The Affinity One goes to the Festival

I’m setting off to Birmingham shortly. My wife and I are attending the Diva Literary Awards this evening. My book, Running From Love, has been shortlisted in the Romance category and I’m really not expecting it will win – just being in the same room with all the other shortlisted authors is going to be a major thrill. (As well as watching Heather Peace handing out the awards!)

If you’re attending the two-day Festival following the Awards, I look forward to meeting you. There’s a whole host of authors from LGBT publishers including BSB and Ylva, plus some very successful Indies. I’m the Affinity One – representing Affinity Rainbow Publications.

During the weekend I’m planning to attend as many of the events as I can. Then on Sunday afternoon at 2:15, I’ll be doing a reading along with A L Brooks and Wendy Hudson, moderated by Diva staff writer, Danielle Mustarde. Should be a lot of fun.

The Diva team has worked hard to bring about this first ever Diva Literary Festival. They’ve put together a fantastic programme – take a look. If you’re not booked in, I’m sure it’s not too late.

And, of course, there’s a bookstall. There will be copies of my first six published books available to buy.

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My latest book, Changing Perspectives, just came out on Wednesday – so no time to obtain paperbacks for the festival. However the ebook and print versions are available online. And on Monday, check out T B Markinson’s website, iheartlesfic, for my guest blog where I talk about the origins of this story. You can read the first chapter here and also the comments of the book’s first reviewer.

Portrait woman

I better go now and check my packing list. I’m sure the kitchen sink isn’t going to fit in the car.


Buying Links:

Changing Perspectives: Affinity Rainbow Publications / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Smashwords

Running From Love: Affinity Rainbow Publications / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books / Smashwords / Apple iTunes

The Circle Dance: Affinity eBooks /Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books/Smashwords / Apple iTunes

Christmas at WinterbourneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK /Barnes & Noble /Bella Books / Smashwords /Apple iTunes

The Starling Hill Trilogy:

Starting OverAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books /Smashwords Apple iTunes

Arc Over TimeAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes

Carved in StoneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes

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Books picked up on my travels

Whenever I’m in Vancouver (which isn’t that often, the last time was three years ago), I like to pop in to Little Sister’s Book and Art Emporium. When I mentioned this to two lesbian friends of my mother, one of them said, “Oh, do they sell books?” (I guess they’ve only shopped in the ‘Art Emporium’ part…I didn’t know what this was a euphemism for until my first visit.)

I do just go in to look at the books (Really, Mum!). This time, however, they were in the midst of re-organising the bookshelves and a lot of the books were in boxes waiting to be put on the new shelving. But I did manage to find a few treasures. In the used book section, there was this oldie by Bonnie J. Morris, The Question of Sabotage. I have recently read her latest non-fiction book, The Disappearing L, in which she devotes a large portion to the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. So I was able to relate to this novel with a deeper understanding of the politics of the whole event. Told from the viewpoint of a first time ‘festie’ goer, the story is a delightful mix of humour and pathos.

bonnie

Then I couldn’t resist picking up the lovely reprints of two even older stories. I’m looking forward to revisiting these classics.

beebo

My mother and I attended a poetry reading, one of the many events (no. 61 out of 93 in fact) at the Vancouver International Writers Festival. It was wonderful – all four poets reading did a great job. But two really stuck out – and from opposite spectrums in terms of their writing careers. New Zealander, Hera Lindsay Bird, read from her award winning debut book of poetry. Her performance was impressive and we thought no one else would top that.

poets

But the last to read was Eileen Myles who has had over twenty books published. And really knows how to ‘perform’ poetry. If you haven’t read or heard any of Eileen’s work, I can recommend that you look it up…now! (There are clips on YouTube.)

As we left the theatre my mother commented that no one could say poetry was boring after listening to these poets. We’d heard more about f**king and orgasms than you would get in an hour-long erotica symposium.

While I was in Victoria, I popped into Russell Books, mainly to pick up a used copy of Hamlet that my mother wanted. She’s reading the play with a group of friends; all taking different parts and didn’t want to take along her hefty complete works of Shakespeare. Anyway, after finding Hamlet  I thought I would see if they had a lesbian and gay section, and I did locate it (a few shelves, next to Gender Studies). This book caught my eye and I thought it would be good to educate myself on some earlier lesfic.

friends

How did these writers find ways to write about lesbianism which wasn’t even considered viable at that time? Well, they used coded messages of passion and desire between women and the stories were published because, really, the idea that two women could have a sexual relationship just couldn’t be true.

