Writing a time-slip novel: how hard can it be?

This week A Shape on the Air is on a book blog tour of the UK. I’ve had some lovely reviews so far on the tour, and here are just a few of them:

“I found this period in history quite fascinating”,

“a super read and a treasure hunt all rolled into one”,

“lovely details of the medieval period which really capture the essence of the place and the people living then”,

“in A Shape on the Air the (time-slip) switches feel natural and not contrived”. Thank you all for reading my book and taking the time to review it!

Today, I had a guest post published about writing a time-slip, and  I found a wonderful comment: “Great guest post” ! Aaagh! Made my day. So here is the post:

Writing a time-slip novel? Well, all you have to do is tell the story of someone from the present day finding herself in a different time, easy, right? Wrong! In fact it’s very difficult. There are all sorts of issues you have to work out. Why would this person suddenly fall into another period? How would she do it? What would be the trigger? If she could do it, why couldn’t everyone else? What makes her have this unique ability?

I love reading time-slip; I’m especially keen on Pamela Hartshorne’s novels of time-slip into the Tudor age in York (Time’s Echo, House of Shadows). They’re intriguing and exciting. I’m fascinated by theories of time and the whole concept of what time actually means? All these weird and wonderful theories: quantum mechanics, the Einstein-Bridge theory of portals and worm-holes!

I’ve wanted to write a time-slip story of my own for a long time, but in my case one set in the early medieval times because that’s the period I know best and am most interested in. But working it all out resulted in many a restless night, loss of hair and bitten fingernails! I wanted the tone and atmosphere to be a little spooky but still feel realistic and convincing (which isn’t easy if you’re writing about what we normally think of as ghosts). In the end I found writing the ghostly parts the easiest and the mechanics of the time-slip the most difficult.

It seemed to me that my main character, Viv, needed to be someone that anybody could identify with, someone pretty ‘normal’, but make her have a traumatic event in her life which might make her vulnerable and more susceptible to the paranormal. I made her an academic who deals with facts not fantasies, and gave her an awful partner in Pete who announces that he’s leaving her for her best friend – goodness, that would send anyone off balance! – and made her lovely home and the life she knew be at risk. I also made her drink rather a lot of red wine (understandable in the circumstances!) and go for a walk beside a lake!

I then had to make someone in a responsible job commanding authority and respect, empathise and become involved with her strange experience. Who might believe her? Someone whose job is connected with other-worldly things but could be a ‘pillar of society’? It had to be a vicar. So Rev Rory was born. And so was the love interest.

Although it would have been easier for the time-slip trigger to be the lake that started it all off, I didn’t want it to be that obvious, so I had to create a whole back-history for Viv, involving her parents, especially her mother, and their untimely death. Gradually it was coming together like a jigsaw. I can’t explain any more because it would give away the secrets of the book. You’ll just have to read it and find out! I hope you feel intrigued enough to do that, and I hope you enjoy the story. I certainly enjoyed writing it – and guess what? I’m writing another time-slip …

A Shape on the Air is available at all Amazon sites at http://myBook.to/ASOTA

Afternoon Tea Week!

It’s Afternoon Tea Week this week and I’m sharing a couple of recipes from my book The Old Rectory: escape to a country kitchen, soon to be re-released by Endeavour Press (a week on Friday, 25th August). Wait for 25th as it’ll be available on Amazon and cheaper, in ebook and paperback!

The book has received many 5* reviews including “enchantingly told”, ” delightful”, ” a most engaging read”.

Cream Tea Scones

makes 10–12

A staple of the traditional English cream tea.

You’ll need:

50 g. (2 oz.) butter

25 g. (1 oz.) caster sugar

5tbsp milk

1 egg

225 g. (9 oz.) self raising flour

1 tsp. baking powder

Pinch salt

A little beaten egg or milk to glaze

Strawberry jam and double whipped cream (or Cornish clotted cream) to sandwich the scones, and a little icing sugar to dust the tops.

 Preheat the oven to 220ºC, 425ºF/gas mark 7. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. Place all the ingredients into a bowl and mix to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured board and roll out to about 1 cm. (0.5 in.) thickness. Cut into rounds with a 5-cm. (2-in.) cutter and place the scones on a greased baking sheet. Brush lightly with milk or a lightly beaten egg. Bake in the oven for about 12–15 minutes. Cool on a wire cooling tray. Split each scone and spread with a layer of good fruity strawberry jam, topped with a dollop of whipped double cream, then place the other half on the top and dust with sieved icing sugar.

