Category Archives: Events

Coming soon…

I’m delighted to announce that, with a little help from some friends, I am taking Noir at the Bar back to Harrogate in July this year.
Thanks to Jacky Collins of Newcastle Noir and writers Lucy Cameron and Neil Broadfoot, I can announce that we’ll be running Noir at the Bar on Thursday, 20th July from 4:30pm. 
Hosted at the noir-y Blues Bar on Montpellier Parade, Noir at the Bar Harrogate will not only feature readings from up-and-coming authors as well as more familiar faces but there will be a special performance by the Slice Girls!
Entry is free and doors open at 4pm. There will be opportunities to win books by picking a reader out of the hat.
Hope to see you there,

Vic x

Noir at the Bar Edinburgh, 31/05/2017

In November of last year, I read at the first Edinburgh Noir at the Bar. Earlier this week, I returned to give another reading and, yet again, it was a wonderful night.


Many of the participants attended a meal prior to the event at Makars Gourmet Mash Bar which was organised by the lovely Kelly of Love Books Group blog.  The meal itself was delicious – I had ox cheek and creamy mash – and it was lovely to meet new people as well as catching up with others. The staff were really attentive and I’d heartily recommend this fantastic place if you happen to be in Edinburgh.


Hosted by Jacky Collins, and held at Wash Bar, Noir at the Bar Edinburgh sure is attracting a following in Auld Reekie – the number of attendees has grown massively since its first outing in November.

Mac Logan was first to read then it was my very good friend Lucy Cameron reading from her debut novel Night is Watching.

Then some Geordie got up and read a piece from her work in progress. The audience were very kind and laughed in all the right places. I got some brilliant feedback during the break. It’s really reassuring to hear that fans of crime are looking forward to reading my novel so I’d best crack on with it! As an aside, I will be writing soon about a method that I have found really works for me: watch this space!


I was glad that I’d read early, it left me free to enjoy the evening free of any nerves. Neil Broadfoot, Ian Skewis and May Rinaldi entertained the audience with readings that left my reading wishlist growing exponentially.

Aly Monroe read from Black Bear then we had a riotous short story by Doug Johnstone followed swiftly by a song.

Sharon Bairden and I at Noir at the Bar Edinburgh. Photo courtesy of Sharon Bairden.

Following another short break, during which I got to catch up with some more folks, Sara Sheridan kicked off the third act with an intriguing reading. Claire MacLeary followed with a great excerpt from Cross Purpose featuring the fantastic character of Big Wilma. CG Huntley was the final reader on the bill but there were two wildcard readings given by Jackie McLean and LP Mennock.


A huge congratulations to my friend Jacky Collins for another successful evening in Edinburgh. Jacky and I may have some exciting news to share with you very soon…

Vic x

The launch of ‘Kindred Spirits: Royal Mile’.

Today I was lucky enough to attend my friend’s book launch. Jennifer C. Wilson first attended Elementary Writers in 2014 and, as Jen put it today, ‘we were great writing acquaintances’. In the last year, or so, though, we’ve become really great friends, realising that we have a great deal in common.


Jen has an incredible work ethic: ‘Kindred Spirits: Royal Mile‘ is the follow-up to ‘Kindred Spirits: Tower of London‘. Jen also manages to work full-time as well as running all manner of events as part of The Next Page with Elaine Cusack and Sandy Chadwin.


Today was a wonderful celebration of Jen’s hard work paying off. The room at the Town Wall was full of people who wanted to toast Jen’s success. It was brilliant to hear Jen read from ‘Kindred Spirits‘ as well as having the opportunity to hear her talk about writing during the Q&A.


Jen is already working on the third in the series and, having heard extracts in the writing group, I am already looking forward to that book coming out (and the inevitable party to celebrate its release!).

Congratulations, Jen!

Vic x

Pure Fiction

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Tomorrow, I will be reading excerpts from Fix Me Up at Pure Fiction. Tickets are £3 and you can pay on the door.

I’m very nervous about the reading but previous ones have gone alright so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this one is as successful.

Appearing alongside me is my old buddy, Rod Glenn, who will be reading new work too.

Hope to see you there!

Vic x

Billy Bootleggers – Newcastle’s dive bar opens its doors

Billy Bootleggers, the dive bar we didn’t know we needed, opened its doors on 31st March and if you haven’t sought out this place yet, I encourage you to do so immediately. On Nelson Street, directly beneath No28 bar, Billy Bootleggers is the antithesis to the commercialised chains it sits opposite.

Inspired by US dive bars and Americana, Billy Bootleggers is a unique live music venue. Director Elliot Towsey is hyped about ‘bringing some of London’s basement bar culture’ to the North East. The Boy Wonder and I attended opening night on Friday, 31st March and I have to say I loved it.

It’s intimate (it holds a maximum of 60 people) and the music – provided by the supremely talented King Bees – really added to the atmosphere. The decor is authentic, with graffiti adorning the stairwell and rustic furniture. The bar is well-stocked with bourbon, beer, prosecco and cocktails, not to mention freshly brewed Apple Pie Moonshine.

Oh, and the food? Supplied by Snappy’s: hot dogs, fries and wings – delicious. Again, following the dive bar theme, there’s nothing flash about the food but it’s tasty – what more could you want?! Open 7 days a week, 5pm to 2am, Billy Bootleggers is definitely the place to be.

What I loved about Billy Bootleggers is that there’s zero pretension – you can go there and be yourself. You don’t have to get dressed up to go but you will have an awesome night. Promising to give a space to local musician, Billy Bootleggers will announce forthcoming acts on its Facebook page.

Vic x

Tonight

Guest Post: Rob Walton on Challenging Yourself.

When I put a call out for performers to volunteer to write original ghost stories for ‘The Visitation‘ , I received a message from Rob Walton. Last year, our performance at The Cumberland Arms – ‘Blood from the Quill’ – featured three guests and they went down a storm so I was very keen to have more ‘guest performers’ (i.e. people who may not necessarily be regular attendees of Elementary Writers).


Rob’s taken time out today to talk to us about the challenge of writing – then reading – an original ghost story. Thanks, Rob! 

Vic x

 

So I’ve taken a year out of teaching commitments to do more writing and creative projects. So I see a tweet about the Old Low Light in North Shields, a great local venue I’ve recently visited.  So there’s a hint of some Hallowe’en writing/reading shenanigans.  So here I am, in the same month as the event and with my story almost finished.  So I need to work on some Sentence Openers  (‘SO’ for short).

I wanted to take part in the event for various reasons.  I’d never written a ghost story and had absolutely no idea if I could.  I really liked the venue and it’s very local (I’ve got a chance of running home if I get too scared).  I like being part of evenings with other writers, sharing work and experiences.  I hadn’t actually completed a short story for a long time, finding myself writing flash fictions as ever, and more and more poetry for both adults and children.

How to start?  Well, when I was teaching very small people I’d often bang on about listening and talking coming before reading coming before writing coming before rejection from your best friend’s poetry magazine.  I had copies of ‘Phantoms at the Phil’, Volumes 1,2 and 3 on the shelf, so I pulled out all the stops and took one down.  Then I read it.  Then I realised I could at least have a go, if only the dead bloke in the corner would give me my pen back.

I’d previously had an idea for something with a specific local setting using a specific song, so I tried it and got somewhere.  This was followed by a certain amount of research – some online and some walking the mean streets of Shields.  For the latter, what I actually did was collect my nine-year-old daughter from school in the car (I was trying to raise the spectre of global warming) and drive along, stopping every so often for her to write down details.  Apologies if you were driving behind us, but we’ve all got to suffer for my art.

As I wrote I discovered that my original idea for using a song wasn’t the right fit so it, along with much of the research, wasn’t used – but it was important in getting me to that stage.  The final choice of song made much more sense and helped me make progress, and the whole thing started to come together.

I’ve really enjoyed writing it, and now only need to fill my pen with the right blood group for the last few edits.