Lockdown Launches

Lockdown isn’t the best time to try and launch a new book and promote it. For most writers like me, I’m sure the launch event is a high point in their publication journey and a special time to meet with readers, thank all those who have supported them and of course, celebrate their achievement.

I love attending launches and I’ve missed the buzz of seeing a writer excited and keen to release their words into the world. But, despite lockdown, I managed to ‘attend’ two launches last week and under normal circumstances I wouldn’t have gone to either of them.

The first launch was for Scent by my writing friend Isabel Costello. We have ‘known’ each other for years on Twitter and I’ve been lucky to meet Isabel twice in real life – once when I attended the London Book Fair and once when we met up when she visited Glasgow with her son.

The connection we’d made on social media meant we chatted away like old pals. Isabel has been a great support to me on my writing journey and I’m a big fan of her writing. But I wouldn’t have been able to travel to London for the launch of Scent so it was a rare bonus of lockdown that I could log on from North Lanarkshire and feel part of the event. I also saw some other familiar faces from social media and could sense, albeit virtually, Isabel’s happiness on the publication of her second novel. I haven’t read it yet but I’m confident I’ll love it. You can read more about Scent on Isabel’s website.

The following night, I ‘attended’ another launch. This time it was for Margot’s McCuaig’s second novel – Almost Then.

Like Isabel, Margot has also kindly offered me encouragement and support with my writing for years now. Margot’s launch would, I guess, have been held in Glasgow, a city I love to visit.

But these are unique times and again I wouldn’t have been able to go to Margot’s launch, on that particular night. Why? I’d had my COVID vaccine and the Astra Zeneca wiped me out. I wasn’t worth a button and wouldn’t have had the energy to travel to Glasgow or socialise. That night I lay wiped out on my sofa bed in my jammies with the camera off (no one needed to see me looking that rough!) and yet I didn’t have to miss any of the action. You can watch the beautiful trailer for Margot’s novel which I’m sure will hook you.

For me as a writer I would still always prefer to have a real-life launch. But as a reader I think virtual launches have their place and are here to stay. The ideal now would be to always do a live stream of an event. That way I can ‘attend’ a London launch or still log on if I’m not able to make it to a local venue for whatever reason.

I also felt that Isabel and Margot’s launches felt more intimate than in a bookstore. We were invited into their homes which made it feel very personal. Interruptions like a dog barking or a fox spotted in the garden added to the atmosphere and made it a more relaxed set-up than say a chain bookstore. I also sometimes struggle to hear or see a writer at an event but there are no problems with an online platform. There was no rush to travel to a venue, get parked, find a seat etc so there are plus points.

So, literary lockdown launches have been a thing, and as much as I desperately want to get back to real life book readings and festivals, they’re a thing that’s worth keeping as we enter the ‘new normal’.

 

2014 – A Year of Inspiration

As this blog is about my writing ‘journey’, I like to mention the people and places that inspire me along the way. Of course, things as simple as a walk with the dogs can fire the imagination but I also like to feed my creativity with getting out and about to see and do new things.

This year I’ve managed to pack in a fair number of outings and events involving words and pictures which gave me experiences that may or may not inspire my writing one day but definitely made me think and learn more.

Here’s my record of the inspirational stuff I did in 2014.

 

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The Kelpies are the largest equine sculptures in the world and can be found in Falkirk.              

10 x Events

Glasgow Women’s Heritage Walk at Necropolis, Electric Glen, Kelpies Tour, Falkirk, Tour of Glasgow Central Station, Open Doors Day- Stirling Sherriff Court, Secrets of Old Stirling Tour,Wooer With Words x 2 & For Falkirk’s Sake & Home Game (spoken word events)

 

9 x Visits to NTS properties

Alloa Tower, House of Binns, Culross Palace, Malleny Gardens, Burns Museum, Weaver’s Cottage, David Livingstone Centre, Battle of Bannockburn Experience, Crarae Gardens

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The stunning work of botanical artist Fiona Strickland

7 x Talks          

John Shankie, Artist, Janice Galloway, Writer, Doug Allan, Wildlife Cameraman, Alex Frost, Artist, Fiona Strickland, Botanical Artist, Shazia Hobbs, Writer, Jackie Kay, Writer

6 x Holiday/Trips      

Millport, Campbeltown, Zermatt & Geneva, Oslo, York

6 x Days Out  

Tower of London, The Shard, Gilmerton Cove, Jupiter Artland, Barony A Frame

Wendy Hoose James Young Amy Conachan

The Wendy Hoose was an outstanding piece of Scottish theatre.

4 x Theatre Shows  

This Wide Night, The Wendy Hoose, Three Sisters, Slava’s Snow Show

4 x Literary Festivals    

Boswell, Edinburgh, Dundee, Linlithgow

3 x Book Launches

The Last Pair of Ears by Mary McDonough Clark, The Busker by Liam Murray Bell,               21 Revolutions by Glasgow Women’s Library

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Cowcaddens Streetscape in the Fifties by Alasdair Gray

2 x Exhibitions

Jack Vettriano, Alasdair Gray

2 x Research Trips

Chapelside Community Centre, Interview with Violet McGuire

1 x Workshop

Performance and Presentation with Alex Gillon

With only a couple of exceptions, these were almost all really positive experiences and I know that I’m VERY lucky to have the time and the money to do these things. I hope I stay lucky and next year I keep adding to this list and keep learning.

Have you been to see or do any of the stuff on my list? What did you make of the experience? Please ask if you’d like more info on anything I’ve featured, in the meantime, all the very best to you and yours for 2015!

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