It's not long now till the RNA's Annual Conference, at Newton Rigg, Penrith, starting on the 13th July.
The Conference packs have arrived (if you haven't yet book, there are still a few places - snatch them quick!) and the annual pleasure of browsing the sessions and the annual agony of trying to choose which options to pick has begun.
Jan Jones has, as always, done a brilliant job of making sure there's something for everyone, whether you're starting out or multi-pubbed, interested in YA books or sweet short fiction. Just sitting her writing this blog, I keep getting distracted by reading contributor bios or trying to decide between a drama workshop or something from Vulpes Libres.
My perception of the Conference has shifted a lot over the *cough*decade*cough* or so I've been going. I've attended as a wide-eyed newbie, as an unpublished writer, blooded by my first serious rejections and once, memorably, having just given my first serious rejection of an offered contract. I've attended - even more memorably - as a newly published author, as a contributor. I've turned up tired, sick and hopeless, and ecstatic, empowered and feeling invincible. I've always left feeling better equipped, better informed, and more resilient. Frequently I've left making fantastic friends.
Last year I was honoured to be asked to facilitate the First Timers' Network, making sure new attendees have a chance to get to know each other before arriving, and have any support they need when they get there. That was a new experience for me, too.
This year there's a something new for me, too. This year, with the help of the lovely ladies of Belfagan, I'm going to be leading a session on morris dancing.
As you do.