Made it back safely from the Festival of Romance in Bedford, where I thrust my beyond-awesome rack cards for The Dust of Ancients upon various persons, met some lovely writers and readers, and ate far too much bacon. Hooray.
Friday night's reading went okay, I think. I was absolutely boiling in my costume, and it was a huge relief to climb out of it and cool down with several glasses of wine. What do you mean, water's better? Don't be silly.
Saturday morning saw us setting up the tables at the Romance Fair (book fair, really) and I did sell a couple of books, but since the prize of my game - which a lot of people played - was a paperback copy, it was fairly obvious people were waiting to see if they'd won! I didn't mind at all, I have just 4 books left now, to distribute down here for reviews, and loads of people took my flyers and rack cards, and The Dust of Ancients got a lot of interest. Cocktails on the way back to the hotel (which was fantastic, incidentally, and the main culprit of my bacon-mainlining weekend) finished that part of the day nicely.
Then it was the awards dinner. I didn't win the category, but looking at the list of those I was up against, I knew right away I didn't have a hope, which made it easier. These were literary giants, in relation to li'l ol' debut novelist me. I was convinced enough that, when they began reading out the names (and although I got a lovely big cheer, thanks to all who contributed to that!) I didn't even feel that queasy sensation when hope gets a good grip of your insides and starts to tangle them up like an over-excited slinky. It wasn't going to happen, and so I was able to relax and enjoy the awards without having the worry in the back of my mind that I might trip and fall on my arse on my way to the front of the room.
My biggest and most genuine congratulations to those who did win, and especially to Christine King, who won the Piatkus Entice prize that Maid of Oaklands Manor won last year. She seems a lovely lady, and her fella's very funny and didn't seem at all fazed at being thrown into a room filled with sparkly dresses and mad shoes.
Moving swiftly onward to the following morning (Sunday) we discover the reason for the title of this entry. It wasn't snowing, so we can forget that. There were no patrols, that I'm aware of, on the premises. So I think we must take it at its most literal. Yes, there was actually a moment when I was running through the streets of Bedford chasing a rapidly disappearing car.
Backing up slightly then: I'd arranged to hand over the MS of my new novel (Lady of No Man's Land) to Caroline Kirkpatrick, the editor representing Piatkus Entice at the conference. I'd printed out chapters 1-4, detailed synopsis and basic synopsis, etc, and put it all into a nice little black folder, then promptly left it on the back seat of the car taking me to the Corn Exchange.
As the car drove away I realised what I'd done, and yelled, waved, and, when it didn't stop, ran after it. As I watched it zip around a corner and out of sight, a bus came up behind me, and the driver saw I was tearing my hair out, gave chase, and eventually flagged the car down. Driving back past me a few minutes after my wonderful friend (and travel-blogger) ScarletJones had brought my folder back to me, the driver beeped and waved, and I nearly fell over trying to convey my relief. The wedding is in two weeks. (I'm kidding, don't send cards.)
The conference was amazing. I was able to put in place a contingency plan in case Piatkus decide not to go with my series - at least it'll be someone else to query with it, as apparently it won't matter in the slightest that the series began with one publisher but might have to move to another. Thanks to Kate Allen (Kate Nash) for organising the event, and I highly recommend a visit next year if you're in the area. There's a pub that does awesome cocktails. Did I mention that?
So that was it, then, my first foray into the world of literary conferences/festivals. I'm absolutely shattered, but I loved it. All I have to do now is wait to see if someone will buy my series, as a series. Oh, and write the next one. Yeah, I knew there was something I was supposed to be doing ....
As always, thanks for reading, and if you hate Captchas, please feel free to comment on the Facebook Post instead :)