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Layla Holiday interviews the brilliant Niamh Murphy

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Niamh Murphy

I was delighted to interview Niamh Murphy, who is a historian, archaeologist, and author of lesbian novels. She writes intoxicating romantic tales, threaded together with gripping adventure and epic fantasy.

 

 

1)    What, or who, inspires you as a writer?

I find a lot of things inspiring, from the people I meet to shows I watch on TV. I like to keep notes of ideas I get for stories or characters either in a notebook or on an app on my phone. Inspiration is everywhere, the tricky part is learning how to turn that into a story.

 
2)    What was the first book that made you cry?51vmTPMlLHL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

I’m sure there were other stories that made me upset before this, but Tess was the first time that I really had my heart broken by a book. It was wonderful and dreadful at the same time – I loved Tess and my heart broke for her. It was the first time I realised the power of literature and stories and I would not be exaggerating if I were to say that reading Tess of the D’Urbervilles had a profound impact on me and the way I viewed the world.

 
3)    What is your writing process and how does it influence your writing style?

The process for producing my last two novels has been vastly different, I am still learning and a lot of my process has been no more than fumbling around in the dark and hoping that I was going in the right direction. For my next novel, I want to build on everything I have learned about the writing process, so I think my next project will be even more planned out than my last two books. I always use a plot outline to work from and I would like to work on developing that process so that the outline is as fleshed out and detailed as possible right at the start of the process. At least, that’s the dream!

 
4)    What is the most exciting aspect of writing for you?

Entering new worlds, and going inside the heads of my characters. I like the very beginning of the process where I am meeting my characters for the first time and finding out who they are and what they are capable of. I like the discovery!

 
5)    What do you find most challenging about writing?

It is difficult to overcome stumbling blocks and keep going even when the task seems insurmountable.

A 90,000-word book can look like a giant mountain to climb and the only way it is possible to hit the peak is to keep working day after day after day. Even one word added to the page is one word closer to the top.

 
6)    Tell us about your latest release?

Next month I’m going to be re-releasing a seasonal romance set at a New Year’s Eve party called Delicious. I’m really excited because it is a brand-new edit, with new material and it will be appearing in print for the first time outside of an anthology.

 
7)    What is your favourite part of the book?

This is short story, so it is very contained. But I think my favourite aspect has to be the flirtatious character of Nadia, the love interest. She really takes control and puts the main character, Charlotte, completely on the back foot. It was a lot of fun to write!

 
8)    Are you working on anything at the moment?

I have been working on my fantasy novel, Dark Age during NaNoWriMo it has been a tough process mainly because I when I started writing I knew there were big questions that still needed answers and I couldn’t find those answers until I worked my way through some of the writing.

Now that I have explored the world and the story further I know where I’m headed with it and I am really excited, not least because I think this is going to be my first trilogy.

 
9)    Where can we find your books online?

The best place to go is to head straight over to my website, www.AuthorNiamh.com

 

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Layla Holiday interviews the fabulous Andrea Bramhall

I had the pleasure of interviewing Andrea Bramhall, who wrote her first novel at the age of six and three-quarters. It was seven pages long and held together with a pink ribbon. Her Gran still has it in the attic. Since then she has progressed a little bit and now has a number of published works held together with glue, not ribbons, an Alice B. Lavender certificate, and a Lambda Literary award cluttering up her book shelves.
She studied music and all things arty at Manchester Metropolitan University, graduating in 2002 with a BA in contemporary arts. She is certain it will prove useful someday… maybe.
When she isn’t busy running a campsite and hostel on the North Norfolk Coast, Bramhall can be found hunched over her laptop scribbling down the stories that won’t let her sleep. She can also be found reading, walking the dogs up mountains while taking a few thousand photos, scuba diving while taking a few thousand photos, swimming, kayaking, playing the saxophone, or cycling.

 

1)Where do you get your inspiration from as a writer?

From everything I see and hear. I got the inspiration for my book Nightingale from a song by Norah Jones of the same title. The Chameleon’s Tale storyline hit me when I was talking to a woman from South Africa at a book event in Nottingham while she was drinking a glass of wine. The story from Collide-O-Scope came to me when I was walking the dogs on the North Norfolk Coastal Path and heard some of the local farmers scaring the geese off the fields. Radio shows, news broadcasts, conversations…you name it. I get inspiration from everywhere.

