Friday 29 June 2012

Networking in Dumfries & Galloway…

Last Saturday I took part in a writer’s conference organised by the Creative Arts Business Network (CABN) which took place at The Urr Valley Hotel in Castle Douglas. The event was organised by Mary Smith, the Creative Business Advocate for Literature and Publishing in Dumfries & Galloway, whose role is to help develop creative business networks for writers in the region, and Lesley Rogers, our Creative Arts Business Development Officer.  We are so lucky in our region to have such dedicated people valuing and supporting our creative businesses!

Key speaker of the day was Nicola Morgan, award-winning author of around 90 books across many genres and the self-professed Crabbit Old Bat. Nicola, who lives in Edinburgh, gives crabbitly honest advice to determined writers on her blog Help!I Need a Publisher! and in her books, Write To Be Published, Write a Great Synopsis, and Tweet Right - the Sensible Person's Guide to Twitter.

Me and Nicola Morgan

Nicola, who is one of fifty international authors invited to make up the Edinburgh Writers' Conference as part of this year's Edinburgh book festival, showed us how to build an author platform using Blogs and Twitter – and even more importantly how not to do it!

The programme throughout the day was interesting and varied. There was a delicious lunch of hot soup, which everyone seemed to enjoy, as it was a windy wet and cold day in Castle Douglas! There were also plenty of filled baguettes and time for ‘networking’ which of course is just writerly speak for lots of chatting!
Sara Bain, Entertainments Editor at the Dumfries & Galloway Standard newspaper spoke to us about preparing a press release that an editor would want to use and gave valuable insider tips on approaching the press effectively.
After lunch, Inga McVicar, a marketing professional with over 13 years of experience of book retailing with Waterstones and in publishing with Canongate Books, spoke to us about the dynamics of book marketing.
My talk was on independent epublishing, not the nuts and bolts of how to do it, but rather how to go about successfully promoting your book once it’s up there on Amazon. I hope I was inspirational!
The event was well attended and it was great to meet up with familiar faces and to meet new writers. I certainly came away from the day feeling very positive about being a writer!
So what makes you feel positive about being a writer? Is it the company of other writers or simply getting the time to write? Do tell!

Friday 22 June 2012

The Summer Audience Event

I could have floated back to Glasgow from Gloucestershire on a cloud of happiness rather than taken a flight with Easyjet. The Loveahappyending Summer Audience weekend was fabulous fun and an amazing success!  And it was all down to the organisational skills of the woman at the helm, Linn B Halton. I first met Linn on Twitter just over a year ago, when she said she was setting up a reader/writer website and asked if I like to be part of it. I was new to Twitter but immediately recognised this as a good opportunity. I’ve never looked back - became established - and Linn and I have become firm friends.

I’d never done an author talk before, and so I was naturally anxious when climbing the stage to deliver my Zero to my Latest Hero speech last Saturday but, happily, the support of my fellow authors and the warm vibes from all the avid readers attending the event gave me the boost I needed to talk, on a very personal level, about why and how I became a writer.
Delivering my 'Zero to my Latest Hero' talk!

The day was not only a fabulous success but also a wonderful opportunity to meet up with the seventeen authors attending and to catch up with some of my own 'Team Horton' Associate Readers and book bloggers like Louise Graham, Sharon (Shaz) Goodwin, Sue Fortin and Kim (The Book Worm) Nash.

With Kim 'The Book Worm' Nash

Thoughout the day, Kim was also broadcasting live via Stafford FM's Book Club and interviewing attendants!

With book blogger Louise Graham

With book blogger Sharon 'Shaz' Goodwin

With fellow author Mandy Baggot and my editor Kit Domino

With fellow Scottish author Chris Longmuir

Me with author & event organiser Linn B Halton and Lou Graham

One of the highlights of the day was the keynote speech by Catrin Collier, which everyone agreed was spell-binding. Catrin, under various pen names, has published over 41 novels worldwide. She has had three stage plays professionally performed in addition to publishing various articles and short stories. Her first Catrin Collier novel, Hearts of Gold was filmed as a mini-series by BBC Worldwide, and attracted an audience of 6.8 million viewers when shown on UK network TV. Another highlight came in the form of the lovely award-winning author Jill Mansell, who dropped in to select one lucky winner of a a stack of books and e-books, plus a ‘Devils With Wings’ signed poster by author Harvey Black.

Author Harvey Black with his alter-ego Jeremy - but which is which...?

The Loveahappyending Group Photo!

We polished off the day with a meal in a cosy Cotswold pub and raised our drinks to toast a fabulously successful event, each other, and to Linn B Halton and her lovely husband Lawrence for  making it all happen and for bringing us all together

You can read lots more about the Summer Event, our Featured Authors and Associate Readers by visiting the website HERE

And tomorrow, Saturday 23rd June, I’ve been asked to speak to authors in Dumfries and Galloway on ‘Building an Author Platform’.  The event, organised by The Creative Arts Business Network (CABN) in Scotland, is being held at the Urr Valley Hotel, Castle Douglas. I’m really looking forward to it and hope all this practice will stand me in good stead for doing lots more author talks in the future. I’ll report back on how it went next Friday. Wish me luck!

Wednesday 20 June 2012

A Summer Audience - Recipe for Fun...

Recipe for a fun day talking about all things book related:


30 passionate new Authors from around the world
16 wonderful Associate Readers

1 fabulous Keynote Speaker – Catrin Collier (photo above right – Linn B Halton, Mandy Baggot & Catrin Collier)

1 totally amazing surprise in the delightful form of Jill Mansell popping in to pick the competition winner (photo above left)

6 months of planning and a group of 46 passionate people

To read the rest of this feature please click on the link below:

I'll be blogging here on Friday - and bringing you all the news and views (including lots of photos) of the exciting Summer Audience event!

See you then!
Janice xx

Friday 8 June 2012


I’ve been Absent Without Leave – did you miss me…?

I didn’t make it back to bloggerland last Friday as I was away in Crete visiting Iain,  son #3, who is working over there as a Scuba Diving Instructor. While we were away, Mr JH went diving every day with Iain and his team, while I soaked up the hot and wonderful Cretian sunshine on the beach and read my Kindle! It was also our wedding anniversary while we were there and we had a lovely time celebrating in a traditional taverna. This photo is of Iain, me, and Mr JH.

There has been so much going on this week. I’m very busy preparing for my ‘Zero to my Latest Hero’ talk at the Summer Audience, which is taking place next Saturday 16th June, in Tetbury Glos, UK. The event is being covered by Radio Stafford FM’s Book Club and features lots of author talks, writer workshops, and publisher's points of view.  Check out the fantastic Event Programme. It’s not too late to get your tickets if you don’t have them yet – just click on the link below for more info on how to get them. It’s going to be the writer and reader event of the summer – so don’t miss out!

A Summer Audience - more info & tickets

This week I’ve been interviewed on author Sheryl Browne’s new ‘My Corner of the World’ feature on I’m talking about my home in Dumfries & Galloway Scotland and why I find it so inspiring to live there. Click the link below to read the interview with Sheryl.

Next Friday, I’ll be on a flight from Glasgow to Bristol in order to attend The Summer Audience on the Saturday, but bear with me please, as I promise to return with a full report and photos – both of the event and the after party! Now, will I see YOU there..?