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Narberth Book Fair 2019

Last year I learned via Jessie Cahalin that a book fair had been held at Narberth, Wales and I was keen to take part this year.  One of the great things about having a caravan is that you can rock up, book into a site for a couple of nights and enjoy all the comforts of home. The only down side of the weekend was that weather front Imelda decided to hit the Welsh coast at roughly the same time as us. However, writers are an intrepid bunch so we didn’t let that put us off. 

There was a day to go before the Book Fair opened and so we made the most of the opportunity to explore Tenby, a place new to us. What a fabulous little town it is, set above an amazing swathe of beach (reminiscent of The Prisoner), pastel painted houses of Dylan Thomas’s Llareggub in Under Milk Wood, twisting streets and chi-chi shops encircled by a formidable granite town walls. Much to my delight there was a Seasalt shop and a niche off-license selling gin in all its many forms. Yep, you guessed it, the tills were soon ringing.

We headed back to Narberth and set up my book table for the book fair the following day. If you’d like to read my interview on the Narberth Book Fair blog, you can find it here.

Next morning, bright eyed, bushy tailed and accompanied by a man in a kilt, I was soon behind my book table eager to meet new readers. My husband Dave is such a good sport, happy to chat to potential readers and answer questions about his kilt: which clan did he belong to (Lamont) where he’d bought his kilt (eBay!) and what was it like being married to a crazy writer of romance. (I asked that last question, actually). Other authors asked if he was available for hire as the kilt certainly proved a hit drawing in readers. 

As some of you may know, I was a teacher for 34 years and I was delighted to present a workshop to aspiring writers. One of those attending my workshop – 10 Point Guide on How to Write a Novel – was Anne Williams – fabulous blogger/reviewer and friend, who shared her knowledge on what was current in the publishing world, the benefit of writing sequels/series and the importance of having a social media presence. I hope that we can work together in the future as our joint perspective was appreciated by attendees. In case you’re wondering what’s on the large scroll I’m holding, it’s my novel PLANNER which I was keen to share with the attendees. I then went on to explain the difference between being a plotster or a pantser and, among other topics, having the courage to kill off your darlings if they aren’t moving the plot along.  

An unexpected bonus of attending the fair was meeting writers I’d only spoken to via Twitter or Facebook. In the collage are (clockwise) Anne Williams, Judith Barrow (joint organiser of the fair with Thorne Moore) Juliet Greenwood, Wendy Steele, Thorne Moore and Tim Wickenden. I also met Judith Arnott and we had an interesting discussion about Margaret Beaufort’s place in history. If I didn’t write romance I’d probably write historical fiction. 

Sadly, the weather on Sunday worsened and that had an impact on footfall. However, books continued to be sold, business cards exchanged and, gratifyingly, two attendees from my workshop returned to tell me how much they enjoyed my talk. They complimented me on the the way I’d presented the information in such an informative, easy to understand fashion. Clearly, all my years as a teacher hasn’t gone to waste. After clearing the hall I headed for local hotel Plas Hyfryd  and a celebratory meal (and maybe a raspberry gin and tonic, or two) with other writers. Dave returned to the caravan to watch the Rugby World Cup. 

When I returned, Dave had, covered the caravan’s windscreen with its protective  ‘bra’ (see photo 1) in preparation for the l-o-o-ng journey back to Leicester – six and a half hours with a fifteen minute break. The mist hung low in the valley as we left Wales and we were chased home by another weather front snapping at our heels. However, that couldn’t dampen my enthusiasm for the weekend. Many thanks to Thorne, Judith and their team of helpers for making the Narberth Book Fair such a resounding success. 

So what’s next? I plan on spending the autumn and winter hunkered down over the pc finishing my WIP – working title I’ll Be in Scotland – and getting it ready to publish Summer 2020. In the meantime, do watch my slideshow, check out my five published romances, or read some of my other blog posts.

My Writerly Year 2018 # part one

Happy New Year to all my followers and friends. I thought I’d look back over 2018 to see what I’d achieved in the writerly sphere. I was surprised by the result . . . So, in reverse order, starting with December here’s what I’ve been up to.

Another cracking meeting of the Belmont Belles which I organise with June Kearns. To round up the year’s activities we were honoured to have best selling romance author Carole Matthews as our guest. Cue an inspirational talk and fabulous Q&A session. Also in December, much To my surprise I won a £40 amazon voucher from Kindle Direct Publishing to spend on author copies of my novels. Colour me lucky.

In November I was invited to appear alongside Sue Moorcroft and Heidi Jo Swain at Upminster library to meet readers and talk about my path to publication. A thrilling moment for an indie author was made extra special when I learned that the library had ordered copies of my novels – hopefully I might get some PLR revenue from that.

Adrienne Vaughan and I went to London, Waterstones Piccadilly to be precise there we attended Sue Moorcrofts launch for A Christmas Gift and bumped into many RNA pals. Great evening out which set us up for the festive season. That happened less than a week after my second cataract operation, so I was glad Adrienne was there for support. She makes for a pretty glamorous guide dog.

October saw the inaugural meeting of the East Midlands Chapter of the Society of Authors in Leicester. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was a friendly and supportive group which met at THE HEAD OF STEAM in Market Street. The highlight of the month was being invited to talk to a large group of final year students at De Montfort University on the subject of indie publishing. They’ve asked me back next year and to attend the States of Independence book fair in March 2019.

I’m a great believer in learning from successful authors and so it was a no brainer to attend a master class featuring Cathy Bramley and Carole Matthews at Waterstones in Nottingham. The talk was entertaining and informative and the queue of readers waiting to have their books signed was something I can only dream about.

I organised for Kim Nash, publicity officer at Bookouture, to come along to the Belmont Belles to explain her role and to dispel one or two myths regarding what Bookouture requires from authors. I can’t quite decide if I’m ready to give up my indie status and get locked into a contract as I like the freedom to write what I like, when I like. But – as 007 said – never say never. Right?

In October I attended a SOA meeting in Oxford at Balliol College, where I bumped into RNA members, Liz Harris and Julia Roberts . Dave and I had lunch in the Eagle and Child where Tolkien and other ‘Inklings’ met to talk and write and where he penned some of Lord of the Rings. I hope some of the magic rubbed off on me.

September saw my returning to the Norfolk Marshes to celebrate the fifth birthday of Boot Camp Bride. I visited the locations which inspired the novel. If you’d like to learn more about that visit, click here.

While in Norfolk I made the most of the opportunity to meet up with Kate Hardy and Rosie Hendry in Thornham where we swapped our latest novels.

I’ve appeared on other blogs this year and I always appreciate the time and effort bloggers put into publicising me and my books. I’ll just mention a couple of my favourites, starting with Jena’s Golden Chapters via writer and blogger Jessie Cahalin. You can read the full review here.

I appeared on Sharon Booth’s blog where I described my life in FIVE photos. That was great fun – do pop along and see it if you have time. (Yep, that’s me – determined and cussed.LOL)

I was really chuffed to appear on Being Anne’s list of romances she’d enjoyed in 2018. Anne is an incredible blogger: committed, supportive and widely read.

Well, that about wraps up Part One of my Literary Journey this year. Tune in next time for Part Two (August – January) to learn what 2019 holds in store.

And, as they say in Scotland Happy New Year and Lang May Yer Lum Reek.

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