Sunday, 10 July 2016

Author and Blogger Craic In Dublin!

Everyone knows how much I love to go to book events! So, it was very exciting when Carmel Harrington, myself and fellow book blogger Linda Green decided to organise our own author / blogger event. I had attended a few events in London organised by the lovely Kim Nash from Bookouture. I loved them. However, there don't seem to be too many events in Ireland ( and even less up north in Northern Ireland - something I will have to remedy some day!) Anyway, with some planning, the 3 of us managed to organise a really fun event in Dublin on 9th July. The venue was 37 in Dawson Street which was amazing! Thank you so much to them for allowing us to use such a fantastic space! I hope you enjoy some of the pics in this post. Most have been taken by me and some I have stolen borrowed from the events page and were taken by other attendees.

With the lovely Linda Green!
I traveled down to Dublin that morning. A 2 hour journey that coincided with dropping my son to Dublin airport for a flight to America. Feeling totally distraught and being hit with empty nest syndrome! Yeah I know he's only going for 2 weeks but indulge me! Anyway, back to the event! Arriving at 37 I first met the wonderful Linda Green and her very exhausted hubby who had been working night shift but had accompanied her to Dublin bless him. We'd only chatted online before and had never met. What a truly gorgeous person she is. Armed with buns I loved her even more. I was very nervous because I had not met anyone attending! Still, an opportunity to meet new people is always a good thing!
Linda and I had been a little concerned about falling numbers for the event but as you can see from the photographs we had an absolute ball and a respectable amount of attendees. We even had a 'walk in' from the street, claiming to be an author. Still, it added a bit of craic to the occasion. 

Lots of book chat!
Gorgeous bloggers and me!
And so the partying continued outside later!
We all had a super day chatting about books and the publishing world and putting the literary world to rights. I had a total girl fan / book groupie moment when Liz Nugent walked in. I am currently reading her latest book Lying in Wait and loving it. I just so happened to have it in my bag with me and she kindly signed it for me! I have no shame! 

So many interesting conversations!
Most of the authors / bloggers I have met have all been at events in England. Ireland needs more events! These ladies knew how to have a good time and what a lovely bunch of people! Felt like I'd known them forever! It was wonderful to be with like-minded people with an absolute love of books.  Unfortunately the lovely Carmel Harrington was unable to make it to the event in the end but I look forward to seeing her soon.

During the event we had a BLIND DATE WITH A BOOK! Everyone had to bring a book they had enjoyed and wrap it in brown paper. There had to be written a brief description of genre etc but no title. That was a lot of fun and everyone got a new book to add to their ever increasing TBR piles! Lots of business cards and laughs were exchanged and I even managed to sneak in a glass of prosecco. Thank you so much to everyone who attended. You made it the brilliant day it was. I cannot wait to organise another event soon! 


Sunday, 3 July 2016

A Leap of Faith

In an attempt to learn as much about the craft of writing as I can and connect with other writers, both published and those aspiring to be published, I try to attend as many writing and literary events as I can do. Sometimes finances and time are obstacles that often get in my way although usually its confidence that is the deciding factor. However, when I received information about the Dublin Writers Conference, run by Books Go Social I decided to try and be brave.

The conference runs over 3 days. Unfortunately I was only able to attend day 2. So, off I went on another little one woman adventure. Boarding the 6.45am train on a cold and damp Saturday morning.  I did think that I was probably totally insane. Input from my loving husband confirmed I was but he thought I should definitely go. The train from Belfast to Dublin is just over 2 hours long and I totally adored the fact that I had 2 hours to sit on my backside and read. I loved it! It was also a great opportunity to people watch and I was inspired once or twice with ideas for short stories. Every situation it seems presents the opportunity to use my imagination.

Upon arriving in Dublin I managed to make my own way to the Gresham Hotel where the conference was being run. Finances meant that I wouldn't be spending the night in Dublin so I was determined to get as much out of the day as I could. So, taking a big deep breath I walked into the conference room by myself and found a seat at an empty table. There's nothing as big a test of bravery when you are overwrought with anxiety as walking in to an event alone, not knowing anyone. It wasn't long however before I was joined by a lovely gentleman, Brian. He asked me if I was a published writer. Well, part of my anxiety around this whole writing journey is actually telling people I write. Its around telling people I have written a book, albeit the first draft only. So, I told him I was an aspiring author working my way through the first draft of my book. It felt liberating. After that, I didn't worry about telling everyone I spoke to!

Pretty soon the conference room began to fill up and as the chairs around the table filled, other writers introduced themselves. I'll say this about the literary world...............its a damn friendly place. Of course I already knew that from the blogging world but it was so refreshing to be reminded that authors are a lovely, caring and supportive group of people. I met people from all walks of life at the conference. Such a varied and interesting group of people.

As the conference progressed, I learned so much from marketing, to self publishing to getting the book cover right. Plus, it was great to finally meet Jessica Bell. I follow Jessica on Facebook and she is a very talented lady. Over lunch I chatted to new friends about our writing and some of the difficutlies we had. At first, I was a bit worried about telling people I was a mere blogger. I always worry that authors will think that just because I read a lot of books I consider myself an authority on writing. I don't. I have the utmost respect for anyone that can get a book out into the world and not pass not with fear. I don't consider myself an expert at anything except perhaps almost throwing up with fear! I was also dubious about talking about the book tours I organise as I really didn't want it to be seen as using the opportunity to tout for business. Thankfully it wasn't perceived as that and lots of people asked for my business card. They all seemed genuinely interested.

Alas, the conference day was over all too soon. The day absolutely flew by and I have lots and lots of notes and learning to put into practice. At the end of the conference I had dinner with a couple of lovely authors with such interesting lives. The conversation flowed easily and naturally and I adored hearing about their lives. However, before long it was time to board the train for home. Another two hours of reading and writing lay ahead on my homeward journey but this time I sat on the train full of hope and inspiration about where my writing journey would take me next. It seems I am on more than a physical journey. Next year I am definitely attending all 3 days of the conference. Its a valuable learning experience and a great place to network. There were so many interesting speakers and lots of interaction between the speakers and the audience. I felt at ease and excited to be there and really took on board the advice that was being given. I loved it!

For me, the experience as a whole was very positive, strengthening my resolve to be a bit braver with my writing. Sometimes its easier to put your story down on paper than it is to share it and yourself with the world. However, the bravery is in the leap of faith you take in yourself and a trust in those around you to handle your feelings and your writing with care and respect. So far on my journey I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by good friends and a wonderful husband who encourages and supports me and pushes me to try new experiences. Next weekend I'm off to Dublin again for an author / blogger meet up and a chance to meet the lovely Carmel Harrington again. Its not easy to be brave but it is worth it.

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