I’m delighted to share my news that I am the co-recipient of The Katie Fforde Bursary 2017, alongside Donna Ashcroft. We were both delighted and overwhelmed to accept such a generous award from Katie, presented at the Romantic Novelists’ Association meeting.
Each year, Katie Fforde selects an unpublished writer to receive her bursary as she remembers how it felt to be so-near-and-yet-so-far in the journey towards publication.
Donna and myself hadn’t met before the day so, it was great to realise there are many similarities and connections in our journeys towards publication.
Previous recipients include:
2002 Sue Moorcroft
2003 Caroline Pread
2004 Linda Michelmore
2005 Elizabeth Beacon
2006 Pia Fenton
2007 June Moore
2008 Henrietta Gyland
2009 Kate Thomson
2010 Brigid Coady
2011 Susan Alison
2012 Katie Carr
2013 Jo Thomas
2014 Janie Millman
2015 Catherine Miller
2016 Marie MacNeill
2017 Donna Ashcroft & Bernadette O’Dwyer
So, here’s to the two of us - I hope that 2017 brings us nearer to our dreams.
Ever seen the Waterstones store events notice for an authors' talk, promised yourself you'd attend and then kicked yourself a month later on realising you'd forgotten and missed it? Yes? Yes!
Yesterday I made it to a Waterstones' event in Birmingham. Seriously, I did! Because I booked my seat the moment I saw the who's who line up: Miranda Dickinson, Maggie Harcourt and Lauren James.
Three talented authors discussing romance, falling in love and fandom - who entertained an avid audience with their delightful chatter, wit and entertaining anecdotes. The panel host was book blogger, Chelley Toy who was as enthralled with her guests as the audience were. She asked intriguing questions that dug deep into their creative psyche, their likes, their horrors and even to retell embarrassing stories that made them physically cringe.
Definitely an event worth attending and one which has kept me smiling throughout today as I remember their snippet stories and witty banter.
What's that I hear you say? You missed it! Boy oh boy, learn from that mistake and book your seat as soon as you see the event notice in Waterstones - you won't regret it!
This writing malarkey can feel like a long hard slog at times, so a few years ago I began my success bottle. This glass bottle, with its mini talisman, stands on my desk and throughout the year I pop coloured post-it notes inside. Each post-it notes represents an achieved writing goal: be it a competition entry, a writing milestone or a personal success, big or small - if it was a writing celebration then it goes into the bottle!
There are so many things in life we wish we could preserve and bottle – positive moments are like delicate perfumes that can remind us of specific days or achievements.
As the year passes, it becomes a powerful reminder of how much I’ve achieved and how much I have to look forward to. Each January, I empty, read and reflect – helping me to set writing goals and targets for the coming year.
Question: What do you get if you cross a room full of book lovers, a themed location and Kim Nash? Answer: a delightful Saturday filled with chat and laughter. Seriously, you do. Kim Nash, publicity manager for Bookouture, had the Midas touch yesterday bringing together an array of authors and book bloggers. It was my first invite to her afternoon shenanigans, which have previously occurred in Birmingham and London; it won't be my last!
The location was the Bacchus bar beneath The Burlington hotel, conveniently opposite Birmingham's New Street station. On entering the themed bar with its mixture of Roman and Egyptian decor it felt like another world; gone was the bustle of the city centre and hello, new people!
Instantly, I recognised many book bods and soon the air was filled with excited chatter. Though, walking about with a white sticky label positioned above your right boob which others openly peer at as a name reminder guarantees joviality - the vino helped, thanks to the god of wine.
I was delighted to catch-up with the lovely Bella Osborne and Helen Barrell - who were on fire regards conversation. I really wouldn't like to make sense or explain the sequence of our conversation as we belly laughed through numerous topics: Dermot O'Leary, Welsh receptionists working at STD clinics, poisonings, scientists (including Davy and a certain, Ms Barrell), RNA conference, house sales, book blog tours, sailor tattoos, Chesterfield station, Rod Stewart, Bono, parking tokens and mishaps whilst riding the London underground. Phew! Seriously, there was much more but slightly too saucy to mention the Italian guy's phone call and Johnny Depp.
It was great to see the girls again, and three o'clock arrived all to soon. I'll definitely be attending Kim's future events and would recommend other authors to come along and meet the book crowd.
It has finally happened, the dreamlike state that arrives when someone calls your name. The stomach swirl, the trembling lip and yes, tears of joy arrived last Wednesday evening. For me, it was the beautiful Emily Yau announcing the winner of the 'New Talent Award 2015' at the Love Stories Awards. And I'm delighted to say, I've been perched on cloud nine ever since - I have no plans to return to planet Earth!
For those not present at the awards near Piccadilly Circus, this 'soppy head' did indeed begin to cry, afterwards many authors mentioned how touching it was to see and remember that initial feeling of recognition as an unpublished writer.
I was stunned. I had attended purely to celebrate being one of the shortlisted nine - I hadn't even planned a 'thank you' let alone an acceptance speech! But I stand by my few words 'of thanking those present who have supported me' - you have each given a little bit of yourself, be it interest, time or advice, to aid my writing journey.
Congratulations to Tora Williams, Debbie Fuller-White and Emily Kerr - I was honoured to be amongst such a stunning shortlist! A big 'Thank you' to Sarah Taylor and Kate Nash for organising the Love Stories Award but the biggest 'thank you' goes to my dear RNA friend, Bella Osborne for sharing a very special moment prior to the announcement and drying my tears afterwards.
As I write, my beautiful 'New Talent Award' sits alongside my other treasures - it'll be a constant reminder of happy memories and a boost towards my next goal!