Lesfic Bard Awards Update

One of the great things about working with K’Anne and Shadoe Publishing, is you get a chance to see a number of great events, review wonderful books by really talented authors and chat to K’Anne herself about her writings and what she does to help authors get their work out there to readers.

Earlier this year, I blogged about one of these ideas that she was working and following one of our online chats, I thought I would write an update about her Lesfic Bard Awards, which are rapidly gaining momentum as a competition for authors to showcase their works,

award submissionThe first thing I wanted to share with you is that the nomination categories have been announced !!!  Check out the poster to see this years categories.   Any grab your fancy ? (That’s not as rude as it sounds, I promise !!)

As well as the traditional categories, there are some really interesting genres here that you wouldn’t normally see represented.  Anthology for example, as well as BDSM (get your kink on) Poetry and Studies.  This diverse range of categories is another strength of the awards, you just don’t get this range of genres in other schemes that I’ve seen.  It really gives every author a chance to showcase their talents !

 

The next piece of news that I wanted to share with you is that sponsors are starting to come on board.  So far, sponsors have offered financial support for the awards as well as publicity for winners and I thought I would take the opportunity on behalf of lesficbardawards,com to say a huge thankyou to the following organisations !!

  • Lezbelib – are offering winners the chance to publish an article on their site, shared throughout their social networks.  PLUS an advertising banner promoting their latest book !!!
  • Canadian Lesfic – for sharing the Lesficbardawards love !!!
  • After Ellen – for sharing the judging love and helping us get the call out for judges !!
  • Curve Magazine – for helping publicise the award and calling for author submissions !!

Its shaping up to be a great award, you really want to be part of this !!

 

 

 

Suzie Carr – Kindle Unlimited

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Recently, a friend of mine (still honestly cannot believe I can call her that) the lovely Suzie Carr took the decision to release all of her books on Kindle unlimited.  Why is that important and worthy of blogging ? Well, quite simply, because her books are awesome !!!!  If you don’t believe me – check her rankings for yourself.  Her books have attracted a number of awards, she’s had top 10 releases in contemporary fiction on Amazon, she’s a generous philanthropist ( She’s given over $1000 to the NoH8 charity alone) and an empowering supporting woman, who deeply cares about people and just the nicest person you’ll ever meet.

So why would you take the decision to subscribe to Suzie’s Kindle unlimited offer and stream her books ? Well, you already have.  You own a kindle already don’t you ?  You clearly love to read,  so why wouldn’t you want to connect with a talented author, someone who writes with a freeness of joy and expression about wonderful characters with meaningful messages ?  Still don’t believe me ?  Just take a look at this list and tell me why you wouldn’t want to read them all, more than once !!

Inner secrets” – Perfection.  I want to marry Hope and have her babies and live happily ever after.

New leash on life” – This is a book of selfless love, which any pet owner will appreciate and understand.  When Olivia’s animal sanctuary is destroyed in a hurricane, she broadcasts a desperate plea for help to the local community. But, surprisingly help comes from an unexpected source, an ex-girlfriend called Chloe and the only girl Olivia has ever loved.  As they work together on rebuilding the shelter, Olivia’s walls start to crumble and the past catches up to them.

Sandcastles” – Lia is smart, successful a no nonsense in control woman, that is, until she meets Willow, a psychic who’s capable of making her off balance and affecting her in a personal way.
As they come together we learn about Lia’s friend Dean and how difficult it is to maintain fragility of the sandcastles of their lives while embracing the parts of life that really matter.  This book is an exploration of alternate therapies, spirituality and work life balance.  It must be good, because it received the Rainbow Book Award Runner-Up for Lesbian Contemporary General Fiction AND the Rainbow Book Award Runner-Up for Best Lesbian Book in 2015.  What more proof do you need.