 

2)What is your writing process and how does it influence your writing style?

I am the consummate plotter. I have my stories worked out pretty much chapter by chapter before I start writing the story. I do this because my partner and I own a campsite and this keeps us so busy in the summer that I can’t write, so I guess I save it all up and let it out in a huge splurge once the season ends. It helps me to write quickly, and lets me get a first draft down in about three weeks or so.

 

3)What was the first book that made you cry?

The Power of One, by Bryce Courtney. PK’s story of growing up in South Africa is still one of the most moving stories I’ve ever read.

 

4)What is the most exciting aspect of writing for you?

The creation. I constantly have all these ideas running around in my head, and getting them out on to the page is something that keeps me sane in the process of creating something…to me that’s magical.

 

5)What do you find most challenging about writing?

The writing itself is a really natural process for me, it’s the self-promotion that I find most difficult. In typical British fashion, I find it really hard to blow my own trumpet, as they say.

 

6)Tell us about your latest release?

Rock and a Hard Place is a romance set in Patagonia against the backdrop of rock climbing and a reality TV show.

Expert mountain climber Jayden Harris has the world at feet until an avalanche at Everest base camp sweeps it all out from under her. She wants nothing more to do with the mountains, and turns her back on it all.

Rhian Phillips is a successful London marketing executive who has the chance of a lifetime fall in her lap. She’s sent to produce a reality TV series on competitive climbers, while showcasing the stunning beauty of a Patagonian glacier and the Cerro Fitz Roy range.

An accident brings Jayden and Rhian together, and outside pressures keep them at each other’s sides. When you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place eventually something has to give. The one thing they never counted on was them both wanting to stay together.

 

A lesbian romance about pushing onwards and defying expectations.

 

7)What is your favourite part of the book?

Ooo, there are so many parts that I really enjoy in this book. I spent a lot of time researching the climbing aspects of this storyline. I spent a lot of time rock climbing in the Lake District to make sure I was accurately describing the technical parts that were needed and to try and capture the feelings of being up on a rock wall and looking out across the world. It was amazing.

 

8)Are you working on anything at the moment?

I am currently working on another romance called Lost For Words. I’m about 20 thousand words in, and really enjoying it immensely. I’m not sure I’d class it as a RomCom, but it might be by the time I’m finished.

 

9)Where can we find your books online?

https://www.ylva-publishing.com/authors/andrea-bramhall/#1446752234305-4c284587-b53c

 

https://www.boldstrokesbooks.com/books/andrea-bramhall-196-a

 

They are also available on the usual platforms.

 

Andrea Bramhall

Author of

Lambda Award winner Clean Slate

Golden Crown Literary Award winner and Lambda finalist Nightingale

Lambda and Golden Crown finalist Collide-O-Scope

Lambda finalist The Chameleon’s Tale

Lavender certificate and Rainbow Award winner Ladyfish

Swordfish

Under Parr

Just My Luck

Rock and a Hard Place (Nov 2017)

The Last First Time (Dec 2017)

 

Find her on Twitter, WordPress, or on goodreads

 

WTF Are You Reading reviews Cuffs and Protests by Layla Holiday

A gigantic thank you to the readers and reviewers at WTF Are You Reading, a group of readers and reviewers who enjoy Weird, Taboo, and Forbidden fiction that is most definitely NSFW.

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Cuffs and Protests is available for free at Smashwords or for $0.99 at Amazon

Review of ‘Cuffs and Protests’ by Layla Holiday

Absolutely delighted to have Cuffs and Protests reviewed by the fabulous Kitty Kat!

Kitty Kat's Book Review Blog

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I enjoyed this hot and sexy tale of women from opposite sides of a big divide. Cop Kat has to try and reconcile what she is with her love for the woman she adores. Elle is a lawyer who feels she has to be true to her convictions. The story was well written and made me want to find out more about these characters. The sex scenes were raunchy and exceptionally well done. An enjoyable first instalment in the ‘Cops Gone Wild’ series that has me eagerly anticipating the next!

