Choo Choo! It’s the second coach on our LesFic Eclectic blog train—are you all ready? We’ve got another four authors on the tracks for you today: the brand new voices of Jazz Jackson Stone and Sue Still, emerging author AJ Mason, and a mainstream literary giant in Julie Cohen. We’ll be releasing Volume Three on Thursday 23rd December, but you can download Volume One and Volume Two right now.
Sign up to the Butterworth Books newsletter here to get early release details, cover reveals, new author announcements, and author works exclusively.
How excited are you to be involved in this project?
Jazz: I love that LesFic Eclectic offers brand new voices a platform to be heard. As a new author myself, I relish the opportunity to work with a team of editors that love the same things I do—damn good stories that would make Sappho proud. I’m excited to be part of this publication and to read everyone else’s work.
AJ: This is my third LesFic Eclectic, and the excitement never wanes. To have the chance to see my story next to those from established authors is a real privilege. I love the build-up to release day, wondering what the readers will make of my latest story. I have had some lovely reviews in the past, so the pressure is on.
Julie: I’m excited to appear in an anthology with established and up-and-coming lesfic writers, which is something I’ve never done!
Sue: Extremely! Having a book that showcases new authors—like me—is a wonderful opportunity. The experience and skills gained from being a part of this are immense. This was an unexpected privilege. Thank you so much for the chance.
What’s your story about and what genre does it fall into?
Jazz: Helen of Fort Lauderdale is a coming-of-age story set in the 1950s. Margie is bookish and reserved while her girlfriend Helen is outgoing and spontaneous. Helen helps Margie blossom and embrace herself in this historic fiction piece.
AJ: It’s a simple story about an ordinary woman in a relationship which has gone awry. She’s searching for a way to fix the issues and the solution just happens to come from a slightly unexpected place: a galaxy far, far away. It turns out aliens get relationship problems too. It’s a sci-fi story with a soft centre.
Julie: My story, Galaxy, is a contemporary story about a writer who’s so wrapped up in her own words that she can’t see the story unfolding in real life.
Sue: It’s a sapphic/WLW romance story with a twist and a magical theme. The story features Sasha, who attempts to make a temporary love potion from an old spell book and test it out on her best friend, with unexpected consequences.
What kind of fiction do you like to write and why?
Jazz: I’m a dabbler at heart. I’ve always had stories swirling in my head, and now I challenge myself to bring those stories into fruition. My first accepted piece, Dead Boy’s Teeth, will be featured in the queer horror anthology, Skulls and Spells. I had never written horror before, but I had an idea for an opening scene that grew into a tale about unrequited love, friendship, and teeth. Once I received my first acceptance, I knew I wanted to keep writing short stories. Helen of Fort Lauderdale is my first historic piece. I loved researching the setting and studying old photographs from 1950s Florida. I had this visual image of a nude, young woman in a lake and thought, “Yeah, I should do something with her.” Then I laughed and asked myself, “What the hell is she doing in a lake? There are gators in there.” That’s what spurred the opening line of the story, and when anyone asked me what I was working on, I told them 1950s lesbians and alligators.
AJ: I enjoy writing science fiction mostly. Sci-fi is a great genre to write stories in. It gives me the imaginative descriptive space I need to create scenarios and characters in which to explore the big questions. I think something about that imagined backdrop enables the reader to confront difficult ideas without feeling as overcome as they might if it was set in the real world.
Julie: I like to write, and read, every kind of fiction, but I’m currently writing book club type fiction, which looks carefully at relationships and society.
Sue: My main genres are speculative fiction and romance, but mostly fantasy with some sci-fi and myth/fairy tale retellings. I like to write strong female characters and tales with a twist or hidden/secret. There’s nothing nicer than a magical world where anything is possible or sci-fi that panders to my geeky nature.
Tell us something about yourself that readers might not already know.
Jazz: I have a ridiculously vast Furby collection. It all started when someone showed me a Long Furby. I was mixed with repulsion and desire. I joined the community immediately, and now I run an Instagram page for my forty-plus Furbies. I did end up making my own Long Furby, who I’ve affectionally named Wheat Gobbler.
AJ: I have a 10-litre fish tank which I use to host a colony of tropical shrimp. I spend far too much time watching them go about their business!
Julie: Every single room in my house has walls painted green. I just find it soothing.
Sue: I’m a fully qualified nutritionist and a part-time genealogist.
What’s your favourite line from your story in LEV3?
Jazz Jackson Stone ~ Helen of Fort Lauderdale
“There better not be any gators in here, Helen!”
AJ Mason ~ Wish Upon A Star:
Djelt’s people didn’t seem to have a name as such, more a collection of musical notes. A beautiful lingering tone that brought a lump to her throat and made her yearn to hear it once more.
Julie Cohen ~ Galaxy:
Sometimes I go out with other writers, usually in order to drink too much, and they complain about their partners, who are always interrupting right at the moment when they’re wrestling with a difficult bit of the story.
Sue Still ~ Love At First…Sip?
She was looking scrumptious, with her sleek short black hair, work toned arms and one of the sexiest backsides I’d ever seen. When I looked up, she was looking right at me, a small smirk on her face.