Writing Groups in Devon


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A Hurricane Force Meeting by Richard Lappas

'The Guv has returned and despite the hurricane force winds and lashing rain that swirled ferociously in and around Camp Costa Lot (No walls on us!), the Guv has once again taken up the reigns of this family of wordsmiths that was so brilliantly held during her absence by the uber efficient Jenny Kane (Lady Marion to her fans) and her sterling efforts in keeping the ship afloat, will go down in the annals of history that is the EAA.

So amidst the bluster and blowing, the gathering also hailed the return of young Brian who had been absent due to a nasty bug though his spirits were lifted after Christmas, in hospital somewhere, became bearable after being joined by the infamous Father Christmas and a silver brass band! Great to see you back Brian humour and comradeship sorely missed for sure and good to see you mending. By the way as you've missed the last 2 meetings, it's your turn to buy the coffees...And we want cake!

Meantime, everybody in attendance today is writing, editing, planning, researching about poetry in Westhill, family eulogies in Tivvy, knife crime, and anti-terrorism strategy in Ottery St Mary, talking birds in Dorset, succulent beetroot rolls in Brixham, audio narration in Normandy (Get it play on surname do I really have to explain!!!), writing fantasy from the banks of the River Exe, teaching that the Hood is good and Guv scurrying through the list of gigs that include the bookonistas of exmuff and a stock of pigs
in north devon!

All in all, the monthly family reunion went smoothly..the coffee costa lot, the wevver was wild and everybody had a smile on their faces.

A good result on a miserable day! #biznisasusual!'

 by Richard Lappas

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AUTUMN RAP by Richard Lappas

That time of year again  as layers of leaves all golden and red
they rustle in doorways and swirl above our doubt that
autumn is turning the air cold and blue, everyone prays they won't catch the flu!

Despite the bluster of the wind and rain, EAA writers are gathered again
to talk of their pens being mightier than the sword, plots planned, chapters
edited, work submitted, these guys are sharp and won't be outwitted

When it comes to creating their works of art, they do so with a passion that is as true as a dart
round the table we start with Jen B, her work is so embracing, a poet laureate one day you'll see

Then onto Tracy and me, we have done our edits and are feeling free! Then 'Rich the Doc' who
makes the best beetroot rolls, asking advice on book covers, "which you like" he calls as he scrolls

Next up is Brian, talking about his talks as ever growing in confidence, he is walking the walk!
Lovely Susie who working hard on book three, if you are ever bored writing is the key!

To the final three who are Tracy, JK and Guv, all working hard with good humour, they are all such a luv

The Ship is called the EAA and its crew are hard working most every single day and once the work is done
by every girl and every chap, it's time to call for a cuppa, it's an autumn rap!

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Buns at Bampton - Coming Soon!

Where there's coffee & cake stall, there's an Exeter author ..and quite right too as the Exeter Authors prepared for a return visit to the amazing Bampton Charter Fair. This time four of our members are going and will be holding a series of free talks.
This month had a huge agenda with contributions all round from Lucy V, Brian, The Doc, Susie W, Johnny  Terrorist , Tracey Transponder, poetic Jeni, The Guv, Tracy Ann
 and not forgetting a guest appearance by the Bean! The only miss was Jenny  who was off in "Retreat" somewhere on the Moor of EX!!
There is lots going on, gigs to attend, Festivals to celebrate and half of 2019 seems already booked as more and more pieces of work are completed in anticipation of entertaining the general public.
Lots of new books are coming out and huge congratulations go to Maura Beckett, as her book  is set to roll but even better was inspired by today's gathering and plotted the sequel to her first book on the way home! Well done to Maura!
So good luck to everyone supporting events over the next 4 weeks, look out for flying buns and books in the Bampton area. To help with Christmas presents, authors are reminded to bring a couple of books to the next scrum down which will be on Friday the 9th of November same time, same place!  There are lots of events on the agenda to
PS Every member has to bring their own fire for Richie to keep warm if we do a gig in anywhere dark and dingy as that quickly "dampens" the spirits!
Enough of my silly writing, fab to see everyone today huge misses for Maid Marion & Kiwi Kriss!
Much love and great to see y'all from Tivvy Towers!
richard lappas

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Summer is Over!

So here we are again, summer been and gone and there is a nip in the air!
The clan has regathered and the conference was bursting with lots of news about
books being ready to bash the public's wallets as the latest epics come rolling
off the production line!

But before we discussed  the biz of the day at this season's opening encounter, 
a warm EAA welcome was extended to Lucy V. Hay making her debut at the Costaloads
in the Bampton quarter of Tivvy Town..Welcome to the mad house Lucy!