So I’ve come back from my two weeks in Canada with a lot of reading material and not a lot of time to process it all before the end of this month. The first few days of November are going to be busy.

November 1st sees the release of my 7th novel published by Affinity Rainbow Publications: Changing Perspectives (Read the first chapter here).

 

And on the same day the collection of stories, essays and poems collated by S. Renée Bess and Lee Lynch is released: Our Happy Hours, LGBT Voices from the Gay Bars. My short story in this collection is called Gateway to Heaven.

Then on 3rd November I’m off to the inaugural Diva Literary Festival. The Awards ceremony is being held that evening and I’m delighted to say my book, Running From Love, is shortlisted in the Romance category. (You can vote here for books in all the categories) I will also be doing a reading on the Sunday afternoon, 5 November, at 2:15. Wendy Hudson and A.L. Brooks are  joining me. So, do come along if you’re attending the festival on Sunday.

Taking a deep breath now…time to get in some reading.


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Buying Links:

Running From Love: Affinity Rainbow Publications / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books / Smashwords / Apple iTunes

The Circle Dance: Affinity eBooks /Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books/Smashwords / Apple iTunes

Christmas at WinterbourneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK /Barnes & Noble /Bella Books / Smashwords /Apple iTunes

The Starling Hill Trilogy:

Starting OverAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books /Smashwords Apple iTunes

Arc Over TimeAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes

Carved in StoneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes


 

November news

Originally this blog was just going to be about my new novel. But there’s a lot happening over the next few weeks, particularly at the start of next month and before that I’m  visiting my mother in Canada.

Changing Perspectives, published by Affinity Rainbow Publications, is due for release on 1 November. On the same day, Our Happy Hours: LGBT Voices from the Gay Bars (see previous blog) is also coming out. Then I will be attending the Diva Literary Festival the first weekend in November where Running From Love has been shortlisted in the Romance category for the very first Diva Literary Awards (Vote here). It’s all very exciting!

dlf_awards_shortlist

On to book number 7:

Changing Perspectives is different from my other six novels. For one thing it is set in 1993. That’s when I started writing the story. So it has been with me for a long time. When I submitted it to Affinity earlier this year, I wasn’t sure how it would be received. Luckily the beta readers liked it

You see, one of the main characters is a Masochist, definitely with a capital ‘M’. And although she projects a tough exterior image, I know her vulnerabilities. Dani Barker is one of my all time favourite creations. As is her opposite number in the story, Camila Callaghan. Getting these two together has taken twenty-four years…but it has been a labour of love.

Back of the book blurb:

London, 1993

Art director, Dani Barker, lives life on the edge and getting into a fight in a lesbian leather bar on a Friday night isn’t an unusual occurrence.

Camila Callaghan, finance director for a large company, feels satisfied with her life in most respects. She enjoys her job and thinks it’s necessary to stay in the closet to maintain the position she’s worked hard to achieve.

When Dani and Camila meet, they both sense an attraction, but is it merely curiosity with each other’s contrasting lives? Dani hopes that Camila can be the partner she has longed for since her earliest forays into SM. The boundaries of Camila’s settled world start to blur as she questions her own feelings for Dani and what she represents.

Will their differences make a long-term relationship achievable? A change of perspective for both women is needed if they are to reach this goal.

So, a bit of a departure from my previous romances. I just hope readers will enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Portrait woman


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Buying Links:

Running From Love: Affinity Rainbow Publications / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books / Smashwords / Apple iTunes

The Circle Dance: Affinity eBooks /Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books/Smashwords / Apple iTunes

Christmas at WinterbourneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK /Barnes & Noble /Bella Books / Smashwords /Apple iTunes

The Starling Hill Trilogy:

Starting OverAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books /Smashwords Apple iTunes

Arc Over TimeAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes

Carved in StoneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes


 

Our Happy Hours…coming soon!

