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In every day life, John Jackson, a former Ship's Captain now retired. He still retains an avid interest in the Hash House Harriers, Rugby, Food, Romantic Fiction, Philately, etc etc etc.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Another Long Hot Summer

Wow!! Just back from my first RNA Conference. For my non-writing friends, this was a VERY concentrated three days of talks, workshops and panels, freely mixed with meeting toooooo many old and new friends to count, and doing a LOT of socialising. More on the Conference in a moment.

A month ago, we went over to Ireland for our major holiday this year. This was a combination of meeting more old friends, including many Hash House Harrier friends, and a chance to do some research as well as have a great break.
We managed all four, just. Dublin, Galway, Mullingar and Cork.

H3 (that's Hash House Harriers)  friends growing old disgracefully in Galway.

Mullingar was the highlight in many ways – the on-line research that I had been doing for my book was pleasantly confirmed, but I really wanted to get a “feel” for the places. It’s a gorgeous area. My leading villain, Robert Rochfort’s house is still there, as is his brother’s, and the wall he built between their houses. (he didn’t like the view, and trees took too long to grow!)

Robert's House "Belvedere"

Georges House "Rochfort House" (Now renamed Tuddenham)

The Wall that Robert built.

We loved Ireland. Lots of space and GREAT driving. Empty motorways and low tolls. The Guinness really DOES taste different in Ireland, as well.
Of course, as always, it’s the people!  Old friends, new friends, more old friends and young friends!

My friends over at Manchester Hash House Harriers were celebrating their third birthday in June, and it would have been churlish not to join them for a real fun weekend. Apart from the friends (again / more) the highlight has GOT to be playing Hungry Hippos with real people!! Hysterical.

It IS as much fun as it looks!!

And so to the RNA Conference. I was told by Roger Sanderson, the doyen of male RNA members, that you see the RNA at their best at Conference and he was NOT wrong. A great weekend, a stack of friends old and new and a lot of very helpful info for someone like me. I had three meetings with Agents/publishers/editors all of which were excellent and very positive, I went to a LOT of talks, lectures and workshops and generally had a great time.

Some highlights? Hazel Gaynor on promotion, Jane Johnson, Joanne Hickson & Jenny Barden on Research, Charlotte Betts, Emma Darwin on keeping the reader reading(your book), Alison May on projects down the line, AND

                                The utterly brilliant Julie Cohen on the Art of the Rewrite!!

(subtitled Repetition is Death!)

On the social side, it was almost beyond comment. I’m sure RNA members will be reassured to know I’ll be over in France stocking up on bubbles before next Conference. Preparation is key.

I took over 400 pics of the weekend, and most of them have appeared on Facebook. Adrienne has grabbed 40 or so for Romance Matters, so we'll see those in a few weeks. (the best ones from the Gala Dinner)

To close, a taste of pics from the totally vital and imperative socialising that accompanies Conference. 

Jenny Barden
Great books and impeccable research.

Liz Harris (old friend who got me into all this in the first place)

 Liam Livings (at last. Good bloke)

 Imogen Howson (who WALKED to Mile End from Kinfs Cross with a Backack!)

The naughty step, with Jane Lovering, Alison May and Kate Johnson.

Lovely Liz

Henri Gyland

Pia and Loraine

The next blog update will be after I get my manuscript back from the New Writers Scheme and pitch into it to incorporate their recommendations, and probably after the August Bank Holiday and UK Nash Hash in Oxford!

Enjoy your summer, wherever it takes you.



  1. It was lovely to re-live last weekend through your blog, John. Happy days!

    You, too, have a lovely summer. :-)

  2. Loved your pics on Facebook, John-thanks for taking them, a great memory of the weekend. And thanks for the info on 18thc ships! Best of luck with feedback on your NWS submission :-)

  3. Great to meet you, John, and after this, I'm sure you've won the job of official photographer ;)