My commuting plans were slightly disrupted by the lack of stopping trains on the Sheffield to Manchester line before I needed to be in Manchester for my first panel. Fortunately I was able to get a lift to Disley, where I hung around until the Buxton to Manchester stopping service turned up.
It was supposed to come from over there:
And head on to somewhere over there:
Fortunately the train was on time, and I arrived with plenty of preparation time (i.e. coffee drinking time) for my panel The full quilt bag: covering the full gender/sexuality spectrum – can it be done? with L. A. Witt and Beau Schemery. Lots of good ideas came out of the panel, and there are plenty of people reading and writing across the spectrum, which made me very happy. We may have to request a longer slot for next year, though, as the discussion was still going strong when we ran out of time.
I stayed in the main room for the start of Humour is a serious business: authors – how to make your humorous writing work; readers – what you want from funny books with Charlie Cochrane, Elin Gregory, and Jo Myles, but then I had to rush off for my two publisher pitch-sessions. I pitched a concept to Aleks from Riptide Publishing, and I think we reached a good point in the process of how to take it forward. Then I pitched Searching for Julia to Victoria of Bold Strokes Books, which was far more nerve-wracking, even though we'd been chatting all weekend. I'm currently wait to hear back about that one, although I'd encourage anyone who's scared of pitching to just go for it.
I was back in the main room in time for the last pre-lunch item: Marie Sexton's Keynote Speech, in which she rousingly encouraged us to all be ourselves and celebrate difference. Fine words indeed.
After lunch I returned to the main room for Help the team to plan 2014, which was mostly full of useful suggestions, although we did get slightly bogged down at times on the discussion of what the organisers are looking for in a location (and I can state from experience of many other events that Milton Keynes, Oxford and Cambridge don't fit the bill, much as I like going to two of those cities).
Then we hung out until it was time for me to run off and find a train.
On the way back from the station, having managed to get the proper train in the afternoon, I came across the annual blessing of the well and well dressing by the village green. I've posted all about that over on the Candlemark and Gleam blog.