So whats been occuring during the summer recess? Well, it appears that many events
have been attended, festivals enjoyed, workshops deployed and book projects completed!l
The Guv is bringing light to the doom and gloom of Witheridge, Maura is editing & getting
ever closer, Susie W. is all over the country, Jenny Kane is having a quiet time working 25 hours a
day, Brian is doing spooky things, Doc Rich is beating his computer up as we 
speak and still producing first class work, Lucy's doing loads, Tracey has a new book, 
Hallee is set to take over Aljezera TV & Jen B. is stashin' the cash for Anthony Nolan.

Even I've managed to get Chunky & Sarita back on the road so all in all, everyone is
busy and there are loads of talks books and festivals to attend, hell's teeth even Christmas
got a mention today! 2019 will be hectic for sure and there will be plenty going on!

HIGHLIGHT of the day....After collecting the members hard earned cash for annual subs,
the promise of a new badge was firmly placed in the shadows...of the local travel agents 
as the Guv (Pam) threatened with the quip " Ok subs are in, I'm off to Spain haha!"

The bad news is the collection from 11 members was around £110 and the local travel folk
are offering 4 nights in beautiful Barcelona for..wait for it...£99!!!!

If you see the Guv hovering on the corner of Market Walk, blow her cover and if disguised
listen out for the tune she is humming....

This year I'm off to sunny Spain  - 'Y Viva Espana!'  by Richard Lappas

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A Summer of Events

The summer, dare I say it, is almost over – and what a busy couple of months it’s been. From children’s writing workshops, to freezing cold festival fields and a singles club- I’ve encountered them all.

There’s no doubt that summer is my busiest time of the year- and the most rewarding.

This year I was lucky enough to teach three children’s writing workshops for Devon libraries (Cullompton, South Molton and Crediton), as part of the Summer Reading Scheme for 2018, on the subject of ‘Mischief Makers’. I was heartened and impressed by the range of stories the children created and I’m happy to report that the next generation’s imagination is alive and well. (They also have a much firmer grasp on the stories of Dennis the Menace than I do- my memory of the Beano has certainly slipped with age!)

The children of Barnstaple also proved their imagination is in tiptop shape, when I taught a creative writing class at St Anne’s Community Centre (a 10 week series of writing classes for children begins there in September- email me at for details).

Last weekend I, along with many of my fellow Exeter Author Association members (PJ Reed, Richard Dee, Tracey Norman, Mark Norman and Susie Williamson), returned to Chilcompton for their annual fringe festival.

In 2017, when we attended Chilcompton, it was so hot that some of us suffered from heat sickness. This year that was never going to be a problem. To say it rained doesn’t really do the persistent and heavy downpour that lasted all day, justice.

Dressed as characters from out books, we all looked the part; from elf, to steampunk man, to medieval lady and we were freezing cold we rather overdid the layers. Six layers in my case- and you can tell!

Never ones to give up easily, the EAA carried on regardless! Our talk audiences were rather smaller than usual, but the smiles were still wide. I had great fun talking to this little gathering about Robin Hood. Fingers crossed for a mild dry day next year!

As well as my usual workshops, my summer events finished off with an author talk to the Young at Heart singles club in St Sidwells, Exeter. Chatting away about how my writing career began was great fun. It soon became clear that a couple of the ladies in the group had always wanted to write, but had never been brave enough. By the time I left one had written the start of a short children’s story, and another had told a whole story via answering random questions. Fantastic!

Thank you to everyone who has hosted both me and my fellow EAA members this summer.

Now- if you’ll excuse me I’d better go and edit my next novel...

Happy reading,



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Report from Chilcompton Fringe Festival 2018

It has been a scorching hot summer in Devon – with everything turning hayish shades of yellow. Then two weeks ago the weather changed, and withering plants revitalised into a dark green jungle. While the wet weather was a blessing for plants, animals, and over-heated humans. Outside events did not fair so well in the summer deluge.

Last year Chilcompton Fringe Festival ’17 was so deliciously hot, the authors had to leave their tables and hide inside the marquee for shade. This year it was like being in a different country. Torrential rain and plunging temperatures caused everyone to flock inside the marquees for a very different reason.

Fortunately, the rain did not stop people from having a great time. The festival reverberated with the sounds of guitars, drums, and singing all set against the atmospheric background of the beating raindrops. The fantasy authors were performing in Little Hay and it was a magical interlude in a dark day with audiences being taking on fantastic voyages to new worlds, bubble universes, and times long forgotten. This is the power of fantasy fiction. It can believe in the story, you can journey into fantastical new worlds and meet dragons, fight the Mivrian Outriders or fall in love with sword wielding heroes.