 

Lemon Iced Buns

makes 8

 You’ll need:

250 g. (9 oz.) strong white flour, sifted

250 g. (9 oz.) plain flour, sifted

7 g. (0.25 oz.) fast-action dried yeast

2 tsp. fine sea salt

50 g. (2 oz.) caster sugar

125 ml. (4 fl. oz.) warmed milk

125 g. (4 fl. oz.) warmed water

1 egg, beaten

50 g. (2 oz.) butter, cut into cubes

Zest of 1 lemon

Vegetable oil for greasing

For the icing:

50 g. (2 oz.) icing sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

 Preheat the oven to 220ºC, 425ºF/gas mark 7. Sift the flours and salt into a bowl. Add the water, milk, yeast, sugar, and lemon zest and mix with a fork until combined. Add the beaten egg and butter and continue to mix until the mixture is a sticky dough. Put the dough on a lightly floured board and knead for 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and stretches like elastic. Lightly oil a bowl with some of the vegetable oil. Turn the dough into the bowl and carefully turn until it is entirely coated with oil. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour. The dough should have doubled in size. Lightly grease two baking trays. Knock the dough back to its original size and then turn onto a floured board again. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and shape into fingers or rounds. Place on the greased baking sheets, ensuring plenty of space. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for 30 minutes. Bake in the oven for about 20–25 minutes, until well risen and golden brown. Remove the buns from the oven and leave to cool on a wire cooling rack.

The icing for the top: Made by simply combining the icing sugar and fresh lemon juice until smooth. When the buns are cool, spread icing over each bun and set aside until hardened. You can decorate with a little lemon zest for that extra oomph.

Sweet and sticky, with a little zestiness from the lemon, these buns are a favourite for afternoon tea.

http://Author.to/JuliaIbbotsonauthor

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Old-Rectory-Escape-Country-Kitchen/dp/1909593753/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1502726298&sr=1-4&keywords=julia+ibbotson

Deja Vu – ghosts, imprints on walls, shapes on the air?

Why do we experience that feeling of ‘deja vu’? How come we sometimes feel that an old house still bears the imprints of past inhabitants? I’m not talking about ‘ghosts’ or anything specific or corporeal, but what I have called in my latest novel  ‘shapes on the air’.

The idea for A Shape on the Air had been brewing in my mind for a long time. I had been reading about, and mulling over,  the notion of time slip and especially the concept of ‘worm-holes’ and the Einstein-Bridge theory of portals into other dimensions of time and space, in effect quantum mechanics. It sounds fanciful and Dr Who-ish, and oddly I’m not a great fan of fantasy, but I felt that this was in fact a more ‘logical’ (in some ways!) and scientific explanation of those everyday glimmers of ‘déjà vu’ and perceptions of the past that many of us experience, those intimations that maybe the spirits of history are embedded in the fabric of old houses and ancient geology. So, what if we could take it further and, somehow, actually slip into the world of the past, another world but one to which we might have a personal connection, through our own family links perhaps, which still reverberate through us; some kind of glimpse of shapes on the air.

Could, perhaps, our ancestors somehow reach out across time to ‘touch’ us in this world, not physically but spiritually or emotionally? Watching programmes like ‘Who do you think you are’ where the subjects research their ancestral history, I feel that there is a lot more in their discoveries than merely drawing up a family tree and timeline. They often find a rather eerie connection with their family members, in terms of character, situation, talents, life-views and professions. Of course, many of us, myself included, have looked into our family histories and see nothing at all in common with our ancestors, indeed sometimes they seem totally remote!

 

The theory of worm-holes and portals through which we could slip across the time-space continuum into other historic periods and places is really only that – a theory. It’s unproven – how could it be otherwise? But it does raise some wonderfully intriguing ideas. Such a gift for a creative writer. And since it is presented by great scientific minds such as Einstein’s, it lends itself to some serious thought.

