Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Someone call my social secretary!

The last few months have been very busy for this little book blogger and wannabe writer and are going to keep getting busier! Don't you just love it when book events start to take over other things in your life! I'm so happy! 

On the 22nd April I nervously boarded the train to Dublin to go and meet up with the Irish Chapter of the RNA.  The journey took about 2 hours and it was 2 hours well spent writing. My laptop goes everywhere these days! When I arrived at the venue I was nervous because I'd never actually met any of these lovely writers before, only having spoken to a few online. However, I needn't have worried because I was made to feel so welcome. 

It was lovely to hear everyone chatting about their writing and what they were currently working on. To be honest though, I did feel a bit of a fraud not having a published novel in the world while all these very talented women around the table were 'out there' and so knowledgeable in all things bookish and publishing! I'm still a mere book blogger and I was a little bit scared and wondering if I'd ever get to the point they are all at! However, lots of reassurance and lots and lots of laughs left me feeling so glad I'd decided to come to the meet up. I heard lots of positive things that day about the New Writer's Scheme which has made me very excited to be a part of it!  

The one thing I continue to find in the bookish world is that everyone involved in writing and publishing all appear to share one common trait..............they offer the hand of friendship willingly and easily. I've never once felt unwanted or been made to feel stupid because I am such a newbie. The craic was mighty in Dublin that day and I thoroughly enjoyed the train journey home with wonderful writer Gemma Jackson who I could listen to all day! That lady has some fascinating stories to tell. Gemma very kindly gave me permission to use one of her photographs from the day. Here we all are! Don't we look fab?

June is going to be a busy month too with a Writing Conference in Dublin to attend. I'll be hopping back on that train again with my trusty laptop! I attended this conference last year and found it so interesting! I'm really looking forward to it again this year although will only be attending one of the days. I might even get a night in Dublin all by myself! You can check out the details about the conference and book yourself a place HERE! June is also the month of The Belfast Book Festival and I've booked myself into quite a few events including short story workshops, panels and book discussions with agents, publishers and authors. Its going to be such a busy month. Check out the programme for the Book Festival HERE!


And in other news...................I'm so thrilled to have been asked to take part in not one but TWO panels at a couple of events! The first of those is at the RNA conference in July in Shropshire! I'll be appearing on the panel with the lovely Alison May, Julia Silk and Julia Williams talking about the best ways a writer can help the professional team around her. When I was asked if I'd like to be part of the panel I immediately said  yes...........then felt like I needed to go hyperventilate into a brown paper bag! As a book blogger and tour coordinator I'll be expected to know what the hell I'm talking about! Eeeek! No pressure then! I'll be appearing alongside....... This will be my first RNA event and I'll certainly be jumping in at the deep end! I must get that damn manuscript submitted to the New Writer's Scheme asap! Nearly finished it! I'll definitely have it done before the conference..............I hope! Just look at the amazing venue for the conference! To say I'm excited is an understatement! I'm going for 2 nights and spending my birthday there (16th July just in case anyone wants to give me the bumps!)

The second event I've been asked to be part of is a Book Club panel as part of The Open House Festival in my lovely hometown of Bangor, Co. Down.  I'll be appearing on a panel discussing three books that were chosen for the panel - A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart, Lying In Wait by Liz Nugent and Days Without End by Sebastian Barry. I have to read all three books but I will be asked to discuss one of the books in particular.............A Boy Made of Blocks. This book is about a boy with Autism and of course those who know me know this is an area of special personal interest to me. My fellow panelists will be Hugh Odling-Smee (founder of the Belfast Book Festival), and Susan Feldstein (Literary agent) and the Chair will be Stephen Walker (author and BBC political correspondent. Check out the full programme HERE.

©Open House Festival

When the lovely author Lesley Allen (read her book The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir....amazing!!) asked me to be part of the festival I was so excited. Its fantastic to be involved in something local and really be a part of a brilliant festival that Lesley and her colleagues work so hard to put together each year.  I'm immensely proud of my hometown and think that the festival is an amazing event, bringing together creatives from all over and showcasing local talent. Some of the members of my writing group have threatened to come along and heckle from the back! I may need a bouncer on the door! Ha! Actually they are a supportive lot thank goodness!

When I take part in bookish events I really do start to feel part of the writing community and I feel inspired. These events are such great opportunities to make new friends, network, get some fantastic advice and support from established writers. And, if I'm honest its a great opportunity to get the word out about Brook Cottage Books. Not to make tons of money (that never happens anyway!) but because I am immensely proud of the site. I work very hard to make it successful and a useful service to authors and bloggers alike. That being said, I spend way too much time on it and not enough time writing! Still trying to get that balance right!

So, there you have it. A weirdly wild, scary and exciting few months ahead for little old me. I hope I'm up to the challenges. I just need to get more writing done!


  1. Just spotted this on Google+, lovely to read more about the person behind Brook Cottage, never even thought about where you lived. Did I spot the lovely Adrienne Vaughn at the RNA meeting? I met her in at the Leicester Xmas chapter meeting when I was a guest. Enjoyed reading this.

    1. Hi Rosie! Yes that is lovely Adrienne. She's such a nice person. Glad you enjoyed the post. x