friends, work colleagues and house mates who risk everything when desire takes hold. I loved the book because it portrayed a growing shift of feelings between friends. Come on, we’ve all been there – that friend who’s a friend, until they’re not.

– Which novel is top of your wish list for next year?

gettingbackI have so many I need to catch up on, but top of the list is Getting Back by Cindy Rizzo. Cindy excels when writing strong and powerful women and I love the idea of a novel focused on the publishing industry and changes within it.

– What’s your favourite seasonal traditional or indulgence?

Christmas is my favourite time of year. The tree is always up by December 1st, the house is swamped in festive lights and carols are played on repeat. As for indulgence it has to be tree chocolates. It’s the naughtiness of announcing to the children they cannot be pinched without permission… and the minute they’re in bed that’s exactly what I do. No one in the family knows I’ve replaced the whole batch three times already.

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rainbow treeA massive thank you to each of our participating authors – we hope they’ve given you plenty of ideas for stocking fillers! All that remains for Tig and I to do is wish everyone a very happy Christmas and a peaceful 2016. We’ll be back with more news, guest blogs, and features in January.

News Roundup: awards, events, new books, freebies and more!

15 Dec

It’s time for the last post of 2015!

Apart from the next post that is, which is our fabulous best of 2015 lesfic as chosen by several wonderful UK lesfic authors. But apart from that, here’s the last post of the year!

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no good reasonAnd firstly massive congratulations to that Cari Hunter whose No Good Reason has made off with the Rainbow Award for Best Lesbian Mystery/Thriller. The awards organiser Elisa Rolle was tickled to make out the award certificate: “Cari Hunter has been awarded… for No Good Reason”. But actually there were very good reasons and the book was judged to be “Brilliant” and “A fabulous mystery”. More details and fine words about the book here.

Cold to the TouchAnd if you’ve had the good sense to have read No Good Reason already, you are in luck because book two of The Dark Peak series, Cold to the Touch, is now available on Amazon.

The Velvet Lounger at the Lesbian Reading Room has been quick off the mark and reviewed Book 2 already:

Cari Hunter writes decidedly good stories. She combines excellent plot lines, which twist and turn, with crime drama and just the right amount of thriller to keep us on the edge of our seats. Each book feels distinctive, enjoyably new and refreshingly different to standard crime dramas. Cold to the Touch is a sequel to the excellent No Good Reason, and fans of Sanne and Meg will love where she takes them this time. Cold to the Touch is more than strong enough to stand alone, but why miss an excellent series?

blindtrustYou can read the spoiler-free review here.

Congratulations also to Jody Klaire whose Blind Trust was runner up in the Rainbow Awards in the Best Lesbian Mystery/Thriller category. Jody is on Book Three of the Above and Beyond series and you can get a sneak peek at Untrained Eye on her website.

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Speaking of awards, The Ultimate Planet Awards are now open for voting. The awards were created to recognise, thank and promote the work of grass-roots event organisers and community businesses who improve the lesbian, bi and queer scene.

ultimateplanetThere are three categories related to lesfic: Independent Author with nominees Dawn Carter, Karen Campbell, Kiki Archer and Sally Edwards. Publishing House Author with LT Smith, Sarah Waters and VG Lee. And LBQ Book nominees Diary of a Broken Heart by Karen Campbell, Murder by Proxy by Dawn Carter, The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters and Too Late I Love You by Kiki Archer. Good luck to all the nominees and get voting here.

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AllIWantForChristmas-Clare-LydonOn to reviews, and The Lesbian Review has been busy. First up is Clare Lydon‘s All I Want for Christmas. The review site says:

“All I Want For Christmas by Clare Lydon is a must-read Christmas novel. It will fill you with holiday cheer and make your heart sparkle with twinkly lights.

It is the story of Tori who, exactly a month before Christmas, decides that all she wants for Christmas is someone to love. This ensues in a delightful romantic romp through bad dates, missed opportunities and long lost loves returning to her life.”