As Rory says in A Shape on the Air, “Just think of the universe. Black holes. Even birth and death. What are they? How come you can suddenly become a thinking person, at birth, and nothing at death.” Dr Viv thinks she may be suffering some kind of temporary insanity after her traumatic experience with her partner and that has triggered the feelings of crossing the time dimension and merging with Lady Vivianne, but as the story progresses it seems that there is more to it than that …

Link:  myBook.to/ASOTA

 

Celebrations! It’s Publication Day!

If you’re out of the UK, it’s available at myBook.to/ASOTA which will take you to your local Amazon site.

Unlocking a love that lasts for lifetimes … and beyond? When Viv, a medievalist and lecturer slips into 499 AD and into the body of Lady Vivianne, little does she realise that both their lives will become intertwined as they fight for their dreams … and their lives. Can the key which Viv brings back with her to the present unlock the loves they both crave, and help them through the dangers they both face? And can they help each other across the centuries?

I’ve loved writing this novel and so much of my understanding of and my delight in the early medieval world has gone into it. I first learned about medieval language, literature and history at university where we learned Anglo-Saxon in the language lab as though it was a living language like French, German or Spanish. This book is set partially in 499 AD, so at the end of the Dark Ages following the Roman withdrawal from England, and at the cusp of the Anglo-Saxon emergence. It’s a time that we still know little about, but new excavations and artifacts are allowing us a bit more of an insight into the times.

I do hope that you enjoy it. Let me know – here, on Amazon and/or on Goodreads! All the best.

Julia

A Shape on the Air: a historical time slip romance, coming soon

So exciting – A Shape on the Air, my new novel is soon to be published. June is getting closer! I’m busy organising a cover reveal and a book blog tour. What’s it about? It’s a historical (dark ages) time slip romance.

Viv hears shattering news from her partner Pete and she stands to lose her home, her security … everything … So here we go …

Two women 1500 years apart. One need: to save the world they know. Can they help each other to achieve their greatest desire? And what if that world they want is not the one that’s best for them?  University lecturer in medieval studies, Dr Viv Dulac, is devastated when her partner walks out (and with her best friend too!) and threatens her home.  Drunk and desperate, her world quite literally turns upside down and she finds herself in the body of the fifth century Lady Vivianne, who is struggling with the shifting values of the Dark Ages and her forced betrothal to  the brutish Sir Pelleas who is implicated in the death of her parents. Haunted by both Lady Vivianne and by Viv’s own parents’ death and legacy, can Viv  unravel the web of mystery that surrounds and connects their two lives, and bring peace to them both? A haunting story of lives intertwining across the ages, of the triumph of the human spirit and of dreams lost and found.

Cover reveal and pre-order on Amazon coming soon …

 

Apologies and news!

PhotoFunia-1444664744

Firstly my apologies that I haven’t posted for so long! We have finally moved house (what an exhausting procedure) having had our previous house on the market for over 2.5 years! And a serious health scare did not help! Nor did the nearly 2 months we were without broadband (thanks, BT!). However, here we are now in our new home and settling in well in the village, with friends old and new.

Other great news: I have an offer of a publishing contract for my new novel A Shape on the Air! The contract is sitting on my desk as I speak, waiting for me to sign. Very exciting. Not only that, but another publisher has told me that they will contact me by Monday! So I have to sit it out until Monday to see what will happen. Wonderful that I have a publisher anyway, whatever happens – so celebrations all round!

There will be more about A Shape on the Air shortly …

And a final apology to anyone who has tried to send me a message via my Contact Me page on this website – there is a problem and emails have not been getting through to me I’m afraid and currently it seems to be being passed backwards and forwards between BT.com and WordPress! Let’s hope they sort it out soon, hey? !

 

Competition time! Win an ebook!

Drumbeats pic PhotoFunia-Drumbeats cover Endeavour Press

Sometimes you need to escape to find yourself …

My October competition is to win an ebook copy of Drumbeats. The book is set in 1965-6, a decade I love to read about – and write about! All you need to do is to tell me (briefly!) your favourite decade and why. You can either send your message on here, my blog, or via my facebook page (if you are a facebook ‘friend’) at https://www.facebook.com/juliaibbotson or on my author facebook page (Julia Ibbotson Author) at https://www.facebook.com/Julia-Ibbotson-author-163085897119236  I’ll need your email address in order to send you the ebook copy, so you can message me privately via my website (see homepage) or PM me on facebook. The winner will be chosen at random by ANO.

