Launch of ‘The Bramley Volume 2’

Does anyone else feel like a lab rat? So much of what we’re going through during this pandemic feels like a ‘try it and see’ situation. Governments can’t make decisions, or often are making the wrong ones. (Why can’t we all copy yer woman in New Zealand? She’s amazing!)

So there was great comfort and joy in compiling The Bramley Volume 2 Because the stories have been tried and tested before a live audience at Flash Fiction Armagh events, so we are sure of the quality going into our beautiful publication.

The launch, however, did pose a problem…

For the first Bramley launch in March 2019, we had a wonderful day in the Palace hosted by the then Lord Mayor Of Armagh, the lovely Julie Flaherty. It wasn’t the first launch I’d had in the Palace either. Back in March 2015, the Lord Mayor at the time, the amazing Cathy Rafferty hosted a launch for March to November in the Palace, and if I’m honest, I feel she launched my career as a writer, though she’s too modest to admit that. Nowadays, I have the great pleasure to work alongside Cathy on Armagh’s COVID 19 Response team. (In fairness, she does much more than me – I only volunteer for a couple of hours a week while she is instrumental in the operation.)

Which brings me back to the launch of The Bramley Volume 2

Castrum Press released Rejuvenation just as we plunged into lockdown, (March 25 2020) so the official launch was cancelled, but with two more books to release, I’m sure we will have that party some other time.

It was Sue Divin, friend, fellow writer and contributor to both Bramley’s who suggested we have a Zoom launch.

“Just get everyone on to Zoom to raise a glass, take a screenshot, and you’re done,” said herself.

So that’s what we did.


It was a little chaotic.

And very, very funny…

I sent an email to everyone with the jpeg of the book cover attached and instructions to download it to their device for use as the background. The plan being we’d have all these lovely rectangles with a picture of the book behind us and an array of happy faces with raised glasses.

There were certain technical challenges to this and many innovative ways around it… and after much chaos, this was the best we could do!

Getting to this was quite the task – I was a bit flustered ‘admitting’ everyone to the chat, and though I tried to welcome each person, I can’t help feeling I missed someone – if I did, I’m sorry. The craic started when we tried to set our backgrounds. A few had devices which didn’t support it, but we decided there were enough of us with the background to make it work…

…Except that at least three of us got eaten by our apples.

Brendan Magee went ‘old school’ and printed out his picture and stuck it up behind him.

Malachi Kelly was taking no chances of catching the virus from the rest of us and has to be coaxed out of his PPE.

Chris Wright and Rosemary Tumilty won the prize for ‘getting it right’ with their perfectly positioned book covers. In my head, this is what we’d all have looked like.

As we raised our glasses, (for the umpteenth time!) Kieran Mc Gurk introduced us to his vintage bottle of …Lucozade! From 1997 – a great year he assures us.

By the end of the session, things had deteriorated somewhat. Sue Divin invaded the Robinson Library in Armagh, to Rachel Toner’s consternation since that’s where she works.

Then we attempted a serious conversation about the book cover design…

Then zoomed off on a completely different a tangent, several times…

But the important thing was the feel-good factor as we finished off with raised glasses, smiles and laughter!

And I was so glad we tried this new form of book launch, proving that some experiments can be fun and that together we can get through this.

If you’d like to buy a copy of The Bramley Volume 2 click here.

And if you’ve read it, we’d love you to leave a review.

AND NEWS JUST IN… just I was about to publish this post one of the contributors, Gerry Mc Culluogh drew my attention to this

We’re at number 1! I may have to open another bottle of bubbly! Well done Team – seems the Flash Fiction Armagh fairy dust is still working despite the lockdown!

Many thanks to all involved,

Byddi Lee