SCBWI Con 2019: A Comedy of Errors

Sketch by Imogen Foxell

This past weekend was The Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators annual British Isles conference. Having won one of SCBWI’s Margaret Carey scholarships, I got to attend with all expenses paid. And wow, was it one heck of an experience, even if it didn’t quite go to plan.

Having studied in England for University, I’ve travelled back and forth there a lot of times over the years and it was not uncommon at all for me to return with tales of a wacky adventure and/or a war wound. This past weekend was a bit of a return to that.

I should start by saying that, before I even left, I’d been sick for about a week. Really, really sick. To the degree that, I spent most of that week wondering if I was going to make it at all. But I pushed through, packed my bag, and got on a plane.

Minor inconvenience number one (aside from being sick): a short delay taking off. This in itself would barely be worth mentioning if it weren’t the first of many, many things that went awry. How many things can go awry in three days? WELL!

Things kinda started off on the back foot for another reason: I was going entirely broke. Our rent went out the day I set off, the very start of the month, which means our bank account was empty. Over empty, in fact. Even our overdraft was gone. (October was a hard month, you guys.) But anyways, this shouldn’t have been too much of a problem because of the ‘all expenses paid’ bit. My travel was free, my accommodation was free, and of course the conference fee itself was covered. What I also had was £5 on a gift card leftover from my birthday that should work in a long list of places. I double-checked the balance and the list of places before I left, and I planned to get myself a bottle of water in the airport WH Smith once I’d gotten through security. Sounds simple enough, right? Except it didn’t work. Of course it didn’t. The person at the till conjectured it was probably because an airport WH Smith probably doesn’t count as a normal WH Smith.

*deep breath* It was gonna be one of those days. Continue reading

DeptCon Adventures in Dublin

Last Friday and Saturday, I was in Dublin for the fifth annual DeptCon: Ireland’s Biggest Young Adult Book Convention.

It was super fun and I’m now, almost a week later, almost recovered. Let me give you a rundown:

I couldn’t sleep the night before. I tried but, like so many other nights, just couldn’t manage it. So I caught the 10.35am train from Belfast on thirty minutes rest, fueled by tea and enthusiasm.

On the journey down, I finished reading Savannah Brown’s poetry collection and started reading her novel. I had them with me anyway so I could get them signed.

Savannah is someone I’ve been watching on YouTube for years. I’ve been meaning to get to her books since they came out, so this was the perfect opportunity to bump them off my TBR.

Once arrived at Connolly Station, I made the forty-minute trek to my hotel. It was in the north of the city: somewhere I’d never stayed before, but I’d charted the route via Google Maps in advance and found it easily enough. I had just enough time to pick up my key and dump some things out of my heavy rucksack onto my comically sized bed (more on that later) before walking forty-minutes back into the centre of town for event registration and panel number one: Natália Gomes, Savannah Brown, and Connie Glynn. Continue reading

Holiday Update: Meeting James Marsters

Meeting James MarstersI used to travel all around the UK and Ireland a few times a year, catching trains, sleeping on people’s living room floors, and going to events.

I’d call the trips ‘Ellie Adventures’ and they would often involve missed connections, little money, very little sleep, and a hell of a lot of photos.

That craziness was great when I was in my early twenties. Not so much, these days. ‘Low Key’ is very much becoming the theme of my life, and I’m happy with that. I’ve settled down.

(Settling down sounds boring, when you’re young, but in truth? It’s relaxing. It’s bliss.)

Anyway, I got back yesterday evening from my first and only trip of 2016, and it was great. So good not to be going places on my own anymore!

My partner and I went to Wrexham for Wales Comic Con (via Manchester) mainly so I could meet my favorite actor: James Marsters. (See photo. I’m so happy!)

This is the life! #GoodTimes