The Fantasy Department of the Exeter Authors Association performed in a dazzling variety of welly boots.  Richard Dee spoke about the mechanics and science which underpins his steam punk world. Mark Norman explored the phenomenon of sightings of the mysterious Black Dog.

Jennifer Ash aka Jenny Kane took her audience back to a crime committed in Medieval times and Tracey Norman spoke of a land of dragons and elves. Susie Williamson took everyone to Africa as she retold her tale of magical people struggling a tyrannical king set on destroying the environment in pursuit of his crystals.

While I decided to take everyone on a traveller’s guide to Torcia, looking at the common phrases, spellcraft you might encounter and need to watch out in case you end up croaking like a frog for the rest of your stay in Torcia. A definite case of traveller beware!

by P.J. Reed author of The Torcian Chronicles

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The Red Shirt Effect

I do enjoy watching rather off-centre films particularly the sci-fi post-apocalyptic ones which are on offer on Netflix – I am also quite partial to the small budget, independent ones. They all have something to offer even if they are hated on ‘Rotten Tomatoes’. However, the last two films I watched, I noticed a slightly unnerving pattern occurring.

The colonies under attack were both led by elderly but physically strong, black men who mentored a younger, more attractive (white) male. In each case this proved disastrous as the elderly leader died protecting the colony and the younger male took his place. To be an elderly black male in these films seemed to be a death warrant with the life expectancy of s red shirt in a Star Trek expedition or as I call it the ‘Red Shirt Effect.’

Has anyone else noticed this trend?

I think while it’s great to have more ethnic diversity in films and books, the characters need to be real and natural.

I came up against this problem in my latest book ‘Welcome To Witherleigh.’ set in deepest darkest Devon where even people from the next village were regarded suspiciously as ‘bad’uns’, foreigners or even witches and this is set in modern times and based on a real village.

There seemed little chance of injecting ethnic diversity into my story, just no characters would naturally arrive in my story.

Fortunately, I then met Clem So at a Comicon.

He is the archetypal elderly Chinese baddie with long white hair who has been featured in many sci-fi films including Star Wars and Dr Who. Instantly a cameo character formed around him and the next day he was in my book, dropping quite a big story plot hint and hopefully being a completely real character who certainly does not die a wasteful, heroic death – you just do not want to get him angry as he is wielding a meat cleaver but then I am writing paranormal horror…. but hopefully realistic paranormal horror.

About P.J. Reed-

P.J. Reed is a writer of Warlocks and other Magical Creatures

‘Defiance’ the first instalment of The Torcian Chronicles, her dark fantasy adventure series is available in all good bookshops.

“Anyone who enjoyed The Lord of the Rings and all things magic will certainly enjoy The Torcia Chronicles: Defiance. Torcia, a peace-loving nation is under threat from the Mivirian hordes intent on the total destruction of Torcia and its people” H.E. Joyce

Available from Amazon 

Explore the world of Torcia

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Inspiration Points!

The start of a story, that moment when an idea begins to form and then explodes into a million different characters, places, and events is one of the most exciting times for an author. 

It arrives naturally and sometimes you have to be patient but when the creative spark hits your life changes forever. You enter a whole new reality and embark on epic adventures.
So where does this creative spark come from?
It could be a memory, gossip whispered by a friend, a daydream or even an image captured in your minds’ eye. Something in these events acts as a catalyst and sends your imagination into overdrive.
For example, one morning I nipped into Costa for a cup of tea and a slice of chocolate tiffin, as I am particularly partial to any food with chocolate in the title and my life changed forever. A story unfolded before my eyes like a movie and I dived into Torcia, the first fantasy world I ever created.
I saw the main character of the story, a warlock sitting in ragged clothes in a dingy, cluttered garret clutching onto the side of a medieval-looking wooden inn. He was sitting quietly on his favourite armchair by the fire, but something was very wrong in Torcia as even from the inside of his lodgings he could feel his people's suffering as the invasion of Torcia accelerated. It was all very exciting as I didn’t know what was going to happen next, I just sat down at my laptop and my fingers typed the images which flashed across my brain. One hundred and twenty words later the land of Torcia and Mivir had been born.
After writing ‘Defiance’ the first instalment of The Torcian Chronicles I was set to write the sequel, which everyone told me was the most logical thing to do. Unfortunately, logic and creativity are distant cousins at best. When Brian, a Gothic poet, told me of how he saw a black cockerel hung upside down from a village signpost swinging in the midnight breezes.
I knew immediately that was going to be my next story. It was going to be based in Witheridge, a village in the moors which I changed to Witherleigh so not to offend the villagers. The first thing I saw in my mind when entering Witherleigh was a young man from London making a new start in the countryside, driving down the twisting country lanes in his ancient car. I later found out he was a church youth leader who no one trusted because of his antisocial habit of witnessing ghosts and demons. Writing this book has been quite challenging because of the research into the Bible, church organisation and services and the voyage into Latin.
So far, the manuscript is at 31,000 words - complete with town map, a glossary of daemons, and a chronological list of missing curates.
All this arrived from one comment about a cockerel!
Therefore, when inspiration hits – grab that spark with both hands and prepare to entire a new, ultra-exciting universe.