A year ago I saw a submission request for short stories, memoirs, or poems for an anthology to celebrate and commemorate the importance of gay and lesbian bars in our community. The book’s collators are S Renée Bess and Lee Lynch.

As Renée explains in her recent blog for Women and Words, the idea came to her while thinking about the The Pulse Nightclub tragedy in Orlando and whether or not many people outside the LGBTQ community would grasp the idea of what a place like this means to us.

I really wanted to contribute a piece for the book but my experience of bars is fairly limited. However my wife was a regular visitor to the Gateways club in London when she moved to the city from Scotland in the 1960s. Her memories of that time gave me the germ of an idea for a story.

What struck me was how difficult it was in those days to find out where to go, how to meet people. Closeted lifestyles meant you had to be very careful. The available publications at the time had names that gave nothing away: The Minorities Research Group produced a monthly journal, Arena Three. Kenric was set up as a network of social groups throughout the country and published a newsletter. My wife had to pay for a Post Office Box so that she could receive these publications without arousing the suspicions of her landlady or employers.

In writing my piece for the anthology, Gateway to Heaven, I tried to capture the thrill of discovery for a young woman in 1968 venturing into a lesbian bar for the first time. I was extremely thrilled when the story was accepted.

I’m looking forward to reading all the other contributions in the book: Our Happy Hours, LGBT Voices From the Gay Bars. And it is due out on 1 November, published by Flashpoint Productions.

ourhappyhours_cover

All the book’s royalties are being donated to two organisations that provide services to LGBTQ youth in Philadelphia and New York.


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Buying Links:

Running From Love: Affinity Rainbow Publications / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books / Smashwords / Apple iTunes

The Circle Dance: Affinity eBooks /Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books/Smashwords / Apple iTunes

Christmas at WinterbourneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK /Barnes & Noble /Bella Books / Smashwords /Apple iTunes

The Starling Hill Trilogy:

Starting OverAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books /Smashwords Apple iTunes

Arc Over TimeAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes

Carved in StoneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes


 

Drinking habits

black_sheep

Driving through Masham earlier this summer, we made a side trip to the Black Sheep Brewery. This is one of my favourite real ales.

I used to drink real ale exclusively. Nowadays you’re more likely to see me swigging a bottle of Corona or Desperados. Thinking about this, I realise that the characters in my books tend to reflect my drinking habits.

A few examples:

Excerpt from Starting Over:

They crossed over the bridge to the large pub on the corner. Groups of smokers were gathered outside and they had to push their way through to get to the bar inside. Jo immediately saw someone she knew so Robin ordered the drinks. It was a struggle to fight her way back through the crowd to find Jo. The noise levels were already making it impossible to have a conversation without shouting. Handing Jo her bottle of Corona, Robin fought her way back outside. She hadn’t smoked for many years, but now she wished she had a cigarette. At least, as a prop. The first gulps of beer helped calm her nerves.

Excerpt from The Circle Dance:

It was after nine when Sasha got home, exhausted both physically and emotionally. Relaxing with a glass of chilled white wine and maybe a bath was what she really wanted. Instead she would be facing an irate Phoebe.

She made it as far as the kitchen before Phoebe appeared and started wanting answers. “Where the hell have you been? And I know it wasn’t talking to Felix bloody LeMar.”

Sasha opened the fridge and was dismayed to see there was no bottle of wine. She would have to settle for a beer. Luckily there was a Corona nestled between the pasta and the remnants of Sunday’s chicken that she had planned to eat before her evening was derailed by the insane desire to see Jamie.

Excerpt from Running From Love

The cupboard was bare, as was the fridge. Sam took out the lone bottle of Corona and popped the cap. Not even a lemon or lime lurking anywhere. She took a sip and wondered what she was missing. When she spoke to Beth the night before, giving her the flight arrival time, her wife had sounded a bit distant, but nothing that couldn’t be put down to Beth being tired after a full day’s teaching.