Snowflakes” – Suzies first and only short book (to date) and it’s lovely.  Perfect for the bus ride into work, or while you’re waiting for your next appointment.  A snowy dog park in the middle of a quiet town is the last place Alice and Desiree expect to meet up with their destiny. Secluded, these two women are able to let down their guards long enough to enjoy a tantalizing moment that leaves them both breathless and conflicted. Can their desire further develop outside the fence of this private dog park once the real world catches up to them………..

Staying true” – You have to love Ruby, a free-spirited masseuse who is at the heart of this story. Fiercely independent, that is until she meets Nadia, the two begin to realise a connection between them which threatens to overwhelm Ruby’s autonomy as she commits to this new relationship.  Supported by Shawna, a transgendered friend and Ruby’s gramps, the unlikely foursome embarks on a quest to learn the meaning of love, letting go, and staying true to themselves.

The Journey Somewhere” – This is a slightly unusual story from Suzie, it’s her first and only sequel (to Tangerine Twist) At first site, Kelly looks to have it all, life is stable and easy. But, then an ex girlfriend, the beautiful Becca James, comes back into town.   Everything is set to change when she offers Kelly the opportunity of a lifetime, to photograph her while on tour.  It’s quite literally the story of a Journey somewhere !!

The muse” – this book could have been written for my friend Karen.  Our Heroine, Carefree Janey’s life takes a daring turn when she enters the world of social media shortly after meeting the alluringly sexy Eva.  Flirting online is one thing, but can Carefree Janey battle the demons of her bullied past and overcome them to reveal her true identity to Eva and live her happily ever after ?  This book delves into the traumatic world of bullying, along with sexuality and social psychology.

Two feet of the ground” – This book is quite simply hilarious !!! Lauren is madly in love with Paula. She’s sexy, adventurous and the hero to her son, Owen. And its mutual.  There’s just one thing….. Paula has accepted a job offer across the country and Lauren is afraid of flying.  Oh and Owen doesn’t want to leave his friends and lets not forget the best friend who depends on her too. How on earth are these two ever going to have their happy ending ?

The Fiche Room” – We join Emma just as she is about to marry her college sweetheart, destined to become president of her dads organisation.  Then the liberating Haley comes into her life and quite literally turns her world upside-down and cause her to question and reinvent herself.  This is a wonderful story not just of love, but of having the courage to change for the better and challenge peoples expectations.

The dance” – This book is simply exquisite.  A stunningly moving story of love after loss.  In the wake of a tragedy which derails their lives, Jacky focusses all her attention on stepdaughter Sophie.  But they’re suffocating each other as they struggle to overcome the loss of Sophies mother.  Enter Brooke a beekeeper who contacts Jacky to help train her overly-protective dog, Bee.  Just as they learn to open up and dance with life again, a hurtful truth reveals itself. Will this truth set them free or unravel all they’ve come to learn about life?

Review of It’s only love – Diane Marina

It's only love

Do you remember those moments from your childhood when the excitement of an event was all you could think about ?  Even better, when the event finally came, and lived upto your expectations and stayed with you forever ?  It was like this for me with this book.  I just adored it.  I first got to hear Diane was working on this last year through a Facebook group that I belong to (you can click on it here) So what else could I do but advance order it and eagerly await for it to appear in my download queue ?

After her success with “How still my love“, this book see’s Diane return to writing not just one, but a collection of 5 shorter stories, released as one volume.  One of these, Imperial hotel, has been released previously, but to be honest, I didn’t mind this as it’s by some way my favourite  short story. As an added bonus, you also get an excerpt of “How still my love” to enjoy at the end.  Really nice addition.  Even if you’re not a fan, this latest book is well worth checking out.  Diane has a really versatile writing style, which is showcased in beautiful scenes featuring a wonderful wicked sense of humour.  She writes the kind of books I would love to be able to write myself.

Let me tell you a little about her latest release, while trying not give too much away…..

