…we're keeping our name but expanding our offerings!
This is my second year attending the UK Meet. Last year’s was my first con experience, actually, and I had such a wonderful time, I knew I had to come back no matter what.
This year’s con was in Bristol and it’s a really lovely town. I flew in to Heathrow, grabbed a bus to Bristol and was ready to go. Too bad I mistakenly thought the meetup started Friday morning. So, when I realized I was the only one here on Thursday, um, I decided to do some sightseeing. :) It’s quite gorgeous here! This cathedral was right next door to our hotel…
Before I jump in to the roundup, I want to give a BIG shout-out and thanks to the organizers Charlie Cochrane, Liam Livings, Clare London, JL Merrow, and Josephine Myles. I’ve been a self-admitted “con whore” this year, going to as many as I can get to (RainbowCon, RT, UK Meet, GRL…) and each is very different from the other.
I think what the UK Meet manages to do is really generate an environment of comfort and inclusiveness. Introverts and extroverts, authors and readers, Brits and non-Brits alike all gather and pretty much all differences are left at the door. For meals, for coffee breaks, for panels, for events, everyone does it all together. And there’s something really cool about that “shared experience”. You can’t go through the whole con and miss meeting someone. It’s almost impossible really. And I love that. Plus, it’s just FUN but in a way that everyone, again, feels included in that good time. A big celebration! I left with a smile on my face and lots of new contacts/friends in the genre!
Ok, on to the roundup…
Friday people started arriving in the afternoon and for hours we all just hung out at the hotel bar, drank coffee, drank ciders, drank wine, drank pink champagne (and that’s all just ME! :) ) and caught up with old friends and met new ones. I put together some gift packs for some of the blog’s favorite authors and friends of the blog….
And before heading out to dinner caught up with these two… (yes, Aleksandr Voinov & LA Witt…)
Passed up on the Friday night activities (though I heard they were quite impressive…I think cabaret performers, a unicycle daredevil and a pole dancer might have been involved!) to have a yummy Italian dinner with Anna Martin, MJ O’Shea, Daniel Kaine, Poppy Dennison, and KJ Charles! Later came back and talked the night away with two of my favorite authors and people, KJ Charles and Joanna Chambers.
Saturday started the actual content portion of the meetup and it was a PACKED schedule. We all got to hear “Novel Openings”…the first 150 words of selected authors’ novels. It was a great experience and discussion. It was also a fun introduction to Tab Kimpton, an artist and writer of LGBT graphic novels!
I had the GREAT privilege to be on a Marketing panel with KJ Charles and Monique from Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews. They both were amazing and had great insight. The feedback about the content was really really positive and I’m hoping everyone got some helpful tips!
A few more panels, a really fun “buffet of banter” session (round tables all in a room each assigned a different topic and you can go and just sit and discuss!) a keynote address by Belinda McBride, and even a hands-on demonstration of some BDSM elements by some of the authors in the lifestyle!
The afternoon ended with the book signing event. I love how they set it up on round tables with a couple authors at each. You could sit and chat, have your book signed, and it was really casual and interactive!
Me & Rachel from Totally Booked Blog at Garrett Leigh’s signing.
A prized new possession! David & Murdo…GAH!!!!!
…and then LOOK WHO I FOUND!!!! Yup, my beloved Jordan Castillo Price hanging out with the adorable Clare London!
Saturday night’s entertainment was the Gala Dinner. It was a great meal with some amazing company! And the showstoppers? Eddie the fantastic drag singer (this was lots of fun! Singing along…), the Songbirds Choir Cardiff (lovely), and some “butlers” showed up to help distribute the raffle prizes!
Eddie…how gorgeous is he? Hysterical and charming too!!! :)
The party continued on to the bar where I got to have some fun chatting with Garrett Leigh, Jay Northcote, Annabelle Jacobs, Joanna Chambers, and so many others!
(L-R) JL Merrow, Josephine Myles, Mark from Sinfully Sexy blog, Jay Northcote
Sunday’s program had some really FANTASTIC panels! Great ones for writers and readers alike! I particularly really enjoyed the YA panel with Matthew J. Metzger, author of “Vivaldi in the Dark”. The contracts panel with Clare London, KJ Charles, and Jo Myles was also really informative and entertaining (wow…authors have got so much to consider besides, ya know, just writing their books!). The conference ended with a keynote by Aleksandr Voinov and wrapped up with lots of hugs and see-ya-next-year’s.
Some more photos…
(L-R) Me with Anyta Sunday; KA (Kat & Agnes) Merikan; duckfacing with Clare London; GR readers Hanne, me, Mandy, Anke; Charlie Cochran the charming MC; KJ Charles and Harper Fox; the only picture Garrett Leigh would allow me to take; AWESOME goodies in the swag bag…
There were SO many more people I’d like to mention but not enough space. So here’s the list of attendees this year, and I just have to say that it was GREAT to be here and meet you all! My TBR list has grown like crazy!!!!