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Fantasy On The Sofa

Yea right! But its true, honest, it really is happening!

Once again the Exeter Authors Association gathered at the "Costa Loads of"
in the epicentre of the literary world...well no... it wasn't Haymarket or  Piccadilly...it was Gold Street (Or Bampton! I can't tell the difference not bad for 14 years as a resident of this fabulous, flourishing, funtastic town!!! 

FFF for sure, its nice (when it's sunny) it's got stacks of lovely, talented people and it's the home and heart of the EAA and don't forget the district offices in New Zealand, West Hill, Ottery St Mary, Brixham, North Tawton and many more...Internationally renowned for sure!

Sofa so good then ..so what happened at the meeting?

Well...Everybody seems to be working hard.  Rich "The Baking Doc" was  about
to launch his latest tome at the Liznojan bookshop, there's another launch later this month by Susie which is just before The Exmouth Festival, which is happening on the 24th of May at the City Gate in Exeter and summer is looking very busy with lots of poetry gigs and numerous festivals including Exmouth, Crediton, Sidmouth, and Chilcompton,  so it's an action-packed programme and if im not mistaken both Brian 
and Tracey Ann aka Maura are well on the way to making their debuts in the world of literary...And Sofas!!!!

So what of the Sofas then?

Everyone is thinking about a Fantasy on the Sofa ever since it got a mention halfway through the gathering. Well before anyone gets too excited, yes there is fantasy and yes there is a sofa BUT It's not somebody having fantasies ON the sofa.....its an author called *********** (you have to guess who!?) who is talking about "their" fantasy book....sitting on the sofa!

Sorry to disappoint you all. Anyway, before  I head off to play walking footy against the Exe Valley Ladies (who are seriously quick, so quick I'd never foul them because I can't catch'em haha!) I must mention the emergence of Tracy and Mark's latest edition to the family ...Yes! folks congratulations are due (Baby Gap/Mothercare vouchers accepted).

It's the return  of BLACK DOG (Ruff Ruff) soon to be seen on the streets of the west country and if anyone can remember where it's going to appear first, whoever gets it right wins a Costa Even More flapjack courtesy of EdBlog (Dass Me!)

So to  footy (Naa iss pourin and there is a message from the Manager MMmm looks like tele and a bowl of Shredded Wheat and Blueberries)

Hey ho, keep on writing you lot!

Luvsya Ed Blog Ugs an kisses 

Richard Lappas xxx

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Going Global!

Well maybe not quite as much as that but it was a pacy, racy meet up as the usual suspects gathered at the Costa loads in the heart of Tiverton city centre otherwise known and often referred to as the Metropolis of Mid Devon!
 
And it was only a matter of minutes before breaking news that a number of stalwarts were set to quit the EAA in the UK in order to seek new fame and fortune in pastures new..and a mere moment or two later the legend that is Kiwi Kriss was born set fair to travel the high seas, across mountains of range in search of Sauvignon City ...
 
This was swiftly followed by an emphatic denial of the news that the stunningly brilliant author Jenny "JK" Marion Hood was also set to quit as the toxic clouds of the post Brexit era gathered, barely concealing her sheer delight that she was leaving the meeting early as she was starting a new 2 hours a day job which would attract a handsome salary....well at least the minimum wage! It was a breath of fresh air(the job not the salary doughnuts!) and the delighted author was quoted globally  saying "I'm gonna get paid !!!"
 
In the meantime, Pam "The Guv" Reed sat in the chair, conducting proceedings with great aplomb reporting back with detailed analysis from EAA activities across the region and numerous events coming up through the summer months with appearances at concerts and festivals that would be working well within the boundaries of "Elf & Safety"!
 
But the best was saved to the last as the EAA's star of stage and screen Tracey The Norman, a lady made of Steel (see the picture!) taught us how to  'Speek Proppa,' and present ourselves in some style by breathing deeply, chucking furniture out and not smoking a pipe!!! As  part of the professional development sessions TNs accuracy in pinpointing what we ALL don't do, was frighteningly accurate and a lesson learnt for sure..talking of furniture The Braund and her pals from Ottery Writers also
moved furniture and bombarded a packed audience with Devon or Cornish (depending on where you put the jam and the cream!) Cream teas, lemon drizzle cake and various from the team which included Jenny, Mary, Viv & Eleanor....Well done guys!
 
 
That's all folks! Richard L.

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Festivals Are Us... Drama Queen

Just a taste of what's on the blog today.....well folks we have recovered from the snow, milk and bread supplies are getting back to normal so we won't be seeing those groaning trollies anymore... I 've often wondered how people can consume 28 pints of semi-skimmed when there's only one day of snow!

So we gathered for the monthly meeting... The EAA is gonna be uber busy with Festivals at Exmouth, Crediton, Sidmouth, Chilcompton, and maybe Budleigh too (PS Forgot to mention I'm doing Chudleigh LF too) and there's already a host of author talks at libraries including Exmouth, Ottery, Crediton not forgetting the biggy at Exeter!!!
And if  I've forgotten any apologies just ask The Guv (Pam) ... Meantime, Johnny Hall is back from a quick scurry around Oman (No it's not Oman Salterton its the one in the Middle East innit!) so hopefully we will as part of our business development series of talks, learn how to become terrorists!!!!