Click here to enter the Kingdom of Torcia 

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Report on Exeter ComicCon 2018

Well, I’ve just come back from the first Devon ComicCon at Exeter University sports campus. I must admit the sports facilities at Exeter University were extremely impressive, all sorts of sci-fiesque heavy black machines lined the windows. You could not tell if the athletes were separate entities or just part of the machine, a cyber-athlete fusion, in perhaps an echo of future sport?

The ComicCon was run by Lisa from Moose Events which are always a pleasure to go to- you know it’s going to be well organised, with plenty of space between exhibits so we won’t all die if there is a sudden audience stampede. I had two helpers on my Torcian table – my daughters Sapphire and Jasmine, their support was wonderful. Sapphire actually drew the map of Torcia for me, which as usual had many admirers and several photographs!

There was a table top gaming zone and computer gaming zone which looked fascinating but as I was there to share the world of Torcia, I could not go off and play, which was rather sad. However, I did get squirted by a velociraptor which was quite a unique experience… There was one lone Storm trooper on patrol throughout the entire event but luckily for him/her no resistance fighters or they would have been in trouble. Interestingly enough there was no dinosaur-Empire fighting either.

The costumes from the cosplayers were magical. There were no Boxtrolls but a group of people who had invented their own world of furry creatures in a rainbow of colours. I always support creativity and individuality, so I was delighted to see such furry self-expression. Captain Jack Sparrow was also tottering around sans bottle, apparently all the rum had gone, which was a great shame. 

Some of the costumes were very impressive. There were two estate black shirted security guards complete with body vest and personal incident recorder cameras on their vests, who patrolled the building and car park. They had most realistic costumes of the day, but I couldn’t place their series at all, which was weird as I know my sci-fi. I thought it might be an indie horror. Obviously, I had to find out this unknown series. So, I caught them up and had a chat to them and found out they were actually university security guards sporting some pretty cool uniforms. They were lovely people and I left them taking pictures of the prop police cars. Exit stage left.

I had some almost old friends visit my fantasy table which was great. Old faces from some of the ComicCons I have attended throughout the year. It’s always lovely to catch with people like the impressive nuclear psychist Viking, the pizza delivering blue squirrel, the Welsh photography family, and many wonderful fantasy fiction fans.

I also had the great honour of Daniel Eghan, the Star Wars actor, giving me a limited edition signed poster which now has proud of place on my writing inspiration wall, as I do admit to having a slight lifetime Star Wars obsession…

To find out more about Torcia visit -

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Notes on the June EAA Meeting by Richard Lappas

A light-hearted look at life on Costa Del Gold in the heart of Devon where the EAAonnistas hang out on the second Friday of every month to discuss all the aspects of modern day book writing, flogging, illustrating, plotting, printing, rewriting, editing and finally publishing! But then, of course, comes the hard bit...Selling the books that have been painstakingly prepared with every step of the way celebrated like you've won the lottery!
Somebody sold 2 books last week, see the smile, relief, the hope, and authors working hard to plot, prepare and see an idea come to life!
Despite the trials and tribulations though, there is a fantastic spirit flowing through the slightly warm, humid, sticky conference room - where even the fan couldn't cool the temperature. The energy and enthusiasm gives off a great buzz as the Exeter Authors Association ain't just gathering strength and growing in numbers, it's hectic busy coz we are booked out for the rest of 2018 and already looking at gigs for 2019! Members have been  invited to literary festivals across Devon including Exmouth, Crediton & Sidmouth plus numerous others all sorts of talks on sofas or any old chair
 you can find on the day!
Anyway, down to proceedings for the monthly gather of writers, a Literary Harvest if you like talking and sharing about who is going where, who is picking up books and who's table they will be on, the buzzword is always genre and I hope one day to find my genre! So I can keep up with what's going on!
We got fantasy, steam punkernista, kids books, a vicar who writes amazing books about terrorism (He looks like one in disguise and I've often thought he could be wearing a dodgy vest oops!) and not forgetting our very own JK (several surnames!) who writes kids, beach reads in Cornwall and tales of dashing heroics, robbin' the rich (not me no point I'm skint chuckle) feedin' the poor in the guise of Robin Hood..all of which add up to a fabulous array of talent that will continue to furbish the retail book shops of England....AND New Zealand, cos now we got Kiwi Krissy Eden running our down under and a bit more branch and I reckon sipping Sauvignon is a lot easier than chomping cardboard coffee cups, even if it's cheaper then going New Zealand every 2nd Friday in the month!
So, the highlights of the gathering were very much picture led as the group posed for 'Hiya Kiwi Kriss' followed by the Costa mob wanting a group picture for their
newsletter before yours truly could get on with the real stuff sorting the girl in green, the bird wiv da funny ears, the Guv in stunning maroon and velvety 
(only it was cotton ha!) and finally Rich "The Doc" ette wiv is tinted goggles, and whistle blowin top hat!
All in all, an interesting day and watch out for my next post on here and Facebook which will reveal the latest pictures of the EAAonistas!
Have a good day folks
Losaluv Richie,  LX