You can read the full review here and if you fancy buying a signed copy for Christmas then scuttle over here before last post.

starting overJen Silver‘s Starting Over is also reviewed:

The book starts off with one of the most awkward and hilarious visits that I have ever read… This is a gentle read that explores the intricacies of a relationship and what it means to different people. It’s an awesome read for people who like happy endings and for those who like to take a peek into other people’s lives.

Read the full review here.

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A bit of blogging and chatting now.

catherine hallIt’s good to hear that Catherine Hall, author of The Repercussions, is working on a new novel. She did a rare blog recently about getting back in the saddle and her writing routine:

I’ve been accused before of obsession, of being compulsive about order, my habits, my routines, and I think there’s probably some truth in it. But to get to the marathon end of a novel, a certain amount of obsession is required. You have to protect your time to write it from all the other people and things that make their demands. You have to really care about this thing that you’re creating, enough to keep going for as long as if takes, going back to it day after day, facing your own imperfections, your lack of talent, nitpicking over words, checking details, historical fact. It’s horrible, it’s exhausting, it’s fantastic.

You can read the full piece here.

Cari HMeanwhile, Cari Hunter has been ruminating about why she writes what she writes. Why crime and why lesfic?

When I put pen to paper at the start of No Good Reason, I didn’t really consider my motives. Crime has long been a favourite genre of mine, and I had thoroughly enjoyed getting my teeth stuck into the police procedural aspects of my third novel Tumbledown, so it seemed like a natural step to try my hand at writing a fully fledged crime novel. I also craved the opportunity to write a series, and a format where a fresh case could be investigated by recurring protagonists fitted that bill nicely.

Read on here.

jenny frameAnd Jenny Frame, author of A Royal Romance, was interviewed over on Lynn Lawler’s site. Jenny talks about why she started writing, her background and her inspiration behind A Royal Romance. There’s also a sneak preview of her forthcoming book Heart of the Pack – A Wolfgang County Novel.

You can read the full piece here.

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HopeHeartWinterRebecca Buck has a new short story set in the roaring twenties and, at the moment, it is free on the Bold Strokes Website! Here’s the blurb.

In 1927, Evadne Burns invites her closest school friends to join her for a weekend reunion at her grand home, Winter Manor. The passing of time and the dark shadow of the First World War has shaped them all as women, yet their friendships remain strong. The tragedy of the era has only made them more determined to live their lives to the full.

Evadne is delighted to see Clara and Courtney again, two women dedicated to each other since they were schoolgirls and still unable to keeps their hands off each other, even in view of Winter’s servants. There is the more conservative Madge, to remind them of the life they were expected to lead. But most of all, Evadne is pleased to see Edith Richardson, with whom she shared one precious night but left a lasting connection. With Edith, she chooses to share a secret that will affect the rest of their lives, together or apart.

Rebecca’s forthcoming novel, Fragile Wings, set in the same era is also available for pre-order on the site. And she also blogs about the Great War over on the Bold Strokes Author Blog site.

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wheniknewyouKe Payne has a release date for her next novel, When I Knew You. It’s her second adult romance (after Once The Clouds Have Gone). It’s just been through its final edit stage and will be published by Bold Strokes in March. Here’s the blurb:

When Ash Wells and Nat Braithwaite are thrown together after seventeen years apart, old resentments and passions are rekindled. The days of their heady teenage relationship are long gone – or are they? As they put aside their differences to honour the memory of a friend, Ash and Nat learn that sometimes, to build a future, you have to be willing to let go of the past.

Ke will be with us in the new year to tell us about her latest book.

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VGLeeA little way in the future yet but some early notice from VG Lee about a Gaia Women Tutored Writing Retreat next September in Scotland. The event runs from 5th to the 10th. VG will be the resident tutor supplying advice and running the writing workshop covering the novel.

There will also be a second tutor overseeing the short story section. For more information on the retreat see the Gaia Woman website.