Italian Summer tells the story of Jessica, a young woman who escapes to Italy to recover from a break-up with Keira.  Staying at the wonderfully named “Appartamenti della Cinque Lune” she explores the local tourist sights, before meeting Antonella, a local tour guide who lives in the apartment next door.  This is a story about how “the one” can utterly change your life, making you alive to the possibilities of taking chances and living in the moment.  It’s beautifully framed by Diane’s signature ability to create a scene and rich, intriguing characters, leaving you the chance to create your own sequel and backstories.  (For me one of the best things about a short story)  As anyone who knows me would tell you, its my favourite of the set, right in my comfort zone and preferred genre,  I would definitely fly to meet Antonella – yummy !!!

Sweet girl.  This story, written for some friends of the author, (who share a fondness for all things confectionary) see’s Mandy, a local confectioner, fall for Skylar, a woman, who I’m not afraid to admit, wears mascara the way I want to !!!  There’s more to Skylar than meets the eye though and soon Mandy wonders if “sugar and spice, really is all that’s nice”, or whether, in the books penultimate scene whether Skylars betrayal was just “sugar loving”.   This was an intriguing story  for me, whose twist, when it was revealed took the story in a direction I wasn’t expecting.  I like that. It was a nice touch, which again, drew me to the characters and the possibility of their follow on story, but in a different way to the first.  I also found myself wondering whether it was a insight into the authors friends, particularly when I read “If you want to woo me, buy me a book for valentines day”  Something only an author would say, particularly when there’s the possibility of chocolate !!!

It’s only love.  As you would expect from the story which the book is named after, this is a little longer than the pre-ceeding ones.  It’s also a departure from what you might expect from, but her trademark writing skills are all on display here.  We join Cameron, our lead, questioning her sexuality after a bad encounter with Evan, who even in the brief time we know him comes across as a complete sleaze.  In an attempt to forget him and acting on a conversation she heard on the train, Cameron goes to a local fetish club and horror of horrors, meets two of her friends !!! Breezing past the potentially awkward encounter, Grayson leads her into an antechamber with Corbin ( a girl she has been friends with for a long time, even lusting after) Although initially a threesome, the encounter quickly becomes about Cameron and Corbin as Diane treats us to some really expressive, descriptive and powerfully erotic writing.  It’s clear from her words that she has really enjoyed this story and understood the premise of this type of relationship, born out of friendship, that turns into exclusivity.  Like the others before, it gives you enough detail to be complete on its own, while inviting you to experiment with the characters after you finish, but in a very different genre.  Personally, I really enjoyed this one and can see why Diane has named the book after it.   I loved the names of two of the protagonists and the concept of the story – Cameron and Corbin.  If you’re from the UK, this alone makes the whole book worth buying and reading !!!   It’s just typically Diane, different, edgy, thoroughly enjoyable and one I’m sure her fans will love and why not ?

Blue lamp.  Continuing on with the edgy theme, this paranormal story sees Miranda and Chelsea move to Mirandas fathers house at his request after two couples unexpectedly move out at short notice for no apparent reason.  For me, this was the most different of all the four stories and one that I hadn’t expected to enjoy as much I did.  I’m more of a girly romance fan than a paranormal one, but its a  well written story with a lot to enjoy in it as well as its very own “Eeeeeek” moment at the end !!! .  Told separately Miranda’s and Chelsea’s viewpoints, I’m told that it really captures the essence of how possession and channelling feel from a spiritually open and sensitive persons viewpoint (Chelsea) counterplaying it with the more  questioning and sceptical one from Miranda.  It’s positively good fun and a really strong addition to the set.  I hope she writes more in this style.

