February to me means moving back to the Coast for Uni. It also means I get to become more involved with the writing community again, and is usually a sign that my writing goes onto the backburner a bit as I begin to readjust to a uni life schedule, commence new work, and recommit to various commitments. However, this February I plan to continue working on my projects and hopefully self-publishing one by the end of year. Presently I am editing the first draft of my latest novel. It's a very rough draft right now, but it has the potential to become something wonderful. If you read the amazing article I shared by Aimme Dechellis at Creative Collections Blog on the interview we did together (which you can read here), you'd have noticed (if you hadn't before) the little 'Goal Counter' I place at the end of each blog post. This year I've decided not to add these to my blogs. I've simply got too many commitments and engagements in 2019 to keep a detailed account of where I'm up to. Thus far I'll be working with the NYWF team again as the Volunteer Coordinator, volunteering myself at NWF, managing the UoN Writers' Club (also a volunteer-position), completing a major project, as well as attending writerly events like writers' festivals, The Newcastle Flame, and ARR2019, all of which I recount and share here on my blog.
Speaking of events, I kicked off the month meeting up with my pals from the UoN Writers' Club. We hung out at a little cafe catching up until the Hunter Writers' Centre's monthly live reading began. We listened to the various works by their members and even our Social Coordinator, Hugo Brennan, stepped up to the stand! In terms of the Club itself, we got a snazzy new banner (design courteous of the Club's Secretary, Jamie Smith) in time for O-Week, and signed up sixty new members this year.
After a hectic O-Week I then hit Sydney for Books By The Bridge! I attended the event held at Crystal Palace, Luna Park by catching an early train ride into the city. BBTB is the first book signing event I've ever attended, and though I only knew of a few very authors attending, I was excited for the new experience. I heard about the event via American romance author, Abbi Glines, who was attending the event. I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to meet her and receive my first book signed by an international author.
Abbi herself was quite popular amongst the crowd. People showed up with suitcases and crates filled with - literally - dozens of her novels to each be personally signed. I stood in line three times, being sent away by organisers who were trying to prioritise readers based off different circumstances (ie. they had a flight to catch, only had a morning ticket, etc.). Eventually, it was my turn, whereby I waited in line to get my measly single novel signed and collected from the author, along with a photograph. I'd even met a reader who was also from Newcastle, and we chatted to pass the time.
Prior to meeting Abbi, while I had some time to kill, I discovered Brisbane novelist, Belle Brooks. I stood in line, not moving an inch, for half an hour, just for an autograph. I wasn't displeased over this though. Belle's personality really livened up the mundane routine of standing in queue. She not only chatted with the reader whom was requesting an autograph, but incorporated the rest of us nearby into their conversation. She also hugged and had a photo with every person who was in her line - how sweet is that? Also, she had cake and Mars Bars for the queue. Honestly, though, my favourite part was simply watching how she handles the book signing (something I one day hope to achieve myself). She had her friend assisting her at the table, and their relationship reminded me a lot of mine with my best friend. In summary, I now have some new author goals.
At the end of day I walked away with three new novels, some BBTB merch, and a new life experience.