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Writer-Sarah-Waters-006On to more best-selling authors and their favourite picks.

Sarah Waters was recently interviewed at the Cinema Museum in London about her Desert Island Movies. Here’s her list. And while you’re on her website check out the details for the theatre adaptation of The Night Watch starting in May in Manchester.

manda-scottManda Scott has been picking her favourite books of the year over on her website. She’s picked the best of her reads from fantasy to World War II fiction. See the full list here and there’s more from Manda in our best-of-2015 Q&A!

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Finally the fabulous Women and Words are running their Hootenanny so nip over there every day for the chance to win in the massive lesfic giveaway!

Tara a bit!

News Roundup: New Releases from Karen Campbell & Angela Peach, Polari Readings, Andrea Bramhall Cover reveal, and Free Stuff!

21 Nov

Welcome to a rather wet and shivery news update, written on one of those days where you just want to curl up with a nice cup of tea and a good book. So howsabout you stick the kettle on and I’ll have a toot at what’s on the shelves this week?

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strange adventures ofAnd I can indeed start by telling you all about a new book. Karen Campbell Diary of a Broken Heart, The Knowing, Little Whispers has recently released The Strange Adventures of Mavis Street, a book that – it’s fair to say – sounds unlike anything else in the pantheon of UK LesFic.

Mavis Street is a dwarf with one brown eye and one green eye, and a lopsided mouth. She grows up in the love of her mother and father, who teach her the lessons she needs for life. Growing up adept at poker, she wins a casino, buys a strip joint (where she first meets the beautiful Eladora Diodata) and runs a funeral parlour. She is assisted in life with best friends, Freya the Norwegian, Allistar Spanner and Sven the Swedish fisherman.

But Mavis needs a love and is lonely. She has a voice of honey and this dwarf talent leads her to a late-night radio show, where she broadcasts through the night, unable to sleep with longing for her lost love, Eladora Diodata.
Finally, Mavis will receive word that Eladora must be rescued and Mavis and Sven will set off on a course that will alter all their lives.

This is a book about family and love and friends and even though you may look in the mirror, as Mavis does, and think yourself ugly, there is always a true lover waiting who sees that you are beautiful because beauty is not measured in centimetres.

You can buy the book at the link above.

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VGKikiI had the pleasure of meeting Karen at the recent lesbian authors coffee shop event in Urmston where she read her short story, Voices Carry, from the Little Whispers collection. It’s a gorgeous story and – as luck would have it for those not in Manchester that day – Polari have posted a video of Karen reading it for the November Polari event.

Karen shared the bill with Kiki Archer and VG Lee, whose readings from Too Late…I Love You, and Diary of a Provincial Lesbian can be watched by clicking the links.

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cloud heartsMeanwhile Angie Peach is gearing up for the release of a new novel in February/March 2016 by releasing a selection of short stories to whet the appetite. The first, Cloud Hearts, is available here on Amazon:

I’m waiting in the meadow for her, for Elizabeth. The last place she could possibly be, and I hope that after all this time, she’ll remember. Because if she doesn’t…well, the consequences don’t even bear thinking about. We parted in the worst way possible and even though it took me a long time to come to terms with what had happened, I know the burden she carries weighs heavy in her heart and there’s every chance she can’t let go of the past.
But she must. If we are to ever have a chance at love again, she needs to forgive. Please, Elizabeth? Please?

Keep an eye out for more shorts as the release date creeps closer.

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collide o scopeAndrea Bramhall has unveiled the cover and the blurb for her forthcoming release Collide-O-Scope, her first with Ylva, which will be published in April 2016:

An unidentified woman is found murdered on the North Norfolk Coastal Path and newly promoted Detective Sergeant Kate Brannon and Kings Lynn’s CID have the task of figuring out whom, how, and why. A job that’s made more difficult when every one of the forty residents in the village has something to hide and answers her questions with a string of lies.

