Something About Me

My photo
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.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Nights are Drawing In

Yes, the nights ARE drawing in, and it can only mean one (actually, several) things.

The RNA Winter Party – AND the new series of Strictly Come Dancing!

I write this just after the RNA Winter Party. I had booked early and cheaply to get a train ticket at a decent price, but I still arrived in London just in time for the Love Stories Awards. Normally these are held at the Festival of Romance. Unfortunately, that was cancelled so their organiser, Kate Allan, rearranged the awards for the same day as the Winter Party. 

The venue was Jewel, a fashionable drinking hole close to Piccadilly, and it was well supported by writers, bloggers and editors. A good start to the day, and great to see so many friends there.

Mandy Baggot, who needs no introduction, and Kate Allan,
who organised the event and kept the bubbly flowing!
Julie Cohen, - a Winner!!

Samantha Tonge, whose Game of Scones is a REALLY good beach-read (and another winner)

Waterstones on Piccadilly was placed handily half way between Jewel and the Royal Over-Seas League. A handy spot to gather breath, especially timing our arrival for Happy Hour, but the pull of the party held firm and after the shortest of breaks we were off to the League.

This was one of their best ever parties, and pretty well as full as it could be. I talked to a LOT of friends old and new for three hours plus, and STILL managed to miss several people. Such is life! I missed Alison Morton completely, and only got a passing glimpse of Carol McGrath and Imogen Howson, and missed getting snaps of several friends! I'll do better next time, promise.

Highlights for me included finally meeting, if only briefly, Ellie Dean and Fanny Blake, whose books i have REALLY enjoyed.

Julia Ibbotson and Ellie Dean
Lynda and Hadyn Stacey, with Liam Livings.

Lynda Stacey and Kate Johnson

I did manage to talk to Jane Eastgate though, who is going to edit my MS. A new experience for me; we have met a couple of times, she has already seen part of the MS and she comes highly recommended, so I eagerly await the results. 

Once I have them, I’ll act on them and then start touting the MS around, and try and get myself an agent.

The writing course I mentioned in my last blog was a blast! 11 eager pupils and 2 wise owls tutoring us. A great place for it, too, and back in my old back yard (we lived 4 miles away for many years). 
Our wise owls were Alison May and Janet Gover, good writers and good teachers both.

Wendy Prove and Immi Howson

I followed this up with a one-day course in York, held by two more friends, Rhoda Baxter and Jane Lovering. I’ve spent a lot of the time since then trying to put into practice what I learnt and improve the MS. Time will tell if I’ve been successful.

Oh, we also had a quick break in Northumbria at Bamburgh. In preparation for The Last Kingdom on TV (it's allegedly Uhtred's home)

The Christmas Season is upon us and we live in challenging times. Have a great party season, stay safe, love and be loved, and may Christmas and the New Year bring you all you wish yourselves, (only more so)

The next update will be in the New Year!



  1. How busy you've been, John! But what a fun sort of busy-ness. Since I had to miss the party this year because of the TV interview, I really enjoyed looking at your photos.

    I wish you all the very best with your manuscript - I can't wait to to see it published.

    Liz x

  2. Thanks very much Liz. You were missed!

  3. That's one thing I miss about not living in the UK. There are no events here for writers of an English persuasion. What fun you have had John! I hope th NY brings lots of success for you and your MS!