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Fantasy On The Sofa

Yea right! But it's true, honest, it really is happening!

Once again the Exeter Authors Association gathered at the "Costa Loads of"
in the epicentre of the literary world...well no... it wasn't Haymarket or was Gold Street (Or Bampton! I can't tell the difference not bad for 14 years as a resident of this fabulous, flourishing, funtastic town!!! 

FFF for sure, its nice (when it's sunny) it's got stacks of lovely, talented people and it's the home and heart of the EAA and don't forget the district offices in New Zealand, West Hill, Ottery St Mary, Brixham, North Tawton and many more...Internationally renowned for sure!

Sofa so good then what happened at the meeting?

Well...Everybody seems to be working hard.  Rich "The Baking Doc" was  about
to launch his latest tome at the Liznojan bookshop, there's another launch later this month by Susie which is just before The Exmouth Festival, which is happening on the 24th of May at the City Gate in Exeter and summer is looking very busy with lots of poetry gigs and numerous festivals including Exmouth, Crediton, Sidmouth, and Chilcompton,  so it's an action-packed programme and if im not mistaken both Brian 
and Tracey Ann aka Maura are well on the way to making their debuts in the world of literary...And Sofas!!!!

So what of the Sofas then?

Everyone is thinking about a Fantasy on the Sofa ever since it got a mention halfway through the gathering. Well before anyone gets too excited, yes there is fantasy and yes there is a sofa BUT It's not somebody having fantasies ON the sofa.....its an author called *********** (you have to guess who!?) who is talking about "their" fantasy book....sitting on the sofa!

Sorry to disappoint you all. Anyway, before  I head off to play walking footy against the Exe Valley Ladies (who are seriously quick, so quick I'd never foul them because I can't catch'em haha!) I must mention the emergence of Tracy and Mark's latest edition to the family ...Yes! folks congratulations are due (Baby Gap/Mothercare vouchers accepted).

It's the return  of BLACK DOG (Ruff Ruff) soon to be seen on the streets of the west country and if anyone can remember where it's going to appear first, whoever gets it right wins a Costa Even More flapjack courtesy of EdBlog (Dass Me!)

So to  footy (Naa iss pourin and there is a message from the Manager MMmm looks like tele and a bowl of Shredded Wheat and Blueberries)

Hey ho, keep on writing you lot!

Luvsya Ed Blog Ugs an kisses 

Richard Lappas xxx

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Going Global!

Well maybe not quite as much as that but it was a pacy, racy meet up as the usual suspects gathered at the Costa loads in the heart of Tiverton city centre otherwise known and often referred to as the Metropolis of Mid Devon!
And it was only a matter of minutes before breaking news that a number of stalwarts were set to quit the EAA in the UK in order to seek new fame and fortune in pastures new..and a mere moment or two later the legend that is Kiwi Kriss was born set fair to travel the high seas, across mountains of range in search of Sauvignon City ...
This was swiftly followed by an emphatic denial of the news that the stunningly brilliant author Jenny "JK" Marion Hood was also set to quit as the toxic clouds of the post Brexit era gathered, barely concealing her sheer delight that she was leaving the meeting early as she was starting a new 2 hours a day job which would attract a handsome salary....well at least the minimum wage! It was a breath of fresh air(the job not the salary doughnuts!) and the delighted author was quoted globally  saying "I'm gonna get paid !!!"
In the meantime, Pam "The Guv" Reed sat in the chair, conducting proceedings with great aplomb reporting back with detailed analysis from EAA activities across the region and numerous events coming up through the summer months with appearances at concerts and festivals that would be working well within the boundaries of "Elf & Safety"!
But the best was saved to the last as the EAA's star of stage and screen Tracey The Norman, a lady made of Steel (see the picture!) taught us how to  'Speek Proppa,' and present ourselves in some style by breathing deeply, chucking furniture out and not smoking a pipe!!! As  part of the professional development sessions TNs accuracy in pinpointing what we ALL don't do, was frighteningly accurate and a lesson learnt for sure..talking of furniture The Braund and her pals from Ottery Writers also
moved furniture and bombarded a packed audience with Devon or Cornish (depending on where you put the jam and the cream!) Cream teas, lemon drizzle cake and various from the team which included Jenny, Mary, Viv & Eleanor....Well done guys!
That's all folks! Richard L.