Georgina Temple has her own secrets to keep, and her own reasons to keep them. But her growing attraction to Kate makes it increasingly difficult to keep them.

Kate’s investigation into the woman’s death delves into the heart of the tiny fishing village where nothing and no one is quite what they seem.

Andrea’s most recent novel, The Chameleon’s Tale, was also reviewed by the Velvet Lounger this week:

“In the latest offering, The Chameleon’s Tale, we are firmly planted in South Africa, starting during apartheid when being liberal was a dangerous personal statement, and jumping forward to the present day, when the anger and pain of that era is still deeply engrained in all those affected. It combines romance, as do all Bramhall’s books, with a personal intrigue and a political thriller – in this case a page-turner dealing with corporate greed and social abuse.”

You can read the full review here.

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AllIWantForChristmas-Clare-LydonAll of which brings us hurtling to everyone’s favourite bit of the news: Free stuff!

First up is Clare Lydon, who is giving away a free bonus chapter of her chart-topping festive romance All I Want For Christmas. If you’ve read the book and you want to find out what happens to the characters on Boxing Day then all you need to do is sign up to Clare’s mailing list and she’ll send you the chapter for absolutely no pence whatsoever. Can’t say fairer than that.

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Cold to the TouchAnd that’s not all… Being a generous type, I’m currently running a giveaway for two copies of Cold to the Touch – the December sequel to No Good Reason. The first couple of names I pull out of the hat when the draw closes on Sunday 22nd November will win a paperback – signed or unsigned! – and a bag of delicious pork scratchings 🙂

You can enter by commenting here on my blog, or by saying hallo on my Facebook page. You are not obliged to eat the pork scratchings. Good luck!

 

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sdmFinally this week it’s with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to lesbian fiction author Sandra Moran. Sandra – who had many UK friends, myself and Tig among them – died on November 7th with her family by her side, shortly after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.

Sandra’s first novel Letters Never Sent was published in 2013 and went on to win Rainbow awards for Best Lesbian Historical Romance and Best Lesbian Début, a Goldie for Dramatic General Fiction, and the Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award. Nudge followed hot on its heels in 2014, and All We Lack was published in March of this year.

Sandra had only spent a few years in the LesFic community, but her love of all things neon, taking blurry pictures of her cats and creating daft pie charts, along with her just being a damn good egg, made her a very popular lady indeed. She’ll be hugely missed, and our deepest condolences go to her family.

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

11 Sep

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

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First up, new books and new authors!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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On to author blogs.

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

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

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

Read about the rest of Jody’s adventures here.

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

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

You can read the full review here.

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

For full details and dates see the Polari Website.

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

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

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

News Roundup: New Books from Jade Winters, Gill McKnight, Rebecca S. Buck, and Amy Dunne, Goldie Win for Andrea Bramhall, Clare Lydon Does a Lot of Stuff, Reviews, Events & More…

31 Jul

Huzzah! It’s finally stopped raining and there’s a weird yellow light in the sky. Let’s shake off our brollies and see what the UK LesFic lasses have been up to…

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Hopefully, the sun will continue to shine for Saturday at least, as Brighton Pride prepares to strut its stuff and get out the gay. Clare Lydon will be hosting shenanigans in the literature tent with a line-up that includes Catherine Hall and Carol Robson. You can find general information about tickets and timings on the festival’s main page, and Clare has more info about the book side of things here.

clare lydonIf you want to keep up with Clare (and she takes some keeping up with – she’s a busy lady!) then head to the subscription page for her newsletter where you’ll get exclusive info on first reads, new releases & offers. And if you need proof of how busy she is, you can read her recent Women & Words blog here (nb. the giveaway has finished), and watch her compering the recent Indie Panel at LFest here. Finally, just slipping in beneath the deadline is the latest episode of The Lesbian Bookclub, featuring Clare’s interview with Bold Strokes author and all-round lovely person, Crin Claxton.