My next book, coming out in November, demonstrates the change in my drinking. I wrote the main part of this story in 1993. When I revisited it to see if it could be developed into a novel, I decided it should stay in that time period. So I was interested to note that my main character was necking back London Pride. For those not in the know, this is a real ale brewed at Fuller’s Griffin Brewery in Chiswick, west London.

fuller_passport

1992 was the year a friend and I embarked on a Fuller’s sponsored pub crawl. We obtained a passport from the brewery that had to be stamped in each of their pubs we bought a drink in. It took us several outings to realise we didn’t actually have to buy beer to get a stamp. A soft drink would suffice. The passport was divided into sections and after a haphazard start we figured out that by concentrating on one part we would be able to cover enough pubs to qualify for a prize. We completed Area 1, a total of 46 pubs (well, 45 – one was closed)…such dedication.

We did also visit about another 20 pubs in the other two areas but realised we weren’t going to manage the complete 180 in the timescale. Still, a pretty worthy effort, I feel.

The prize was a minipin of London Pride…18 pints. (That more than made up for the soft drinks we’d consumed in order to complete the Area 1 section of the passport.)

fuller_pass2

I also don’t drink tea. And I’ve noticed that the majority of my characters don’t either. They drink coffee in the morning, preferably unsullied by either sugar or milk.

So although none of my characters are based on me, they do seem to have picked up some of my drinking habits.


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Buying Links:

Running From Love: Affinity Rainbow Publications / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books / Smashwords / Apple iTunes

The Circle Dance: Affinity eBooks /Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books/Smashwords / Apple iTunes

Christmas at WinterbourneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK /Barnes & Noble /Bella Books / Smashwords /Apple iTunes

The Starling Hill Trilogy:

Starting OverAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books /Smashwords Apple iTunes

Arc Over TimeAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes

Carved in StoneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes


 

Valley of the Nyms

Sometimes I think that having English as my first language is a disadvantage. I should really say my only language as, like many of my compatriots, I have failed to adequately learn another.

I attended school in Canada so learning French was compulsory. I don’t remember much of it now. I’ve also dabbled at times with Latin, German, Spanish, and Italian. Although I know some words in each, I’m in no way fluent.

Learning English as a second language though must be a nightmare. But I’ve observed that those who do are often much more knowledgeable about names for parts of speech and grammatical terms I’ve long forgotten…if I even knew them in the first place.

synonym1

Reading an article in a writing magazine reminded me again of some things I don’t know about my own language. Although I’m familiar with synonyms and antonyms, I didn’t know the names of a number of other ‘nyms’.

homonym

For example, words that are spelled and pronounced identically, but have different meanings are called homonyms – as in spring, meaning a season and spring meaning coiled metal.

frog heteronym

And a heteronym is the generic term for words that have identical spellings but different meanings when pronounced differently…as in wind (blowing air) or wind (coiling something up).

heteronym

And then there’s the homonym sub-category – a homophone: words that are spelled differently but sound alike and have different meanings. The example of this that comes to mind is cue and queue.

I guess this article caught my eye as it also highlighted the original meanings of the words – homo and hetero. Nowadays you hardly ever see these words without sexual added on. If the ‘s’ word isn’t there, use of these words on their own assumes that it is a reference to sexual orientation.

Homo is especially confusing as a prefix – because whereas in Greek it means ‘same’, in Latin it means ‘man’. The Greek word, hetero, does mean ‘other party’ or ‘another’, although used to prefix scientific terms, means ‘different’.

When looking up these words, I then came across another ‘nym’ – hyponym. This really confuses things. So, a hyponym is a word whose meaning is included in that of another word. One example given: spoon is a hyponym of cutlery.

This leads on to hypernym – which did give me a WTF moment as in this example: the word colour is a hypernym of red.

meme word

If anyone would like to contribute any of their favourite ‘nyms’, please do pass them along as a comment here.


6books

Buying Links:

Running From Love: Affinity Rainbow Publications / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books / Smashwords / Apple iTunes

The Circle Dance: Affinity eBooks /Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books/Smashwords / Apple iTunes

Christmas at WinterbourneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK /Barnes & Noble /Bella Books / Smashwords /Apple iTunes

The Starling Hill Trilogy:

Starting OverAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books /Smashwords Apple iTunes

Arc Over TimeAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes

Carved in StoneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes


 

Anniversaries

It’s quickly coming up to the anniversary of the release of my first ever published story.

there

There Was A Time was published on 1 September 2014 by Affinity eBooks – now Affinity Rainbow Publications. (It is still available as a FREE ebook on their website.)

