Monday, 16 December 2013

Guest Post: How being part of the UK Meet has helped with my new release by Liam Livings

It's my very great pleasure to introduce the very lovely Liam Livings to Well Read. Liam has been a big part of the organising team for the UK Meet and is now celebrating the release of his first book, Christmas Serendipity. When we talked about this guest post, I asked Liam whether he would do something about the influence that the UK Meet has had on him as an author, and good egg as he is he agreed! Over to you, Liam. 

How being part of the UK Meet has helped with my new release

Without UK Meet I definitely wouldn’t be celebrating the release of my first piece of published writing. Without UK Meet I would still be sitting alone at home not knowing where to send my manuscript. There are so many ways in which UK Meet has helped, I’ve tried to list some of them – because I like a list, that’s just me :).

It’s through UK Meet that I’ve met my writing family: my writing mothers/aunties/brothers/sisters. And it genuinely does feel like another family I’ve got to know through UK Meet.

  1. Since the UK Meet 2012 in Brighton, which I attended on the recommendation of Clare London, I’ve met a group of friendly, helpful authors and readers. The amusing link, which the BF and I explained at a party at Clare’s house a number of times is: Clare London’s hairdresser = Liam Livings’ BF’s auntie. Got it? 
  2. Clare London read my first novel, Best Friends Perfect, not once, but twice, and gave me very helpful, constructive feedback. Without that feedback, I doubt it would have gone much further than my laptop, Gummidge’s hard drive. It’s going to be published as a series of books, the first of which comes out in spring 2014. Clare London was also there with Christmas Serendipity and gave it exactly what it needed, a damn good edit. It came out the other side of Clare’s red pen a much stronger story. 
  3. At UK Meet 2012 I found out how to make a website and blog from some friendly authors. Without them I’d still just have my email address. Since UK Meet I somehow found the knowledge and courage to make my own website and blog. All this from me, someone who’s a real technophobe. 
  4. Since UK Meet 2012 I’ve been on the organising UK Meet team, and have got to know Jo Myles,  JL Merrow, Charlie Cochrane and Clare London much better. They’ve all been there when I’ve asked daft questions about publishing/writing/anything to do with writing really. And in return hopefully I’ve helped in my own small way to make UK Meet a bigger better event for all. 
  5. I met a great group of people at UK Meet 2013 who volunteered to be my beta readers from now on. This has been invaluable as previously, I was relying a bit too much on friends & family. I still have some helpful friends who beta for me, but now I think it’s more balanced. 
  6. I found out about Nanowrimo from Anna Martin and Becky Black, both in person at UK Meet and through their blogs. Knowing about Nanowrimo meant Novemember 2013 I wrote a first draft of my next novel, called Guardian Angel. This gave me the kick I needed to get a draft down. 
  7. I’ve had guest blog posts with people I met at UK Meet to help spread my name to more readers. Thanks to Elin Gregory, she had me in her comfy chair, Becky Black, who had me as a guest on her blog, Charlie Cochrane who’s had me twice on her blog, The Romaniacs and RJ Scott for that. Without these people I wouldn’t have known where to talk about Christmas Serendipity on the internet. 
  8. The Romaniacs guest post, which was set up by Charlie Cochrane, as she’s friends with Laura James,  led me to finding out about the RNA, and attending the London Chapter meetings, which led me to attend a local writers group as Jean Fullerton lives near me and attends both. 

As one of my friends said to me, ‘Once it starts it will roll!!’ And it all started from me coming to UK Meet 2012.

Thanks to all these lovely people, I am proud to say my first piece of published writing is now available.

About Liam Livings 

Three things about him – there are five more on the website, one is a lie.

1) He lives, with his partner and cats, where east London ends and becomes nine-carat-gold- highlights-and-fake-tan-west-Essex.
2) He was born in Hampshire with two club feet (look it up, it’s not nice) and problem ears, needing grommets: this meant he was in plaster from toe to groin until he was two, and had to swim with a cap and olive oil soaked lamb’s wool over his ears - olive oil bought from a health food shop, before it was sold by supermarkets.
3) He started writing when he was 14: sat in French lessons during a French exchange trip, for want of anything better to do, he wrote pen portraits about his French exchange’s teachers. He wrote for his school’s creative writing magazine and still writes a diary every day. 