Videos of VG Lee‘s and Kiki Archer‘s LFest stints have also been posted on YouTube. Hit the names for the links.

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nightingaleCongrats to Andrea Bramhall whose novel Nightingale won a Goldie for Best Lesbian Romance at the GCLS conference last weekend. The Brits had a great presence in the finals, and Jen Silver and Angie Peach both made it over to New Orleans for the event, so fingers crossed UK authors will pick up a few more gongs in future years!

If you want to read more about the conference, Jen has just posted a recap of her GCLS experience over on her blog.

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Plans for the inaugural lesbian book festival to be held at the Hideaway Cafe in Urmston (Manchester) are picking up speed. The date is set for September 12th, with proceedings scheduled to kick off at 2 p.m. So far, the authors confirmed attending are: I Beacham, Andrea Bramhall, Karen Cambell, Veronica Fearon, Michelle Grubb, Cari Hunter, and Jen Silver. Cake, tea, lesbians, and books. It’s a no-brainer really. The women’s LGBT book club is also up and running at the cafe on the first Tuesday of each month, 7-9 p.m. See the website for more details.

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in it togetherNew books now, and Jade Winters has recently released her twelfth (crikey!) novel, In It Together:

Cara has no one but herself to blame for the situation she finds herself in – she broke the cardinal rule: Don’t read someone’s personal diary. But what if she hadn’t? How long would it have been before she found out that Maddie, her girlfriend of four years, was sleeping with her flatmate?

Now suddenly homeless, Cara flees to her family home in the heart of Cumbria to lick her wounds. There Cara reunites with the past she so desperately tried to outrun and comes face to face with the heart wrenching dilemma that caused her to leave in the first place.

With nowhere to hide Cara finally has to confront her demons head on. Does she tell the truth and risk tearing a brother and sister apart? Or does she carry on with the lie and be without the love she has denied herself for so long?

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cover_the-tea-machine_500x800Meanwhile, Gill McKnight has revealed the gorgeous cover for The Tea Machine, her first release after shifting publishers to Ylva. Gill has promised “Victorian ladies, and giant space squid, and hunky big Amazonian warriors with lasers, and tea”, and the official synopsis reads like this:

The story of a love that never dies…except it does, over and over again.

London 1862, and Millicent Aberly, spinster by choice, has found her future love—in the future! She meddled with her brother’s time machine and has been catapulted into an alternative world where the Roman Empire has neither declined nor fell. In fact, it has gone on to annex most of the known universe.

Millicent is rescued from Rome’s greatest enemy, the giant space squid, by Sangfroid, a tough and wily centurion who, unfortunately, dies while protecting her. Wracked by guilt and a peculiar fascination for the woman soldier, Millicent is determined to return in time and save Sangfroid from her fatal heroics. Instead, she finds her sexy centurion in her own timeline. And Sangfroid is not alone; several stowaways have come along with her.

Soon Millicent’s mews house is overrun with Roman space warriors and giant squid.

The book is due for release in November.

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BSB-HopeHeartWinterSkip forward into December and Rebecca S. Buck‘s new lesbian historical story, Hope in the Heart of Winter, will be released onto e-book via Bold Strokes:

In 1927, Evadne Burns invites her closest school friends to join her for a weekend reunion at her grand home, Winter Manor. The passing of time and the dark shadow of the First World War has shaped them all as women, yet their friendships remain strong. The tragedy of the era has only made them more determined to live their lives to the full.

Evadne is delighted to see Clara and Courtney again, two women dedicated to each other since they were schoolgirls and still unable to keeps their hands off each other, even in view of Winter’s servants. There is the more conservative Madge, to remind them of the life they were expected to lead. But most of all, Evadne is pleased to see Edith Richardson, with whom she shared one precious night but left a lasting connection. With Edith, she chooses to share a secret that will affect the rest of their lives, together or apart.