Free from Smashwords

Buy from Amazon

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Book Review – Cuffs and Protesters

Thrilled to have ‘Cuffs & Protests’ reviewed by SillySlutBoy.

Confessions of a Socially Awkward Slut

I recently had the pleasure to read Cuffs and Protests by Layla Holiday.   This fun tale of lesbian erotica will leave you panting for more!  Kat is a cop, and has learned that she will be part of a group of officers raiding the encampment of environmental protestors trying to stop corporate an evil corporate giant from destroying the environment.  Her lover, Elle, is an environmental lawyer who has been part of this protest for a very long time.  When Elle learns the news, she is less than pleased.  Their relationship is in peril!  Will things work out for the better for Kat and Elle, or go south?  You’ll just have to read the book to find out!  Rest assured, if you enjoy a good lesbian erotic tale, this book will not disappoint!  This is the first in the author’s Cops Gone Wild series, and well, the ending will keep…

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Sneak Preview: First Two Chapters

Cuffs and Protests

by Layla Holiday

 

Chapter One

It’s hard to imagine that just six months ago—before the construction of bamboo tripods, the installation of concrete lock-on devices, the arrival of the Peace Angel and the Knitting Nannas—all the Bentley Blockade consisted of was a few dedicated women, greeting the crepuscular rays of each Bentley dawn by sitting in front of the access gate to the Scarrabelotti’s paddock.

I never thought it would come to this. NSW Police have deployed 800 officers, and a riot squad, to swarm the camp and surround the drill site tomorrow morning. I shudder as I remember Doubtful Creek. The last thing we need is a repeat of that clusterfuck. But these guys sent up from the big smoke don’t care. They don’t get it, for them it’s simple: protesters are pests; getting in the way and wasting tax-payers’ money. I don’t know how I am going to tell Elle that I will be there tomorrow, at Bentley with her, but not beside her, that I’ll be on duty, practically working against her.

It’s going to kill her. She’s been out there since the beginning, back when it was just her and a couple of others, sitting on deckchairs, in darkness, in front of that gate, waving at traffic passing by.

 

I unzip my Kevlar vest and, without unbuttoning, slip out of my powder-blue shirt. I feel sick. I stare at my dark-serious eyebrows and peacock-green eyes in the mirror, I look tired. These past few months have been tough, trying to balance the conflict of work and ethics, obligation and love. I’ve lost a little weight but, thankfully, no muscle tone. I work hard for this body. I don’t want to become one of those fat cops who teenagers oink at. I want to be able to chase, and catch, those little buggers if I have to.

Shift changeover was an hour ago, I’m alone in the locker room. I unclip my bra with one hand and turn the shower on with the other.

 

 

Chapter Two

Shampooing for the second time, and not rushing, I realise that I’m dawdling, putting off meeting Elle. I go over what I should say, ‘Babe, I want you to know that I agree with you completely, CSG is the asbestos of our generation,’ that’s a good start. ‘Metgasco must be stopped,’ I’ll add to ensure she’s onside.

Then I’ll drop the bomb, ‘I’ll be in uniform tomorrow but it doesn’t mean I’m working for Metgasco, coppers don’t take sides, just do their jobs.’ I know it’s a lie. Fuck, I’m ridiculous. Such a hypocrite. She’s going to hate me.

 

A couple of years ago, shortly after graduating from the Police Force Academy, Elle and I attended an anti-CSG protest together. I remember that autumn morning. Hot empty blue skies. A sea of yellow placards flooding Lismore CBD. Blues on street corners. Traffic backed up at every intersection. Horns beeping. Drums beating. Blues on horses. People singing. Elle’s hand in mine. Dogs Panting. Babies in prams. People on stilts. Blues on bicycles. Kids on scooters. People in wheelchairs. Afternoon music in the park and dancing on the hill.

Just thinking of that weekend causes my whole body to tingle. I’ve never gotten myself off at work before, I let my hand slide down my neck, between my breasts, along my soapy abdomen and rest on my pelvic bone.

