In this electronic world we all have hundreds, if not thousands of friends. There are our Facebook friends, our Twitter followers, our Blog followers, and all the other virtual friends we meet and communicate with on the various groups we belong to.
So how do we turn these virtual friends into real friends? People who are flesh and blood, people we can hug, people we can talk to with our vocal chords rather than our fingers. Well, I recently found out when I attended A Summer Audience as part of the Love a Happy ending online group.
For those of you who don’t know, Love a Happy Ending http://loveahappyending.com/ was set up in 2011 as an online, interactive group of authors, editors and readers, and was a strictly invitation only group for the authors involved. There was only space for thirty authors and when my invitation to join came I was a bit bemused. ‘You do realise the kind of novels I write?’ was my first question, because I had never associated happy endings with my writing which is generally of the dark crime variety. Back came the answer, ‘Well, I’m sure your books are grittier than most but I presume all your books end in a good way even if they don’t start off like that.’ Apart from that, Love a Happy Ending was looking for a good mix of genres. So, still a little bemused, I joined.
Since then I’ve done my share of commenting, tweeting, sharing on Facebook, and all the other things you do when you belong to an online group. Oh, and I had a new set of virtual friends. Love a Happy Ending built its platform and became increasingly visible in the hectic world of the internet.
The idea of a readers/writers event took shape earlier this year, and gradually it became a reality. The venue was chosen, Sir William Romney’s school in Tetbury, Gloucestershire. The name was chosen, ‘Summer Audience’, and we all commenced battle to publicise it. We facebooked, blogged and tweeted like mad, in fact there was so much activity I did start to have a concern it was turning into spam.
The programme was also taking shape, speakers and workshops were arranged and it was looking good. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I was approached to be a speaker. My initial reaction was that Tetbury is an awfully long way from north-east
Love a Happy ending authors, editors and readers
Okay, so maybe I set out with promotion firmly at the front of my mind, there was another much more important benefit. I met many of my virtual friends, so many I can’t name them all, but I can still feel the hugs. They were very, very real, and wonderful.
Linn Halton, author and organiser extraordinary
First of all I have to mention Linn Halton who opened her heart and her home to us and who did so much to ensure the event was a success. I take my hat off to her.
Chris Longmuir and Janice Horton
Janice Horton was the first speaker of the day with her talk ‘From Zero to Hero’. She’s done a blog post ‘The Summer Audience Event’ if you want to have a look http://janicehortonwriter.blogspot.co.uk/ she’s included loads of photos which is nice.
Chris Longmuir and Stephanie Keyes
Stephanie Keyes http://www.stephaniekeyes.com/ put me to shame she travelled from the
to come to the event, and here was I moaning about the north-east of !
She was a marvellous company, knowledgeable, communicative and with a great
sense of humour. Scotland
Harvey Black and his friend Jeremy
Then there was
who brought his friend Jeremy along. None of us will forget Jeremy in a hurry! Harvey
Mandy Baggot singing her heart out
Oh, and I can’t forget
Lou Graham and Jess who did a lot of the work on the day
Oops, I forgot to mention one very important person, Lou Graham and her beautiful daughter, Jess. They were the foot soldiers, always there to do the necessary practical things, there to look after us all, and they did a superb job. This was all the more impressive because there was no payoff for them. Lou is one of Love a Happy Ending’s associate readers, so she had no books to sell, no author platform to build, no gains to be made from all the hard work she put in. I salute you, Lou, you did a great job.
So why don’t you pop over to http://loveahappyending.com/ there’s loads of feedback from the Summer Audience Event and loads of great photos. Oh, and if you want a cut down taster of my morning talk it’s at http://loveahappyending.com/what-do-psychopaths-and-mystery-writers-have-in-common/
Chris Longmuir in full flow
I’m off now to see what all my real friends are saying in the virtual world.