Anyway speaking of talks, we had a very lively presentation from the Guv which included  Chameleons, Pandas and Possums giving an interesting view of how to and not to sell our books... The illustrations were good but overshadowed by a brilliant series of short sharp sketches from our very own drama queen (literally!) Tracey
though  I didn't see any sign of her edginess ie no sign of the sword ..understandable I guess as stabbing customers wouldn't go down that well!!!!

So in summary, a decent turn out and hope springs (yea das a play on words as its March - now I have to explain the jokes already!) eternal that those that arent 100% right now see some sunshine and warmer weather to mend them quickly and it becomes a case of, saying tarra to the Beast from the East, no more of Emma's winds biting... instead much fun reading & writing so when we reflect and rest, we realise we are the best in the west!

Losaluv,
 
Richard Lappas #manwithacamera!

 

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The Exeter Authors Association indulge in a little medieval murder...

Members of the Exeter Authors Association enjoyed a fantastic evening in the company of Karen Maitland and fellow Association member Michael Jecks, who were at Crediton Library last night. Michael and Karen, along with Ian Morsen, Susannah Gregory, Bernard Knight, Christopher Sansom and Philip Gooden, write as The Medieval Murderers, in addition to their own individual titles. Between them, they have written a series of 10 books and Michael has the longest series of crime books of any author currently living.

The evening, organised by the Friends of the Library, started with a lively and entertaining talk, with Michael and Karen regaling us with stories about the advantages and drawbacks of plotting books in the pub and the love/hate relationship between an author and their copy editor. They also gave us some fascinating glimpses behind the curtain by describing how they work, what helps/hinders concentration and the pros and cons of killing off all your main characters in each book and starting afresh every time. It was interesting to see the differences in their working practices – Michael favours gadgets more than Karen and enjoys listening to music as he writes, whereas Karen prefers to work without the distraction of background noise.

After a break, during which we all enjoyed drinks and snacks provided by the Friends, there was a Q&A session, which sparked discussion about plotting, research, unruly characters and adapting your book for the American market, amongst many other things. Michael and Karen know each other and their craft very well and were clearly well-practised at speaking together. It was a real privilege to be able to listen to two authors at the top of their game who can tell a story just as well in person as they do on the page and who kept us laughing with their anecdotes.

 For me personally, it was lovely to meet Karen, whose research has taken her along the same path I am now treading as I prepare to embark on my non-fiction book. There is no way to adequately describe the joy of meeting someone who has researched the same sort of medieval remedies and medicines and who does not even blink when you mention “ye snayles for the curing of deafnesse” but joins you step-for-step as you segue into a discussion about the use of earthworms in remedies for the King’s Evil.

The event was filmed, so keep an eye on Michael’s website if you would be interested in watching.

Michael’s website: www.michaeljecks.co.uk

Karen’s website: www.karenmaitland.com

by Tracey Norman

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Exmouth with Roses by Jenny Kane

Last night I was lucky enough to be speaking to the good folk of Exmouth Library as part of the Exeter Author Association’s ongoing series of author talks.

With St. Valentine’s Day just hours behind us, it seemed fitting to address the thorny issue of ‘What makes a book a romance?’

Romance often has a bad press within writer world. It is frequently seen as the poor relation, with the myth that it is the ‘easy option’ flourishing- without anyone seeming to notice that 95% of all fiction (whether it is a romance or not) contains some level of romantic relationship- it is often difficult for our work to be taken seriously.

With that in mind I chatted about attitudes to romance, what we expect from a romance, and how something as tiny a button can trigger the plot line for an entire novel. I shall never forgot the light in one lady’s eyes as she explained why she liked Rhett Butler so much, or the enthusiasm of the two brand new romance writers who had come along to pick up a tip or two.

I’d like to thank the lovely Beatrice for making me feel so welcome, and the Friends of Exmouth Library for providing refreshments- and for presenting me with some beautiful red roses.

I hope everyone who purchased a book enjoys my words. I was overwhelmed by the number of sales.

It was a wonderful evening- and there are many more brilliant EAA talks to come.

Jenny x

 

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A Report on a Most Unusual Meeting by Richard Lappas

We were running a bit late after February's monthly gathering of the motley crew (speak for yourself they all cried!)..another well-attended meeting with all the usual suspects and some unusual ones too!

One of which stayed calm throughout, listening carefully even "paws ing for thought" now and again…meantime, thru the chair, Pam Guv revealed an action-packed bulletin of events coming up including Exeter, Exmouth and many more plus a report back on the Dev Con event ( In the Pink, Krissy E was now unbearable and will only speak to members if they've been in Eastenders (chuckle!)

Welcome Nasty Nick where are yer subs mate no lanyard or badge till you cough up!!) We also welcomed Susie 10, star of radio and writer of loads of books …. many members are looking forward to being interviewed for the Talking Books programme….

At this point, a great gathering was rudely interrupted by some old jobbing hack who drones on and on about his luck and judgement…but he did manage to hold the crowd's attention for about…40 seconds haha! Oh yes I remember now it was me mmmmm

I'm just pleased everyone said nice things about the workshop thank you ..the fivers are in the post!!! A lively gathering that rolled downstairs into the Costa coffee lounge for more chatter and more ideas for books…. I always try and encourage these lovely people never to allow the facts to spoil a good story! Ok, das it for now and until we meet again Much love from freezing sunny London where I've been celebrating me Mums 89th birthday….