I recall the weather that weekend, of the anti-CSG protest, it was perfect. After the rally, Elle and I rode out to Protester Falls. I remember Elle’s golden-brown, long legs wrapped around my hips, how she slid up close and hung on tight. I could feel her hot breath on my neck and her breasts pressed flat against my back. When we reached the outskirts of town, I pulled back hard on the throttle, well aware that the sudden speed would turn her on.

We turned down a secluded trail and I parked the bike beside some towering eucalypts, their trunks elaborately encrusted in the pale-greens of lichen. ‘Don’t move,’ I ordered Elle in my most authoritative officer voice. ‘Turn and face the bike. Hands where I can see them.’

A fleeting look of confusion was replaced with excitement as she responded to my orders.

‘Shirt off. Shorts down.’

She obeyed and, in nothing but her fine-lace boyshorts, she turned to face the bike. I watched her long-thick hair brush against her generous curves. Her Columbian heritage has blessed her with olive skin that glows as if she’s always just returned from vacation. I let my eyes feast on her lascivious curves. There was a pounding in my chest and an urgent pulsing between my legs.

Take control, I told myself and, taking a deep breath, I approached her. Roughly grabbing her left wrist, I reached into the saddlebag with my free hand. When her eyes caught the glimmer of my new cuffs she shivered and goosebumps appeared on her bare skin.

I cuffed her hands behind her back and let her squirm between me and the bike. Nipping at her shoulders and upper back, I pushed my knee between her thighs and sucked hard on her neck.

The image of her being stripped and shackled with me, fully dressed and in complete control, was an abiding fantasy of ours. I let my hands wander down the side of her torso and over her hips, squeezing, pushing and pulling handfuls of her womanly flesh. It was obvious that she was enjoying the frustration of not being able to touch me back.

I slid my hand into her panties, cupped her slick heat and teased her with my fingertips, eventually letting one finger glide slightly inside. Not usually the vocal type, Elle moaned so deeply, I felt myself gush with longing.

Each time she pushed back against me, my finger slid out, along the full length of her, and with each thrust forward I re-entered her deeper and harder. The husky sounds she made that day—together with the felling of her invitingly warm and swollen sex—were so hot I had to stop myself from peaking first. I pushed her forward and started working her smooth, swollen button. She sighed and jerked wildly. I let my fingers slide away from her clit and ran them up and down the length of her slit.

‘Please, Kat,’ she implored with a growl.

She didn’t need to ask twice. I returned to her firm bud and pressed against it with increasing firmness, stroking faster and faster until she was shuddering violently against the bike. Before long, with her hips pulled down against me, her hands still cuffed and the friction of the fabric between us, I was groaning and shuddering my way to my own spine-melting climax.

 

I steal a look over my shoulder, the locker room is empty, I’m still alone. My own sex is swollen and aching. I brace myself against the wet wall. With two fingers, I part my lips and let my middle finger rest against my clit. Hot water rushes over my most sensitive parts, the slight pain arouses me further. It’s not long before I’m panting against the tiles, making myself come against the wall of the open showering area.

 

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Layla Holiday reviews Shaun Williams: ‘Work Crush’

Max, the narrator of the fantasy-filled, frisky short story ‘Work Crush’ gives us a snapshot of just how easily the workplace can heat up over the duration of a single afternoon.

 

Prior to his lunch break, Max’s thoughts turned to his young, sultry colleague, Junior. Let’s just say, Max uses his lunchbreak productively, well, perhaps the way he spends his break will increase post-lunch productivity.

 

But work place restrooms are anything but private! When overheard in the bathroom, Max must muster the courage to return to his desk. But who heard him? Could this be the final straw for Max? Will he be marched up the HR and sacked on the spot, or will he land in some other, rather unexpected, sack?

 

Between the narrator’s autobiographical statements, and the office’s instant-messaging dialogue between Max and Junior, we are left with a deeper sense that this is just a little foreplay, preparing us, warming us up for what is yet to come.

 

Author Shaun Williams, in ‘Work Crush,’ gives us a snapshot of a man, in the thrall of fantasy, grappling with the boredom of the mundane as well as the boner in his not-so-discreet slacks. The narrator wants the afternoon to flyby, but his embarrassment paired with the building suspense, regarding the night ahead, leaves time dragging.

‘Work Crush’, is available now.

See more titles from Shaun Williams here and follow him on Twitter here