My first International Writers’ Conference ~ #ScotsWrite17

#ScotsWrite17Wow! #ScotsWrite17 What a great adventure. Jet-lag aside, I’m still processing the entire weekend experience.

It was great to meet up with fellow author friends that I know virtually and in person – even better to meet up with others that I’ve only known online.

Back in May, hubby and I arranged to meet up with our friend, Chris Longmuir, whom we’ve known for quite some time (in person as well as virtual) and Wendy Jones, who until our arranged day trip to Aberdeen, I only knew as as a cyber-space entity. It was on this day on the train returning to our respective lodgings the plans were put in motion for us to attend the conference.

Friday night kicked off with a fantastic meal followed by keynote speaker, Joanne Harris, author of the award-winning novel Chocolat, which was turned into a movie by the same name.

Saturday morning, after a full Scottish breakfast (including haggis – yay!), we got down to it.

After a welcome from the Society of Authors in Scotland chair, Linda Strachan, historical author, Jane Johnson started the day with her talk about her life in books. It wasn’t until a break later that I realized who she was … well sort of. Turns out I have her book, The Sultan’s Wife, and I remember a thing on Facebook asking you to select the cover you liked best.

Breakouts (or as we call them workshops) began. Hubby came with me and since some of the workshops I wanted conflicted, he went in my place. Like translation and planning for the unexpected.

Prior to our lunch break, Charlie Higson gave a presentation on diversification.

After lunch, hubby and I both attended Caro Ramsay‘s ergonomic workspace breakout (I love her sense of humour) followed by one I really, REALLY, REALLY wanted to attend… Joanna Penn‘s Book Marketing Masterclass. I came away from this one with loads of ideas for marketing my books, including reviving my podcasts. Biggest decision there, do I put the podcasts on the website or my blog?

Joanna Penn signing a book

A debate on what to expect from one another from the perspective of a novelist, agent and editor provided some interesting points that quite possibly many of us never thought of.

A gin tasting and drinks reception followed in the lead up to the dinner and ceilidh.

And for those doubting Thomases who claim I never wear a skirt (always trousers), here’s proof that I do.

Complete with my red leather jacket and matching shoes that I wore at my book launch in Kansas.

Saturday night’s meal

Since coming to this conference all came about as a result of an earlier trip to Scotland and spending the day with Chris and Wendy, I thought I would post a picture of us from then.

Here we are on our wander around Footdee village in our casual attire, suitable for such a day. I mean you can’t wear your glad rags when you’re looking for body dump locations. You need to be comfortable in case you have to high-tail it out of the place, lest you’re really pegged as a murderer *egads*.

Chris, Melanie and Wendy – aka the three muskateers

And wanting to recreate our “three muskateers” photo from earlier in the year, we had another one taken between the meal and the ceilidh on the Saturday night.

and the three of us again in our glad rags

Not quite from the same angle, but the three of us scrub up well, don’t you think?

The Martainn Skene Highland Dance Band

Our ceilidh band. First dance of the night was the ‘Gay Gordon’s’.

Don and Wendy dancing the Gay Gordons

Before the night was over, we danced The Dashing White Sergeant, Strip the Willow, Virginia Reel, and more…

The very last dance (and we stayed right to the end), was a waltz.

The only two couples on the dance floor

On the Sunday morning, Joanna Penn talked about how to make a living from your writing. I wish I had a fraction of her energy. Wow!

We attended the two breakouts on Scrivener software for writers. I can see me getting this in the not-so-distant future.

All too soon, the weekend conference came to an end and we found ourselves on the train back to Paisley Gilmour Street station and the bus to the airport, and our room at the Holiday Inn.

The original plan was to only take one of our large suitcases. We brought both because we needed casual and dress clothes and knew we would be bringing stuff back with us. Good thing we did because when all was said and done, we had 44 pounds in each bag.

I’m looking forward to putting the things I learned at the conference into practice and can’t wait until the next one comes around.