Words and Stuff

Posts tagged ‘UK Anthology’

UK Meet: Naked cyclists, pole dancers and authors

I have to admit I am not the best blogger. I even forget when I am appearing on other people’s blogs (sorry Charlie) but I get home at night after work with all the good intentions of writing something amazing I’ve thought of during the day, then I have something to eat, sit down in front of the laptop and I’ve forgotten everything.

However I have been meaning to blog about my first visit to the UK LGBTQ Fiction Meet 2014 all week. Real life unfortunately got in the way. Trips to A&E, GP’s, horrible letters from hotel etc, kind of put my well-meaning plans on a back burner. Then yesterday myself and the man decided to spend the day, just us two away far from the maddening crowds.

That little break did me wonders. This morning I wrote 1k on my Pride story, which has quickly changed into something very personal and something that  I never thought I could incorporate into a story I have (it was an idea which gathered steam last weekend). I then sat down to write this.

It began very differently. I shall be honest and say I am still a little star struck about last weekend. I met people who I only interacted with on Facebook and twitter and all of them where friendly and readily accepted my nervous and relief filled hugs  (I’m thinking Sue Brown here). My first draft listed endless amounts of authors I got starry-eyed over – and that included the three people who I sat with on that first afternoon in the bar of the Marriott – Jay Northcote, Annabelle Jacobs and Garrett Leigh. I’m fairly sure not one of them knew that inside I was thinking to myself, ‘dear god she is the woman who wrote Bullet/Not Just Friends/Capture’. But I was.

I spoke about buying Max Vos a shot of Tequila (more of whom in a bit), fangirling over Aleks Vionov and LA Witt and meeting Susan from the Boys in our Books blog.

I also wrote about how nervous I had been because the meet coincided with the Not Quite Shakespeare anthology being published and how I was now having to step semi out of the closest as Sam Evans the author. I also talked a bit about whether I should have worn a purple or white lanyard (I chose purple to allow photos).

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I then went onto to talk about the meet itself. On the Friday night I watched a pole dancer covered in diet coke, a wickedly funny compare, a man get himself out of a straight jacket whilst riding a unicycle, I ate tapas and met even more authors including Jo Myles, Jordan Castillo Price and KC Wells who made me realise things are closer than you expect them to be.

My highlight of the first day however was none of be above – sorry – although all of the above was pretty ruddy special. It was a surreal moment sharing a six-pack of Carlsberg with Petronella and Max Vos and watching men use the public urinals whilst sat in the middle of Bristol.

I even got to see a man’s tackle (or two) I can’t remember – and got asked if I was on Tindr (I’m not!).

As the weekend went on it got better and better. I am kicking myself for missing the BDSM session and would love for something similar to appear at next years. In fact due to needing  fresh air I actually missed a whole hour of the Saturday afternoon but was rewarded instead with seeing hundreds of naked cyclists shaking their thing(s) through the centre of Bristol.

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The most surreal moment of the day belongs to the moment I was asked to sign a book. To be honest, it nearly got signed with my works signature – the one I use for pping letters until I remembered who I was.

The Saturday evening was the gala dinner. Again I sat with Garrett, Annabelle and Jay. I’m shall apologise now for grilling Garrett a little but she probably gave me the best advice of the weekend when she said I needed to take my time and not feel in any way under pressure to submit something else until it was right. (Elin Gregory comes in a close 2nd with ‘get used to it’ advice).

Eddie the drag artist who provided entertainment was hilarious and the choir sang their hearts out. I’m pretty sure they sang one of my favourite songs perfectly.

Saturday’s highlight however – was again – nothing of the above (again it was all fantastic) but on the Saturday I met Joanna Chambers and her purple heels and KJ Charles. Joanna and KJ are two of my most favourite authors ever. Both write historical stories and in KJ’s case a touch of the paranormal too. I could speak to them both endlessly.

