Lesbian Writers Read…in Hebden Bridge

Happy Valley Pride is over for this year…and what a fantastic week it was. Congratulations to the trustees and volunteers who worked hard to make it all happen.

hvp_bag

With the success of the previous year’s Lesbian Writers Read event, the planning committee was keen to include it in this year’s programme as well. So I was thrilled to be asked to host another group of authors.

We were able to get a slightly larger, and accessible, venue this time…Squeeze cafe. The tickets sold out and it was standing room only by the time everyone ‘squeezed’ in. We had to turn off the fans for the readings, but the upsurge in heat caused the ice cream machine to start working overtime to keep the contents frozen.

group_reading1

Pictured from left to right: Deborah Delano, Lise Gold, Velvet Lounger, Helen Baron, Mayor Carol Stowe, Jen Silver, Cari Hunter, Jody Klaire, and Ferb

The mayor of Hebden Royd, Carol Stowe, came along for the first part of the evening before she had to fulfil her other festival obligation by attending the art exhibition and auction across the street at Nelson’s Wine Bar. When I met her at another event a few days later, she told me she had enjoyed the readings, hearing the different styles of each author…and (don’t tell the artists) would have liked to stay for the Q&A session.

hvp_6books

The featured books

Cari Hunter drew the short straw, literally, and read first. As she read from the opening scenes of her latest thriller, Alias, she had the audience drawn in to the story from the start. I’m sure they would have liked her to carry on, but she stuck to her five-minute time limit.

 

Our mystery guest reader for the evening was well known lesbian book reviewer, Velvet Lounger. There is quite a story behind the gathering together of a collection of stories published as The Velvet Anthology. She explained it very well before reading from the contribution by Erica Abbott, ‘Seize Her Salad’. All proceeds from the sale of this book will go to the Golden Crown Literary Society Readers scholarship fund. Velvet’s book reviews can be found at the Lesbian Reading Room website.

I read from my latest novel, Calling Home…interrupted a few times by some latecomers and the need to raise my voice over the ice cream machine’s complaints about the heat. With the second interruption, I continued by saying loudly, ‘The toilets were at the other end of the room…’ – this wasn’t a health and safety announcement, it was part of the reading.

We then heard from another local author, Deborah Delano. Her latest book, The Portrait of Adie Denton, is a historical novel set in the 1920’s…but is also a love story…described on the cover as “a moving yarn of a working class girl mixed up in the glittering, but dangerous, bohemian world of the Parisian Demi-monde”.

Staying in France, Lise Gold read from her newest romance, French Summer. Lise spent a good part of this year in France, purely for research, of course. The setting and the romance that develops between the two main characters certainly resonate with authenticity…the sensual atmosphere of warm days in Provence, although the piece she read involved one of the main characters throwing herself into a ditch. An avoidance tactic with painful consequences.

Last to read was Jody Klaire. I was so impressed that Jody and Em travelled up from South Wales in a motorhome to join us for this event. Their golden retriever, Ferb, charmed everyone and had the audience captivated with his attempts to catch a fly while the reading was going on. Jody read from her newest book, which is due out in a few weeks, In Fashion. This is a romance set in the fashion world and from the excerpt she read, it features Jody’s delightful brand of humour.

(Ferb caught the fly.)

Another distinguished visitor in the audience was Zara Wood (our host next week at ELLCon), who had travelled from Bristol with her visitor from Brussels, Gerd Van Loock (stopping by as part of a Yorkshire sightseeing tour). Zara recorded some of the readings and the Q&A session that took place after the break. They are available to view on the ELLCon YouTube channel.

reading

The Q&A session: Jen Silver, Cari Hunter, Jody Klaire, and Ferb

readers

The Q&A session: Deborah Delano, Lise Gold, and Velvet Lounger

The whole evening was lovely…it was like reading to a group of friends. The Happy Valley Pride team led by Helen Baron did a great job of setting up the room, serving the refreshments (which included Welsh cakes from Em and Jody, and tiffin from Cari), and welcoming the audience. (Nothing they could do about the ice cream machine though…have I mentioned this before?)

And once again the authors provided a great mix of stories, giving voice I thought, to our Happy Valley Pride motto: Be Here, Be You, Be Proud.

During a stroll around Hebden Bridge earlier in the day, we stopped by one of the many window displays. One of the most delightful aspects of Happy Valley Pride is the way the community and local businesses show their support with window displays, contributions to the raffle prizes…and just overall enthusiasm for the event. Long may it continue.

window

With Jody and Ferb outside Noir


ELLCon

ELLCon-Logo-Header

So, I just have time to catch my breath before the next book-related event of the summer – ELLCon. A great deal of planning has also gone into setting this up. Congratulations to Zara Wood and her team for bringing it all together…the first ever European Lesfic Literary Conference.

With over thirty authors attending, plus delegates from all parts of the country and Europe, it’s shaping up to be a magnificent couple of days. Check out the list of authors attending and the programme here.

As well as sharing a vendor table with another Affinity Rainbow Publications author, Samantha Hicks, I will be taking part in a panel discussion on the first day. The topic is ‘When Writing Feels Like a Marathon: how to get over the finish line”. May Dawney is our fearless moderator with the task of keeping four of us on topic…Harper Bliss, Jane Fletcher, Nita Round, and myself. Should be fun!

I’m also looking forward to finding a few of the Gromit Unleashed statues and Zara kindly presented me with a brochure so I can find the ones nearest to the conference hotel.

gromit_brochure

So many books to explore! Enjoy all your summer reads.


 

Diva Literary Festival 2017

I don’t think the UK has ever seen anything quite like it. So many authors of lesbian fiction in one place!

Team Diva put on quite a show. The Awards night itself was exciting with Heather Peace handing out trophies and a rousing performance by Horse McDonald before the disco to end the evening. I felt honoured to be there with so many talented authors and it was a thrill to see my book, Running From Love, listed for the Romance award category. (Congratulations to the winner, Kiki Archer, and runner-up, Harper Bliss. I was sitting next to Harper at the table, so was able to share in the joy of the moment as she received her trophy.)

divalit1

Then we had two days of interviews, discussion panels, and readings…plus a rich variety of entertainment for the Saturday Night Salon. I had a book-signing slot on Sunday morning and fully expected to spend twenty minutes sitting on my own. But I was rescued by Jane who had seen me read at the Happy Valley Pride Festival in August.

divalit3

I took part in a reading session with Wendy Hudson and A L Brooks. Even though it was on Sunday afternoon, we still had a good audience who stayed awake and asked questions afterwards.

divalit2

One of the highlights of the weekend was meeting Jody Klaire and her lovely dog, Fergus (or Ferb, as he’s known to his legion of fans). Jody was providing information on the GCLS Writing Academy. The crowd around their table may also have been due to the treats provided by Jody’s partner, Emma – delicious homemade cheesecake one day, Welsh biscuits and strawberries the next.

jody_ferb

Jody and Ferb

Meeting and chatting with so many authors and readers was a great way to spend the weekend. Team Diva promised to do it again next year – I’m already looking forward to it, along with many others who were there.

before_dinner_group

Before the Awards dinner with Caroline Manchoulas, Clare Lydon and Harper Bliss

dinner_group

During the Awards dinner with Harper, Robyn Nyx and Brey Willows


It’s been an exciting start to November as my latest novel, Changing Perspectives, came out on 1st November. And on the 6th November, T B Markinson gave me a guest spot on her website, iheartlesfic, to tell you a bit about the origins of the story. Please check it out as there’s also the chance to enter for a book giveaway.


7books

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