Posts Tagged ‘Dumfries’

YA Launch Party in Scotland

I absolutely love Scotland and will take any excuse to go there, so although it’s a very long drive, I jumped at the chance for a visit last weekend.  And I had a very good reason to go – the launch party of the Paisley Piranhas!

That might sound a bit strange and has nothing to do with fish – Paisley Piranhas is a group of YA authors (including me) who are working together to promote our teen books, and Sunday saw our official launch party at the Robert Burns Centre in Dumfries.  A fab little cinema, we were able to use it to launch our books and to have a private showing of The Princess Bride, one of our all-time favourite movies (which also happens to be mentioned in one of the books).

Claire, Gill-Marie and I (missing Katy!)

Claire, Gill-Marie and I (missing Katy!)

With sweets, snacks and drinks on offer, as well as our books of course, it was a great afternoon and we were very pleased to welcome so many lovely people.  Claire Watts, Gill-Marie Stewart and myself had a fab time and were only sorry the fourth member of our gang, Katy Haye, couldn’t be with us on the day.  Next time for sure!

The Paisley Piranha books so far are:-

Gill-Marie Stewart – Music and Lies

Claire Watts – What They Don’t Tell You About Love in the Movies

Katy Haye – The Last Gatekeeper

Pia Fenton – New England Crush

Here are some photos from the event – huge thanks to everyone who came and Gill’s and Claire’s families who went above and beyond the call of duty to help us!

(For more information about Paisley Piranha and our books, please check out our website here)



A Long Weekend “Up North”

I’ve just come back from five fabulous days “up north”, more precisely Dumfries and Penrith, and I’m exhausted, but had a wonderful time!

The RNA’s annual conference was held at Penrith this year, just south of the border to Scotland, so I thought I’d take the chance to visit my writing buddy Gill in Dumfries first.  The area where she lives is absolutely stunning and when we went for walks I couldn’t stop taking photos so I thought I’d share some with you here.

The Forest of Ae appeals to me especially because it reminds me so much of the Swedish forests near the town where I grew up.  At a distance, they seem almost identical, but when I look more closely there are subtle differences.  For instance, the fir trees in Dumfries are mostly Douglas firs, whereas the Swedish ones are a slightly different variety that are less bushy.  The wonderful scents of pine and greenery are the same though, and we came across a river (in full spate due to all the recent rain no doubt) which made me long for “home”.

And once out of the forest, the far-reaching views, all the way across to the Solway Firth, were just stunning!  If it hadn’t been for the midges, I could have sat there and admired them all day.  I was very sad to leave 🙁

You would have thought that going to a conference held on a university campus would seem like a let-down after all that scenery, but not so.  RNA conferences are always huge fun – talks, workshops, meeting up with writing friends you usually only talk to via the internet, and of course the sessions in the bar and various communal kitchens in the evenings.  It was a non-stop whirl of activity from beginning to end, but I can’t wait for next year!

I leave you with a photo of the Morris dancing lesson, which I confess I chickened out of (was simply too tired by that point and had a six hour drive ahead of me).  I really enjoyed watching though!