Imperial hotel is a beautiful love story which tells of the relationship between Joan and Lily in a time when the social attitudes and expectations of women were very different.  The book divides neatly into three parts, their introduction, courtship and latter day reflection, with the story highlighting each woman’s thoughts about the relationship during each part.  Joan’s introduction to Lily at the hotel is typical of many around the world at a time of arranged marriages.  Her mother is introducing her to the socialite scene and looking for lily to “mentor” her in order to find an appropriate suitor.  From this introduction, Joan’s feelings for Lily develop as they spend more time together making arrangements for both Lilys wedding, Joan’s courtship and volunteer work at a nearby homeless shelter. Joan and Lilys characters each have a different appeals and vulnerabilities which depending on your own perspective, you’ll find hard not to sympathise with at least one, or both off.  I personally aligned with Lily, not just because of her rebellious nature that is full of hope, but also what she stands to lose in terms of how her life develops.   For me, that made her the villain of the story, who also comes complete with her own “pretty woman” moment, which I would defy you not to smile at !  Joan’s character (for me the heroine) is more confident of her feelings after their initial introduction, but which aren’t enough for Lily to buck the social convention and path laid out for her.  Reeling from this rejection, Joan throws herself back at rebuilding her life and her university studies, with Lily seeking her out again, shortly after the birth of her child.

Four very different stories, from a very talented writer.  One of the really nice things about an anthology for both the writer and the reader, the author gets to take a chance and try something different, without potentially ruining a whole book for her readers and the reader gets to experience a different style with someone that they know and trust.  Overall for me – completely worth a 5 star review.  You’re sure to find something to suit your preference here and if you do, why not pop her a note to let her know which one you would like a sequel to ? You never know – you could end up with your own version of “sweet girl” !!!

If you would like to hear more about what this talented author is upto, you can check out her out at the following contact points.

Web :- Just click here !!!
Facebook :- You’ll need an account…..
Amazon :- Author page
Twitter :- Tweet Tweet !!!
Email :- (she even writes back !!)

Review of My Happy Ever After by D.K. Linda

My Happy Ever After 2

Talia and Michele’s initial meeting develops quickly into the perfect love story that seems destined to last forever until a tragic incident shatters their world.   A story of love, loss and hope, sensitively told that’s impossible to put down from the minute you pick it up and turn the first page.

Rating 5 out of 5

I was completely captivated by this book from the moment I picked it up.  It’s such a beautiful story so exquisitely written, it’s hard to believe its DKs first foray into writing and that she is unsigned to a publisher !!!  The story is told with such care and detail that the characters just draw you into sharing their perfect moment and you find yourself wanting their happiness every bit as much as they deserve.

The books initial scenes are about finding our soulmate, that perfect person who we can wrap ourselves up in and melt into that perfect moment where time stands still.  In this phase of the story you live Talias and Michele’s hopes and dreams and share their excitement as their lives entwine.  Another lovely feature of this part of the book is the acceptance both characters receive from the friends from being an open lesbian couple.  It’s easy to miss this subtlety of their relationship and a really nice addition.

Then, we live that life changing moment where everything changes for Talia, a jarring event that changes her world forever.  Although I have been lucky not to experience loss like this, this part is written with such care and sensitivity that you get a real sense of the numbness and emptiness that overwhelms Talia following events.  By the time it happens, you’re so immersed in the story and characters that if you’re anything like me, you reach with one hand for the tissues while the other reaches for your phone to call her and share “I’m so sorry for your loss, is there anything I can do ?” This part of the story sets the ending the story is named after perfectly.

The last scenes are about Talias efforts to rebuild her life for the future.  A powerful reminder that none of us know what tomorrow may bring, and to “live in the moment” I really loved the sense of hope for Talia that the book leaves you with.  I couldn’t recommend this book highly enough to people.  It’s a must have for your Kindle as I’m sure the rest of her work will be in time.  I’ve got everything crossed in hope that her next offering is about Talia “learning to love again”, but even if it isn’t, I’ll be sure to keep a look out for it and eagerly buy It for my Sunday morning read.  In the language of kindle readers “move to archive ?” I don’t think so !!! I’m sure to come back to it again and again.