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Festivals Are Us... Drama Queen

Just a taste of what's on the blog today.....well folks we have recovered from the snow, milk and bread supplies are getting back to normal so we won't be seeing those groaning trollies anymore... I 've often wondered how people can consume 28 pints of semi-skimmed when there's only one day of snow!

So we gathered for the monthly meeting... The EAA is gonna be uber busy with Festivals at Exmouth, Crediton, Sidmouth, Chilcompton, and maybe Budleigh too (PS Forgot to mention I'm doing Chudleigh LF too) and there's already a host of author talks at libraries including Exmouth, Ottery, Crediton not forgetting the biggy at Exeter!!!
And if  I've forgotten any apologies just ask The Guv (Pam) ... Meantime, Johnny Hall is back from a quick scurry around Oman (No it's not Oman Salterton its the one in the Middle East innit!) so hopefully we will as part of our business development series of talks, learn how to become terrorists!!!!

Anyway speaking of talks, we had a very lively presentation from the Guv which included  Chameleons, Pandas and Possums giving an interesting view of how to and not to sell our books... The illustrations were good but overshadowed by a brilliant series of short sharp sketches from our very own drama queen (literally!) Tracey
though  I didn't see any sign of her edginess ie no sign of the sword ..understandable I guess as stabbing customers wouldn't go down that well!!!!

So in summary, a decent turn out and hope springs (yea das a play on words as its March - now I have to explain the jokes already!) eternal that those that arent 100% right now see some sunshine and warmer weather to mend them quickly and it becomes a case of, saying tarra to the Beast from the East, no more of Emma's winds biting... instead much fun reading & writing so when we reflect and rest, we realise we are the best in the west!

Richard Lappas #manwithacamera!


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The Exeter Authors Association indulge in a little medieval murder...

Members of the Exeter Authors Association enjoyed a fantastic evening in the company of Karen Maitland and fellow Association member Michael Jecks, who were at Crediton Library last night. Michael and Karen, along with Ian Morsen, Susannah Gregory, Bernard Knight, Christopher Sansom and Philip Gooden, write as The Medieval Murderers, in addition to their own individual titles. Between them, they have written a series of 10 books and Michael has the longest series of crime books of any author currently living.

The evening, organised by the Friends of the Library, started with a lively and entertaining talk, with Michael and Karen regaling us with stories about the advantages and drawbacks of plotting books in the pub and the love/hate relationship between an author and their copy editor. They also gave us some fascinating glimpses behind the curtain by describing how they work, what helps/hinders concentration and the pros and cons of killing off all your main characters in each book and starting afresh every time. It was interesting to see the differences in their working practices – Michael favours gadgets more than Karen and enjoys listening to music as he writes, whereas Karen prefers to work without the distraction of background noise.

After a break, during which we all enjoyed drinks and snacks provided by the Friends, there was a Q&A session, which sparked discussion about plotting, research, unruly characters and adapting your book for the American market, amongst many other things. Michael and Karen know each other and their craft very well and were clearly well-practised at speaking together. It was a real privilege to be able to listen to two authors at the top of their game who can tell a story just as well in person as they do on the page and who kept us laughing with their anecdotes.

 For me personally, it was lovely to meet Karen, whose research has taken her along the same path I am now treading as I prepare to embark on my non-fiction book. There is no way to adequately describe the joy of meeting someone who has researched the same sort of medieval remedies and medicines and who does not even blink when you mention “ye snayles for the curing of deafnesse” but joins you step-for-step as you segue into a discussion about the use of earthworms in remedies for the King’s Evil.

The event was filmed, so keep an eye on Michael’s website if you would be interested in watching.

Michael’s website:

Karen’s website:

by Tracey Norman

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Exmouth with Roses by Jenny Kane

Last night I was lucky enough to be speaking to the good folk of Exmouth Library as part of the Exeter Author Association’s ongoing series of author talks.

With St. Valentine’s Day just hours behind us, it seemed fitting to address the thorny issue of ‘What makes a book a romance?’