Back to Devon tomoz and will be on Pi and People duty tomorrow night talking to the good folk led by the lovely Nicky Dunne:)))

Work hard, play hard and stay warm! 

Richard Lappas

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The Exeter Authors Association on Tour, a report from Devcon Exeter by Richard Dee

 

As the more observant of you will have spotted, I’ve become much more active on the selling front, not just online sales but also actual, face-to-face, whites-of-their-eyes style selling. This is largely due to the encouragement of the EAA and the support that comes from going to events as a group.

Together with colleagues from the Exeter Authors Association, I went to the Corn Exchange in Exeter to take part in Devcon Exeter, a sci-fi extravaganza. It was a bit of an early start but living in Brixham, I’m used to being miles away from just about anything that I want to go to.

Along with fantasy authors P.J. Reed and  K.Y. Eden, we set up our stalls and waited for the customers.

‚ÄčThis was the first comic convention that I’d been too as an author and I didn’t really know what to expect. There were a lot of people in costume and the quality of them was pretty amazing. While some were obviously commercial, a lot of effort had clearly gone into making the others look as authentic as possible

Sales wise, it was interesting to see that, while there was interest, a lot more of it was directed to the availability of ebook versions. Although I sold some paper copies of both novels and short stories, if I had been able to directly sell downloads I think that I would have sold a lot more. We’ll see if the promises translate into sales but that’s certainly a subject for investigation. There ought to be a way to make it happen.

It was also a good chance to see how other traders set up their stalls and get some tips for next time.

Here’s a picture of one satisfied customer, with his copy of “The Rocks of Aserol.”

I did meet a childhood hero of mine. One of the original puppets from the Gerry Anderson series “Stingray,” which people of a certain generation might remember. When I was a child hiding behind the sofa during the scary bits, I never thought that one day I would do that.

I also managed to do a bit of networking and secured myself a place in an upcoming Steampunk event, later this year, thanks to these guys.

The EAA  will be at Bath for another convention on March 17th, it will be interesting to compare events, see if we’ve learned anything and meet up with all the characters again.

Visit Richard Dee's writing at https://richarddeescifi.co.uk

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A Slice of Pi-Life by Jenny Kane

Last night I spent the evening talking to the Exeter branch of the Pi-Society at the Hotel du Vin in Exeter - and my head is literally buzzing.

After a delightful two hours in the company of friendly, intelligent and joyful people, I am riding high on one of the privileges of being a writer. There are few perks in this profession; little money, no days off, no spare time, frequent bouts of insecurity and more disappointments than it would ever be sensible to count- but we do get to meet a wide range of amazing people. For me this is one of the highlights of the job- and after just two hours with the members of the Pi-society - I feel lucky to have met each and every one of the people who’d turned out to see me despite the hail and gales that hit the city last night.

On my arrival to the library in the Hotel du Vin, I joined the group sat around a big round table (wine glasses full and at the ready), and the event began. We broke the ice with a discussion about our favourite books and reads, and then we were off! I answered questions about books, writing, and my rather diverse career- from archaeologist to erotica to romance, to historical crime- for the next two hours. The evening simply flew by.

Before I knew it, the time had come to sell a few copies of my books, and we were preparing to face the elements of the cold and wet winter night once again.

I’d like to thank Nicky Dunn for inviting me alone to the Pi-Society, and the whole group for making me feel so welcome.

Jenny

www.jennykane.co.uk

 

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Exeter Authors Association Go Plotting!

First one of the year as Exeter Authors Association braved the freezing cold to gather at Tiverton's top coffee house in Bampton Strasse at the grey and maroon place with the pretty windows where it don't "Costa" lot a money to meet up!

The group was at least ten strong this morning with numerous apologies and a packed agenda reflected how busy the EAAonistas are going to be in 2018 with many library deals being signed up to feature some top-notch talks, lectures, workshops, quizzes, kiddies games and free cake!

Free cake is a reminder of the one aspect that was missing from the gathering (other than the apologists of course!)  which was the scrumptious beetroot caraway banana marmite and peanut butter rolls as created by Head Chef and author of science fiction fame and en route all the way from the fishing port of Brixham, our very own Richard Docket  who's elaborate recipes are fast becoming world renowned and if someone else could bring the soup brunch breakfast
or lunch is covered!

Highlight of the day was an action-packed presentation from accomplished author and bestseller Jenny Kane, JK (hey those initials could be worth a fortune!) talked about the good manners & proper way to utilise social media, covering  all the platforms, the do's and dont's including prostitution, criminal activity and the benefits of advertising on social media ..of which there appear to be none! Thanks to the Kane for putting together such a good powerpoint, it really
was very informative in terms of how to set up, how to use the format and how to create your own blog so whoever is doing the professional development workshop in February had better be on the ball as the Kane is a hard act to follow
........oh dear I think it's me oops!!

Overall it was better than most of the football l cover..the crowd were appreciative, no rowdiness or swearing, and even though there was no sign of burgers(delivering the familiar stench of onions) or prawn sandwiches, nobody left early to avoid the full-time rush and as ever it was always a pleasure!

Best, for now, EAAonistas may your weekend be a darn sight warmer than it is today!!!

Lossaluuv Richie #firstimeblogger!
Richard Lappas
richard@lappas.co.uk

07976 157997

Richard Lappas is the author and photographer of 'More By Luck Than Judgement'

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Coffee Shops and Cornwall - An Evening with Jenny Kane

It is always a privilege to be invited to talk about the books I’ve written, to meet readers and to help spread the joy that comes from both reading and writing.

