Ok, for those of you who know me, I'm not 'on the market'; well, not that kind of market anyway. I'm talking about literary speed dating, where you pitch your book and yourself to sympathetic, but overwhelmed publishers. I suspect there's not a lot of difference between the types of speed dating - a pervading sense of desperation and hope that someone will love you (and your work). What I gained from the experience is that I'm no good at it. I suspected I would become a babbling idiot, and I was. In truth I gained more than that. It made me face the reality that I need to smarten up my act if I want my second book to be published. I need to convince people that my work is marketable; that my spoken words run as sharply as my thoughts. The trouble is, I don't think either is the case. I suspect my second novel just isn't good enough (and I already know that I shouldn't be allowed out. My spoken words are as crisp as my linen ... enough said). I'm a tortoise in ill-fitting orthopaedic boots - I have to take my time, but somehow I seem to get there. As I stood in line waiting for my turn, I pretended not to eavesdrop, but I was desperate to know how other people did it. How did they get that publisher to show interest, to hand over the 'contact me' card, to come away from the table with a self-satisfied smile? Truly, I was out of my league (my league? are there others like me? Good grief!). But ... I met lovely people. They might have been better at speed dating than I was, but lovely nevertheless and for that, in particular, I'm glad I showed up; a reminder that I'm on a writer's journey and these are some of my companions on the way. Nice.