I came, I saw - I wore myself out! Edinburgh - what a city!
Of course, I didn't wise up to the fact The Fringe Festival was also on at the time. My thinking on the way up in the train was; it'll be busy. I arrived and the city was crammed to bursting with people all in search of a good time. I've lived in a few big cities in my time but rarely those that are so efficient. Case in point - by the end of the day the streets were covered in everything - those that had finally given up - litter - the odd lost pet. But by the morning the city was as shiny as a new pin. How do they do that!?
Back to the Literary Festival. It has a much more mellow vibe going on. People where sat around in comfy chairs shooting the breeze and necking good quality gin from the generously sized, all things gin bar, located in the centre of the festival - so I'm thinking - yup, my kinda place. Its a multiple marquee set-up - so a little different than your regular venue. It stretched from a park and across the road which had been pedestrianised for the purpose. The biggest difference I found to some of the larger literary festivals; for example London International Literary Festival was the tempo. Edinburgh was more gingham and less suits. There were literary events a'plenty and many that were free to enter. I meandered around sucking up the atmosphere and thinking deep literary thoughts - yeah right. Actually, I pretty much marched through each marquee snagging up free-bees along the way - I now have enough HB pencils to last a dozen books and stand-back...as I flaunt my Edinburgh Lit tote at the checkout of my local supermarket - yes, it doesn't take much to rock my world! There were a authors signing books - although, it seemed many need a hand break as they weren't at their desks - just their books. Did I see or meet anyone you would have raised your eyebrows for? - not personally.
I had made it my mission to visit the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Centre; home of the Edinburgh Association of Spiritualists; - I wasn't disappointed. Eleanor, a very knowledgeable guide showed me around. There's an almost church/library type feel when you enter, I almost felt like whispering. The internal architecture is truly breathtaking, from the Egyptian style black marble fireplace on the far wall as you enter to the incredible view of the domed and decorated ceiling that can be seen from the ground floor looking up through four floors. It has all the marvelous architectural characteristics of the upper echelons during the Edwardian/Victorian era - so I was somewhat reminded of Sherlock's rooms in Baker Street - but there is something undefinably mystic within its walls. There are wonderful works of art and I was loath to leave after so short a stay.
So to sum up - Edinburgh Lit festival = books as far as the eye could see - people swigging gin - arty types throwing their shawls over their shoulders and men in pink shirts with deep tans - I'm guessing they're agents, as we writers rarely see daylight. The Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Centre = if you don't pay a visit you'll miss something memorable to last you a life-time.
I'm off to the Edinburgh International Book Festival and I'm more excited than as if Pilgrim had tapped on the door of my office and asked me out for drinks - thats how excited I am!
I can only stop for a couple of days, so its going to be Monday 13th Aug to Wednesday 15th Aug - short, but sweet. I'll be taking the train from Devon all the way up to the gorgeous city with the amazing people. many of you won't know that I once lived in Scotland - Dunblane to be exact - such a truly breath-taking place and the people are warm, funny and astute. I shall be roaming around and available for a chat if I happen to bump into you. Drop me an email and if theres enough of you - we'll have a pow-wow.
Its been a very busy week - but a great one. As you know, its all about you the reader. I belong to a writing and reading group and the suggestion was made to make Pilgrim The Balance available for libraries. I thought about the best way to accomplish this and decided to contact reading groups within libraries. The response was uni-formally positive! Beginning Monday 16th July - library book club members will be able to read the first book in the Neath A Pilgrim Chronicles free of charge. The first libraries to read the book will be Reading libraries and Ottery St Mary. My thanks to all the librarians who embraced the opportunity and even came up with suggestions of how to make the experience a more fulfilling one. Those ideas have already been incorporated into this website - email/speak to the author and receive a question sheet related to the book. Thanks again everyone!
Summer came along and kicked my butt! You know that feeling when your shoes feel as if they're glued to the floor - well, I tried to do a number of things but my feet wouldn't go - to the washing machine, tumble-dryer, to water the garden - it was hotter than the face of the sun out there - damn!!
But absolutely no need to worry - its the UK - it'll be raining cats and dogs before you know it.
Its getting a little crazy here folks - so many great ideas during our brain-storm sessions for readers.
Book clubs have been reaching out and requesting books for their members - so how do we at HQ, make that happen?
We wound up with a free download direct from the website of The Balance Pilgrim (as its the first in the series) - then it turned into a bun fight in the office!
Some wanted a flip-book, whilst others are firmly committed to a simple PDF document for easier access on any device.
You'll all know before me which idea won the day - I made my excuses and sought the sanctuary of my garden.
There are definitely times when I think 'if only' then I remind myself I live in a country that allows me to live in comfort compared to many places on earth - then I tell myself to stop whining, knuckle down and get on with it!
Totally excited about starting my first blog - lots to learn - more to say - look forward to hearing from you!