Review of Becoming Clissine by Anastasia Vitsky

Becoming Clissine

Becoming Clissine is the story of a heterosexual girl in a society that believes same sex relationships are gods will. It is a strict doctrine and anyone who violates those laws is severely punished.

Rating 4 out of 5

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I bought this book, I’ve known  Anastasia for a little while now and during one of our conversations, the subject of the books I like to read came up.  Being a girly girl, my preference is for love and romance, but I mentioned that I was looking for a bit of a change that took me out of my comfort zone with a different style of character and plot line.

After asking what I felt about bdsm and specifically spanking, she recommended “Becoming Clissine (Bastia) and never one to turn down the chance to experience something new – I eagerly said “sure, why not ?”  I’m so pleased that I did, the book was challenging and jarring to my own world but greatly rewarding to sink into and explore something very, very different.

“Becoming Clissine” is set in a world very different to our own, where heterosexuality is against a religious doctrine known as “Bastia”.  From an early age, children are betrothed to future partners in accordance with the wishes of their parents known as their “Dis” and “Nur”.  These betrothals create alliances between houses, which preserve this balance in conjunction with a ruling council who interpret and enforce the religious doctrine.

The book opens with Clissa’s trial for disobeying the doctrine of Basti and being accused of a “Het” relationship, in contravention with her betrothal to Helaine and Basti Law.  Despite her pleading, she is found guilty and sentenced to a severe corporal punishment and a programme of further physical punishment at the hands of her “Dis” called “re-education”.  This is the “Dis’s” role as a parent, the family disciplinarian of Bastia law through often brutal correctional beatings, the severity of which is measured by the indiscretion.  The “Nur’s” role is more empathic and nurturing – counselling and guiding through touch and reason.
The purpose of the spanking is compliance with Bastia Law.  The stick to the carrot of the “Nur”.  Two complimentary approaches with a single goal, behavioural correction.    It’s easy to get drawn into the injustice of the philosophy and it’s treatment or conditioning.  Clissa herself, being a “het” rebels against both forms of treatment and joins an underground movement known as “Het pride” which stands up for the rights of the hetrosexual.

The way Anastasia develops the characters and tells their story engages you completely in the injustice of this treatment.  Spanking isn’t the simply the kinky “innocent” pleasure that some may enjoy occasionally, it’s a core for enforcing a behavioural modification.  There are also other facets of bdsm relationships and role play for the reader to explore as well here.  The book touches on “Age play” when Clissa is in hospital being treated as a young girl, rather than the teenager she is.  Then, when she is re-housed with a new “Dis” and “Nur”, Clissa attempts to change the dynamic of her relationship with her new parents, by positively reacting to the treatment of the “Nur” which leads the reader to ask “who is really in control of a bdsm relationship, the submissive or the dominant ?  Perhaps it is shared ?”   “How is a “Dis” or a “Nur” made, and who teaches them and moderates them ?” (As Clissa’s “Dis”
says herself later in the book “ you get punished because you have to learn between right and wrong. I get punished because I already know the difference, but still make mistakes“) The book also hints at answers to more obvious questions, like, for example “how are children born ?”  Some of the answers to these questions are unpleasant, even stomach turning, but the reality for many living under Bastia Law.

I won’t spoil the ending of the book by sharing how these intertwined plots end, but will say I found Clissa’ journey to “becoming Clissine” utterly compelling.  You don’t have to agree with bdsm or spanking in order to want to read it, or be a convert or ashamed after reading it.   Challenge yourself, engage with and explore the rights and wrongs of Bastia law and ask yourself if it was the same for LGBT people in times gone past in our own society.  I can only hope that Anastasia asks herself the same questions and builds on the society she has created to answer them. I certainly want to see how it develops !!!

Review of a taste of Vanilla by Leigh Ellwood

A taste of vanilla

A taste of vanilla is a revision of a story that first appeared  in  “Coming together” and tells the story of Hailies initial encounters of Lesbianism with Cecile, a woman she has met on the internet.