Romance often has a bad press within writer world. It is frequently seen as the poor relation, with the myth that it is the ‘easy option’ flourishing- without anyone seeming to notice that 95% of all fiction (whether it is a romance or not) contains some level of romantic relationship- it is often difficult for our work to be taken seriously.

With that in mind I chatted about attitudes to romance, what we expect from a romance, and how something as tiny a button can trigger the plot line for an entire novel. I shall never forgot the light in one lady’s eyes as she explained why she liked Rhett Butler so much, or the enthusiasm of the two brand new romance writers who had come along to pick up a tip or two.

I’d like to thank the lovely Beatrice for making me feel so welcome, and the Friends of Exmouth Library for providing refreshments- and for presenting me with some beautiful red roses.

I hope everyone who purchased a book enjoys my words. I was overwhelmed by the number of sales.

It was a wonderful evening- and there are many more brilliant EAA talks to come.

Jenny x


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A Report on a Most Unusual Meeting by Richard Lappas

We were running a bit late after February's monthly gathering of the motley crew (speak for yourself they all cried!)..another well-attended meeting with all the usual suspects and some unusual ones too!

One of which stayed calm throughout, listening carefully even "paws ing for thought" now and again…meantime, thru the chair, Pam Guv revealed an action-packed bulletin of events coming up including Exeter, Exmouth and many more plus a report back on the Dev Con event ( In the Pink, Krissy E was now unbearable and will only speak to members if they've been in Eastenders (chuckle!)

Welcome Nasty Nick where are yer subs mate no lanyard or badge till you cough up!!) We also welcomed Susie 10, star of radio and writer of loads of books …. many members are looking forward to being interviewed for the Talking Books programme….

At this point, a great gathering was rudely interrupted by some old jobbing hack who drones on and on about his luck and judgement…but he did manage to hold the crowd's attention for about…40 seconds haha! Oh yes I remember now it was me mmmmm

I'm just pleased everyone said nice things about the workshop thank you ..the fivers are in the post!!! A lively gathering that rolled downstairs into the Costa coffee lounge for more chatter and more ideas for books…. I always try and encourage these lovely people never to allow the facts to spoil a good story! Ok, das it for now and until we meet again Much love from freezing sunny London where I've been celebrating me Mums 89th birthday….

Back to Devon tomoz and will be on Pi and People duty tomorrow night talking to the good folk led by the lovely Nicky Dunne:)))

Work hard, play hard and stay warm! 

Richard Lappas

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The Exeter Authors Association on Tour, a report from Devcon Exeter by Richard Dee


As the more observant of you will have spotted, I’ve become much more active on the selling front, not just online sales but also actual, face-to-face, whites-of-their-eyes style selling. This is largely due to the encouragement of the EAA and the support that comes from going to events as a group.

Together with colleagues from the Exeter Authors Association, I went to the Corn Exchange in Exeter to take part in Devcon Exeter, a sci-fi extravaganza. It was a bit of an early start but living in Brixham, I’m used to being miles away from just about anything that I want to go to.

Along with fantasy authors P.J. Reed and  K.Y. Eden, we set up our stalls and waited for the customers.

​This was the first comic convention that I’d been too as an author and I didn’t really know what to expect. There were a lot of people in costume and the quality of them was pretty amazing. While some were obviously commercial, a lot of effort had clearly gone into making the others look as authentic as possible

Sales wise, it was interesting to see that, while there was interest, a lot more of it was directed to the availability of ebook versions. Although I sold some paper copies of both novels and short stories, if I had been able to directly sell downloads I think that I would have sold a lot more. We’ll see if the promises translate into sales but that’s certainly a subject for investigation. There ought to be a way to make it happen.

It was also a good chance to see how other traders set up their stalls and get some tips for next time.

Here’s a picture of one satisfied customer, with his copy of “The Rocks of Aserol.”

I did meet a childhood hero of mine. One of the original puppets from the Gerry Anderson series “Stingray,” which people of a certain generation might remember. When I was a child hiding behind the sofa during the scary bits, I never thought that one day I would do that.

I also managed to do a bit of networking and secured myself a place in an upcoming Steampunk event, later this year, thanks to these guys.

The EAA  will be at Bath for another convention on March 17th, it will be interesting to compare events, see if we’ve learned anything and meet up with all the characters again.

Visit Richard Dee's writing at

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A Slice of Pi-Life by Jenny Kane

Last night I spent the evening talking to the Exeter branch of the Pi-Society at the Hotel du Vin in Exeter - and my head is literally buzzing.

