Love’s Portrait – Teaser

Love's Portrait - Anna Larner 2018

Context of extract:

Museum Curator Molly Goode (central character) has just attended a museum funding meeting with her boss Evelyn Fox and the Chairman of the Trustees Mark Drew. Her suggestions that the museum should focus on more diversity and community based projects are rebuffed in favour of securing the ongoing patronage of the Wright family, headed by Georgina Wright (central character).

Molly returns to her desk defeated and dispirited.

 

Molly returned to her office, dropped her notes back into the bin where they belonged, and slumped onto Fran’s desk with a heavy sigh.

“You’re sitting on my sandwich.” Fran pushed at Molly’s hip encouraging her to stand.

“I’ve sat on your lunch? Oh my God, could this day get any worse?” Molly held Fran’s baguette, squishy in her hands. It was now less buoyant baguette and more flatbread and pretty much summed up her morning.

Fran stood with a groan. “Want anything from the cafe?”

Molly looked down, crestfallen, and shook her head.

“I take it the meeting wasn’t exactly a great success.” Fran placed a motherly hand on Molly’s shoulder.

She couldn’t bring herself to mention the annex let alone that she had prompted the idea of a dedicated exhibition in the first place. “Honestly it was chilling to hear them. Everything’s about money or status to them. I thought museums were for and about the people.”

“You’re sounding more like a social historian every day,” Fran said, with an approving nod. “Although isn’t the art world, your world, all about that-status?”

“Not for me.”

“Good for you.” Fran placed her hands on her hips. “I think we need cake.”

“Have lunch in the square with me?”

“Sorry no can do, I’ve a shopping list longer than David Attenborough’s career. But I’ll see you later. So what will it be-Victoria Sponge or better still eclairs?”

Molly mustered a smile. “How about both?”

“Good choice.” Fran turned back at the door. “Do you remember what I said to you when you first started at the museum that you will always feel disheartened if your approach is to work against them?”

Molly nodded.

“The trick, if there is a trick,” Fran frowned slightly. “Is somehow to find a way to achieve what you believe is right but that still delivers for the powers to be.”

“So is this how you handle Evelyn?”

“On my good days, yes. On my bad days lots of rude words shouted at the top of my lungs in the privacy of the ladies loo.”

Molly giggled. “Right. Noted.”

The instant Fran closed the door Molly was engulfed by images of the Chairman with his expression of vacuous power on his face, his mane-like hair swept back, his tie tight against his collar moving with his throat as he spoke. He was confident in a bullish way that suggested at his heart he was insecure. His insecurity made him dangerous, and if she was not mistaken, that was likely the source of his power and influence-not his knowledge, not his experience, but the fragility of his ego, charming when stroked, ferociously defensive when challenged.

Evelyn seemed to be a master at managing him, stroking to calm and cajole. She appealed to his competitive nature by presenting the museum as a place of excellence. A leading institution indeed. She was the consummate manager of people.

Molly closed her eyes at the image of Evelyn with her pen raised to silence her. Her temper rose. She needed to find a place to shout rude words.

Leaving the frustrations of her meeting behind, she headed to her sanctuary, a small public garden next to the museum. Aptly named Museum Square, the simply designed square patch of civic ground was bordered on two sides by parked cars. A collection of benches placed around the inside edge of the square separated the grass from wide borders. A diagonal path, broken up by tree roots, stretched across splitting half way along to encircle a large horse chestnut tree. This tree marked the seasons, signalling the changing patterns of the year. In winter, bare and stark against white skies, the tree seemed to shrink, huddled with those brave or crazy enough to stop awhile and sit. In spring tentative buds relaxed in the welcome return of the first rays of sunshine. In summer students rested against its weathered waist reading their books in the cool shade of branches laden with the soft flutter of green leaves. And in autumn the debris of crushed conkers bashed free from its branches litter the ground evidence of battles won and lost and of time passing as the empty husks curl and brown.

She cherished those moments spent sitting on her favourite bench eating her sandwiches with her lunchbox at her side and with the sprawling horse chestnut her faithful companion.

Basking in the calm stillness of the beautiful September day, she took off her shoes and let the grasses brush against the soles of her feet. Tipping her head she lifted her chin to the cloudless sky. The air was changing from the dry sandy notes of summer to the sweet musk of autumn. The leaves above her were fading and their greens had softened to mossy shades from vibrant lime. Even the midday light beaming through the canopy seemed weaker now, less luminous, its strongest rays falling on another person sitting on another bench, in another square, in another land.

 

*Now available to pre-order at the Bold Strokes Books webstore*

 


© 2016 All rights reserved. No reproduction without written permission.

 

 

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Review of Girls next door by Sandy Lowe and Stacia Seaman (eds.)