Rating 3 out of 5

Novella’s like a taste of vanilla can be a difficult undertaking for the author.   In a relatively short period of time, they need to create characters who are intriguing enough to draw you in to exploring their world, their feelings and emotions so that you can paint the picture they are sketching for you. Ultimately, your enjoyment of the book comes from how it makes you think about the characters and what they leave you with as their story unfolds.

The story outlines “Hailies” initial encounters and exploration of a same sex relationship with Cecile, a woman that she meets over the internet.  Their relationship matures through the exchange of emails and photos to the point where they agree to meet at a neutral coffee house.  In a sense, the way their relationship develops is a very modern one, flirting though emails and photos, anonymous and safe without the potential embarrassment of being stood up or friends judging you in the background.  Thea is one such friend.  The voice on Hailies shoulder as the story unfolds.  More than the obvious “you could be talking to an axe murderer” that many who use online dating will be familiar with, she also encourages Hailie to question her potential indulgence into her same sex fantasy.

Hailie eventually overcomes these doubts and over the course of the book, her first two encounters with Cecile are told.  Although the character development is scarce up until this point, each encounter is told with great detail and care.  The first explores Hailies emotions and feelings of intimacy and empowerment through sex which leaves her wanting more of Cecile.  Specifically, the Taste of Vanilla which the book is named after.  The second is a more complicated affair which hints at things to come, with Hailie and Cecile meeting at a friends party as a blind date setup for others. This last encounter is the scene the book is setup to leave the reader with – a lasting memory of Hailie and Cecile to ponder what happens next.

Whether you’re able to connect emotionally with either character, A taste of Vanilla is an enjoyable novella for those who are new to Lesbian fiction. Hailie’s experimentation and introduction to Cecile form a nice metaphor for what I hope will be your continued reading and enjoyment of the genre.

Review of Simple Gifts by Anastasia Vitsky

Simple Gifts
The story of a leading violinist’s rehabilitation at the hands of her childhood best friend.  Can a respected and beloved orchestra teacher from a small town tame this Diva struggling to adapt to a recovery without music and help her live again?

Rating 4 out of 5

Simple gifts is a really cleverly written story, telling the love story of Leila and Carene, two childhood friends whose lives are entwined through a mutual love of music.  What makes it such a clever story is that each of the chapter headings are named after prominent pieces of music that set the scene for following events.

Even if you aren’t aware of the interpretations of the music which introduces each chapter, there’s still a lot to enjoy in this book.  As well as being a beautiful piece of lesfic, with characters who you can believe in and connect with, the book has the strong undertone of delicious kink which Anastasia writes so well.  Kink and BDSM scenes are more than just a string of naughty words and punishment, they’re powerful, erotic and subtle on many levels.  There’s the complexity of the relationship between the top and the bottom, with each’s reasons for playing their role to be explored and told, as well as lived by the reader.  Set in a world a million miles away from the environment which Leila is used to, she seeds the control and mastery she is used to with her music and orchestra to Carene.  Initially for the sake of her recovery following an injury, as the story develops, her reasons for submitting to the discipline Carene administers
becomes more complex, turning into an expression of love for her friend.   But will Leila and Carene’s feelings for each other blossom, or will Leila lose not just her potential soul mate, but also her friend ?

Often, when you’re faced with looking for a book to read, it can be an easy choice to go with a genre that you’re comfortable with.  While there’s nothing wrong with that choice, this book is well worth considering as a choice.  Reading simple gifts and enjoying it doesn’t make you a pervert, nor will it convert you to a spanking or BDSM lifestyle.  Anastasias writing and passion for her subject is also worth more than calling it a simple guilty pleasure for when you’re feeling a bit “Kinky”. I really enjoyed this book, it appealed to me on many levels, both as a “girly girl” and as someone open to new things and would recommend without hesitation for your collection.