How to get in touch with Liam Livings:
@LiamLivings on Twitter
He told me he’s new to facebook, so please be gentle with him.

Christmas Serendipity 

Just before the Christmas holiday, in a snowy small town in England, refugees of Christmas bad luck, handyman, plumber Christian and office worker David find themselves thrown together at miss Organiser, Cathy’s non-family Christmas.

Christian thinks the world has ended as his parents get used to him being gay, and disinvite him to their Christmas. David has just been fired from his waiting job, and is still getting used to the fact that he has dumped him. Although David’s ex was a useless cheating, money grabbing waste of space, he was at least, David’s useless, cheating, money grabbing waste of space. And now David doesn’t even have that. He’s not in the mood for a night out with his best friend, camp Tony, just before Christmas. Instead they retire to Cathy and Tony’s place, to find a quiet Christian.

With Cathy’s organizational skills and enthusiasm, these four spend a non-family Christmas together, making the best of it. Together they drink, eat and play their way through Christmas, surprising each other at how it turns out, and how well they all get to know one another during the short break.

Refugees of serendipity and luck, David and Christian realize that spending the holiday season together may be just what they both needed, when they both needed it. They find that apart from both just escaping from awful relationships, they also have much more in common.


We talked late into the night, moving onto Cathy’s special Christmas spirits.

“Only to be drunk at this time of year,” she explained. She appeared with a tray of snowballs—yellow advocaat and lemonade, foaming with a little red cherry perched on top of each one. “This’ll send us to sleep,” she advised.

We took it in turns to throw more wood onto the fire, until we ran out. Cathy announced she was going to bed. She’d made up the spare room for Christian, and she pointed to the sofa in the corner for me.

I looked at her, feeling slightly light-headed from the alcohol, and started to ask if she’d show me how to make it up. Before I could say anything more, somehow she’d managed with just one hand, to turn it into a bed and cover it with perfect duvet and pillows.

“Thanks, Cathy. Night.” I stood up, a little unsteadily. She kissed my cheek.

“Night boys.” And she made her way up the stairs.

Tony followed, waving goodnight to us both. And then there were two. I’ll admit I did consider, for a brief moment, just following Christian to his room. But I decided he wasn’t that sort of boy, and really, neither was I. So instead, I opted for an awkward goodnight hug/kiss, standing over the remains of the Indian takeaway in the middle of the floor. The gentle glow from the fire and a few candles around the room gave the only light. He kissed my cheek and I his, before lingering for a moment too long on his neck, holding the hug as long as I could manage without seeming creepy. I felt his breath on my neck and I felt myself responding in my boxer shorts. We both pulled back and stared into each other’s eyes, his warm breath mixing with mine as I breathed in and out. He smiled. I stared into his deep blue eyes and kissed him again, this time with our tongues exploring each other’s mouths. He gently bit my bottom lip and a jolt went to my groin. I felt his hand on my bum, trying to pull me towards him, despite our legs being a few feet apart, separated by the takeaway. We fell onto the sofa, his small frame landing gently on my muscly chest. He sat astride me, leaning down and continuing to kiss me. His hands caressed my pectoral muscles under my T-shirt, tweaking my nipples, harder and harder.

Maybe he was that sort of boy, and maybe I was too.


Christmas Serendipity is OUT NOW published by JMS.

Buy links:  JMS books Smashwords


  1. Replies
    1. *blushing* thanks, Charlie! X
      Liam Livings

  2. Lovely post! and it's really exciting to see that snowballing effect in action :):). Hurrah for real time events!

    (Oh, and you turned my ears red with embarrassment at being mentioned so often LOL.)

    1. Hi Clare, it has definitely snowballed, and that's great. You deserve to have your ears turn red :-) Liam Livings

  3. Thanks for a great post, Liam. I'm glad that you were able to get the support you needed. It can be isolating to be a writer which is why events like the UK Meet can be so important for sharing ideas, making friends or networking.

    Good luck with your new release and with future projects.

    1. Hi, I think as writing is such a solitary experience it's so important to meet other writers and readers. Liam Livings

  4. So glad you did NaNoWriMo. It's my mission on life to persuade everyone to give it a go at least once.

  5. Hi Becky, I am sold on the Nano concept. I will report back on the state of the 1st draft in Jan/Feb. I loved the fast drafting aspect of it. Liam Livings


Comments are closed, sorry.

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.