This week saw the first author talk by members of the Exeter Author’s Association at Bampton’s Learning and Resource Centre (LARCS ). I was delighted to kick off this series of six events with an evening discussing my love of writing about ‘Coffee Shops and Cornwall.’

Every seat in LARCS was taken, and the audience’s smiles were wide and welcoming as I launched, somewhat nervously, into my confession that I ought not to be a writer at all- but should be sitting in a library somewhere translating Medieval Latin.

Clearly surprised that writing hadn’t been my childhood dream- but that I’d desperately wanted to be an archaeologist and historian instead- I think, however, that it was my disclosure that Mars Bar scones were responsible for my diversion into writing fiction which surprised people the most. It seems I need to educate folk in the powers of the ‘super-scone’!

The evening was split into two parts; with forty-five minutes of talk about my writing, my inspiration, coffee shops and Cornwall and two very short reading, followed by a half hour break in which to indulge in some delicious coffee (how could I refuse?), tea and cake. After we were all fortified with welcome calories and beverages, and some books had been sold and signed, part two of the evenings' chatter began we with me explaining how life-writing works- and the reasons behind my Robin Hood obsession.

 

Half an hour of questions followed, and I suspect if it hadn’t been getting so late, the questions would have kept coming from the engaging and kind audience.

It was a truly lovely evening, and I’d like to thank Kelvin and the LARCS team for looking after me so well.

These bi-monthly evenings will continue to take place from 7-9pm on the second Wednesday of the month. After the success of the first event, I am very much looking forward to the subsequent talks in the village’s library/resource centre.

Jenny Kane

www.jennykane.co.uk

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The Bampton Charter Fair Experience

Last weekend the Exeter Authors Association were in action at the Bampton Charter Fair. This was the first time authors have been invited there for over 500 years so we have a lot of history to make up for. We shared a hall with the lovely people from the LARCS and it made for a chaotic, busy day.

The children's authors and entertainment section proved very popular with our special guest Ollie in a toga bringing ancient history to life. K.Y. Eden gave a fascinating insight into the writing of the Redcroft Journals trilogy and into the crazy life of a fantasy author.

Jenny Kane as always delighted her fans and sold out of most of her books. Fortunately, they are still available online. The Circle of Spears drama company gave a thrilling installment of their play WITCH... which completely stopped the tea chatter. John Hall gave a fascinating talk about researching and writing his terrorism based novels and a possible research trip to Oman. Richard Dee read one of his scary short stories and Richard the second or Richard Lappas to his fans regaled everyone with tales of Princess Diana and the Queen. 

P.J. Reed came in her performance poetry guise for this event, leaving her high fantasy and horror writing for more sinister times, and read her new poem regarding 'Colin the nearly new neighbour'.  Brian Willis, another performance poet from Tiverton entertained with his new selection of Gothic poetry.  Jeni Braund sold many copies of her Heartland poetry book in aid of the Anthony Nolan charity. All in all in was a fun-filled. action-packed day! 

If you missed seeing the Exeter authors they will be on display at the CreaTiv Hub, Fore Street, Tiverton, Devon from  Tuesday 28th November to Saturday 2 December with free goodies, cookies, a free draw and an amazing selection of books!

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Exeter Authors Association Climbing the Stairs To Happiness in Costa

Last Friday heralded our biggest meeting of the year. As each author arrived everybody shuffled up a seat and made room for one more until no more authors could fit around our two reserved tables. It was then that it was decided we had outgrown the guest tables at Costa. 

There is a mysterious door on the Costa wall marked – Staff Only. The presence of a door in a wall is always intriguing, especially to curious writers… We charged through that door and found ourselves in a very narrow corridor leading to an equally narrow staircase.

At the top, the staircase opened into a lovely mini-conference room for barista training which we thought might come in useful as a second career. Soon the room was filled with some of the most active authors in the south-west with books ranging from children’s story to terrorist based thrillers to sci fi adventures.

We were delighted to welcome 3 new Exeter Authors _ K.Y. Eden., Richard Lappas, and J.E. Hall who each received their official and extremely rare Exeter Authors Association badge. The author's lanyards have finally arrived too so Exeter Authors members have been well and truly labelled.

The autumn and winter months are going to be very busy. All our members actively engaged in literature-based activities.

Many of our members have been invited to the Bampton Charter Fair – this is the first time authors have been invited since the Middle Ages which is very exciting and hopefully we might even get invited back sooner next time. Please see the poster, for a complete guide to those authors attending Bampton Charter Fair. All the Exeter Author events are free so if you want to chat to an author, attend a book reading, a children’s workshop or get a book signed visit the LARCS at Bampton on Thursday 26th October.

In other exciting news, we have been given the keys to the CreaTiv Hub, Tiverton for 5 days from Tuesday 28 November to Saturday 2 December. This is an ideal chance to chat to an author and buy bespoke books which can be dedicated to the one you love for that special Christmas present. 

 

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In a field, in a tent, some authors gathered and it was hot!

Assorted members of the Exeter authors Association went adventuring this weekend as we crossed the border and entered the wilds of Somerset. We traveled through the rolling dark green fields of the Mendips, past fascinating historic buildings including the Kings of Wessex and quaint village greens. Finally, we reached our destination – a sports pitch on the edge of Chilcompton.

