Please allow us to introduce the next author in our UK Meet Introduces series …
Ally Lester is mostly writing in the Lost in Time universe at the moment. Queer paranormal murder-mystery-suspense historical romance with a bit of time-travel in there for kicks.
Lost in Time and Shadows on the Border have gay MCs and are set in 1920s London. The Flowers of Time will be released in March and features a lady botanist and a non-binary explorer traveling through the Himalayas in the 1780s.
You can read excerpts of all published books here. If you sign up to the newsletter you get access to a free serial, Inheritance of Shadows, set in rural England in 1919.
Ally lives in Somerset with Mr AL, their kids and Morris the underwear-eating dachshund. She’s middle-aged, non-binary and has too many animals. Pronouns she/they.
What’s so special about 2020 for those of us who love books? It’s the 10th anniversary of the first UK Meet for one thing. My goodness, how we’ve grown and developed from a dozen authors in a room in Ely having a chinwag, to the weekend event we’ll be having in September of this year.
For another thing, it’s the 60th anniversary of the Romantic Novelists Association. A number of UKMeeters are, or have been, RNA members. I bet that when the organisation was first formed in 1960, the membership wouldn’t have expected that romance stories that didn’t feature a man and a woman would one day be welcomed into the fold. Hell, 1960 was the year Penguin was up in court over Lady Chatterley’s Lover – with the famous trial quote, “Is it a book that you would even wish your wife or your servants to read?”
How we’ve moved on. Nowadays the RNA has a newly-founded Rainbow Chapter with the tagline “Love stories are for everyone,” which is open to all with an interest in LGBTQIA+ romantic fiction.
On the 9th February during Romance Reading month the RNA would like to provide an opportunity for readers to share their favourite LGBQTIA+ novels to @RNAtweets using the following hashtags. #DiamondRainbowReads #RNA60
The UK Meet team would like to encourage everyone to take part and to spread the word. Feel free to add #ukmeet to make sure we don’t miss your tweet!
Let’s show how many people read (and write, and love) our genre.
It’s finally 2020, which means the UK Meet is less than nine months away. Can you believe it?
In honour of this magnificent and momentous news, we decided to feature our spotlight delegates each month on our blog, leading up to the big day. We asked, and you answered!
Please allow us to introduce…
David C Dawson
David C Dawson writes contemporary thrillers featuring gay men in love. He’s an award winning author, journalist and documentary maker.
His latest novel, Heroes in Love, is published in January 2020. It’s a story of forbidden love, seen from the viewpoint of today. Can the strength of two elderly lovers inspire a young, gay couple of today?
David’s debut novel The Necessary Deaths won Bronze for Best Mystery & Suspense in the FAPA awards. The second in the series is The Deadly Lies. His third book For the Love of Luke came out in October 2018.
David lives in London, with his boyfriend and two cats. In his spare time, he tours Europe and sings with the London Gay Men’s Chorus.
It’s that time of year again, and with only twenty sleeps left, we here on the UK Meet team want to get in a little early to wish everyone a very merry Christmas.
To those who don’t celebrate Christmas, we hope you have a wonderful winter and a truly happy holiday season!
We’d also like to give a big shout out to Alex Jane and her Rainbow Advent Calendar. Alex works tirelessly on this each year to celebrate GLBT+ writing in its festive forms, including tales from our very own team members!
If you’re following the releases, let us know what you think in the comment section below, or if you’re new to the Rainbow Advent Calendar, click here to catch up and treat yourself to some fab, free fiction.
‘Tis the season of giving, after all.
With less than a year to go before we all arrive en fabulous masse in Southampton, we thought you might appreciate some insight into how we pick our sponsors.
The most important thing about the relationship between UK Meet and its sponsors is that it should be beneficial to both parties, as well as to our delegates as a whole.
Our sponsors tend to be from the LGBTQ book world, simply because it’s easiest to see how publishers, bloggers, cover artists etc. in our corner of the fiction market can benefit from the publicity UK Meet sponsorship brings them. Increasingly, we’re counting individual authors among our generous sponsors too.
We have several tiers of sponsorship on offer, and the top two – Gold and Platinum – bring with them the opportunity to have a book/display table throughout the Meet, rather than just during the Book Fair. This increases visibility and allows more time for interacting with interested delegates.
The benefits of sponsorship to UK Meet are obvious: sponsorship money allows us to provide entertainment and other benefits to our delegates that wouldn’t be covered by the ticket price alone.
Do we ever decline sponsorship? Yes. We want the Meet to be a safe space for all our delegates, which means not accepting sponsorship from individuals or organisations whose position in our genre is currently controversial.
In the past we’ve made the decision to politely return money where we felt public association with the sponsor would not be in UK Meet’s best interests at that time.
If you’re interested in sponsoring UK Meet 2020, please get in touch with Jamie Merrow on firstname.lastname@example.org. And thank you for supporting our Meet!
It’s crazy to think the world has spun an entire revolution around the sun, and then some, since UK Meet 2018.
Before we know it, September will be back again and hundreds of us will be descending on the Grand Harbour in Southampton for a glorious weekend of all things GLBTQ fiction.
Last year, committee member Jack Ladd was a total newbie. He didn’t know what to expect, had only spoken to a handful of people via email and, as he pulled up to the hotel solo, anxiety began to swell.
It didn’t last. Ladd says the weekend flew by in a haze of laughter, learning and entertainment, not to mention invaluable insight, expert advice and hugs galore from new friends young and old.
So, to ensure you have as much fun as he did, we’ve put together a little list of hints and tips so you too can make the most of your first Meet.
Don’t Be Afraid to Make Friends
Clare London used to go to anime/cosplay conventions, and it was 4 YEARS before she plucked up enough courage to ask one dear friend what her REAL name was. She’d been calling her by her pen name, Badmomma, all that time (they had a good laugh about it at the time and since).
The fact that you’re at the Meet is the first, biggest, and best step, and, don’t forget, EVERYONE is nervous of meeting new people, however confident they may appear. We’re all on the same page, so be encouraged to smile and offer your name, and you may make some true friends from the occasion.
Charlie says join the delegates FB group (but please don’t request to join until we’ve confirmed your ticket) or volunteer for the registration desk or bag filling. These are all fantastic ways to break the ice and get to know your fellow delegates. And, Jack adds, if you’re passionate about a particular topic, consider putting yourself down for panels.
This might be daunting at first, but it’s a great way to meet your fellow speakers (over a cheeky drink pre or during the event, perhaps?) not to mention the bond you’ll share after speaking in front of a whole room of inquisitive minds.
Public speaking not for you? Instead of speaking in a panel, be sure to catch one. That way you’ll find yourself in a room of like-minded people with plenty to talk about over the weekend.
If you can, definitely opt for the Saturday night Rainbow Dinner and Friday social event, and try to arrive early enough on the Friday so you can register, grab a drink and mingle. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to make new friends, see the local sights and, the next night, don your glad rags for a fabulous evening of entertainment, delicious food and dancing.
One important, often overlooked aspect is ensuring you take a break if needed. Don’t feel like you must to be on your A-game 24/7.
There’s nothing wrong with bowing out for an hour or two to enjoy the facilities, explore Southampton alone, or simply have a much-deserved nap. We all need a little me-time now and then, and where better than a lovely hotel?
And most importantly, be yourself.
The UK Meet is all about celebrating GLBTQ fiction and everyone who reads, writes, lives and loves it. Diversity, respect, tolerance and kindness are the Meet’s foundations and we pride ourselves in creating a safe-space for anyone who wants to join the family.