As mentioned in my last post...three weeks ago *cough*...our writers' festival, Carnival of Words, was finally upon us. The doors opened to the public at 1 pm but several of us were there at 11 am to set up. I'd brought my LED light 1.8m Christmas tree and two boxes of tinsel, baubles and sundry other decorations to help set the Christmassy atmosphere. Balloons were blown up, a barbecue was set up for the sausage sizzle, coffee, tea and an urn of hot water organised and eskies filled with ice for bottled water and cans of Coke readied plus authors' tables and audience seating organised...all this completed by 12.30 pm.
The authors arrived in ones and twos, chose a table, set out their decorations and books for attendees to peruse and hopefully purchase. All was ready, the sound system was checked and Nerida Marshall, facilitator, organiser and all round Superwoman (despite rolling her ankle and injuring her ribs in a mishap yesterday) welcomed everyone and introduced the MC, talented actress and funny woman, June Horden.
The first speaker was S.T.A.R.S (Screen,Theatre, Artists and wRiters Studios) Patron, internationally renowned author, Peter Watt. Also a volunteer fire officer, Peter writes for six months of the year, and performs his firefighting duties the other six months during bush fire season, which is currently upon us.
As well as talking about his books, he also spoke about his firefighting duties and how he mentioned to his coordinator that he wouldn't be available on Sat 21 November because of his appearance at our event. He had no sooner finished his talk and sat down, when he was up again making his apologies because he'd been called out to a fire...he'd brought his firefighting and safety gear with him, grabbed those and raced out the door to meet up with his crew. Without our brave and dedicated volunteer "firies" life would be pretty grim for those in the path of an inferno.
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After Peter's dramatic exit, we had excitement of another kind...talks and readings from authors who embraced a wide range of writing genres. Raffles were drawn throughout the afternoon and we had a huge range of prizes for winners including books very kindly donated by all authors present.
The "barbie" was fired up and soon the delicious aroma of barbecued sausages and fried onions permeated the venue with the rumbling of stomachs threatening to drown out the speakers! I was assisting with refreshments and drinks along with Barbara Harding Gaskell and we experienced a stampede once the announcement that the sausage sizzle was ready. Appetites satisfied, thirsts quenched and legs stretched, the second part of the day began with an invitation to visit the authors for questions, book purchases and signings before the next few authors spoke. I was lucky enough to be invited to speak about my book "Old Age and Villainy" and I also read out an excerpt which, I feel (hope), was relatively well received. I didn't get booed off the stage, anyway...a good sign!
Below are some photos which I managed to take before the event began.
Barbara (standing) whom I helped with the refreshments and Sue, who looked after the raffles and anthology sales.
Dee Dee McCarthy, horror novelist and author of "New Soil".
Roman Harambura, self-empowerment motivator, philosopher and author amongst many other hats he wears, author of "Entrapment" and "The Book of Knowledge, I'Am Alien", taking the opportunity to avail himself of some refreshing rock melon (cantaloupe).
Michael Mason, author, who graciously took time to smile for the camera.
S.T.A.R.S. Founder and organiser of Carnival of Words, Nerida Marshall, with Patron and international author, Peter Watt (before he disappeared to undertake emergency firefighting duties).
Dr Elisabeth Puruto, author of "Over The Mountains, Not Over The Hill" , and adventurer extraordinaire, signs a copy of her book for a lucky purchaser.
These are only a handful of the talented authors and speakers we had over the course of the day.
The event finished around 5 pm, we tidied up, put things back to how they were and retired outside to the outdoor picnic area for wine and nibbles on a balmy summer evening.
After dropping one of our members off on the way home, I decided to unpack the car the next morning before going out for breakfast with one of my writer friends, made my way upstairs and collapsed in a heap in the recliner.
I had two very disgruntled cats who, after demanding where the hell I'd been since 10.30 that morning (it was 7.30 pm before I was home again), studiously ignored me until I went to bed.
...and so begins another day.