Sometimes, however, appearances can be deceptive. This pitch was bustling with excitement and dotted about its fields were large white marquess standing expectantly, ready to be filled by musicians, singers, poets, and authors. The first Chilcompton Fringe Festival was waking.

The Exeter Authors Association were honoured to have our own small marquee complete with stage and professional sound equipment so our voices were not lost between the three vibrant music marquess.  We also had a wonderful sound engineer who also gathered audiences for us and a compere who happily joined in with all the workshops, and their efforts were greatly appreciated.

 The day was so hot – unnaturally so for England, we put our book tables outside the marquee and then hid in the shade of the marquee for as long as we could.  In the course of the afternoon two pairs of sunglasses were broken, a lot of liquid consumed and faces began to glow red. It was British summertime at its best.

We had a fantastic line-up of Exeter Authors performing, reading and running free workshops.  Jenny Kane started the show with readings and anecdotes from her best-selling series of Abi books.  Her author's table was busy all afternoon with people coming to the Festival just to buy the latest Abi book, which was very touching.

P.J. Reed read her eclectic variety of poetry to a suddenly increasing audience. One of whom yelled “You’re mad!” in a hopefully positive manner, after hearing about the adventures of her new, neighbour Colin and his washing line. I think that’s what is known as audience participation!

Richard Dee, the steampunk and sci-fi author, did an interesting lecture from his series of Fantasy World Building lecture series which will be available as an online course later this year. After which, he braved the sun all afternoon, selling the deep space adventures of Dave Travise to happy earthlings.

Poet and children’s story author Trina J. Stacey put on her life coaching hat and gave an inspiring interactive session or how to write from the heart, without fear and with happiness. Something which every writer needs to bear in mind when fighting deadlines and unwanted edits from editors!

The actress, narrator and playwright Tracey Norman shone on stage giving a talk about WITCH her play which has been performed throughout England in 2017 and she gave a talk on how to research and write historically accurate plays.

The Exeter Authors have something to offer everyone. In the later afternoon, the darker aspects of humanity were delved into by horror writer Chris Tetreault-Blay who gave a fascinating talk about how to write a successful horror series. Mark Norman, narrator, researcher, and record keeper of the Black Dog sightings of England closed a very successful day with his true tales of mystery and sinister goings on. 

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A Celebration of Books Roars Into Life! By P.J. Reed

It was a hot and sticky Saturday. The sun bore down, rebounded off the pavements and buildings and onto the waiting people. The 120 freshly made cupcakes began to ooze and a delicious smell wafted through the library. The Exeter Authors stood behind their beautifully illustrated tables and talk bubble through the book celebration. Everything was ready with fifteen minutes to go. Suddenly, there was a noise at the library door. People had started queuing in the 34-degree heat.  A surprised silence hit the authors as they stood in the shelter of the library. These brave people were standing in a furnace because of their passion for books. Therefore, it was unanimously agreed to open the doors and let these brave people in early lest they get taken by the savage heat.

                The doors opened and a wide of people floated in. It was great to see so many people come together to celebrate their love of books. In fluid times, unexpected events happen. An unexpected but very interesting Professor arrived with his selection of text books regarding Anglo-Saxon history.  We managed to find him a little island of history between Chris Tetreault–Blay’s horror books and my haiku collections but then history is indeed a mixture of horror and art.

And so, the celebration began with a mixture of art and horror...

The event was a fully interactive afternoon of readings, performances, workshops, and cupcake demolition. We were extremely lucky to have Michael Jecks, the bestselling Medieval crime author and Samantics one of the leading performance poets in the south-west. The acts drew huge crowds.

Unfortunately, I missed the lot. My workshop ‘How To Catch a Publisher’ was the first workshop of the afternoon and it was enlarging. It expanded from the table into the environs encroaching into the friends of the library refreshment area almost within reach of the cupcake mountain.

After a chair reorganisation, my workshop began. It was rapid fire workshop of one and a half hours of work condensed into twenty minutes. It was an intense battle but we persevered. These were intelligent, articulate writers, and asked many questions which was a pleasure to explore.

My full workshop ‘How To Catch a Publisher’ will be coming to libraries across the south-west very soon…

Once my workshop had finished, I went to my little author section to prepare for my surrealesque poetry performance. Only to find the poetry book, ‘Flicker,’ that I was going to use, complete with paper page marks, had been sold. However, poetry waits for no man or woman.  I had exactly five minutes to locate another book and remark the pages. It was a frantic battle but I triumphed and bounded on stage with my poetry saved. The audience, like the workshoppers, were fantastic and very responsive.

After my turn, I could sit back and watch the other performers. It was a fantastic way to end an amazing afternoon. The only negative being – by the time I had finished greeting, talking and watching- someone had eaten all the cakes!

Check out P.J. Reed's website at- Deliciously Wicked Writing

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A Celebration of Books, What happened at CredFest 2017 by Richard Dee

Instead of a post about my writing or some other insight, I’m reporting on my attendance at CredFest last Saturday.

As a member of the Exeter Authors Association, I had a table, a workshop, and readings to do. Here are a few pictures from the event.

 

I also made some cupcakes for the visitors.

