So what is Love a Happy Ending exactly? An online community, a marketing venture, an author network? Even when I had bought my ticket for the Summer Audience (just up the road in picturesque Tetbury and £25 a ticket with lunch – I mean, what’s not to like?) I’m not sure I could have told you. Having spent a day in their very convivial company, it’s still hard to put into words except to say it’s all of the above but with an energy that makes it more than the sum of its parts.
Here’s the deal. Members fall into two main groups – authors (by invitation only and restricted to around 30) and associate readers (currently 15) who support authors by posting reviews on their established book blogs (look out, some members are in both groups!) From among these there are a handful of hard-working editors who keep the lahe website fresh and interesting by posting regular columns on writing and publishing topics. There may be more I haven’t discovered yet, but bearing in mind that some of these members are professional publishers, editors, artists (and artistes) as well as writers, we are talking strength in depth. Maybe it’s a business model for the brave new world of pubishing. If so, it’s working well; several of the featured authors have recently won publishing deals.
I was originally cautious about how/if I would fit in (if given the option!) because of an initial impression that this was for chick lit and genre romance writers rather than mainstream (?) types like me. But today brought ample proof that the group is widening its appeal with an ever bigger variety of writers ( ahem, there are even men!) And today, dear readers – this is the TADA bit – I was delighted to find I’ve been selected to join their ranks, i.e. I have a bunch of new friends and a host of new opportunities all in one go. Result!
In fact today’s speakers, workshops and readings sparked off so many thoughts (you know how it is when the solitary writer gets out) that I now have ideas for a shedload of blog posts and other activities. But something else occurred to me, possibly not before time. I stood in that hall yesterday by dint of being a writer, and writing is what I should be doing. So although you’ll still be seeing me here, there and everywhere, I shall also be knuckling down to a bit of serious keyboard-bashing of the solitary kind.
Meanwhile, it’s time to raise a glass to the good people of lahe, with an extra glug in honour of Tricia Jones whose excerpt from Bull at the Gate (unashamedly raunchy romance) won the best book comp and also to the two other writers admitted to ‘the fellowship’ on the day (aagh, in my excitement I missed the names). I do hope I’ll get to know everyone better soon.