Had a high old time at the Romantic Novelists Association Conference this weekend in the fabulously posh surroundings of the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. Have pinched a photo of myself and Abby Green at the Gala Dinner on Friday night in the historic and gorgeously Georgian Trafalgar Tavern from Kate Hardy's blog because as usual I took my camera and then left it in my bag all weekend.
So who did I see?
All the usual suspects such as Abby Green, Kate Hardy, Natalie Rivers, Joan Hessayon award winner Lucy King, Julie Cohen, Biddy Coady, Kate Walker and a host of other great writers... Plus it was a thrill to speak to Romance Minxes Lorraine Wilson, Joanne Cleary and Romy Summer in the flesh for the first time...
What was my most embarrassing moment?
Was a complete plonker when a young woman came up and asked me to sign a copy of Unfinished Business with the Duke for her. I was so shocked I said "What me? Are you sure??" I was so chuffed I then proceeded to gush all over her. Poor thing, she probably thought I was nuts and wanted to whip the book back. Mind you when it happened two more times that day I was almost getting blase about it!! What a thrill!
And what did I learn?
That Mira Books are launching a brand new teen paranormal line... Much excitement about that.
That the big selling genres in the US Market include erotica, inspirationals (bit of a contradiction there, don't ya think?), paranormals (still??) and steampunk.
That steampunk is Victorian sci-fi (think Jules Verne basically)
That Kate Hardy has tons of good tips on how to plan your career, from time-management skills to brainstorming ideas!
That Joanne Trollope knows how to inspire romance writers everywhere to be their best (phenomenal closing speech, folks)
And last but by no means least, that Mills and Boon are doing their biggest writing competition yet. Here's what I jotted down about it....
Called New Voices it's open to unpubbed authors only (there will be a proper definition of this on the website in due course). There's gonna be a website where you enter your first chapter, and get it critiqued and where the public can vote on them. It's all happening in September. The ten finalists get assigned a mentoring team (of an author and editor) there are a couple more rounds which involve writing a second chapter and a 'pivotal moment' and the entries are judged X-Factor style by a judging panel that includes Penny Jordan no less and a public vote. The winner receives an ipad, and gets the services of an editor for a year, while the runners up get an editorial consultation.... All very exciting and a great new opportunity for aspiring authors everywhere (not just in the UK). You can find out more on www.romanceisnotdead.com when the website goes live soon... And I'll be doing a lot more about it on my blog shortly.