I’m a big fan of Carrot cake, so that was what I produced and they seemed to be popular.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a good turnout for the event and as this was the first one that I’ve attended I wasn’t really sure what to expect. But it was great.

I chatted to customers; my workshop went down well, with good feedback. I was actually told that my suggestions for world building made great sense, someone else admitted that hadn’t been sure what to expect but had been fascinated. There were some excellent readings by the other authors, great poetry and a short extract from Witch!

I think I’ve found some new books to add to my virtual pile!

My readings were also well received, I read a short extract from Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café and another from The Rocks of Aserol.

It’s true that I didn’t sell many books, but I did give away lots of short stories and samples, which may well sow seeds for future sales. And as a new(ish) author it’s about getting the brand out and being recognised. Events like this are great for doing just that. And one lucky person won a copy of Andorra Pett, who knows where that will lead?
The audience got the humour in Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café and laughed in most of the right places, which was a relief, after all, it’s my sense of humour and you never really know if others will find it funny.

The extract that I read is at the end of this post; it’s from a little later in the book than the sample chapter that you may have read HERE.

Now, I have to prepare for Tiverton Literary Festival on Friday. I’m one of the authors you can meet in the Library. We start at 10 am so if you’re local to Tiverton, please pop in and say hello.


Writing wise, I have just about finished Andorra Pett on Mars, the follow-up to Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café, and I have an idea for book three in the series, Andorra Pett takes a break.
My Steampunk sequel A new life in Ventis is with beta readers. Dependant on their reaction, I’m working towards publication before Christmas. I also have a couple of other projects in the pipeline. There will be more news on them in the very near future.

Are you interested in how I build words? Would you like a transcript of my workshop with suggestions? Why not let me know, together with your ideas, in the reply box below the post. I’d love to hear from you!

So here’s the extract that I read, Andorra Pett is settling into her new life, running a café. She’s already discovered a secret, and now it seems like someone is after her…….

I’d set my alarm for 4 a.m. again, we had sold nearly all the things I had made yesterday and although Clarissa had provided some pies we still needed fresh bread and more cakes. Cy, for all his enthusiasm, wouldn’t be up till later so it was down to me.
The alarm went off, without bothering with the lights I reached out and turned my hair straighteners on; then I headed for the bathroom. When I came back I watched in horror as the bedroom door started to open, a line of dim light grew slowly as it was pushed from outside. Someone was creeping in. There wasn’t time to put my boiler suit on; at least I was wearing a vest and some shorts to cover my modesty.

To read more about Richard Dee and his writing, visit his website, Welcome to my Worlds

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Exploring the Devon Dialect

The Tiverton Poetry Group monthly meeting is always a surprising affair. The chameleon nature of the CreaTiv Hub, means you never know what you are actually walking into. On occasions our meeting has been held amid art exhibitions, photography and the hilarious children’s art centre time, when we ended up holding our meeting on a kiddie art table complete with beautifully vivid matching chairs.

The surrealist nature of the room reflects the surrealist nature of the group.  In what other context would a group with such disparate former lives as a postman, PhD student, life coach, author, teacher, air force corporal, and book shop owner all meet under the cover of darkness than to discuss poetry?

Last night we walked into a rainbow coloured treasure trove of vintage clothes. The atmosphere oozed with their memories of lives once lived and now discarded.

The past is indeed a foreign country and this month’s meeting delved into Devon’s poetical past with readings from John Keats, a one-time resident of Teignmouth, slightly risqué poem ‘Where Be Ye Going, You Devon Maid?’   and Rudyard Kipling, a Westward Ho! man, poem ‘The Gardener.’ We also ventured into the near past of Devon folk history with an attempted reading of Crediton born, Jan Stewer’s ‘Home! Home, Begad,’ which proved a highly challenging read.  Here is a section to attempt if you can…

Home! Home, begad. ‘Tis snawin’ an’ blawing’ an’ I be sneezin’ an’ barkin’ an’ me nawse gets nipped off if I aunly putts ‘en outside the door an’ the sky is as black as thinder an’ ev’rything in the shops is dear as zuvrins an’ they voretells ’tis gwain to be the wist winter o’ the lot.

But ’tis home an’ that’s all I cares about fer the present.

I’ve left the warm zin behine me fer a bit, zim-zo, an’ I mus’ zay I veels the cold most jewsive. If I aunly goes two enches away from the vire the ole gewse-vlesh creeps up all ovver me an’ me knees is knackin’ together an’ me teeth is chitterin’.

But ’tis home.

An’ there’s other kinds of warmness bezides the yet o’ the zin. There’s the zight o’ yer awn volks an’ the ole familiar noises which you never did’n use to take no notice of, but now they makes ‘e preck up yer yers like music.

It takes a brave man/ woman to slow your vowels and roll easy ‘z’s and try to speak like a Devonian.

After various levels of dialect success, the group moved on to their own Devon inspired poetry and AOB.

We were delighted to learn long standing member Audrey had won a Haiku Competition with an actual cash reward and people say poetry doesn’t pay!

Group poets P.J. Reed, Trina J. Stacey, and Brian Willis are performing at CredFest17 as part of the Exeter Authors Association ‘A Celebration of Books’ event on Saturday 17th June, Crediton Library from 2 – 5pm.  Everyone is welcome to this free event but spaces are limited.

For further information visit – http://exeterauthorsassociation.jigsy.com/credfest17-information

Finally, The Tiverton Poetry Group are planning their annual open poetry event at the Independent Coffee Trader, Tiverton with a tentative date of Tuesday 11 July.