Closing date is Saturday 29th October, in time for Halloween, as there are some spooky parts in the book, with drumbeats reverberating across the Ghanaian villages and spirits wafting through Jess’s dreams – to warn her of danger …

Please spread the news!

Good luck!

An interview with Lizzie Lamb, author

A few weeks ago I was delighted to be chatting with Leicester author Lizzie Lamb. The interview appeared in my newsletter back in June for my summer edition. But don’t be late to the party and miss the interviews as soon as they are published! If you haven’t already signed up to receive my FREE newsletter, currently quarterly, just click on the link on the welcome page of my website and alongside. It looks like this, so you can’t miss it:

sign up image for website

And there is plenty of news, views, competitions and other stuff as well as interviews in the newsletter, which don’t appear on my blog, so do sign up to be included in the mailing list.

So, here’s Lizzie and her latest novel.

lizzie-lambscotch-on-the-rocks

 

Lizzie, tell me about your latest book

My latest book is Scotch on the Rocks which I published July 2015. Within two weeks it had reached #1 spot in its genre historical>Scottish, which was very gratifying. I write Scottish themed books because I find that Scotland is known the world over and is on many readers’ bucket list.

Here’s the blurb –

SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS

Where the men are men and the women are glad of it!

ISHABEL STUART is at the crossroads of her life.

Her wealthy industrialist father has died unexpectedly, leaving her a half-share in a ruined whisky distillery and the task of scattering his ashes on a Munro.  After discovering her fiancé playing away from home, she cancels their lavish Christmas wedding at St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh and heads for the only place she feels safe – Eilean na Sgairbh, a windswept island on Scotland’s west coast -where the cormorants outnumber the inhabitants, ten to one.

When she arrives at her family home – now a bed and breakfast managed by her left-wing, firebrand Aunt Esme, she finds a guest in situ – BRODIE. Issy longs for peace and the chance to lick her wounds, but gorgeous, sexy American, Brodie, turns her world upside down.

In spite of her vow to steer clear of men, she grows to rely on Brodie.  However, she suspects him of having an ulterior motive for staying at her aunt’s B&B on remote Cormorant Island. Having been let down twice by the men in her life, will it be third time lucky for Issy? Is it wise to trust a man she knows nothing about – a man who presents her with more questions than answers?

As for Aunt Esme, she has secrets of her own . . .

What inspires you to write?

I love visiting and dreaming about the highlands of Scotland and the people who live there. I was born in Scotland and have very strong roots in the Central Belt, although it is the beautiful highlands and its culture which inspires me. The germ of an idea takes root in my sub conscious and before I know it, I’m talking to the characters in my head and – off we go, all the way to the end of the line when the book is finished. If I run out of inspiration I listen to my RUNRIG CD’s or watch OUTLANDER and it soon comes flooding back.

Where do you write? Do you have a special “den” or desk or work space?

I do have a ‘proper writing room’ at home which I refer to as my ‘study’. This room was used as a second sitting room when we bought our house and is reached through the conservatory and looks directly onto the garden through its own set of French doors. It’s book-lined, as you would expect, but it also has everything a writer could need – internet connection, iPhone docking system for playing music, three printers, filing cabinets, room for box files etc., its own coffee machine and is centrally heated. It feels like a place where serious writing (and daydreaming) takes place; somewhere where I can switch off the pc at the end of the day but can get straight down to work the next morning because everything will be just as I left it.  It’s very tidy and organised and I love it. My husband knows better than to go in there without permission to borrow post-its, sticky pads or pens, without written permission. Only kidding (but only JUST kidding). I also have a caravan with a designated writing space so that when we got on research trips the writing never stops.

What would you like to achieve as an author?

My main objective is to go on writing the books I would like to read, and to grow my readership – especially outside of the UK.  If the chance came along to be published by one of the ‘Big Five’ publishing houses: Pan MacMillan, Headline etc I’d certainly give it serious thought. It’s a bit unlikely at the moment, though, as I am not submitting to agents/editor or publishers. I’m quite happy to remain an indie author because of the control I have over price, cover, content etc. of my novels. I’m not sure I would be able to let an editor change my novel to suit her publishing house, as I’d probably end up having to write about cupcakes in a highland tea room. So NOT me!!

Thank you so much, Lizzie! Lovely to talk to you.

