On Thursday 17th March - coincidentally St Patrick's Day - I was in London to attend my publisher's annual sales conference bash, which was at the remarkable setting of Cafe de Paris in Leicester Square. It was a great night, with everyone dressed in amazing fantasy costumes for a masque ball, complete with a devil and angel on hand to usher the speakers on and off stage. I was in great company - not only from my friends and supporters from Hodder but with some great authors, including John Connolly, Gervase Phinn, Laini Taylor, Robyn Young, Ciara Geraghty, plus guest celebrity, Kirstie Allsopp.
Coming out of the venue, Leicester Square was in full party spirits, with droves of revellers dressed for the occasion in green hats and shamrocks, and all that business. Trying to flag a taxi was impossible, so I set off shanks pony style and hoofed it back to my hotel a couple miles away.
An early rise the following morning found me on a three and a half hour train journey back to Carlisle, Cumbria, followed by half and hour in the car to my house to pick up my wife, for a real quick turn around for a trip I'd booked up to my favourite getaway on the remote banks of Loch Tay in Scotland. So back in the car I went to take my dog to the kennels, then on the road for another four or five hours as I wended my way up north (with a few sight-seeing stops en route) to the log cabin I'd rented for a few days.
Talk about opposites.
Glitzy London one day, a remote hillside the next.
Here's the strange thing, though. I expected to meet authors while in London, but not on the banks of Loch Tay. As it was, on the Monday morning when preparing to head home, I bumped into writing buddy David Barber (Flash Fiction Offensive and David Barber's Fiction World) who just happened to be passing on his way to his day job. We had a good chinwag - which never is long enough to catch up on everything - before a bacon sandwich and a coffee (not to mention an insistent waitress who called me into the cafe) beckoned. It was great to see David, and in such an unlikely setting. What were the chances, eh?
Val McDermid, THE famous crime writer, told me that she was once 14,000 feet up in the Rockies only to be hailed by a passing climber...who she knew quite well. Odd, isn't it?