More details to follow!

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Romancing the Golden Triangle

The Tiverton Poetry Group met in the lightening evening of a Tuesday night in May. Their dark figures scurrying past the gaze of the orange street lights and into the even darker recesses of the chair circles, hidden at the back of the Hub. It was as though a meeting of the Illuminati had been called, its members summoned. The night time walkers of Tiverton stood for moments and watched through the blazing windows trying to ascertain the nefarious nature of the after dark meetings at the Hub.

This month’s meeting was based on the idea of ‘Pipe Dreams,’ which led to a meeting focussed on dreams, opium, the order of the Golden Dawn, and its possible poet members. Unfortunately, no one in the Tiverton Poetry Group was also a member of Golden dawn or is that what they want us to believe?

The term 'Pipe Dreams', the subject of this month’s meeting, came directly from the fanciful dreams created when smoking opium pipes. Opiates were widely used by the English literati in the 18th and 19th centuries. Samuel Taylor Coleridge masterpiece ‘Kubla Khan’ was probably written whilst daydreaming on his opium pipe.  Lewis Carroll, although not known as an official opium user himself, made clear allusions to drug use in ‘Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.’  As the centuries passed the term has developed to encompass any dream which is unlikely to be achieved.  However, to dream you do not need a pipe and several outstanding dream based poems were read including,

A Dream Within a Dream by Edgar Allan Poe

“Who knows if the moon’s a balloon” by ee Cumings

And Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The rest of the evening was spent listening to new dream based poetry written by the members of the group and written without relying on even as much as an aspirin.

Steve Dawes read from his book Gravel and Gemstones.

P.J. Reed read from her latest collection Flicker, poetry based on the flickering images of characters, countryside, and casual thoughts of two years spent watching life in Devon including,

he dreams of monsters

stories float on empty pages

and his wife talks on


little ginger dog
smiles and snores his happy dreams
duvet occupied

nighttime once more and
lonely moon asks for a friend
my bed lies empty

The theme for next months after dark poetry meeting is poets with a relationship with Devon, which should yield some surprising poetry.

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The Exeter Authors Association Rock Costa

The EAA met in the darkened recesses of the new improved Tiverton, Costa. It was a great turnout with members traveling from across Devon including Brixham, Exeter, Tiverton, and the darkest regions of the Devon countryside. The seemingly innocent faces masked the sheer scope of writing depth that sat crouched over half drunk coffees. Their writing covers anything from erotic fantasies to psychopathic killers and everything in between.

The Books

The newest member of the group was Jeni Braund, a poet from Exeter who writes poetry based on her life experiences. 

Richard Dee has just published his latest sci-fi novel 'Myra.' 

Myra is is the story of Dave Travise,  An ex-Navy man on the run; somehow he’s ended up in a dead man’s shoes; on a new ship and on the wrong side of the law. With no way to prove his innocence, he’s just got to play along and keep his head down if he’s going to survive. As if he doesn’t have enough problems, now he’s fallen for Myra, the engineer on his new home.

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Jenny Kane has also been busy with her latest novel, 'Abi's Neighbour.' 

Abi Carter has finally found happiness. Living in her perfect tin miner’s cottage, she has good friends and a gorgeous boyfriend, Max. Life is good. But all that’s about to change when a new neighbour moves in next door. Cassandra Henley-Pinkerton represents everything Abi thought she’d escaped when she left London. Obnoxious and stuck-up, Cassandra hates living in Cornwall. Worst of all, it looks like she has her sights set on Max.

But Cassandra has problems of her own. Not only is her wealthy married lawyer putting off joining her in their Cornish love nest, but now someone seems intent on sabotaging her business. Will Cassandra mellow enough to turn to Abi for help – or are they destined never to get along?

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P.J. Reed has also published her latest book entitled 'Flicker'.

Flicker is a combination of haiku and senryu, combined and updated for the modern audience. In this collection, P.J. Reed has brought together a series of poetic postcards entwining the ever-changing nature of the Devon countryside with the lives of the people she has met in her travels throughout the county, creating a fascinating representation of humanity and nature.

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The Writing Projects

Michelle Werrett is writing her first book, a natural history book based on the life of an ancient hedgerow.

Maura Beckett is writing her first novel - a cozy detective story set in the heart of Devon, concerning an arrow, a murder, and a former head teacher turned detective.

Trina J. Stacey is utilizing her life coach skills working on a self-help book based on an unusual experience had while running through the streets of Devon.

P.J. Reed is delving the depths of the psychotic mind with her horror novel based around Thorny Ridge - the mysterious murder capital of smalltown USA. 

Future Events!

If anyone is brave enough to meet an author... the Exeter Authors Association will be performing, reading, and discussing their work at CredFest17. 

 

 

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Storytime at the British Legion

April 6th proved to be a lively evening for the Twyford Writers.

Writing had been inspired by the general prompt, ‘Weddings’. We were treated to a variety of stories connected to the theme in different ways.

Initially, we heard a comical story about a young boy in 1952. He had the honour of being chosen to be a Page Boy. Unfortunately for him, the wedding dress theme was Scottish clothes. As a five-year-old, the boy was worried about what he would wear under his kilt - luckily, his mother laid out his clothes with a nice, clean pair of underpants!