And here are Lizzie’s links:

Scotch on the Rocks – a contemporary romance set in the Highlands of Scotland

http://tinyurl.com/SOTR2015

Boot Camp Bride – Romance and Intrigue on the Norfolk marshes – November 2013

http://bit.ly/BCBLLamb

Tall, Dark and Kilted – Notting Hill Meets Monarch of the Glen – 2012

http://bit.ly/TDKLLamb

Hocus Pocus 14 short story anthology

http://tinyurl.com/Hocus-Pocus14

 Lizzie’s Links

https://www.amazon.com/author/lizzielamb

www.facebook.com/LizzieLambwriter

lizzielambwriter@gmail.com

website: www.lizzielamb.co.uk

Newsletter – http://tinyurl.com/ELNL-2016

Linked in: uk.linkedin.com/pub/lizzie-lamb/18/194/202/

Goodreads http://tinyurl.com/cbla48d

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lizzielamb/

twitter: @lizzie_lamb

twitter: @newromantics4

www.facebook.com/newromantics4

2nd blog: www.newromanticspress.com

 

Cover reveal! Pauline Barclay’s The Wendy House

I’m so thrilled to be one of the first to reveal the cover of the new wonderful novel by the lovely author, Pauline Barclay, ready for publication date of SATURDAY 3RD SEPTEMBER. Pauline writes emotional, passionate and moving stories. And here it is:

TWH-Amazon-eBook

This is what Pauline says about her great new book:

“The Wendy House has its cover revealed today! And, like all my book covers, it has been designed by Cathy Helms at Avalon Graphics and it is perfect.

The Blurb

When Nicola changes overnight from a bright, happy young child into a sullen, rebellious girl, ceasing to show interest in anything or anyone around her, her parents struggle to understand why. As she develops into a difficult, troubled, hostile teenager they put it down to hormones, believing it will pass. Yet Nicola goes from bad to worse and no matter how much her mother tries to reach out to her, it seems she is hell bent on self-destruction. When she leaves home at seventeen, rushing into the arms of a man ten years her senior and quickly becoming pregnant, her despairing mother almost gives up on her. A decade later, the events that stole Nicola’s childhood and changed the course of her life threaten finally to destroy her. She knows if she is to cling on to her sanity she must tell her mother the dreadful secret she has carried all these years, but her fear that she will be met with disbelief, hostility and branded an evil liar drives her to the edge.”

The Wendy House is a heart-rending story of betrayal, secrets and gripping fear.

Publication Date: Saturday 3rd September

Genre: Women’s Fiction / Family-Noir

Pauline Barclay is a fabulous writer, so check this out – you’ll be in for an absorbing read! You can find Pauline’s blog at

http://paulinembarclay.blogspot.com.es/p/news-letter.html

The Wendy House is available in Kindle for pre-order on all Amazon sites including

Amazon co uk

Amazon com

 A little about Pauline

I am from Yorkshire, but have lived in several different locations including, Suffolk, Surrey and Holland.  Today, I live on one of the beautiful volcanic islands of the Canary Isles with my husband and our two gorgeous rescue doggies.

Years ago I gained a BA (Hons) degree from the Open University, today I spend my time writing fiction. I have five books published, plus a 20 minute short festive story.

My passion is to write about events that happen in life and change everything for those involved as well as those caught up in the maelstrom. I want my characters to sit at your side, steal your attention and sweep you up in their story. Stories that will bring tears to your eyes, have you laughing out loud and sometimes, what they share with you, will stay  in your hearts for a very long time.

www.paulinebarclay.co.uk

http://paulinembarclay.blogspot.com

Facebook

Twitter: @paulinembarclay

Instagram: @paulinebarclay

 

 

 

 

 

 

Romantic Novelists’ Association conference: fun and inspiring!

rna conf 6rna conf 5  RNA conf

rna conf 2 With acknowledgement and thanks to John Jackson for the lovely photos!

I returned home from my first RNA annual conference buzzing, my head full of all that I had learned and all the great people I had met! What a wonderful event. I can’t wait for next year at Harper Adams, Telford. Last weekend we were at Lancaster University and after a difficult train journey I arrived with lovelies Elaina James and Alison May (we met up on the station!) a little uncertain, wondering if I had done the right thing in booking. What would it be like? Could I actually manage 4 nights of it? Would I be a wallflower? Would I find my way around the campus? Would I have anyone to chat to at mealtimes? Would I be Billy-No-Mates?

