Sandra Lindsey/ September 13, 2015/ Conference

Time seems to be flying, but in a wonderful way.

UK Meet is still as friendly as ever, even with sometimes the drifting my quite numbers of people*

Things done? Pirate walk round the centre of Bristol on Friday evening. Very interesting, and led by the fascinating Pirate Pete. As he made sure we knew, he was only able to scratch the surface of the tales that Bristol holds, but I’m sure I wasn’t the only person getting plot bunnies…

Novel Openings read by readers – brilliant to hear thoughts on what draws you in to a book. Such variety as well!

Panel on myths, magic & mystery – we mostly talked myths. I managed to reference both Maid Marion & Her Merry Men and the Mabinogion in the same point. So many brilliant thoughts, perspectives, and knowledge from everyone in the room (not everyone there was a writer!) Key points I came away with were about knowing & using the correct archetype,and exploring myths from all around the world. Not all countries have hetero normative myths!

Definitely need to write my dragon story sometime, but thinking of a completely different slant than I’ve previously tried. Thoughts for another time there…

Utterly Authorly session, where I co-led a discussion of World building with TA Chase and Blaine D Arden. People did move around the different groups, and it was fantastic to see how with different people the discussion moved in different directions – sometimes about myths and fantasy, sometimes the intricacies of building a convincing contemporary setting, and at one point we delved into discussing the various approaches to successful sci-fi writing.

I had to skip out a bit early, as I was due to pitch my story Under Leaden Skies to Manifold Press. I’d decided to do this after attending their event Queer Company in May. As they said – and I readily agreed with, as it’s one of the things preventing me from approaching most publishers with it – this story is not a gay romance, it’s gay fiction. Anyway, long story short: they said yes!! Or at least yes to reading the full manuscript. Once I’ve added at least another 10k to it. Apparently my synopsis reads like a story three times its current length!

I had a little private squee about this news with a few people, including Charlie Cochrane, who when I saw her at Queer Company really encouraged me to pitch something this weekend.

Then there was the book fair. Amber Kell had dragons! Proper dragons with 4 legs as well as a pair of wings! And I bought a couple of books which I’ve been meaning to read for aaaaages but haven’t got round to buying as ebooks yet – Gyrfalcon by Anna Butler, and Unhinge the Universe by Aleksandr Voinov & LA Witt. So I probably won’t achieve my ambition of going home with a lighter bag than I arrive with. Especially as the goody bags contain so much amazing swag! Oh, and Liam Livings had cake, including apple & almond traybake so we (I?) talked cake & apples for a bit. It was very tasty, I may have to try it with some of my Howgate Wonder apples when they’re ready for harvest…

Came back to my hotel for a shirt rest & change, then back up to the Marriott for the evening do. Fantastic entertainment. Sing Out Bristol are amazing, and the drag act & dancing assistant were stupendous. All the entertainers were fantastic and really made it more than worth the ticket price. Me & Elin Gregory did manage to surprise the Butlers In The Buff by not wanting photos with them, I’m sure we weren’t the only ones who said “Thanks, but no,” and we had a little chat with the butler about “you don’t have to go over the Severn Bridge to get to Wales”, lol.

We also worked out the love story between the portraits on the wall, and Elin educated us about the Greek goddesses whose statues stood in the corners of the room.

As expected, a fab time so far. Ought to start getting dressed so I can go back for more fun today :-)

*yes, I know, it’s not really that many. There were more people in my year at high school, for goodness’ sake! It just seems huge at times when you go into the big room…

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