With fireworks exploding all around us, me and my wife, Denise, made our way around Newcastle College in search of the Masonic Hall on Maple Terrace, Newcastle. We were on a scouting foray to find the location for the launch of Sheila Quigley's new book - The Road To hell - the fifth in her Lorraine Hunt series, released that day (5th November - hence the fireworks)by Tonto Books.
We were about four hours too early, but we didn't trust Google maps to send us in the right direction. Our mistrust was well-founded. We discovered the hall, having walked about 2 miles all around the back streets and alleyways of Elswick. But that was OK. We found that if we'd only walked out of our hotel, across some grass and up a steep hill we'd have made it much sooner. Still, while we were there and taking in the gothic splendour of the building, brilliant crime author Adrian Magson and his wife, Anne, turned up on a similar scouting mission. We were joined shortly after that by aspiring crime author, Col Bury, who'd had an even wider detour through the mean streets of a nearby housing estate. It was like a mini-writing convention, meeting and greeting old pals and new (in Adrian, Anne and Col's case that is who were meeting each other for the first time). Together we set off in search of sustenance and ended up in the Starbuck's opposite the main railway station, where we had a great time chewing the fat and downing Starbucks' finest. We killed time then headed off for our respective hotels to shower and prepare for the launch.
We all ended up back outside the Masonic Hall, where we found we were still too early, but that was OK, too, cause it gave us more time to chat. I really must kick myself into better shape, because I met a couple of aspiring authors who write together, who I'd met last March at Borders in Team Valley. I neglected to catch their names again - shame on me. But if you're reading this, believe me when i say it was a pleasure catching up again, and I hope it's not long until we see your books on the shelves.
Stuart Wheatman, head honcho of Tonto books was on hand, and I made his aquaintance. Great guy who was working very hard to make Sheila's launch night special.
Pretty soon, Sheila's friends and family began to show up by the car and minibus load. It was lovely meeting her family - folk right up my alley. Ken McCoy - author of the Mad Carew crime books - and his wife Val showed up and it was nice catching up again with Ken.
Sheila showed up with her usual merriment, her laughter announcing her arrival and we all entered the hall for the launch. it was a lovely cosy affair with tables, decorations and live music from a band who played the theme songs that make up the titles of Sheila's books.
Sheila's new book was launched and we took the opportunity for a signed edition.
After the do, me, Den, Adrian, Anne and Col went off in search of food and found a lovely Italian of Grainger street (Tiscani's I think it was called) and had a lovely meal. Once again the talk was about writing and the publishing industry, and I learned a heck of a lot. My friends also learned what a Jam Eater is. Opinions are still divided.
The following morning we resolved to meet again, and did so, our little bunch meeting with Sheila under Gray's monument, then heading off for another round of creative writing chat at a local coffee shop. Before we knew it three or four hours had passed and we all headed off for our respective trains home.
Great couple of days. Thank you Sheila for the invite, it was a pleasure, and the 'almost' headbutt genuinely was an accident!!!
The photos are once again kindly supplied by Adrian Magson - cause I remain useless when it comes to remembering such essentials as cameras.
For more on Sheila Quigley, click here: http://www.theseahills.co.uk/
For More on Adrian magson, click here: http://www.adrianmagson.com/
For more on Col Bury, click here: http://colburysnewcrimefiction.blogspot.com/
For more on Ken McCoy, click here: http://www.kenmccoy.co.uk/home
Photo's top to bottom:
Ken McCoy, Sheila Quigley, Matt Hilton
Sheila Quigley signing copies of her new book
Col Bury and Matt Hilton
Sheila Quigley and the orb (look closely)
Adrian Magson, Col 'red eye' Bury, Matt 'squint eye' Hilton