Last week I was invited to two separate writing events, both of which looked fantastic. Annoyingly, I didn’t manage to get to either of them.
The first was the latest in the series of Noir at the Bar: North East, held every few months at the Town Wall bar in Newcastle. I’ve been to one there (and another in Carlisle) and it was excellent – high quality readings, great fun, a really good night out. I’d have loved to go along again, not necessarily to read this time but just to soak up the atmosphere, listen to some great crime writing, and enjoy putting faces to the names I meet every day on social media.
But it wasn’t to be, because it more-or-less clashed with my good friend Les Morris’s book launch, held in Carlisle the very next night. Newcastle is a three-hour train journey away from home which means having to stop in the city overnight, and I simply wouldn’t have had time to travel home, get everything ready, and set out for the next event again. So, regretfully, I said no.
I was determined to get to Les’s launch. He’s a good mate from early Facebook days; it’s thanks to him that I discovered Crime and Publishment, and you might even say because of that it’s thanks to him that I’m published at all. ‘Desperate Ground’ is his debut novel so all the more exciting, and I really wanted to be there to help him celebrate.
But that wasn’t to be either. I’d had a bug all week which meant I lost my voice (no cheering, please) and then on the day the local trains decided not to run. Actually, they’ve been deciding not to run, on and off (but mostly off) for several weeks, and it’s starting to get annoying. The train company run replacement buses, but there’s virtually no schedule, they take twice as long to get anywhere, and they only run one 60-seat bus to take up to 300 train passengers at a time. Needless to say, it descends into chaos. I couldn’t see how to get to the mainline station in time to make my connection, and more worryingly, I couldn’t see how to get home again. Especially as I wasn’t feeling a hundred percent. So, even more regretfully, I had to send Les my apologies.
I’m sure he had a fantastic time (I still remember the excitement and sheer terror of my own launch party for ‘Raise the Blade’) and I hope that he’ll forgive me eventually. As for his book, you can find all the details here. Do go and check it out, because it sounds like a real page-turner. In fact, it’s described as explosive. So if you order a copy, just be careful when you’re opening up the parcel from Amazon!