Monday, 12 July 2010

RNA Conference... And a new Writing Comp.

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 when the website goes live soon... And I'll be doing a lot more about it on my blog shortly.


Kimberly Lang said...

Lovely photo. (And what is it with you leaving your camera in the bag? Not that I can really throw stones.)

Sounds like a total blast. I'm so going to try to come over one year.

Wow, another M&B contest?

Jackie Ashenden said...

So fantastic, Heidi! I'm jealous - would love to have come over for RNA. Ah well, one day.
Interesting re the contest!

Julie Cohen said...

Wish I'd had enough energy to get to the comedy club! I admire you for going.

It was such a wonderful weekend, wasn't it? You looked gorgeous and I'm sure you were every inch a Very Distinguished Author when you signed those books. ;-)

Rachael Johns said...

Ooh thanks for the conf update! Makes me so more excited about RWA Oz next month!! And the contest info is VERY exciting!

Lacey Devlin said...

Steampunk? Who knew? I've never come across this genre, although I have read a book or two that might fit it. I'm fascinated with the name.

There have been photos for all us vicarious conference goers and you looked fabulous.

Exciting news about the contest but its a bit intimidating to think that you could end up with a whole lot of negative feedback. The prize is to kill for. I'm so excited.

Heidi said...

I know Kim, what is it with me and cameras...??

Jackie, would love to have met you there... Will defo be at the RWA in New York next year, so we'll have to set a date for that one!

Nell, yes that was a hoot, some young fella actually asked me to dance too (it was very dark in there mind you, LOL)

Awww Julie, thanks for the complement, you looked gorgeous too me dear.. Don't know about Very Distinguished, more like Very Shocked but I think I managed to calm down enough so the poor woman didn't think I was a total tool.

And Rach, Lacey and Jackie, yes the contest is exciting, I think there's going to be a lot of publicity surrounding it in the UK but it's definitely open to authors everywhere and hopefully you don't have to worry about negative feedback on the website as they did say they would be monitoring it closely to make sure there were no 'unconstructive' comments. I think they've learned there lesson given the brouhahha after the last contest! I should know a lot more by 22nd July so will keep you posted.

Rachael Johns said...

Ooh NY sounds good! I wonder...
And thanks for the info on the contest, I can't wait to read the entry conditions and find out if us previous placers can enter!

Heidi said...

Rach, you have to come to New York, think it's going to be a blast as NYC is so much more accessible for everyone!

Good question re: previous contest placers...I don't see why not as long as you're not yet published but they did say they were still working on ensuring the eligibility requirements are very clear this time so that there were no grey areas. They'll be posting them on the website as soon as it goes live, which I would think will be in the next week or so seeing as they've already announced it.

Lorraine said...

I know the Minxes were equally thrilled to meet you Heidi and to discover you're just as nice as we knew you would be :-)

Heidi said...

Cheers Lorraine... It really was fabulous to meet you all. Romance Minxes Rule!

Sally Clements said...

Great post, Heidi. As a Minx who didn't make it (due to picking up duties of teenage son on 3 day music festival) I'm so sorry I wasn't there to meet everyone! RNA next year we're going for the full Minx complement, looking forward to meeting you then!

Caroline said...

Great photos. Glad you had a blast at the conference. Thanks for the info on the M&B competition. I'm getting my thinking cap on now! Caroline x

Nicola Marsh said...

Thanks for the great round up.