In 2014 I was very new to the publishing scene and recall my first Skype meeting with my publisher – it was a four-way conversation with JM Dragon in New Zealand, Erin O’Reilly and Nancy Kaufman in Texas, and me in the UK. Working out a time was hard enough. Anyway, I had a shower and wore a decent t-shirt, even though we wouldn’t be able to see each other. It felt like a job interview. I guess I must have done okay as they have published six of my novels so far, with number seven due out in November.

But back then; after they had accepted my debut novel for publication, Starting Over, I couldn’t quite believe I was going to become a published author.

When I received an email from Nancy with TWAT in the subject line, I wondered what I’d done wrong. Then I realised this was the acronym for my short story which was being published on their website ahead of the release of my novel. She told me later that she laughed when she typed it, imagining my reaction no doubt. Ever since, I’ve been more aware of acronyms in titles.

The blurb for the story:

Darts night at the Golden Dragon and Fin’s life is about to change forever.

Living in a small seaside resort she thought she was doing fine. Summer flings were great and winter evenings behind the bar were whiled away dreaming of the next conquest in the dunes.

Then in walked the stranger and Fin fell in love.

So, this very week, three years ago I was finalising edits for Starting Over, checking the blurb, approving a cover, and anxiously awaiting the release of my first story, There Was A Time. How would it be received?

What a great relief it was then to read the first review for the short story from Terry Baker. “This is the first thing I’ve read by Jen Silver. I know she has a full-length book due out soon, and if this story is anything to go by, I’m going to be first in line to read it.”

Whew!

But, of course, that was just the beginning. As every published author knows, it doesn’t really get easier. Each time there is the wait…after the months of writing, editing, proofreading, agonising over blurbs, deciding on covers…wondering if anyone will want to read this. And if they do, what will they think of it?

I feel incredibly blessed that readers, for the most part, have enjoyed my books. And I’m always thankful that the team at Affinity was willing to take a chance on a novice writer three years ago.

affteam2015

Meeting some of the Affinity team in at GCLS 2015 in New Orleans: Erin O’Reilly, Annette Mori, and Ali Spooner

It’s been a wonderful journey of discovery and it’s not over yet. (Very deep that – a metaphor for life, perhaps.)

Another anniversary: I may have mentioned this before – this year my wife and I are celebrating 30 years together. That has also been an amazing journey.


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Buying Links:

Running From Love: Affinity Rainbow Publications / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books / Smashwords / Apple iTunes

The Circle Dance: Affinity eBooks /Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books/Smashwords / Apple iTunes

Christmas at WinterbourneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK /Barnes & Noble /Bella Books / Smashwords /Apple iTunes

The Starling Hill Trilogy:

Starting OverAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books /Smashwords Apple iTunes

Arc Over TimeAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes

Carved in StoneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes


 

My top 3 Sci-Fi/Fantasy books

I’ve read a lot of science fiction/fantasy books in my time. Earliest ones were The Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula K LeGuin (I’m a sucker for any books with maps – loved the hand drawn archipelago in these books), A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, the Narnia series by C S Lewis, The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien (yay, more maps!).

So when I discovered there was such a thing as lesbian science fiction/fantasy, I was immediately in love with a whole new set of characters: female warriors, scientists, pilots…you name it…everything the boys could do, these women could do, and better!

So here are three of my favourites in this truly wonderful genre of lesbian fiction.

First up, Daughters of the Coral Dawn by Katherine V Forrest. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read this book. I even have a ‘first edition’ published in 1984 by Naiad Press. This book and the two that complete the trilogy have been re-released with new covers by Bella Books. And although the new ones have modern-looking science-fiction-y covers, I like this one…with the haunting coral eyes of the woman who becomes the colonists’ leader on their new planet when they escape from Earth, Megan. Not sure about the hairstyle, no doubt very 1980s – but the description of Megan in the book is that she is always dressed in black and white – black pants, mid-calf boots, and white shirt. Very sexy.

daughters_of_a_coral_dawn

My favourite character though, is the narrator, Minerva the historian. Especially when she finds love with a younger woman, when she thought the time for loving another had passed her by.