Throughout the weekend I met so many wonderful people – RJ Scott, Lisa Worrell, Meredith Russell, and Lauren Lewis stand out. I got to say hello to Beverly Jansen who reviews for Prism and let out a little internal squeal when MJ O’Shea & Anna Martin said hi. I also hugged Max Vos lots. The session’s I attended where superb, especially the ones on contracting, insider speak, research and the novel openings which kicked off the meet (please do this again next year!).

In all, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole event. The key-note speeches where very different, Belinda McBride gave me many things to think about and Aleks Voinov kinda blew my mind a little.

I realise I met people and there are those who I haven’t mentioned – for this I’m sorry. I also didn’t get to say hello to people I should have done – again sorry. The whole weekend was overwhelming and my tote bag is still sitting on the living room floor untouched as I haven’t got around to sorting it out.

I don’t think I can end this however, without thanking the organisers – Charlie Cochrane, Liam Livings and his  beautiful red jacket, Jo Myles, Clare London and JL Merrow. This was wonderfully brought together and a safe environment was created for people to share their love and passion for this genre and from it I can’t wait to return next year.

One last thing. A massive thank you to Jay and Annabelle for taking me under their wing(s).

Boldy going where no me has been before

In October of last year a call was made by Dreamspinner Press for short story submissions to their UK Anthology to be published in June.

And me being me I decided to fuck it, have a go and write a story which celebrated the United Kingdom. I have to admit right away I found it hard. Really hard. I planned for 5k – I’d written a story previously at that length and it worked really well, so I sat down and wrote straight off a story about a son who returned home to find his fortune telling grandmother had died and left him her ‘booth.’

It was ‘okay’.

Nothing special.

That was mid December. With the hustle and bustle of Christmas I didn’t touch the story again until the New Year. Then I attacked it with a big knife and completely changed it. The story ended up being something very different to the original.

The next thing I did was have someone read it. She loved it (apparently).

Her feedback was good. Her final word on the matter – “submit it.”

Next I then gave it to my boyfriend who also said  – “submit it.”

However the day before the deadline I still hadn’t submitted. Why? Well most people think I am confident, talkative, kinda girl. In reality I’m neither. I have at times anxiety issues and sometimes my self esteem goes so low it takes a strong minded man who I adore to pull me back out.

On that particular day the man was about. He sat with me as I did a final read through, wrote the submission email and did a short synopsis. He was then the one to click send.

Not me.

I couldn’t do it.

However as soon as he hit send I felt better – for about an hour. Then the doubts crept in. Should I recall it? Am I going to show myself up? What if… heavens above they like it and want it (nah..).

I sat and waited for two days and on the third I received an email.

They said yes.

Insert screaming. Lots of oh my gods, fucking hells, and explanations to work colleagues as to why little old me was unable to breathe.

Suddenly I had people whose names I only knew from twitter emailing me, welcome emails from Dreamspinner Press and apparently had to go and get something called an ITIN.

A what now?

Because what they don’t tell you that when you have said yes and signed a contract there is the little thing called IRS, then the British tax system, legalizing yourself (I am officially me now), something about artwork (really?), burbs, adjectives to describe your story (erm funny??’) and then there are track changes. And honestly? I hate track changes.

Thankfully though, I have had help and everyone I have got information and advice from has been wonderful.

But all the while, my nerves are getting steadily worse. What if I let the ‘side’ down? What if no one ‘gets’ it? What if the publisher already regrets saying yes?!

For an aspiring author to have their first submission accepted and published is just down right fucking scary but in the end getting published and submitting work is exactly what I wanted. I made a promise to myself that by the time I was 40 I would be an published author.

At 39 I will have achieved that.

I hope people like my story.

I hope they get it.

I also feel I might have to do a guide to Blackpool at the beginning for those whose have never heard of it.

But in the end I am proud. My short story will be published, it may lead to other things, it may not but for a girl who needs a new head attaching every now and again and who has wanted to smoke a packet of cigarettes whilst typing this, that can’t be a bad thing.

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