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renegadeWith The Renegade hitting shelves in September, Amy Dunne has posted an excerpt from her futuristic apocalyptic romp (is “romp” the right word a book that pretty much wipes out humanity before the end of the prologue? Probably not!) over on her blog. I’m sure we’ll be hearing much more from Amy as the release date rolls around, but for now get stuck into the first chapter, or head to the book’s official page on the BSB website where the first three chapters are ready and waiting, and where the book can be pre-ordered.

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too late I love youOver at Chick Lit Plus, reviewer Michelle has been finding a lot to like in Kiki Archer‘s Too Late… I Love You:

Without giving too much away, I will say there is some hilarious banter in here. Some of it is crude so it’s not for the faint of heart but I was literally laughing out loud at some of the things that came out of everyone’s mouth. The twist at the end completely took me by surprise. It was actually fantastic. For a book I would not have normally read, I really enjoyed this.

You can find the full review at this link.

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Writer-Sarah-Waters-006Off to bonny Scotland now, and the Edinburgh International Book Festival, where Sarah Waters and Jackie Kay will be discussing their favourite Virago Modern Classics authors on Saturday 15th August.

The Female Gaze: Classics by Women Writers

Three of Britain’s best-loved contemporary writers join us to discuss their favourite Virago Modern Classics author. Sarah Waters discusses Rebecca West, Maggie O’Farrell chooses Molly Keane, and Jackie Kay opts for Zora Neale Hurston. Why were these wonderful writers previously neglected, and what does their work tell us about the contemporary author who chose them? 

Chaired by Lennie Goodings as part of her Guest Selected strand of events.

The event will take place at Baillie Gifford Main Theatre, 5A Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, Midlothian EH2 4DR, at 5pm. For further information and tickets, head here.

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NicolaGriffithAnd we’ll round out the fortnight with Nicola Griffith discussing why it’s so important to count women’s stories, in a recent interview with the Seattle Review of Books:

My book Hild was out here in paperback and it came out in the UK in hardcover, so I had to do publicity — write “five-best” lists and, you know, that kind of thing. So I was thinking about my five favorite historical novels and I wrote them down and I was pleased because at least three of them, or actually four of them, were by women. I thought, “yay women!” And then I realized that those books by women were all about men. And then I thought, “goddamn.” These were my influences…

You can read the full piece at the above link.

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Right, that little lot should keep you ticking over for the next couple of weeks. If you do happen to catch some sunshine, be sure to make the most of it!

L Fest 2015

21 Jul

The sun shined DSC_1606on L Fest this year, and a fun and cozy event it was too. Live music got the big top treatment and the arts stage was hosted nearby in an airy bright tent. Stalls lined the edges of two grassy areas with everything from busking to dog shows. There were fewer author panels this year, and no fiction workshops, but what the sessions lacked in quantity they certainly made up for in quality.

Karen Campbell

Jubilation at working microphones and a brilliant reading from Karen Campbell

First up was the Indie Panel ably captained by Clare Lydon. HP Munro had the unenviable task of kicking off the show before the microphones arrived but was beautifully audible by the time her reading of the merkin scene from the much-loved Stars Collide came around. Sally Edwards read from her self-confessed highly autobiographical debut How to Love. Karen Campbell enthralled the audience with a brilliant reading from her work in progress about a lesbian dwarf. And Suzanne Egerton, who has one of those voices you need for Book at Bedtime, delivered her humorous story Diva like a pro.

Polari Panel

The fabulous Polari panel: Diana Souhami, host Paul Burston, VG Lee, Kiki Archer and VA Fearon

Sunday morning was time for Paul Burston‘s Polari panel and a large and eager crowd was up early to see some sparkling readings. VA Fearon started the session with a reading from her gritty London gangland thriller The Girl With the Treasure Chest. Some light relief was dished out by Kiki Archer with the shitting-mobility-scooter-icecream scene from Too Late…I Love You, much to the delight of the audience. Diana Souhami was a great inclusion, effortlessly entertaining with her own witty observations and reading wonderful snippets from her biography of the fascinating Alice B Tokas and Gertrude Stein. VG Lee supplied the grand finale with two Deirdre stories to a most appreciative crowd.

