A Reading from Poppy Jenkins

Many thanks to The Lesbian Talk Show for hosting my reading from Poppy Jenkins. I introduce the book and read several short extracts.

There are lots of great book clips available from other authors here too. Hope you enjoy it.

Here’s the link.

Poppy Jenkins wins Rainbow Award!

rainbowawardwinnerI’m chuffed to bits that Poppy Jenkins has won a Rainbow Award for Best Lesbian Contemporary & Erotic Romance.

It was also placed second in the overall Best Lesbian Book award which was won by Ann McMann’s Backcast.

Judges commented:

“[Clare Ashton] evokes a magical small town and country setting and brings it to life. Rarely does a romance provide the reader with a more vivid sense of place. The plot provides a great combination of whimsy, intensity, heat, with a dash of serious. While not technically a “second chance romance,” Poppy Jenkins has the essence of one by giving us a story of close childhood friends, torn apart and then reunited as adults. It’s a lovely book.”

10-best-books-of-2016Poppy Jenkins has also being popping up on some great lists recently. It appears on both The Lesbian Review’s Must Read list and their Best Books of 2016.  And for more romance recommendations from 2016 have a peek at Les Reveur’s 12 Days of Lesfic which Poppy appears on too.

That Certain Something – a sample

I’m beginning to get like a kid before Christmas with my latest novel. I’m on my final edit, reading aloud and polishing before it goes to copy-edit, and I just want people to read it.

I’ve been muttering about writing a light romance for a while and it’s been very pleasant this winter being able to nip out to a romantic summer London with quirky characters and funny scenes.

Here’s chapter 1 of That Certain Something for a taster. I hope to publish it in May.

~~~

Chapter 1

Pia walked around the edge of the quiet London square affecting an air of nonchalance. She kicked out her boots and hummed a song but, underneath her arm, she kept a tight grip on her camera and long zoom lens. She peered over her sunglasses. No-one walked outside the tall Georgian terraces. No-one sat underneath the trees of the large private garden in the centre of Kensington Square. She wriggled her shoulders underneath her rucksack and, with one last peek around, attempted a nimble jump over the black railings into the garden.

Continue reading

New short story

cover3I love writing intense, emotional mysteries, but sometimes it’s nice to sit back and write something funny. I’ve just published a short story called The Dildo in the Kitchen Drawer, a comic story of slippery fingers, paranoia and recalcitrant dogs.

There’s a bit of slapstick, some black humour and hopefully some simple laugh out loud moments too. Here’s the blurb:

What has Beth’s girlfriend ordered in the plainest, squarest, most non-descript parcel? It certainly isn’t books. No-one shuffles that frantically to hide books when you come in unexpectedly.

And what would any right-minded person do when they opened the kitchen drawer to check what had been hidden? But right-minded isn’t a term that’s often applied to Beth.

Let me know what you think.

It’s available for $0.99 for the Kindle on Amazon:

US – http://www.amazon.com/The-Dildo-Kitchen-Drawer-ebook/dp/B00EK7ZCTS/
UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Dildo-Kitchen-Drawer-ebook/dp/B00EK7ZCTS/

New novel – After Mrs Hamilton

coverAfter Mrs Hamilton is the book that I had to write. It’s the kind of novel I wanted to read: an absorbing plot, intriguing characters and an irrestible romantic pairing. It was inspired by my love of twisting British novels, a weakness for older women, Catherine Deneuve and Fanny Ardant films and late-night alcohol-fuelled conversations with a friend who used to visit prostitutes.

Since outlining the story in 2009, I haven’t been able to completely forget about it. I did a draft back then, but it had a number of issues, and I turned my attention to a simpler tale (Pennance) to hone my writing skills.

A few months ago, I started rewriting the story. With essential feedback and input from an experienced author/editor, I heavily edited existing scenes and rewrote over half of the rest. I found it both more rewarding and harder work than I envisaged. It took a lot of nerve to throw away that amount of writing and be able to cut into a piece of work to that extent. I also found, after editing the sections that did work, that the blank page was that much more daunting. Somehow the blank page on a completely fresh draft is more inviting.

It’s been worth it though. I think the book now does justice to the story, which I still love.

Here’s the blurb:

Clo leads a loveless life as an escort for older women. Laura is locked in a safe marriage, but longs to break out and find the parents she never met. Two women enter the lives of these friends and Clo and Laura’s secrets, and those of the generation before, begin to unravel.

Set in London and Oxfordshire, After Mrs Hamilton is an intricate tale of secrets, obsession and betrayal.

After Mrs Hamilton is available as an eBook from Amazon and Amazon UK and Smashwords. Paperback to follow shortly.

Your influences are showing….

Many thanks to Gabriella West for writing a lovely review of Pennance.

I found it very interesting reading because Gabriella mentioned a couple of authors that she thought may have influenced me. Firstly there was Sarah Waters, who I think must be a huge favourite among lesbian authors, but spotting Zoe Heller was worryingly accurate. Along with many of Sarah Waters’ novels, Notes on a Scandal is one of my favourite books. I loved the characters in that novel – so damaged and wonderfully unlikeable.

Gabriella then noted another influence of the film Truly Madly Deeply – one of my favourite films. It was starting to get scarey at this point. She ends the review by saying that the ending of Pennance reminded her of the reconciliation of Pip and Estella in Great Expecations – a text deeply seared into my psyche from studying it at A level.

Makes me wonder what else people can tell from my writing.