Tuesday, 22 March 2016

When Bloggers and Authors take over London!

On Saturday 20th March I was so lucky to be able to meet up with lots of my blogger friends and lots of my author friends. I also met some lovely new people and generally had a grand old time! The event was organised by author Holly Martin and Kim Nash from Bookouture who have begun to organise monthly meet ups. Obviously, because I live in Northern Ireland I can't attend every meet up as the expense would be too great but I am at least going to try to get to every other one if possible.

So, on Saturday morning my alarm went off at 4.45am and I could have cried! I hadn't slept too well with sheer excitement at the prospect of the meet up and a daughter who was unwell. However, I was soon hot footing it onto a rather small plane at Belfast City airport. I don't think I've ever flown in such a small passenger plane before! It had propellers for goodness sake and shook and shuddered the whole flight! And, we didn't so much land in London City airport but sort of dropped from the sky with a thump! I'm sure we didn't really but my insane fear of landing and taking off was coming into play here! Plus, I didn't have anyone sitting beside me! I usually grab the hand of a fellow passenger during these times!


My next hurdle was getting myself from the airport to meet the lovely Les Moriarty at Waterloo Station. Now, those who know me well know that I am completely geographically challenged and could manage to get lost in my own street! However, Les had given me great traveling instructions and before I knew it Les and I were enjoying a lovely brunch before making our way to the venue in The Waiting Room.

I was so stunned that so many people had turned up to the event which is a testament to Holly and Kim's organizational skills. The afternoon was spent talking books, talking book tours and talking blogging. I was so thrilled that I got to meet some of the lovely authors I had worked with on tours. Authors such as Tilly Tennant, Christie Barlow and Helen J Rolfe to name but a few. When meeting authors I so have to suppress the urge to go all fan girl / stalker on them. I'm whats known as a book groupie! I can't help myself! I go all weak at the knees and want to fall at their feet! If I'm honest, meet ups do terrify the life clean out of me! I'm quite a shy person at heart (stop laughing) and I do get very nervous. What if I say the wrong thing? What if I look terrible? What if..............and so it goes on and on! But, I needn't have worried because once I got taking I was hard to shut up!

With the lovely authors Talli Roland & Helen J Rolfe

I was also so lucky to meet so many amazing bloggers including some of the Brook Cottage Books tour hosts! These guys are totally amazing, so generous of their time and there's nothing they don't know about books and authors! They are the real experts of the publishing world!

Me again! With book bloggers Julie Williams & Julie Boon & the lovely author Tilly Tennant

Selfie fun with authors Giselle Green & Christina Courtenay

Shell Baker with her famous selfie stick!

Me and Les Moriarty

All in all it was a fab afternoon. What could be better than spending the day in a pub with authors and bloggers and talking books! Some liquid refreshment might of course been had! Afterwards Les and I went for a gorgeous meal in an Indian restaurant before we headed back to his lovely home where he and his wife Vivienne put this very tired blogger / writer up for the night. I was treated to a gorgeous breakfast the next morning and some fascinating and interesting conversation before Vivienne kindly walked me to the tube station with their little dog Rosa who I have fallen so madly in love with! I really wanted to sneak her away in my bag but really wasn't sure poor Vivienne would appreciate me trying to wrestle Rosa off her at the tube station! Anyway, I somehow managed to get myself back to the airport, and that accomplishment in itself filled me full of pride and a little extra confidence. The Tube terrifies me. I'm a little claustrophobic and again, terrified of getting lost. But I got there! Go me!

The adorable Rosa!

The weekend was an absolute success and I even managed to get a little bit of work.  I'm looking forward to the next London meet up on the 28th May.  I had considered not attending the meet up in May as I was worried about the expense etc and while I was standing in the kitchen talking myself out of the whole thing while making a cuppa, my lovely husband went online and booked me a flight and a hotel! Sometimes I just need a little push. I'm going to bring my laptop with me this time and try to get some writing done, ensconced in my tiny hotel room with a bottle of wine and a big bag of Doritos! What could possibly go wrong?!

P.S Myself, Carmel Harrington and Linda Green are hoping to organise a Dublin Meet up on the 9th July so do let me know if you are interested in attending and I'll make sure you get an invite.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Columnist Extraodinaire!

A few weeks ago I saw an brilliant job opportunity to work at a local magazine. The job was a work from home one too with weekly meetings at the magazines head office and not bad wages. It was my dream! It was perfect! It was everything I wanted! Unfortunately they wouldn't even consider me for the job because I didn't have enough proven experience. Apparently writing your own blogs, taking part in writing projects, co-writing a book for charity and organising blog tours and being a professional multi-tasker and Olympic sport busy person just weren't seen as useful skills for a magazine. I needed to expand my C.V if I was ever to be in with any chance to be taken seriously.

As many of you know, I am a Book Shelf Reviewer for Loveahappyending Lifestyle Magazine #LLm which is an amazing free online lifestyle magazine. This magazine is simply bursting with fantastic features with something to suit everyone.  Its becoming increasingly popular with a huge readership and I suggest you go check it out. Well, I am thrilled to share some wonderful news with you all. I am also to be one of their columnists. My fellow columnists are amazing authors and wonderfully warm and lovely people and the welcome and support in the new role has been amazing. A very special thank you must go particularly to Linn B Halton who is the managing editor of the magazine and probably someone who is even busier than I am! She is such an inspiration to me and great friend. Linn always offers me wonderful words of wisdom and is a constant support.

My column, called Home Help will focus on parenting, work, special needs and family issues. I have a wealth of knowledge around such things. Working with vulnerable families for a number of years I have quite a varied skills base and lots of experience to call upon. Plus, I am a working parent and carer too so I understand some of the difficulties faced by parents today. Let's face it guys. Its not easy! I am hoping my posts not only offer advice and guidance but also find a little bit of humour along the way too. Life is too short to constantly complain. We need to find some positives through the difficult times. Hopefully someone will find some of the advice I give useful. Or, if the column even makes one person smile then I'll have done my job. If anyone would like me to write about a particular subject please feel free to post ideas in the comments section at the bottom of this post.

The whole experience of trying to land the job at the local magazine I mentioned earlier really made me realise that I do need to get more of my writing out into the big bad world and I am grateful to Linn B Halton for giving me the opportunity. I enjoy writing and just want to share what I do. I don't think I'll ever make a fortune out of it but would like to eventually freelance as a full time publicist, book promoter, writer and possibly offer a P.A service to authors. I'm toying with a lot of ideas and my days just seem to get busier and busier. And, while completely exhausting, I am so enjoying all of these new challenges.

So guys, any tips or guidance on getting freelance paid writing gigs would be very appreciated. I understand this is an on-going learning process but I do have a real desire to learn. If I am to eventually give up full time work and become self employed I am pretty sure that my family do not want to live on beans and toast ....... forever! Its all quite a scary prospect and for each day I have to drag myself into the office and do a job that is sending my brain into a coma, I spend most of that day dreaming about doing a job that I really love. But, at least I am taking baby steps into reaching my goals. Thankfully I have lots of wonderful friends to hold my hand through the scary times. Don't leave me!


In other news.............. I've been featured over at Celtic Connexions blog. Its always so funny to see myself as a guest on other people's blogs. It makes me go all tingly with excitement. Check out the post HERE.

I am also featured on Lozza's Book Corner! I feel positively famous! lol