Well OMFG I still cannot believe it! A full week has gone by, and I am still in my excited, dream-like, euphoric state of absolute #BookGeek heaven! This time, last week, *intake of huge breath*, I was giving Buster bear a huge cuddle as I got ready to go to Leeds for THE Book Club’s Northern Meet Up. I cannot even begin to describe the way my stomach was flipping with excitement and nerves! It would be the first time I was meeting Claire Knight, who guest reviews on CrimeBookJunkie but who has also become a very close friend of mine! EEEEEEEEEEK! Would I live up to the expectations defined by my social media chat and profile? Would we get on the same way in person as we do online? Well I need not have worried as we got on like a house on fire and our online friendship has blossomed into a firm and solid friendship which I know will last a life-time! Well, this is what I am telling myself…Claire may have other views….is it still considered stalking if you force your friendship on others against their will? hmmmm…..??
I also got to see my #BBFF, the amazing Sarah Hardy of By The Letter Book Reviews and the pair of them had me in fits of laughter all day! No #Biebergate in sight (inside joke) but Sarah will now be known as #MrsJustinBieber….*gag*. And she is quite the photographer! My phone is filled with such wonderful snaps…like this….
Despite her photography skills, Sarah and Claire- well, I love those two! And I cannot forget the absolutely crazy, Angela Lockwood, who makes me laugh daily with her posts and antics on Facebook. Our friendship has grown in the last 12 months through our love of similar books and authors. She is my doppelgänger! I was also over-the-moon to finally meet Jules Mortimer! Our love of books and animals sealing our friendship. She even brought Buster bear a present/card after we both had sadly lost a “Pebbles” from our lives recently. Buster was ever so grateful! *Hugs* Jules ?
I asked Claire if she could put together a few thoughts together about the event, and here is what my ‘lil possum had to say:
“When Helen Boyce said there would be another TBC Northern meet up I was quite excited. I went to the inaugural one last July and there was 25/30 of us, we had lunch, a few drinks and a chit chat about books and TBC. It was lovely to meet the people I conversed with on Facebook all with the passion for reading!
After the growth of TBC in the past six months, I knew this one would be bigger especially with the authors who said they were coming but then my CBJ Mama Possum Noelle said she was coming! Guess how excited I got at that point! Noelle’s train got to Leeds a couple of hours before the meet up so Sarah Hardy of By The Letter Reviews and I met her at the station. Guess what? Noelle is just what I expected! I’ve got a feeling we’re going to be friends for a long time to come!!
Anyways back to the meet up. It started off with just a few of us and people gradually started appearing. But then suddenly the room Helen had booked was rammed and despite it being a chilly February day outside it was rather warm with the amount of people in there.
I met so many authors that day, some of whom I’d read their books, like Steven Dunne, David Videcette (the man in demand that day), local lovely Angie Smith and Louise Beech whose book I was reading at the time. Others I met were authors whose books I had in my kindle to read or I was friends with on Facebook but had never met like Sarah Jasmon (who brought me a vintage Agatha Christie paperback), Rita Brassington and Noelle’s besties Col Bury and Graham Smith. Within 24 hours of the event, I had four friend requests from authors I’d met there – #fangirlmoment.
The whole event was amazing but a little surreal! It’s made me rejig my reading a little; I’m bumping up books by the authors I’ve meet but not read and I’ll be downloading others before long! The authors I’ve met may not be the JK Rowling or Lee Childs of the world …YET…but they’re all fantastic writers and I hold a special part of my kindle for them!
TBC has a community feel to it on line and the Second Northern Meet Up proves it. I hope there are many more to come, though a bigger venue maybe needed! I cannot wait for Harrogate and the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival. It’s going to be a huge TBC meet up!”
Awww thanks Claire bear! Loved it! As Claire mentioned, Helen Boyce, one of the fantabulous admin of #TBConFB did an amazing job of organising this event with the authors, readers and reviewers she managed to bring together for the day! *Insert Huge Applause*
The room was buzzing with excitement as we got to mingle with the likes of Graham Smith, Col Bury, “Sir” Steven Dunne, Michael Wood, Nicky Black, David Videcette, (yes David…I included THAT pic ?) Steve Mosby, Louise Beech, Simon Page, Heide Goody, Iain Grant, Rita Brassington, Ricki Thomas, Andy Barrett, Conrad Jones (who I stupidly forgot even though I was dead excited to meet him! #MyBad) and the lovely Angie Smith! I know I have missed some people out, but I mentioned those I was lucky enough to stalk..I mean #fangirl over! I am still wondering if last week was just a dream…oh wait….I have pictures! It was real! EEEEEEEEEEEEK!
One of the highlights of my day was FINALLY getting to meet and chat with Graham Smith! *Hyperventilating at this stage* I have been a HUGE fan of Graham since reading The Major Crimes Team: Vol 1 Lines Of Enquiry and Snatched from Home. The minute he walked in the room I wanted to rush over and squeal “Oh My Friggin God I cannot believe I am meeting you” while squeezing him with all my might! Fortunately for Graham, I kept my cool…sort of…and played a “Oh Hi!” casually pretending like it really was not the biggest deal of my life…that lasted what…two minutes!!! I did go over, squeal and give him a huge hug! Sorry…but it HAD to be done! Graham and I share a similar sense of humour and he makes me laugh on a near daily basis. Graham has also been a huge support in encouraging me with my own writing (and so have other authors…which trust me, has been a huge deal!!) and for that I am eternally grateful. Now Col Bury…don’t get jealous…you know I adore you too! It is just that…well….Yes….I am going to say it….Michael J Malone is my bestie, Col Bury…you are second in line for bestie status…but Graham Smith…I have to be honest here….he is…my FAVOURITE! I mean…look how utterly happy I am in this photo! There is no denying ….I adore Mr Smith! Hell yeah, I do!!
So how do you make this CrimeBookJunkie happy? Look above…you stick her in a room of like minded bookgeeks like Joanne Robertson, Linda Hill, Anne Williams, Gail Shaw, Helen Boyce, Dave Hardy, Sandra Foy, Angela Lockwood, Jules Mortimer, Claire Knight and Sarah Hardy ~ to name but a few~surrounded by amazingly talented authors and watch as the happiness just oozes out of every single part of me!! I cannot even put into words exactly how I felt that day…how I still feel and will probably feel for a long time….but I can tell you…that the friendships built on the foundations of books will stay in my heart and memory for a lifetime! It was, in fact, the best day ever!!!!!!