Second, Return to Isis by Jean Stewart, the first in the series of five, originally published by Rising Tide Press in 1992. One of my ‘go to’ series to reread on occasions when I want a good blast of lesbian sci-fi.

return_to_isis

On first reading, there seems to be a clear distinction of the tightly controlled male dominated hetero-normative world of Elysium in the eastern part of the US and the utopian-styled Freeland in the west. But, as with any human attempts at achieving Nirvana, there’s always a snake in the grass, as warrior Whit finds out when she returns to her home colony after a few years undercover in Elysium.

The women in these stories go through a lot as they try to survive in a hostile world, fighting against outside forces as well as contending with their own internal battles of jealousy and intrigue.

I was sorry that the author stopped writing at novel number five in the series. I certainly wanted to read more about Whit and Kali’s adventures.

Third, but not least by any means, is Fires of Aggar by Chris Anne Wolfe, published in 1994 by New Victoria Publishers. This is the second in the series and although I do enjoy rereading the first book, Shadows of Aggar, it’s Royal Marshall Gwyn, the main character in Fires of Aggar who is my favourite. Her bondmates are two sandwolves and the connection the three of them have is a big part of the appeal of this story.

fires_of_aggar

Chris Anne created a fantastic medieval type world with Aggar and the society of Amazons who come from another planet to help the citizens of Aggar through difficult times.

Unfortunately the author succumbed to cancer at a very early age. A group of her friends have continued the series using outlines and notes Chris Anne left behind. But they haven’t really managed to match the tone and style of the first two books, in my opinion.

There is now a vast array of lesbian science fiction/fantasy novels to choose from. But these are my first three picks from a time when lesbian books of any genre were hard to find pre-internet and Amazon. I was thankful for the Silver Moon bookshop in London and the mail order service offered by West and Wilde in Edinburgh, my main book buying sources for lesbian fiction in those days.

I haven’t ventured writing a science fiction/fantasy novel myself. So I do admire those who have managed to create compelling stories that draw the reader into other worlds.


6booksBuying Links:

Running From Love: Affinity Rainbow Publications / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books / Smashwords / Apple iTunes

The Circle Dance: Affinity eBooks /Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books/Smashwords / Apple iTunes

Christmas at WinterbourneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK /Barnes & Noble /Bella Books / Smashwords /Apple iTunes

The Starling Hill Trilogy:

Starting OverAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books /Smashwords Apple iTunes

Arc Over TimeAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes

Carved in StoneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes


 

A Literary Salon

I think ‘salon’ is the right word to describe our Happy Valley Pride Festival reading event. Entitled ‘Lesbian Writers Read’, it was held in our local haberdashery in Hebden Bridge on Tuesday evening—in a delightfully intimate setting, surrounded by displays of coloured wools on the walls, ribbons hanging from a wall at the back, and filled with whatever the collective noun is for a group of lesbians.

jen_drink

Settling my nerves

And so I was reminded of the salons of an earlier century when like-minded people would gather in drawing rooms to discuss books, art, politics…or simply to enjoy each other’s company in a relaxed atmosphere.

readers

As the instigator of this event, I wasn’t very relaxed but it was ‘all right on the night’, as our host, Helen Baron, proprietor of the venue kept telling me. Four months earlier when I first sat down with her in Ribbon Circus to discuss the possibility of holding this event there, I was extremely nervous. Would any other authors want to come to our little town to read? Would anyone want to come and listen to us read?

My fears were needless, and Helen was right. Everything came together. Four other published authors were keen to come along and take part even though it meant travelling from afar – Nottingham and the Peak District. Robyn Nyx and Brey Willows were led astray by their sat-nav, ending up behind a herd of cows at one point. And they still managed to arrive in time.

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As soon as the ticketing system went live on the Happy Valley Pride website, places were snapped up at a speed I couldn’t have imagined. Within days, the venue was fully booked.

The authors all did a fantastic job, both in reading and answering questions afterwards. It was Lise Gold’s first public appearance and if she was nervous reading from her second, recently released romance, Beyond the Skyline – it didn’t show. Cari Hunter was planning to edit out some of the swear words in her selected excerpt from the third book in her Dark Peak series, A Quiet Death – but after Helen’s robust introduction to the evening, she muttered, “I’m leaving the ‘fucks’ in.”