Thanks, thrilled you enjoyed Hooper Street!

Short stories are a great way to try new authors or enjoy a short read of your favourite ones. The idea of “the girl next door” as a unifying theme is original for a lesfic compilation and allows a wide range of creative possibilities. Most of these stories can be read in 15-20 minutes so it’s never too long if you don’t enjoy them fully but if you like them, the good feeling stays for much longer. I’ve enjoyed more than half of these stories which was good considering there were nineteen of them. I’m sure everyone will have their own favourite, mine was Hooper Street by Anna Larner. Definitely worth a read.
Overall, 4 stars.
ARC provided by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Girls Next Door Edited by Sandy Lowe & Stacia Seaman

Les Rêveur

Girl Next Door – Anthology

What a great collection of stories. Here’s 8 of my favourites with a short review. Enjoy…

Synopsis

Sometimes the most intriguing girls are right next door—BFFs, ex-girlfriends, new girls in town, party girls, study mates, teammates, and sexy strangers. All it takes is a night out, the right moment, or an accidental kiss to discover what’s been there all along—the perfect girl for a love that lasts a lifetime. Best-selling romance authors tell it from the heart—sexy, romantic stories of falling for the girls next door.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Cupcake by Georgia Beers
  • Guilty Pleasure by M. Ullrich
  • Hooper Street by Anna Larner
  • Snow Day by Missouri Vaun
  • Knocking on Haven’s Door by Brey Willows
  • Gold by Giselle Renarde
  • Love Unleashed by Karis Walsh
  • Bat Girl by Laney Webber
  • The Aisle of Lesbos by Allison Wonderland
  • Kiss Cam by Lisa Moreau
  • The Girl Next Door…

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All’s Well That Ends Well…

UK Lesbian Fiction

For the past four years, Tig and I have had a blast creating this blog and this community of readers and UK authors. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege, and we owe a lot to the authors who’ve contributed, offered freebies, written blogs, and kept us up to date with their news and releases. To finish things off with a bang rather than a whimper, we corralled a few folks to answer one simple question:

What are your hopes for the future of lesbian fiction?

This is what they had to say…

Manda Scott

My hope for the future of lesbian fiction is that it remains vibrant, inspiring and above all, literate – that we continue to write stories that are not confined to the ghetto, but that spread to the wider world. At this time of global chaos, with the collapse of eco-systems and the 6th extinction happening…

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Highland Fling by Anna Larner (plus a FREE book!)

Women and Words

Highland Fling 300 DPITo celebrate the publication of Highland Fling, Anna is giving away a signed paperback copy.

To enter, just leave a comment on this post. We’ll draw a winner on Friday, April 28.

Good luck!


Set in the majesty of the Highlands of Scotland, Highland Fling tells the story of holiday maker Eve Eddison who falls for enigmatic local Moira Burns. The unfolding twists and turns of their emotional journey to love remind us that, when we fall for someone we don’t really know, we also don’t know what we’re getting into.

Being tempted, intrigued by a novel, and a debut novel at that, is a bit like embarking on a fling isn’t it? You want to, you know you want to, you’re so ready for the roller coaster ride… but you pause.  Your head says “Wait. I need to find out a little bit more…”

So let me give…

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Review of ‘Highland Fling’ by Anna Larner

Kitty Kat's Book Review Blog

Highland Fling

I really enjoyed the story of Eve, a twenty-something librarian who goes on holiday to the Scottish Highlands and falls hard for Moira, the older woman with a few secrets.  Moira seems reluctant to admit her attraction to Eve, but why?  Although she came across as grumpy at times I liked Moira.  I wanted her to be who she really was.  Eve was caring, emotional and determined.  There are some powerful scenes between them, sometimes devastating.  Some beautiful, romantic and passionate encounters as well as a wonderful setting made this a must-read.  Highly recommended.
I was given this ARC by Netgalley and Bold Strokes Books in return for an honest review.

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Guest author – Anna Larner

Charlie Cochrane - Mysteries with a dash of slash, romances with just a pinch of spice

I first met Anna at the Bold Strokes event in Nottingham last year – she was one of a number of charming people to grace that weekend. So glad she agreed to guest here at my blog to celebrate her debut release, Highland Fling. 

What inspired you to start writing?

Back in 2012, I stumbled upon a seminar held at De Montfort University, Leicester, run by Bold Stokes Books editor Victoria Villasenor. BSB authors were in attendance reading from their latest novels. It was a real lightbulb moment for me. I just thought I should be doing this!

Do you have another job, paid or otherwise, apart from being an author? If so, how do you juggle your time?

My background is in Museum/Heritage work. Up until fairly recently, I was part of a fantastic project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund called Untold Stories. Untold Stories recorded…

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