Manda Scott

Manda Scott

The last author session was from the big-selling Manda Scott. The historical fiction author took a handful of questions and then talked most impressively about everything from living in round houses to knights steering horses with their bums and how genuinely terrifying battle reenactments are. She offered a few interesting tidbits about her writing career such as her name change (to MC Scott) being forced upon her for the Rome series, much to her chagrin, and the barriers to writing the Boudica series – pressure to keep to her previous thriller brand and established historical authors suggesting there was not enough material to support new fiction – Manda went on to write a series of four sizable tomes.

It was, all in all, a fabulous festival. But let’s hope 2016 sees a beefed up arts side to L Fest.

Polari

Polari panelists VG Lee, Paul Burston, Kiki Archer, Diana Souhami

HP Munro

HP Munro reading the merkin scene from Stars Collide

Suzanne Egerton

Suzanne Egerton

News Roundup: Clare Lydon Lovin’ In London, Kiki Archer & L.T. Smith Interviews, New Releases from Manda Scott & Jenny Frame, and More!

3 Jul

With a mini heatwave, England coming so close in the footy, and everyone cooking at Wimbledon, it’s been a busy ol’ fortnight here in the UK. So what have all our authors been up to?

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This-London-Love-CoverIt’s always nice to kick off the week with a new release, and we’ll start with the new ‘un from Clare Lydon, whose third novel This London Love is currently riding high in the UK amazon LesFic charts. The book is a spin-off from Clare’s début hit, London Calling, and you can find a trailer for it right here.

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For all those folks who live up north, the rather fabulous Hideaway Cafe in Urmston, Manchester is building on the success of its regular Saturday LGBT nights by launching a women’s LGBT reading group. The inaugural meeting will be on Tuesday July 7th at 7 p.m., and it’ll be a chance to meet like-minded women, pick a book, and eat cake. And trust me, the cakes there look amazing. Also, the cafe is licensed, which is always good news. The cafe’s owners – the Sponge Sisters – have strong ties to the local LGBT community, and Jo and her missus are also planning a lesbian book fest to take place on September 12th 2015. The details are still being finalised, but Tig and I will be going along, to read, chat, sign, but mostly to eat cake with lesbians. Personally I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday. Hit the link for more information on the Hideaway, and we’ll keep you updated with details of the book fest as we receive them.

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too late I love youWith Too Late… I Love You kicking up a storm in the Amazon charts, Kiki Archer has been chatting to Plumsauce Productions about the novel and her move towards writing mainstream fiction:

I noticed that my two previous novels One Foot Onto The Ice and When You Know both broke into the mainstream contemporary romance charts, at one point sitting alongside JK Rowling’s Casual Vacancy. Both novels were obviously lesbian-romance, the covers and the blurbs made that very clear, yet they were charting as mainstream. This made me wonder how many straight women were actually enjoying my books, and if I did release one with a pretty, typically chick-lit-type cover, would this work to push sales even higher into the charts…

To find out exactly how successful that tactic was, hit this link.

The book has also been reviewed over at A Modern Girl’s Bookshelf, in a write up that emphasizes its appeal to a mainstream readership:

Something many people don’t realize (and something Too Late… I Love You certainly proves) is often, LGBT lit isn’t much different from popular lit that features a heterosexual relationship. I feel like there’s this unspoken misconception that gay/lesbian relationships portrayed in literature can’t be appreciated or enjoyed by straight readers. Sure, it’s viewed as “cool and quirky” to feature a secondary relationship that isn’t straight, but for some reason, if it’s the protagonist’s relationship, it’s a big deal. I’ll say it here, loud and clear: that is not true! Lately, popular fiction authors have been taking strides to rid the bookish community of this idea (see: Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On; Kimberly McCreight’s Reconstructing Amelia; John Green & David Levithan’s Will Grayson, Will Grayson), but LGBT genre writers have been doing it for years. Enter the captivating world of Kiki Archer…

For the full text of the review go here.

