Thursday, 19 March 2015

Books And The City Spring Blogger Night

All @...... are the Twitter names of the people mentioned :-)

On Tuesday 17th March I was lucky enough to be invited to a Spring Blogger Event at the Books And The City arm of Simon and Schuster. Last November (2014) as some of you know I attended a Creative Writing Masterclass there and met some wonderful people.
I travelled to the O2 courtesy of my hubby Dylan and then went by Tube on my own! Scary stuff for me, but it was very easy and I think I blended in as a seasoned commuter. I wandered along Grays Inn Road kept company by my friend Heidi Swain texting me. 
I arrived at the Books And The City (BATC) Headquarters and signed in - I couldn't find my name at first and had a moment of panic that I had been invited by mistake - got in the lift to be greeted by the fabulous Sara-Jade Virtue (@BookMinxSJV). I told her I needed a wee and to pull my tights up, which I think she was delighted to know. I did indeed visit the loo (too much information) and went through to the room where everyone was gathered. I surreptitiously tried to change from my "bright red walking around London quickly" shoes to my boots that are a little smarter, but was told off by Sara-Jade who was sporting gorgeous green trainers. I decided at nearly 42 comfort is the way to go.
I looked around the room to try and find friends from the Masterclass and luckily Vicki (@Vikbat) found me. We then saw Emma (@FunkyFairy22) and Molly. Heidi was nowhere to be found as she had been whisked away to the VIP room! 

We were shown through to the main room and took our seats. We found we all had a goody bag containing a notebook, chocolate, face cream, a voucher for The Two Of Us by Andy Jones on KOBO and various other little goodies. 
The panel entered and Editor Clare Hey (@clareaux) introduced them:

Jane Costello - @janecostello
Iona Grey - @Iona_Grey
Milly Johnson - @millyjohnson
Andy Jones - @andyjonesauthor
Heidi Swain - @Heidi_Swain

Each author read out a chosen chapter from their next - yet to be published - book. We were very lucky to be privy to this and found in our goody bags an exclusive chapter sampler with more chapters from each book to wet our appetites.

Jane Costello read from The Love Shack - Published 23rd April on ebook & Paperback

Iona Grey read from Letters To The Lost - Published 23rd April on ebook & Paperback

Milly Johnson read from Afternoon At The Sunflower Cafe - Published 18th June on ebook & Paperback

Andy Jones read from The Two Of Us - Out now on ebook and 7th May on Paperback

Heidi Swain read from The Cherry Tree Cafe - Published on 16th July ebook

I was so proud of Heidi. We met briefly at the Writing Masterclass, but through the power of social media we have become good friends. I have found that writers are generally a good bunch of people. They give you constructive criticism, a hug (virtual or real) when you're doubting yourself and a good kick up the bum when you need it.

After the panel had finished we all had fizz and cakes made by Dawn Burnett (@dawnburnett) Dawn works at BATC as their Marketing Director and also happens to make delicious cakes. We also got the chance to grab free books. Yes you heard correctly free books. I managed to get some Milly Johnson's and Jane Costello's. I also got a copy of The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank, which I had seen on the BATC website. I stepped away from the hardbacks as I had no-one to carry them on the underground for me.

Later on I got to chat with Andy Jones about his novel The Two Of Us and in particular about a particularly poignant scene towards the end of the book. Unfortunately I can't include that conversation on here as some of you won't have read the book, but I wanted to let him know how well he had written the scene. Andy was a lovely guy and made me happy with the words "You're a writer aren't you?" *Fan girl moment* We talked about book cover choices and editing and then I left him to his red wine and sausage rolls.
Next I got to speak to Milly Johnson who remembered me from last time at the writing class and from Twitter *Fan girl moment 2*. We had a quick chat and had photos. I then managed to wave at Iona and Jane *Fan girl moment 3*. Iona is a lovely lady who I have spoken to on Twitter and since the blogger evening I have had more conversations with her and Jane.
The next author I spoke to was Heidi Swain *Final Fan girl moment*. I got the first ever autograph from Heidi which I hope to get again when her book comes out in paperback. Her debut novel The Cherry Tree Cafe is due out on 16th July and is available to Pre-Order on Amazon (see link below). I have pre-ordered via the Kindle App on my phone so I suggest lovers of Women's fiction/Chick Lit do the same! Please :-)

Heidi Swain & Me

Andy Jones & Me

Milly Johnson & Me

Vicki Bowles & I

So all in all a great night, old friends and new, books, cake, fizz, authors and five new novels to look forward to.

Thank you again Sara-Jade for my invitation. Thank you Vicki (@Vikbat) for the company, it was fabulous to see you again.

Happy Reading Everyone!!

Pre-order The Cherry Tree Cafe here

Find me on Facebook and on Twitter Come and say hello and share your book loves with me.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Monday, Monday

It's Monday again but at least the sun is shining. Over the weekend I bought the Easter eggs, but will they last until Easter? I still buy them although we no longer have children in the house. Well we have our child, but he is 21 soon. However you are never too old to have an Easter egg. I also sat and read some advice on writing that pointed out to me that I need to include much more description of what's going on around the characters. I have a lot of speech in both my books and people that know me know I never shut up! 
When I'm writing I feel like I'm adding too much information and potentially boring my readers. I guess when I start my creative writing course I will get help with this.  
So I'm going to be working on Book 1 today as I have some ideas for scenes between the two main characters. Book 1 has taken a turn in that I now write "scenes" to happen in the book, rather than a continuation of the story (if that makes sense). For example I knew that somewhere in the book my main character was going to go to her parents for the weekend, so I wrote that visit to slot in when I'm ready. It makes perfect sense to me and I guess as long as it all makes sense when I slot it altogether that's all that matters.

I am also very excited that soon I am going back to Books and the City (Simon and Schuster publishing house) to a special event where I shall be rubbing shoulders with the great Milly Johnson (Teashop on the corner), Jane Costello (Bridesmaids), Andy Jones (The Two of Us) and debut novelist Iona Grey (Letters to the Lost). Well I say rubbing shoulders I'll be standing overawed in the corner grinning like an idiot. 
I will also be catching up with friends I made at the writing class there last November, which will be lovely. We've all chatted on Facebook and Twitter so it will be great to meet again.

Also over the weekend I ordered the 50th Anniversary Edition of To Kill A Mockingbird. This book takes me right back to my school days when I was doing my GCSE'S. My year was the second to do GCSE'S so the teachers were still struggling to get it right! Now I know you think I can't possibly be that old, but I am!
It is a classic, which has obviously stood the test of time as I believe it is still in the syllabus now for students. I can't wait for it to arrive so I can snuggle up and immerse myself in the great Harper Lee's writing. I am also keen to read her sequel "Go Set a Watchman" although at the moment my "to be read" pile is huge, so I'll have to wait a while.

I hope you all have a great start to the week and thank you to all my new followers for liking me! 

Find me on Facebook Mary's Writing Page and on Twitter @MaryLewisWriter

Check out the new updated picture above
and new guest author Heidi Swain!!!!


When I posted yesterday I jumped the gun a little. This morning I woke to the wonderful news that my good friend and guest blogger from a few weeks ago Heidi Swain has been added to the guest list of authors at the Books And The City Spring Blogger Event. I shall still be standing in the corner grinning and overawed only now I shall be so, so proud of Heidi and raising a glass of fizz in her direction. Well done sweetheart I am so, so happy for you.
(I am available to hold your drink and cake while you meet your public, although I cannot guarantee you will get it back!!) xx