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28 October 2011

Festival of Romance

I spent last weekend The Festival of Romance.  This was the first time the Festival has been held, and the first time I've been to an event like this.  I haven't even been to any of the RNA conventions yet, although I hope to do so at some stage.  (I have to limit myself on 'treats' since I have two much loved horses and a dog to support and the cost of feeding and stabling doesn't get  any cheaper)

Although the the Festival was actually on Friday and Saturday, we had a 'pre-Festival Panel' at Watford Library the night before.  I went along, thinking I would have a nice relaxing evening listening to other authors, and found myself on the Panel with Kate Allan, Annie Burrows, Isabelle Goddard,

Lynne Connolly and Juliet Archer.


I knew Kate but hadn't met the others, so it was nice to make their aquaintance and although I hadn't brought any of my books, I had at least had the foresight to bring along 
some flyers and postcards, and the tables had been 

tastefully set out with books and promotional material, and a rather lovely vase of roses.  I was rather nervous (as can be seen by my tense expression below - I'm actually listening intently to the introductions!) but I soon relaxed and really enjoyed it. The chocolate biscuits and wine which 
were laid on went down rather well, too!
Me, Pamela Strange and
 Kate Allan

The actual Festival was held at the beautiful Hunton Park Hotel, Kings Langley.

After registering and receiving our name badges, the morning started for me with a talk on writing short stories for womens magazines.  I have to admit I prefer writing something longer, but I have written (and been published) in magazines so it was good to find out the state of the market and who is likely to accept what.  Afterwards,  we were were able to indulge in light refreshements (laid on all day in the coffee lounge and very welcome) with biscuits, cerea bars, coffee, and for tea drinkers like me, several kinds of tea, including my favourite Earl Grey. Then off to enjoy and learn from the many panels, talks and chats available.  *Gulp* somehow I'd put myself forward to sit on the Panel entitled 'Romance That's Out Of This World' (Well I had to really with a title like that, since it's also the sub-title of my author blog). Unfortunately this clashed with Sue Moorcroft's talk on writing Romantic Fiction, which I would have dearly liked to attend. but obviously with so many things going on, some were bound to clash.


MC Charlie Cochrane, standing, me sitting on her left
Despite  my inherent nervousness, I enjoyed the session very much. My fellow panelists, authors Lynne Connolly,  Tara Newlands and Berni Stevens were fascnating to listen to and we had some very interesting questions, followed by a general chat with other authors attending the festival, before an excellent lunch with a charity quiz. After a full afternoon of events, including another stint on a panel where I talked about horses in fiction, and several other

 authors shared hints and tips on subjects dear to their hearts. The day was rounded off perfectly with a luxury chocolate making demonstration and tasting - delicious!

Saturday started for me with another panel where several authors read the first 150 words of one of their novels. It was fascinating to  hear how other writers started their books to 'hook' the reader.  One of the highlights of the day, was a 'fashion show' where various authors dressed as their characters.

Mandy Baggot - Sue Moorcroft - Jean F - Christina Courtney - Kate Allan -Talli Rowland
A full programme of afternoon events included a talk and 'one to ones' by a Mills & Boon editor, a fascinating interview with Carole Matthews, Internationally bestselling author and Festival Guest of Honour with Elle Symonds, editor of Trashionista and cupcakes all round served by a tall, shirtless 'Loveswept' hero. (The cupcakes themselves had pictures of actual 'Loveswept' covers but I'm not sure if they got as much attention as he did!) Other publishers at the Festival included 'total.E.Bound',  'Choc Lit', 'Excite Books', 'Myrmidon' and 'Rouge'.Jane Judd Literary agent was also at the Festival.

I wasn't able to attend the ball in the evening, unfortunately, but I understand a great time was had by all. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the Festival and learnt a lot.  Thanks to Kate Allan who's 'baby' the event was and to everyone else behind the scenes for all their hard work.  I can't imagine how much work must be involved in puttingon an event like this.  The location was beautiful and   I'll leave you with some pictures of the grounds.

Kate Allen 'in costume'

'STARQUEST'    'CHILDREN OF THE MIST'  (The sequel to Starquest)  Dancing With Fate      'Freeread':'A BARGAIN WITH DEATH 'STARQUEST'    'CHILDREN OF THE MIST'  (The sequel to Starquest)  Dancing With Fate      'Freeread':'A BARGAIN WITH DEATH'

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