Sunday, 26 June 2011


Attended Alt.Fiction held at the QUAD in Derby today. The big change in the twelve months from the last one is that this year I was there as a delegate rather than an attendee. I didn't realise that being a delegate was such bloody hard work!

That's the back of my head folks,
my best side.
 I kicked off at 10 am hosting a Writing Workshop entitled 'That Killer First Page' (see a previous blog for details) and what was nice was it was well attended ... eight people which was about eight more than I expected. It seemed to go okay too, helped by the audience being smart and enthusiastic. I rambled on for the prescribed hour, answered questions as best I could and I hope gave some good advice.

Following on from this I enjoyed a coffee with Alison Drakes (lovely lady) re the book she's working on 'Ad Infinitum' and which she'd sent me the first chapter to have a look at. I hope what I said was constructive and helpful and look forward seeing her book in print.

From left to right: me, Pat Kelleher,
Colin Harvey and Guy Haley
Next up was a panel discussion entitled 'Breaking into Writing'. This was my first PD so it was fortunately that I was flanked by people who seemed to know what they were talking about (Guy Haley, Colin Harvey and Pat Kelleher). The room was packed (twenty people?) so it was standing room only and bloody hot. I'm afraid my advice differed a little from that of the other panellists but I suppose it's good that there was a variety of opinions on offer. It was transmitted as a PodCast so I'll post the link as soon as I have it.

Then it was lunch with my agent, John Jarrold, which was very enjoyable. I'm going to be pitching an idea I have for a vampire
whodunit to John which I'm excited about: it'll make a change from the Demi-Monde! I drank too much merlot, tho'.

Tony Ballentyne with two minders
Got back to the QUAD in time do a reading with Tony Ballantyne. Tony read an excellent short story about an enterprising owner of a Chinese restaurant and I read (slightly blurred by merlot, it has to be said) the intro to the Demi-Monde which seem to be well received. We'd finished inside fifteen minutes and I thought it was early shower time but the questions kept coming and we had a really enjoyable forty-five minute discussion. Excellent.

The last thing I attended was the panel discussion entitled 'The World of Publishing' but I'll talk about that at length in a separate blog.


  1. I thoroughly enjoyed your Killer First Page workshop, it was great start to the day. Thanks for your insights and humour. I even got around to buying your book...

    Nick (the pirate)

  2. Ohh I've been looking for the Demi - Monde ever since the reading (I was one of the volunteers) and came across it on amazon then found this. That was a nice surprise, I'm off to buy the book now, I loved the reading you gave too. :)