is for eat, drink and be merry! And that’s exactly what I did on Good Friday, along with my lovely pals and fellow Write Romantics, Alex Weston and Julie Heslington (aka Alys West and Jessica Redland).
Julie, Alex and I meet up every couple of months or so to have a good old catch up, and discuss our writing progress, problems and anything else that crossed our minds.
Apart from the normal meet-ups, we’ve met up for Alex’s birthday celebration, to celebrate Julie’s book deal, and as a final catch-up before Christmas. On Good Friday we met up to celebrate the launch of There Must Be An Angel.
The first time we ever met – after I’d “met” Alex on an online forum and she asked me if I’d like to meet her in person along with her writing pal, Julie – was in a pub on a sunny June day in Bridlington. We were all members of the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers’ Scheme, and we discussed where we were with our manuscripts and how close we were to sending them off to be read. Julie had already submitted her novel the previous year, and was about to send it off again, having made some changes to it. Alex was working on her novel and was confident she’d be able to send it off by the deadline. And me? I thought about the tangled mess I had at home and shook my head, before confessing that I didn’t think I’d be sending it off at all. It just wasn’t ready. I’d taken lots of advice and now I didn’t know where I was going with it any more. I didn’t know what to do with it next.
Alex and Julie were adamant that I must send it off, and after a stern talking to, I finally realised they were right. I left them that day and went home, feeling a new determination and confidence. I began to pull the tangled threads apart and wrote the book I wanted to write, shutting out all the voices and well-meaning advice that I’d been offered or had read in endless “how-to” books. Within weeks, There Must Be An An Angel – then called Angel in the Marble – was ready to send in, and I printed it off and posted it just before the August deadline.
I’m so glad I listened to Alex and Julie, because I got some fantastic feedback from my anonymous reader, who gave me great encouragement and pointed out some issues that needed fixing, giving me food for thought and helping me to shape Angel into the novel it is today.
It was a full eleven months before the three of us met up again and a lot had happened to us in the meantime. At our next meeting, they told me about their blog group, The Write Romantics, and their plans for a winter-themed anthology of short stories. When I got home, Alex messaged me, asking me if I would consider writing a short story for the anthology. Would I? Too right, I would! Within weeks, The Write Romantics had asked me to join their group. Cue another meet up with Alex and Julie and more celebrating! We now meet up fairly regularly, and we always have loads to talk about!
On Good Friday we met up in our now regular cafe and had lunch and cake, and there was lots to talk about, as you can imagine! It seems very odd to me that I only met Alex and Julie less than two years ago. It feels like they’ve been part of my life forever. They are so excited for me that Angel is finally available for other people to read. Julie and Jo – another of our Write Romantic friends – had sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers on publication day, and on Friday, Alex presented me with a gift of a gorgeous little notebook, just the right size for popping in my bag and carrying with me so that I can jot down any ideas that may strike me, and a little bag containing an amethyst and a moonstone. Very appropriate for the Kearton Bay novels! Before much time passes, we’ll be meeting up again to celebrate the launch of Julie/Jessica’s novel, Searching for Steven, which is being published by So Vain Books in June. I am also certain that it won’t be long after that when we meet up to toast Beltane, Alex’s first book. Exciting times for all of us!
Have a great day xx
PS. I know, I know…but what a great excuse for a pic of our handsome Musketeers! 🙂