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heart of the packFollowing on from the success of her début novel, A Royal Romance, Jenny Frame has revealed the cover of her next book Heart of the Pack (a Wolfgang County novel). The book will be released via Bold Strokes in 2016.

Jenny’s début A Royal Romance has been well received by book blogger Leeanna.Me:

It was just fun to see the relationship develop between George and Bea, to see George’s life as queen and Bea’s as a commoner. It was also refreshing to see that both of their families were encouraging, even when Bea doubted that things could work between them because of their class differences. I did think the ending was a tad rushed, considering all the build up and back-and-forth on their relationship. But A Royal Romance left me wanting a sequel, and romances don’t usually do that to me.

Find the full review here

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L.T. Smith is the under the spotlight over at the Ylva website, with an interview discussing the reissued version of her novel, Once:

Personally, I would describe Once as a book about overcoming life events and experiencing the wondrous realization of how strong the human spirit actually is. Once is about rediscovering hope, falling in love, and learning to love life. This book is about friendship, new beginnings, recognising that although we do have limitations these are definitely outweighed by our strengths but it just takes a little time to remember that.
And, best of all, Once has a dog in it. What else do you need to know?

The interview also reveals the title and cover for L.T.’s next novel Driving Me Mad, which is apparently “a little darker” than her usual fare. Driving Me Mad will be released in October, and its blurb reads like this:

Driving Me MadFor Rebecca Gibson, her journey to a work convention will be one she’ll never forget. After driving around for four hours, Rebecca stops to ask for directions at an isolated house on the outskirts of Kirk Langley, Derbyshire.
Her initial meeting with the house’s attractive owner, Annabel Howell, seems strange and unsettling, but at her hostess’s insistence, Rebecca spends the night.
Plagued by nightmares, Rebecca senses that her dream world has blended with what she believes is reality. When she leaves the next day, her life has changed. Can Rebecca solve a mystery that has been haunting a family for over sixty years? Will she find love along the way? Or will the events drive her mad?

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INTO-THE-FIRE-largeManda Scott has been busy publicising the release of Into the Fire with a series of interviews and blogs, the most recent of which is this in-depth and revealing interview at Writerly Witterings:

When my mother died, I found amongst her ‘saved from childhood’ file, my first book – it was 10 pages written in feltpen from the perspective of one of the owls in the kitchen. It was early self-publishing, it had a copyright and a publisher’s marque and it was all bound up with blue ribbon. So yes, I always planned to write, but what I hadn’t planned was how much focus veterinary medicine was going to take to be any good. Then I had a 3 month gap between jobs and that let me start my first real book – a fiction set in a Vet School.

Full details for the official Into The Fire blog tour for can be found here. 

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emma-donoghue-illo_2373764bEmma Donoghue has revealed details of her first novel for middle-grade readers (8-12 year olds):

The Lotterys Plus One introduces Sumac Lottery, a girl with six siblings, two moms, two dads, and a tranquil cloud-painted room in the big Victorian house they all call Camelottery. When her racist, homophobic grandfather nearly burns his house down, he has to move in with the Lotterys, a volatile situation about which no one is happy, least of all Sumac, who has to give up her room. The Lotterys Plus One explores family, the limits of tolerance, and the possibilities of love.

The book will be released February 2017.

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VGLeeVG Lee has loads of events and appearances on the way, with the first being LFest on July 19th, where she’ll be appearing alongside Kiki Archer, VA Fearon, and Diana Souhami. You can find the full list of VG’s upcoming events here, and there’s more details about LFest – including a list of all the other UK authors who’ll be attending – on our own Events page.

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And that just about covers it. I’ll be over here eating a tub of Ben & Jerry’s. Y’all go and read a book 🙂