Bees, Honey and Beer

Authors, Book launch, Books, Events By May 26, 2010 8 Comments

Do you ever find yourself drawn to something – a person or an object or an event – like, oh I don’t know, say, a bee to honey?

It happens to me a lot.

After having recently read Wasted by Nicola Morgan, I no longer know if this is my own gut instinct or some other higher power moving me around the chess board of life, but I’m happy for it to continue – irrespective of what’s driving it. It usually works out well.

Take yesterday, for example.

I ventured into London for the second time in four days to go to Caroline Smailes’ book launch. We met (twet?) through Twitter, I’ve not yet read any of her previous books (In Search of Adam or Black Boxes) and am only halfway through the latest and the object of the launch, Like Bees to Honey.

So why did I go when I get so nervous about meeting new people and going somewhere new on my own? Well, Caroline invited me, and it would have been rude not to accept such a lovely invite. Plus, I’ve been following Caroline on Twitter for a little while now and she is fun and entertaining and lovely, so I figured her book launch would be all those things as well. (It was.) Then there was the added draw that there was probably going to be a reading. I love listening to writers read their own work because when I read it later myself, I can hear their voice and its rhythms and it increases my enjoyment, and sometimes understanding, of their work. Of course, this only applies if the writer in question is any good at reading their work. Somehow, I knew Caroline would be. (She was.) I knew from conversations on Twitter that @beecee, who I met at the LBF Masterclasses, and other Twitter pals (@GKateB and @MarshaWrites aka @TalliRoland, who has blogged the event here) would be there and I could meet them in real life for the first time. Plus there would be others there, who I either followed or had heard mention of in other’s tweets. This included the Twitter deity (!) that is @benjohncock. And I could always take @Squizzey along for moral support. All of which combined to take me all the way from south Wales on a school night to Wood Green in north London.

I’d spent a good part of the afternoon wandering around London and, when I got kicked out of the coffee shop down the road at half six, I decided that I’d done enough walking for one day. So, I was the first one to arrive, which meant I happily skipped the awful having-to-walk-into-a-crowded-room-on-your-own moment. Yay! I tried to make myself useful and not clutter up the shop by helping to unpack the Cisk (Maltese beer flown in specially for the launch) and ice and then others started arriving, the first of these being the lovely @petronella who had also walked a lot of London that day and, like me, had reached saturation point. She’s added a book to my TBR pile so I am reassessing just how lovely I think she is. (Only joking, Kate, if you’re reading this!)

Very soon, the Big Green Bookshop was full and buzzing (happily with animated chatter, rather than with the sound of bees) and the wine and Cisk were flowing. I had a lot of great conversations, some of them all too fleeting, with @MarshaWrites (a freshly-minted Brit from a ceremony earlier that same day) and her lovely husband; @benjohncock, who proudly told me about his two-week old daughter, rather than his iPAD, when I asked how his new baby was; @beecee and @ninadouglas. I also met some fantastic new people like Carol Burns, who blogs as Not Only in Thailand and author @sueeves, as well as the delightful tweeps and writers @cathy_w and @liz_fenwick. We’ve all only recently started following each other, so it was brilliant to meet up now.

Sadly, it was time for me to start the long-ish trek home all too soon. Happily, the combination of a warm, fuzzy feeling from a terrific evening spent in the company of interesting people and the power of Cisk meant that I slept most of the way home and, as a result, it didn’t seem so far to go. In fact, I don’t think it was. At some point in the evening, I was reliably informed that someone had flown over from Ireland for a previous book launch, so going from south Wales to London is nothing, especially when the event was such good fun! What’s the farthest you’ve ever travelled to get to something?

All pictures are © Liz Fenwick and I really hope she doesn’t mind me pinching them from her blog, Just Keep Writing and Other Thoughts, to use on this one.  🙂

You can find out more about Caroline Smailes and her books on her Website. The Big Green Bookshop is a wonderful find and has everything a good independent bookstore should have: interested and interesting staff; good range of titles in stock; and a great space in which to browse. You can find out more about them, read their blog and browse their online catalogue here: Big Green Bookshop.



  1. liz says:

    It was a wonderful evening and brilliant to meet you and so many other tweeps. Happy to share the photos and thanks for giving me credit 🙂


  2. Caroline says:

    And I can’t thank you enough for coming all the way! The event was such a celebration AND you helped calm me by sorting things out before people arrived x

  3. Marsha says:

    It was GREAT, wasn’t it? So nice to finally meet you, too – and lovely to chat and catch up in real-time! We must do it again soon – when you’re next in London, please let me know!

    (And I’m envious that you skipped the walking-in-the-crowded-room moment!)

  4. kath says:

    Thanks Liz, Caroline and Marsha! It was lovely to meet you all finally and great to get a chance to chat in more than 140 characters. What a relief!

    Marsha – will definitely let you know when I’m in London next, and don’t think of coming to Wales again, especially if it’s Hay you’re going to, without letting me know.

  5. Kate says:

    I’m sorry for adding to your TBR pile 🙁

    But it was very lovely to meet you and I agree that it was a very good plan of ours (hehehe) to arrive before the rush! 🙂

    I will be (I will, I will) blogging about it all in the next few days, I promise! (next day off is Monday though…)

    1. kath says:

      Not a problem at all that you added to my TBR pile. Any woman with Arthur Ransome on her bookshelf obviously knows her books, so it’ll be a great recommendation. 🙂

      It was definitely good to beat the rush. That was a sound plan. Look forward to reading your post when you get chance. I’m glad I’m not alone in not always (ever) keeping up with the pace of blog posts.

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