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Brey Willows read from her book, Fury’s Bridge, the first in a series and left us wanting more by ending on a cliffhanger. Robyn Nyx’s reading from the first book in her Extractor Series, Escape in Time, took on an even darker hue leading us into the past in Nazi Germany during the Second World War.

My reading was from my most recently published book, Running From Love. My wife asked me beforehand which bit I had selected. When I told her, she said, “Oh yes, the fridge and the cat.” Not quite how I would summarise that part. If you want to make your own mind up as to how it should be described – here’s a link to the podcast version.

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So a massive thank you to everyone who turned out on a wet evening and helped make this event a success. Plans for next year will be underway soon. And if a year is too long to wait, we might be persuaded to hold another Literary Salon before then.

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The event was free – but Helen told them no one was leaving before making a donation to Happy Valley Pride!

Also, many thanks to my publisher who provided sponsorship for the event – Affinity Rainbow publications. (If you’re wondering about the logo image – it’s a kiwi.)


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Buying Links:

Running From Love: Affinity Rainbow Publications / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books / Smashwords / Apple iTunes

The Circle Dance: Affinity eBooks /Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books/Smashwords / Apple iTunes

Christmas at WinterbourneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK /Barnes & Noble /Bella Books / Smashwords /Apple iTunes

The Starling Hill Trilogy:

Starting OverAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books /Smashwords Apple iTunes

Arc Over TimeAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes

Carved in StoneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes


 

Lesbian Writers Read

The Happy Valley Pride Festival committee chose the name Lesbian Writers Read as they wanted something snappier to put in the programme than my offering of ‘Reading Event’.

When I was interviewed on Hebden Radio by Bev McGregor (host of the regular Tuesday evening LGBeaTs show) she asked why it wasn’t just ‘Writers Read’. Why did we need to announce that the writers are lesbians? I didn’t have a particularly snappy answer to her question at the time. But I think the aim of the Festival organisers was to give us lesbians more visibility during the event than we had last year. This is only the second year of the week long festival taking place in Hebden Bridge from 7 to 13 August, so I’m just glad we have a ‘reading event’ this time…and that it’s a group of lesbians leading the way.

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On the radio with Bev

Bev’s question reminded me though of the fact we do need that visibility. Mainstream bookshops, for example, have erased their gay and lesbian sections. I asked a member of staff in a Waterstones bookshop if they had such a section and was directed to ‘Gender Studies’.

If you’re a well-known author, then having your book placed in the general fiction section is no doubt considered a major achievement. But for those of us struggling to make a name, it’s like we don’t exist. And for anyone wanting to browse through the shelves to find new LGBT writers, they’re going to have to visit one of the few remaining specialist bookshops like Gay’s the Word in London.

Anyway, that aside, I’m very much looking forward to our Lesbian Writers Read evening. A few months ago I didn’t think this was possible…to be able to put on something like this in our small town. But it is happening…on 8 August from 7pm at Ribbon Circus, 18 Market Street, Hebden Bridge.

I’m thrilled with the lineup of authors who are willingly donating their time to come along and read, talk about their writing, and sign books (that’s right – we will all have books available on the night). I would like to thank them in advance because I know they will do a great job…Lise Gold, Cari Hunter, Robyn Nyx and Brey Willows.

Thanks to Helen Baron for offering her shop premises as a venue (as well as calming my nerves as the event looms ever closer). And a heartfelt thank you to my publisher, Affinity Rainbow Publications, for sponsoring the event.

Lesbian writers read – and lesbian writers will keep on writing as long as readers, lesbian or otherwise, keep on reading.

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The festival week is packed with a wide variety of performances featuring art, music, dance, comedy, films, speakers, workshops…leading up to a full day of brilliant entertainment on Saturday and the Pink Picnic (including the Pink Pooch Parade) on Sunday. So come along if you can, and enjoy the fun.

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4bookmarks

Buying Links:

Running From Love: Affinity Rainbow Publications / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books / Smashwords / Apple iTunes

The Circle Dance: Affinity eBooks /Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books/Smashwords / Apple iTunes

Christmas at WinterbourneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK /Barnes & Noble /Bella Books / Smashwords /Apple iTunes

The Starling Hill Trilogy:

Starting OverAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books /Smashwords Apple iTunes

Arc Over TimeAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes

Carved in StoneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes