Leeds Author Event 2016

Have you ever been told about a party in an off-hand way? Such as “hey this should be fun”. And you think that does sound like fun. And then you think – it’s too bad you can’t go. That’s the way I felt when I first heard about the Leeds’ Author Event. It sounded like it would be fun – so many authors all in one place and then a masquerade ball. All for a good benefit too. But, come on! I live in America and Leeds is across the pond. There’s no way I can go. So I wrote it off.

Then I heard a few more things and saw the list of authors. Some of whom I am friends with on Facebook. And again I thought – wow that would be fun for sure. But again – I live in America! There is no way I could actually go. Then one cold Saturday morning in January I got a little curious and started checking things out. An hour later I had a plan in place to get there. And then it wasn’t a question anymore about going to Leeds. It was now a fact.

I worked all day on Thursday March 3rd, jumped on a plane and the following morning touched down in Manchester – during a snow storm. About two hours later I arrived in Leeds and after checking in went to visit to the Royal Armory. Since I was leaving early on Sunday morning I decided to arrange for my taxi back to the airport.

My first realization that I was in for a special weekend was when I saw two young ladies approach me smiling. The dark haired girl said “are you David E. Gordon? The American author?” and smiling I nodded as a glimmer of recognition edged it’s way into my mind. Without warning the blonde girl jumped at me and wrapped me in a big hug and said “It’s me Georgiana!” Well – I don’t know a Georgiana, so I just smiled. Realization set in and I was hugging Francesca Marlow. Of course, it took about 20 minutes before I realized – with a little help – that the other woman was Victoria L. James.

We made our way into the hotel bar and met several more attendees – authors, bloggers, and writers. But, I nervously awaited the arrival of someone I thought I would never actually meet. Claire Allmendinger is my editor and without her I likely would not be a published author. I had an idea of when they were supposed to arrive so I headed out to the lobby on a whim. I looked through the crowd of people checking in and there she was – Claire. We hugged for a long moment – neither of us believing this would ever happen.

I spent the rest of the night meeting more authors and friends from Facebook like Lisa Fulham, Eleanor Lloyd-Jones, Cameron Lincoln, and so many more. We had a great time as we talked, laughed, drank, and even found a way to have dinner. Even if the first two places didn’t work out – at least I got to see Leeds from the ground up. Whether we drank the wine or splashed it on Lisa we still had a lot of fun and went to bed way too late.

Saturday was really cool for me as I had never been to an author signing. Especially one with about 30 or 40 authors. It was so cool to see the effort these people went to for the signing. With banners and swag all over it was hard to imagine all of their hard work. I have written two books of my own and taken part in two compilations. I carried both compilations with me so that I could get as many signatures as possible on my copies. I was also quite pleased to sign copies for my fellow authors who had their copies.

If the day was special, the evening was even more special with a masquerade ball to benefit the Mind charity. The hostesses Jo and Rachel from Hourglass Events did an amazing job with the event. The music was fun and it didn’t stop until very late in the night. It took awhile for me to get on the floor also, but once I saw “the worm” in person I just had to dance. There were give-aways, good food, and quite a few drinks consumed. When I finally went to bed that night I slept well and dreamt of what an amazing trip this had been.

There are a lot of lessons I could take away from this trip. About an author signing event, about how a well planned event is run, and about the hard work that an author always has to go through. The job doesn’t end when you type “the end” in fact some would say that is when the job actually starts.

But, what I will always take away from this trip is the adventure. The next time there is an opportunity to go somewhere or do something I haven’t done, my response won’t be “no I can’t”. Instead, I will start by saying I can – and then find out if I can’t. Too often in life we spend more time saying “I can’t” and not enough time saying “why not”. And if you have the passion to do something, to experience something then do it and experience it.IMG_3639

The Ward Family Reunion

We all have families. Some are large and some are small, some are very close and some are far apart. This past weekend I had the opportunity to meet a good portion of my wife’s family. My mother-in-law decided to have a family reunion at her house and despite the weather it turned out to be an absolutely wonderful day.

About 180 people were invited and 125 or so said they would show up, and it sure felt like most of them did. My wife’s grandfather is 90+ year’s old and so it was a great way for cousins to see cousins and for her grandfather to see a lot of family he hasn’t seen in awhile.

The party was supposed to start at 2pm, so of course at about 1230 its started to rain. By 130 it was a torrential downpour – thank goodness they had tents. And at almost exactly 2pm the rain stopped. The clouds stayed for the rest of the day, but that was ok because it kept the heat of the summer sun away.

There were hoagies, beer, soda, cake, pretzels, and lots of other snacks. But mostly, there were people. And not just people – but family. Grandad was the oldest, at 90 plus and there was also the youngest Ward who was less than one year old. It was great to see both of them together. And since Grandad’s name is Hugh we also got all six relatives – including a great-grandchild – who had Hugh in their name.

Young and old, familiar and not so familiar there were families, cousins, aunts, and uncles. And even an honorary family member – a true Sister. Most of the family was amazingly from South Jersey, or maybe not so amazingly. But, there was also family from Minneapolis, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Florida. There were tables and chairs under the tents, but mostly everyone milled around talking. Moving from one group to the next rekindling friendships or just getting to know family yet again.

For someone who has family in New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Israel and who doesn’t get to see his family that much, it was a fantastic day. To see so many family members all come together for the sole purpose of seeing each other. It would make even the Grinch smile. I spent the day taking pictures – both random and planned – and hope that they will be a memory of the smiles and the delight had by all.

Thank you for a wonderful family and for a wonderful day!

The Third Generation

The Third Generation

 

The Second Generation

The Second Generation

 

The elders

The elders

 

The Hugh's

The Hugh’s

 

The eldest and the youngest

The eldest and the youngest