Monday, July 16, 2012
What we did in Penrith
This weekend was the annual romantic novelist association conference. This year we were back in Penrith. The conferences are always superbly organised by the wonderful Jan Jones and Roger Sanderson and this was no exception. The campus was jammed to the rafters with writers, editors and agents. I arrived on Friday afternoon and shared a taxi in with Jude Roust and another lovely friend from Twitter. Accomodation was in the student houses which have single bedrooms clustered around a communal kitchen. In my house I had Anna Louise Lucia, Biddy Coady, Julie Cohen, Liz Fenwick, first time conference attender Rose, and Kate Walker with her lovely hubby, Steve, aka the Babe Magnet. Steve and Kate celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary with us so it made the weekend extra special. It was lovely to be with friends and so nice to have time to catch up properly. My housemates appeared to have cornered the world wine market and stashed it in our fridge which always helps. I met up with my good friends Sandra and Ann for a belated celebration of Sandra's special birthday. Conference opened with a celebration of everyones good news, contest wins, agent signings, book sales etc and then a panel, ably chaired by the wonderful Janet Gover, which considered book translation and the international market. We had a delicious dinner, served by the incredible staff who were all so pleasant, patient and helpful they made the weekend a delight. After that it was kitchen party time! It was lovely to meet conference first timers, including Abbi, our youngest conference goer at sweet 16. I'm sure the poor girl is now corrupted for life - hopefully someone covered her ears when she met some of the erotica authors! Saturday had some fab workshops, I went to Maggie Seed, who gave a brilliant talk on submitting to Pocket Novels before giving my workshop on editing. Jan had warned me to expect a lot of people but the room was jammed! They were a fantastic group as always asking lots of inciteful questions and every handout disappeared - and I had a lot of handouts! In the afternoon I talked with Kim Young, one of the editors for Mira, which was great fun and very interesting. I then went to listen to Moira from Book review site Vulpes Libres. That was another good talk. By then I was a bit socialed out and needed a break so went back to the house kitchen where I spent a lovely hour with Biddy, Julie, Liz and Anna just chatting about books, writing, workshops, Pixar, and wine. The gala dinner was fab and I got to chat with Sally Clements who had come over from Ireland, and some of the other romaniacs, including Romy, who had come all the way from South Africa. After dinner, Sandra, Ann and I ended up in the Scottish kitchen with a group of lovely writers from north of the border where we chatted away for the rest of the night. Sunday bought sunshine and a fbulous funny talk from Jane Wenham - Jones, a great workshop on sex in YA books with Tamsyn Murray and a session with a life coach before it was time for lunch. I spent lunch with Cally Taylor and Rowan Coleman before we all headed for the station and the journey home. Another fab weekend gone too soon.