After a delightful two hours in the company of friendly, intelligent and joyful people, I am riding high on one of the privileges of being a writer. There are few perks in this profession; little money, no days off, no spare time, frequent bouts of insecurity and more disappointments than it would ever be sensible to count- but we do get to meet a wide range of amazing people. For me this is one of the highlights of the job- and after just two hours with the members of the Pi-society - I feel lucky to have met each and every one of the people who’d turned out to see me despite the hail and gales that hit the city last night.

On my arrival to the library in the Hotel du Vin, I joined the group sat around a big round table (wine glasses full and at the ready), and the event began. We broke the ice with a discussion about our favourite books and reads, and then we were off! I answered questions about books, writing, and my rather diverse career- from archaeologist to erotica to romance, to historical crime- for the next two hours. The evening simply flew by.

Before I knew it, the time had come to sell a few copies of my books, and we were preparing to face the elements of the cold and wet winter night once again.

I’d like to thank Nicky Dunn for inviting me alone to the Pi-Society, and the whole group for making me feel so welcome.



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Exeter Authors Association Go Plotting!

First one of the year as Exeter Authors Association braved the freezing cold to gather at Tiverton's top coffee house in Bampton Strasse at the grey and maroon place with the pretty windows where it don't "Costa" lot a money to meet up!

The group was at least ten strong this morning with numerous apologies and a packed agenda reflected how busy the EAAonistas are going to be in 2018 with many library deals being signed up to feature some top-notch talks, lectures, workshops, quizzes, kiddies games and free cake!

Free cake is a reminder of the one aspect that was missing from the gathering (other than the apologists of course!)  which was the scrumptious beetroot caraway banana marmite and peanut butter rolls as created by Head Chef and author of science fiction fame and en route all the way from the fishing port of Brixham, our very own Richard Docket  who's elaborate recipes are fast becoming world renowned and if someone else could bring the soup brunch breakfast
or lunch is covered!

Highlight of the day was an action-packed presentation from accomplished author and bestseller Jenny Kane, JK (hey those initials could be worth a fortune!) talked about the good manners & proper way to utilise social media, covering  all the platforms, the do's and dont's including prostitution, criminal activity and the benefits of advertising on social media ..of which there appear to be none! Thanks to the Kane for putting together such a good powerpoint, it really
was very informative in terms of how to set up, how to use the format and how to create your own blog so whoever is doing the professional development workshop in February had better be on the ball as the Kane is a hard act to follow
........oh dear I think it's me oops!!

Overall it was better than most of the football l cover..the crowd were appreciative, no rowdiness or swearing, and even though there was no sign of burgers(delivering the familiar stench of onions) or prawn sandwiches, nobody left early to avoid the full-time rush and as ever it was always a pleasure!

Best, for now, EAAonistas may your weekend be a darn sight warmer than it is today!!!

Lossaluuv Richie #firstimeblogger!
Richard Lappas

07976 157997

Richard Lappas is the author and photographer of 'More By Luck Than Judgement'

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Coffee Shops and Cornwall - An Evening with Jenny Kane

It is always a privilege to be invited to talk about the books I’ve written, to meet readers and to help spread the joy that comes from both reading and writing.

This week saw the first author talk by members of the Exeter Author’s Association at Bampton’s Learning and Resource Centre (LARCS ). I was delighted to kick off this series of six events with an evening discussing my love of writing about ‘Coffee Shops and Cornwall.’

Every seat in LARCS was taken, and the audience’s smiles were wide and welcoming as I launched, somewhat nervously, into my confession that I ought not to be a writer at all- but should be sitting in a library somewhere translating Medieval Latin.

Clearly surprised that writing hadn’t been my childhood dream- but that I’d desperately wanted to be an archaeologist and historian instead- I think, however, that it was my disclosure that Mars Bar scones were responsible for my diversion into writing fiction which surprised people the most. It seems I need to educate folk in the powers of the ‘super-scone’!

The evening was split into two parts; with forty-five minutes of talk about my writing, my inspiration, coffee shops and Cornwall and two very short reading, followed by a half hour break in which to indulge in some delicious coffee (how could I refuse?), tea and cake. After we were all fortified with welcome calories and beverages, and some books had been sold and signed, part two of the evenings' chatter began we with me explaining how life-writing works- and the reasons behind my Robin Hood obsession.


Half an hour of questions followed, and I suspect if it hadn’t been getting so late, the questions would have kept coming from the engaging and kind audience.

It was a truly lovely evening, and I’d like to thank Kelvin and the LARCS team for looking after me so well.

These bi-monthly evenings will continue to take place from 7-9pm on the second Wednesday of the month. After the success of the first event, I am very much looking forward to the subsequent talks in the village’s library/resource centre.

Jenny Kane

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