Just back from the conference (http://www.writersconference.co.uk) now, so sorry about the lack of blogging - I've been shattered when I got home each night and unable to do anything but crawl across the floor to bed, let alone place my fingers on the keyboard. I'll give you a quick run-down of events (and, my goodness, what events there are!):
I spent most of the day (wo)manning the Goldenford (http://www.goldenford.co.uk) stall. I was supposed to go on one of the all-day courses, but Jennifer unfortunately couldn't help me due to personal matters - have to admit I wasn't that bothered as the course I'd originally wanted to go on - writing about weather - had been cancelled, and I wasn't greatly interested in the one I was put on instead. And actually, I had a good day. Managed to sell four books (good for a Writers Conference: writers don't want to buy other books on the whole, as they simply want to sell theirs, understandably), including a copy of Pink Champagne and Apple Juice, and two of A Dangerous Man (http://www.flamebooks.com). I also had a one-to-one appointment with a publisher, who shall remain nameless (ye gods, am I being tactful at last?? Surely not!...) but who was basically sweet but bland, and totally unhelpful. I also had lots of good conversations with fellow bookstall people, which was great.
In the evening, I did the first part of the poetry workshop with Phil Carradice, who's a great poet and a totally inspirational tutor. So I managed to write two new poems, which I shall clean up later, but which I'm very happy with - hurrah!
Again, I had booked onto several smaller poetry seminars throughout the day, but actually I only really felt up to coping with the stall stuff, and selling books, so in the end I didn't go on any of them. Managed to sell another copy of A Dangerous Man, and more of our other Goldenford books, which was great. ADM went to Diane (am I getting that right, Diane?) who came up to me and said she read my blog regularly and wanted to buy the book - so a great big thank you for that, Diane - it really made my day! Also had lots of good conversation with other stall people, including the marvellous Jacqueline Gabbitas from The Poetry School and Writewords (http://www.writewords.org.uk) and who also edits "Brittle Star" poetry magazine. Lovely to meet you in the flesh at last, Jacqueline! Also had interesting talks with Lesley Horton (crime author) and Phil Carradice (poet - see above!), and other authors. Which means that I can name-drop for months on the stories I could tell - hurrah. Jo Gambi, author of Holding On, also shared our stall - and it was really good to meet her too. She certainly attracted some trade for us! So thanks, Jo.
In the afternoon, the Goldenford girls arrived, but I didn't do any seminars anyway, as I think I'd lost the urge to by then. And it was nice being on the stall and chatting. However, I did have a really good one-to-one appointment with Alex Bonham of Hodder (see, I'm really good at name-dropping now!) who said she loved what I'd sent in of Thorn in the Flesh, and could I send more. Hurrah! There's a first for me, eh? I was on a high for the rest of the day about that, but must admit to being brought down to earth later on when my agent (http://www.johnjarrold.co.uk) told me that Alex's boss at Hodder had in fact already rejected Thorn. Sigh! Ah well. Still, he's going to talk to Alex on Monday anyway, just in case ... And at least he can't complain that I'm not networking! I also had a third one-to-one with an editor, which was interesting in terms of general women's issues and writing but, frankly, rather a waste of time in terms of my specific work.
I'd also entered the competitions run by the conference - much to my shame, I didn't even get shortlisted for my poem (deep sigh!), but was Highly Commended in the novel competition for The Gifting. Hurrah! And - great news indeed - Jackie from Goldenford (http://freespace.virgin.net/jackie.luben/) won 2nd prize with Tainted Tree. Many congrats, Jackie - I screamed when your name was read out! Never say I'm not a consummate professional, eh?...
Ooh, and really exciting news - when I got home, I discovered that US publishers, PD Publishing (http://www.pdpublishing.com), want to publish Maloney's Law. Ye gods, and crack open the champagne!! I had to read the bloody email three times before I believed it. They're a small GLBT publisher, so I hope it goes ahead. I've sent it along to John (agent) for him to deal with and I'm praying (yes, even me ...) that it all goes well - as I must admit that last time I gave an agent (a different one) an interested publisher to handle, they lost me the deal and then dumped me - so I am on serious, stressed-out tenterhooks ...
Went to the second part of the poetry workshop with Phil Carradice today - again, very inspirational and I've written another poem. Hurrah! Just about to have lunch with Lord H now (who's been, during the weekend, to visit a tank museum and look at lots of birds). Never say our lives are not exciting here in the shires ...
Tonight, I'm going to chill, watch the video of "Dr Who", and later on there's "Rome". Bliss.
Oh and here's a haiku:
Spaces crowd my head
where a map should go: flummoxed
1. Alex Bonham's reaction to Thorn
2. PD Publishing's offer on M's L
3. Writing poetry.