It didn’t start well. My room was a reminder of my student accommodation many years ago. But – wait – there was actually an ensuite, not known in my time as a university student. Things were looking up. Not for long. The flush on the loo didn’t work. OMG, one of the worst things to find on my arrival! A shower after my journey was required. Hmm, the shower flooded the tiny ensuite, or broom cupboard, as I called it.

The maintenance man did a sterling job and fixed the flush and all that remained was to become skilled at negotiating the 6 inch corridor of dry floor in the ensuite every time I showered (never solved) – and the horrendously bumpy mattress. I left my room for an exploration of the campus with Elaina (focusing on the shop for prosecco and posh crisps, liquorice allsorts and M&Ms).

The student room  issues quickly faded as I threw myself into the wonderful sessions and began to meet some lovely people. Kate Thomson, wonderful lady that she is, had initiated an email chat for the first-timers prior to the conference and we all met up after dinner on the Friday for one of the famous kitchen parties. Prosecco and nibbles in abundance and I think the noise level raised the roof!

I met my two new best friends, Dorinda Cass and Christina Hollis, who were great company and we shared some super times during the long weekend. I also met the lovely Susan Bergen and re-met a number of folks, like the very helpful Kath McGurl who pointed me in the direction of the Historical and Time-slip facebook group! The Saturday night gala dinner was fabulous – everyone in their glamorous finery and the wine flowed. Excellent – apart from one of the waiters managing to spill hot buttery sauce all over me! Did I say, I’m accident prone?!

There was the opportunity to book 1:1 sessions with industry professionals during the weekend, and I was lucky enough to have a couple with agents and one with a publisher. They were very encouraging and the publisher (who only takes agented submissions) loved my manuscript and said “go and get an agent asap!” Many thanks to Elaine Everest for organising these sessions.

I intend to post separate blogs on the sessions I attended and provide more detail of the information I gleaned and the inspiring tips and advice I really have taken on board. But as a brief summary here, for me, as an author who is already published but looking to develop,  the top twelve main points I took away with me were:

  1. register for The Bookseller! (thanks Debbie Young)
  2. define and refine my target audience and focus my promo campaigns
  3. be more proactive in engaging with my target audience in a more personal rather than professional mode
  4. build those relationships (thanks again Debbie Young)
  5. use facebook ad manager more effectively (thanks, Ian Skillicorn)
  6. interweave that set-up and pay-off into the fabric of the story and drip feed the info (thanks Fiona Harper)
  7. the romance must be ‘believable’ – they must ‘get’ each other (thanks again Fiona Harper)
  8. ensure that historicals are plausible within that time period, ie religious beliefs, social conditions and values, eg marriage, sex, social mores (thanks Alison Morton).
  9. reviews: all 5* probably doesn’t give a reassuring impression (readers are sceptical!) so don’t worry if you get the odd 4*/3*; allow readers to talk to each other about your book! Being talked about is better than being ignored. And negative reviews can actually sell books! (thanks Sarah Wendell)
  10. negotiate writing blogs on book bloggers’ sites. Indirect promo.
  11. It’s important that you select an editor you can work with, not the first that comes along! Don’t be too grateful in your first flush of delight.
  12. get a review buddy and a critique buddy! (thanks everyone)

I now have a new ‘to do’ list, which involves being more proactive about approaching local media (press, radio, parish magazines), local talks and festivals, and local bookstores and developing relationships with them (befriend them), review Amazon keywords for my books, write professional-looking info sheets for each of my books (been meaning to do that for ages), and join the SCWI (done!).

Many thanks to Jan Jones for organising such a lively crowd of us – what an extraordinary feat, well done, her! Also to Alison May and Roger Sanderson for their part in the organisation of such a complex and wonderful event. I can’t thank you enough. To all the organisers, speakers and industry professionals, the caterers who kept us well fed and watered, and all the other attendees who kept me chatting and laughing – thank you.

And finally … I’m awaiting eagerly the feedback from Immi Howson following the Speed Dating session, about whether I have a suitable critique partner! Do hope I’m not still Billy-No-Mates!

IMG_0104with thanks to Vistaprint for developing my logo