GUEST POST – BY CHERYL HEADFORD
The UK Meet is a meeting up of LGBT writers which takes place in the UK. I can’t comment on previous years, but in 2014 I attended and that was where Ari was born. It took place in Bristol, at the wonderful Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel I met so many people and most of them wonderful. The catering was amazing and I basically ate beautiful confections, from sandwiches to cakes, and drank coffee, all day.
The story of Benji’s UK Meet experience was basically mine. My hamster, Ariel, died the night before. We were woken by the dog barking at the mother of all thunder storms the morning of the Meet, and there was a singing guard on my train to Cardiff.
Unlike Benji, I wasn’t estranged from my family, or taking care of my young brother. Marc is in fact my son, and I dropped him off at his father’s. It was hammering down so hard I thought it was going to dent the car and I worried it was such an inauspicious start. However, it only got better from there.
If only I had met Ari, Benji and Arthur there! However, I did manage to write most of the original story that appeared in the WIP Anthology Stranded
At the same time I met wonderful people, sat in on lively discussions – on topics that ranged from negotiating contracts to whether there should be swearing in YA, to writing disabled characters – and listened to fascinating talks. I had never seen shibari in practice before and I was very impressed.
Like Benji, I made a huge mistake in hotels and was a ten minute taxi drive away, so I missed out on some of the action, but I had a fantastic time nevertheless. This year, I’ll make sure to research hotels much better.
All in all my experience at the UK Meet it 2014 was eye opening and amazing. I might not have actually met Ari and Benji, but I met some absolutely amazing people, had a wonderful time and am looking forward to doing the same this year.
Author: Cheryl Headford
Genre: LGBT, romance, transgender, intersex, M/M, F/F
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing
After having known each other online for some time, writers, Benji and Ari meet at a convention.
Their attraction is both immediate and mutual.
But all is not straightforward—Ari is intersex and Benji transgender.
Together they embark on a journey.
A journey that unites families, and heals old wounds.
But not everyone is happy with the blossoming love between these two unique and special individuals.
Will an act of aggression crush the flower before it can bloom?
Don’t miss Wayward Ink Publishing’s Tickle Me Pink Sale! 25% off all list prices.
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YUT48QE/
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00YUT48QE/
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00YUT48QE/
Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/dp/B00YUT48QE/
Prizes: 3 UK Swag Packs (Ari mug, notebook, rainbow pen) and 3 International Swag Packs (6.99 WIP gift card, bookmark, key chain)
About the author
CHERYL HEADFORD was born into a poor mining family in the South Wales Valleys. Until she was 16, the toilet was at the bottom of the garden and the bath hung on the wall. Her refrigerator was a stone slab in the pantry and there was a black lead fireplace in the kitchen. They look lovely in a museum but aren’t so much fun to clean.
Cheryl has always been a storyteller. As a child, she’d make up stories for her nieces, nephews and cousin and they’d explore the imaginary worlds she created, in play.
Later in life, Cheryl became the storyteller for a re-enactment group who traveled widely, giving a taste of life in the Iron Age. As well as having an opportunity to run around hitting people with a sword, she had an opportunity to tell stories of all kinds, sometimes of her own making, to all kinds of people. The criticism was sometimes harsh, especially from the children, but the reward enormous.
It was here she began to appreciate the power of stories and the primal need to hear them. In ancient times, the wandering bard was the only source of news, and the storyteller the heart of the village, keeping the lore and the magic alive. Although much of the magic has been lost, the stories still provide a link to the part of us that still wants to believe that it’s still there, somewhere.
In present times, Cheryl lives in a terraced house in the valleys with her son and her two cats. Her daughter has deserted her for the big city, but they’re still close. The part of her that needs to earn money is a lawyer, but the deepest, and most important part of her is a storyteller and artist, and always will be.
Isis and Osiris came bounding out of the house, followed by two women carrying trays. The similarities and differences between Nancy and Skye were even more obvious in person. It was like looking at two halves of a personality, one severe and the other timid. Ari, it seemed, had inherited all the fun.
The trays contained a delicious selection of cakes and biscuits, and Skye immediately scuttled back indoors, presumably to collect more, or perhaps drinks. Marc was on the plates like a locust.
“Marc! At least say thank you.”
“Thank you,” he mumbled with a mouth full of cake.
“Don’t worry,” Nancy said with a smile that transformed her sour expression, “he’s not doing anything Ari doesn’t. I’m surprised he hasn’t got his face in the chocolate cake already. He must be on his best behaviour.”
Ari shrugged. “Don’t get too complacent. I already ate the—”
“Ari Fischer.” Skye’s voice was outraged as she strode down the path, holding a large jug and a tin. “Look at this.” She shook the tin at Nancy, who smirked.
“Don’t tell me, half of the gingerbread snaps have mysteriously vanished.”
“Half? There are four left. Four!”
Ari uncurled and danced over to his mother. He hugged her; then he grabbed the tin. “Oh well then, might as well finish them.”
“Ari.” Skye scolded as he dipped his hand into the tin and stuffed his mouth with something that crunched.
“Ari, will you please—?”
“Do you think there’s a point in scolding him?” Nancy broke in, cutting Skye dead. “He never listens, and besides, the boy’s too thin. There’s nothing there of him. He could do with feeding up.”
“Feeding up? You see how much he eats.”
“He burns it off with all that energy. Here, have some of these.” Not missing a stride, Nancy took up a plate of biscuits and handed them to me. When Ari would have intercepted the plate, she batted his hand away. “Visitors first, dear,” she said, and Ari gazed at me with an expectant expression. I don’t know whether he was waiting to see if I liked the biscuits or for me to relinquish the plate.
The biscuits tasted like heaven. They were sweet and light and crunchy, and tasted of butter and something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. “What’s in the biscuits?”
“Cinnamon,” Ari said instantly. “Nancy makes the best cinnamon cookies ever.”
Nancy beamed. “Thank you, dear, but those are your mother’s. She’s a serious challenger these days. Which is just as well as I’m getting older and no one knows how much longer I’ll be able to cook.”
“Mother. Don’t say things like that,” Skye exclaimed, almost dropping the second mug and stack of glasses she was carrying. “You’ll be around for many years yet.”
“I intend to,” Nancy said with a grin, “but no one knows what’s coming ’round the corner.”
A sharp breeze whipped around the corner of the house and made me shiver for a moment. It was gone as fast as it came, but I noticed Ari, Nancy and Skye all raised their heads and glanced around. I shivered again. Did they think it was a premonition? Was it? Hadn’t Ari said Nancy and Skye were witches? I hadn’t believed him, but maybe they were. If so, some of their stuff would have rubbed off on Ari maybe. He was very perceptive, did that count?