We then heard about Wayne, a professional footballer about to marry his sweetheart, Kylie. Her relations were making Wayne slightly nervous and reluctant about the day. He was hungover and had overslept after Kylie’s brothers had insisted on an impromptu stag night, from which he had woken handcuffed to his future brother-in-law. All ended up well as they all had one thing in common – they adored Kylie.

The next offering was inspired loosely by. ‘Soaking up the atmosphere’. It was a ghost story about a lady entering a church, sitting down and falling asleep. As she awoke, she heard whispers, music, and people being asked, “Bride or Groom?”. She wasn’t sure if she should be there but no-one noticed her. She saw a wedding but later wondered if it had really happened at all. When she left the Church, she asked about the couple. However, it hadn’t been a wedding that day but the funeral of an old lady.

The final three pieces deviated from the prompt. We heard the first part of a self-help book. It will be looking into how we feel and respond to different stimuli. Considering the chameleon nature of people and the different sides we show to both others and ourselves.

 

We listened to the next extract of a serial killer book about a fictional town in America called Thorny Ridge. It was the last stop on a murder tour and home of ‘The Butcher’. Tourists flocked to gawp at the town and visit places of real life horror. All the time, unaware they were being watched by the man himself. He didn’t mind his nickname but he would have preferred, “Connoisseur of Death”.

 

Finally, we heard the next installment of a mystery set in a fictional town in North Devon. Murder is about to take place but the inhabitants do not yet realize. They are going about their day-to-day lives, however; their peace is about to be shattered.

 

Twyford Writers meet on the first Thursday of the month at the British Legion in Tiverton. We are friendly group of varied individuals and all writers are welcome.


Many members of the group will be attending 'A Celebration of Books,' reading and leading workshops as part of Credfest17 on Saturday, June 17th at Crediton Library, Devon. This is a free event, open to everyone!

Free cupcakes will be provided!

See Link for details - 'A Celebration of Books'

By Maura Beckett

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Trouble in Rhyme

The Tiverton Poetry Group had an exciting meeting discussing the meaning of poetry and the highly controversial topic of does poetry have to rhyme to be true poetry? This is always a highly emotive subject. When the topic was suggested at the end of the last meeting, a hard-line rhyming poet stood up, announced that poetry has to rhyme and left… exit stage right.  

And so, the two poetry battle lines were drawn.

One of the arguments for the superiority of rhyming poetry states that it is the true form because it is the oldest form. Unfortunately, this case disintegrated under the attack of Beowulf, the oldest surviving Anglo-Saxon long poem, consisting of 3182 alliterative lines written between 975 and 1025 which has no end rhyme.  

Looking further back into the annals of ancient Greek history and reading such great works as Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey or Virgil’s Aeneid, it was soon apparent that the works contained no end rhyme but a regular meter in the form of a dactylic hexameter.  However, the ancient Greeks and Romans did know of end rhyme, for example, there were rhymes in The Wasps by Aristophanes, they just choose not to use them.

Historically, rhyming poetry was a  more populist poetry form. It was used in nursery rhymes and ballads as a form of memory aid, helping a largely literate population to recall and pass on important events, history, and lessons.

Poems containing end rhymes only gained popularity with the rise of modern poetry in the twentieth century.

Consequently, the supporters of the ‘traditional’ rhyming poetry needed to change sides quickly in the traditional poetry debate to become modern rhyming revolutionaries.

Meeting the Two Factions.

After the historical origins of the poetry types had been fully explored both types of poetry came under heavy flank -

Non- rhyming blank poetry was labelled as mere prose, not requiring much skill and of ‘killing poetry’

While rhyming poetry was ‘poetry slammed’ for being simplistic, childish with clunking rhymes that destroy the meaning behind the words.

So what was the conclusion of this epic poetry battle?

In the end, both parties agreed that there were great poems on both sides of the poetry battle lines, and also inferior ones too and what really mattered was the skill and power of the poem and not its rhyme scheme after all.

The next poetry meeting is on dreams and pipe dreams which no doubt will be a much more chilled-out meeting…

Book Releases from our members.

The poet, author, and haiku activist P.J. Reed has published exciting a new collection of senryu and haiku based on her experiences of the Devon countryside and her meetings with some unique characters along the way. This collection is beautifully illustrated with colour paintings.

An idea gift for poetry lovers everywhere!

For more details see- https://www.amazon.co.uk/Flicker-P-J-Reed-x/dp/1542562201/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492703689&sr=8-1&keywords=flicker+by+p.j.+reed

Festival News

Two members of The Tiverton Poetry Group – P.J. Reed and Trina J. Stacey will be performing their work at CredFest17 as part of ‘A Celebration of Books’ by the Exeter Authors Association.

Exeter Authors Association is holding a book celebration as part of CredFest17 on 17th June from 2-5pm at Crediton Library. This will be a highly interactive, free event to celebrate writing in Devon. There is room for only 80 visitors in the venue, so please arrive early to avoid disappointment. 

The Performances- Local authors and poets give ten-minute readings from their books/ poems.

The Workshops-  A series of workshops will be running alongside the readings. These are available for anyone to join.

Tables-  There will be 'meet and greet' the authors with tables running alongside the performances and workshops. Guests will have the opportunity to meet an author and buy books!

 For more information about ‘A Celebration of Books’ see http://exeterauthorsassociation.jigsy.com/credfest17-information

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