This post is a week early, but as I am going on holiday next week, and I am really rubbish at scheduling posts, here goes.
UTOPIA and TRIBE: A POWERHOUSE OF AWESOMENESS.
So the effects of Utopia have calmed a little. Fellow Utopians are busying away with their WIPS and other cons, and all the other craziness of life that is the life of an author. However, what has happened out of that great explosion of socialisation is the cementing of some extraordinary friendships.
I have found a tribe, a sisterhood, and we speak most days and at least a couple of times a week via Facebook messaging, and we're getting brave enough to even attempt a proper video call - I know, crazy social cats that we are.
This is what ultimately Utopia has given me - the feeling that I am not alone, and for someone who doesn't really mind going it alone, or at least that's what I have convinced myself over the years, the effect of friendship, understanding and shard vision has been quite transformatory. (Yep, making words up again)
BUILDING CHAPTER.CON: THE POWER OF THE TRIBE
It's this sense of tribe that has allowed me to embrace my fears and charge forward with Chapter.Con in a way that has made some crazy dream a few months ago into a serious reality. When I look at website, how full and rich the con promises to be, I am excited -- and I am proud of what I have built. However, it would not have been built without the love, belief, encouragement and spirit of my tribe.
My Tribe is AWESOME! Get used to that phrase because I am going to be using it a lot over the coming year. It was there willingness to reach out a hand and step up that has allowed Chapter.Con to take flight. They have promised to fly half way around the world to stand by my side, to share their knowledge, expertise, creativity and love with a UK book community.
And because of their faith and their willingness to tread this journey by my side, others have joined us. Seriously, you should check out the panel for Chapter.Con - it's mind blowing. And because of the panel, I have managed to entice a truly amazing Key Note speaker, who I can't wait to share with you at a later stage.
There's a Utopian core statement, 'Lift as You Climb' and I can not tell you how engraved this is in my heart. Creating Chapter.Con has been a real chance to payback to some people in the book world who have been there from the early days of my writing career. For example, I am so honoured to have Megan Mc Dade (From Reading Away The Days) to be our Official Chapter.Con Blog Co-ordinator and I know we are both extremely grateful to Jo Michaels who is acting as a Mentor and Guide (as well as one of my soul-sisters). Having Megan on board has allowed me to hand all of that side over to her and for a great blog team to be created. Utopia taught me to do that - to trust, to collaborate, to hand over to others. Something I've never really been very good at.
Then I get a reach out from the lovely Dena Ellis Oneal - a chance meeting at Utopia caused a spark of creativity. She wanted to know about Readers, and whether there was a special place for them at Chapter.Con - hell yeah! Without readers there are no authors (well not ones that eat) so between us we created the Chapter.Con Book Club, 'Reading My Way to Chapter.Con'. This is a brilliant idea on so many levels. You can find out more about it at the official website Book Club page (linked) or by visiting the Unofficial Facebook Page (linked)
Oh, yeah, about that! So because Megan and the blogging team, and Dena are amazing, they are establishing the joint fansite and book club group page for Chapter.Con so that the community can really start building.
So that's Chapter.Con and I guess you can tell from how much of the post it has taken up just how much life time it has taken up too.
However, other great things have been happening too. I have embarked on a currently secret project with two of the most phenomenally inspiring women I have ever met. It's a really exciting project and one which I am going to take immense pride and pleasure in sharing with you in a few months time when details have been secured. All I can really say is I AM EXCITED and INSPIRED!
Book Three of The Meadowsweet Chronicles is half written; progress has been a little slower than hoped, but I'm still perfectly on schedule according to the XCEL spreadsheet. I love spending time with my WIP - at the moment, with everything else going on, it's a perfect escape. Because it is Book Three, the characters pretty much write themselves; they are living real people who live and love and battle inside my head.
Planning out the next three books in the series has given me the confidence to just sit down and write without worrying - as a result, when I do get an hour or two, the word count jumps up. it is a direct result of listening to the UTOPIA panel on series, and the advice of Rachel Higginson and Bella Roccaforte that inspired me to take that goat by the throat and plot it all out. See, panels aren't just about ideas, they are about action.
However, due to the explosion that has been Chapter.Con, my plans to serialise 'Beautiful Freaks' are a little delayed (only by a week or so, but with my spreadsheet, that could be a problem.) I have a rescue plan in mind though.