Friday, 29 January 2016

My Eventful January

One of the perks of book blogging, is being invited to various events, where you can meet and talk to authors that you admire, and also to meet up with your blogging friends, who you may otherwise only talk to online.

Since around September I have been lucky enough to get invites to occasional book launches and parties, all of which I have enjoyed... but if my January is any indicator of the year ahead, then 2016 is going to be an absolutely brilliant year.

I don't generally blog about the events, mainly as I don't want to spend the evening either making notes, or trying to remember everything to tell you all about, I just want to enjoy every last minute. Most of the time I don't even remember to take my own camera, or take my own photos, as I'm so caught up talking.  (On that note, the pictures I'm about to display, I really hope those lovely people that took them, of me, don't mind their usage on here).

Date: Friday 8th January 2016
Location: Avon HQ, London
Event: Afternoon Tea with Claudia Carroll

With Claudia Carroll
I was on holiday when I was invited to an exclusive afternoon tea with Claudia Carroll. I have been reading Claudia's books for many years now, so the second I had a stable enough wifi connection, I had replied saying I would be delighted to attend. What I didn't expect was when they said exclusive, it was myself, Laura (from Laura's Little Book Blog) and Heidi (Cosmochicklitan), and a large amount of the Avon team, a lot of whom I have talked to online before.

Claudia Carroll (centre), Heidi (right) and Me
They put on the most magnificent afternoon tea for us, complete with sandwiches, mini chocolate eclairs, scones (with clotted cream and jan), mini tarts etc... In fact there was far more food than we were ever going to eat.

I was sitting next to Claudia, who is incredibly down to earth, and a pleasure to talk to, and was hearing all about her holiday to Mexico over Christmas, and just had an amazing afternoon. Even left with a lovely signed copy of Meet Me in Manhattan, which I had reviewed over Christmas, and will treasure.

Date: Saturday 23rd January 2016
Location: Bacchus Bar, Birmingham
Event: Blogger / Author Meet Up

C.L Taylor (Left), Mel Sharrat (centre), Christie Barlow (right)
& Me (front centre as I'm short)
This was the second blogger/author meetup that I had attended, both in Birmingham and organised by Kim Nash. If you are an author or blogger you are more than welcome to attend these events, that Kim appears to be organising regularly, and they are a fabulous way to meet and chat with large amounts of people that clearly all have at least one love in common..of books.

Having enjoyed the one in November, I wasn't too nervous at walking into the bar myself, instantly found those that were there already, and within perhaps 30 mins the area was packed, with more people than I was ever going to have a chance to talk to.
Aimee Horton and me!

There were many people that I spent a length of time talking to either, that I had met previously or for the first time. Amongst the authors were Christie Barlow (I promise I will read your new book very soon),C.L. Taylor (author of The Lie), Sheryl Browne (who has appeared on the blog quite a few times in recent weeks), Linn B Halton (she's an angel, and gifted me a copy of Falling Angels Among Us - so thank you). Aimee Horton (easily one of the most lovely people I have ever met), Sue Moorcroft (I've been a long time admirer of her books), Phillipa Ashley (I really need to read some of Phillipa's books especially after meeting her), Alison May (fab Choc Lit author), Elaine Spires (who has written a fabulous trilogy about Singles on holidays) and Holly Martin (who its always a pleasure to meet).

With Shell Baker
I also had the great pleasure to met up with some of my blogging friends, including Noelle, Sharon, Linda Hill, Bookaholic Holly, Shell Baker.

There was food, and drink, and lots of fun and laughter and an amazing afternoon of fun was had by all. Just remind me next time not to book a train back home full of drunken noisy football fans and police presence!

Date: Thursday 28th January 2016
Location: Headline Offices
Event: Jill Mansell Launch Party

I met Jill Mansell!
The second I saw on twitter that other bloggers were mentioning that there was a Jill Mansell launch party, and to attend all you needed to do was purchase a ticket, I knew I would be going (and thankfully I was free).

I have been reading Jill Mansell's books from the second I graduated from reading mass Mills & Boon books, to full thickness, grown up books, and have read all of her books. I don't think there is a Jill Mansell book that I haven't loved, so knew I was going to be a bit on the over awed side at being in a room with one of my favourite all time authors.

What I didn't realise until I was there, was that Jill wasn't going to be the only author I was going to go all fan girly on last night.
View of London, from the huge roof top terrace

But before the main mingling, there was an entertaining interview, between Claire Frost, and Jill. From the interview we hear about Jill's love of writing her novels in long hand, for her daughter, Lydia, to type up, even for one book, Jill was taking photos on the ipad of her words, to email her daughter who was living in France for the year. Now that is either dedication, sheer genius or madness! We also hear about Jill's love of ebay, stationery and that she really doesn't like the being asked what her book is about!

I met Jenny Colgan!
After the interview, we were then invited to stay for the more party bit of the evening, so after queueing for a while to get my nice shiny new hardcover of You and Me, Always signed, I joined a huddle of bloggers that I knew. Just from listening to them, I started to realise just what a good party this was going to be, as they were recognising a lot of the other guests.

Of the authors I was aware of being there that I didn't get a chance to talk to, either through shyness, or not having a clue until later of their presence, were Jojo Moyes, Chrissie Manby, Holly Hepburn, Brigid Coady, Miranda Dickinson and Lucy Robinson. 

I met Katie Fforde
However, once I got over some nerves, and I did meet some other absolutely amazing authors, including Carole Matthews, Jenny Colgan, Rowan Coleman, Julie Cohen, Jo Thomas, Liz Fenwick (who introduced me to Jenny), Janet Gover (who introduced me to Jo Thomas), Katie Fforde, Fanny Blake, Jane Wenham Jones, Bella Osbourne, Sue Moorcroft, Phillipa Ashley and Alison May.

Jane Wenham-Jones (Left),
Jo Thomas (Right)
The last few of those had of course also been at Birmingham just
days before. If anyone had told me that I would meet Jill Mansell, Carole Matthews, Jenny Colgan and Katie Fforde all at one event, with them all being easily classed amongst my favourite all time authors, I would not have believed them.

Bloggers with Carole Matthews
It was also great to again meet up with a large amount of bloggers that had made the effort to come along, including Laura, Sharon, Paris , Sophie, Julie Williams, Julie Boon, Karen Cocking, Anne Williams and Gingercat.

What amazed me was how many of these fabulous women had given up their time to celebrate with Jill, and just how happy they were to talk with fans, even though it wasn't their own event.

All I can say is about 24 hours later I am still buzzing from the most amazing book launch party ever. Thank you so much to the whole of the Headline team, for putting on a such a wonderful event, and if this is the start of 2016, 

Bring on the rest of the year!


  1. It was so lovely to meet you at last Rachel x

  2. :-) I hope that the rest of 2016 is just as fab for you, Rachel! It was great to share two of the above events with you. x

    1. Was fantastic to meet you at long last Sue. I hope it is too.

  3. You've had a great January. The book launch looks like such a good evening.

  4. Very eventful! Glad to meet you at the Birmingham bash!


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