RNA Summer Party and the Joan Hessayon award

The Romantic Novelists’ Association Summer Party….well, as it had ‘summer’ in the title, it was of course raining! As I splashed my way from Covent Garden to the party venue at the Royal Overseas League, I was extremely glad that I’d been organised enough to bring a pair of emergency shoes for the party.

It was my first time at the RNA Summer Party, and it was all the more special as I was attending as a finalist for the Joan Hessayon Award. The Joan Hessayon Award is a prize for authors whose books have gone through the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme. It is awarded in memory of the late Joan Hessayon, who was a huge supporter of the New Writers’ Scheme. This year there were eleven finalists, including myself, for the award, and I was very proud to be among their number.

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The Joan Hessayon Award 2017 nominees

We finalists arrived early for our official photo, and to have a chance to have a proper chat with each other. It was really nice to compare notes about our journeys to publication and to talk all things writing. Before long, the party was in full swing. As you can imagine at an event for romantic novelists, the room was full of interesting and lovely people. I was nearly hoarse by the end of the evening from all the chatting! I’m beginning to think this is just standard at RNA events (see my blog post after attending the RNA Winter Party.)

The Joan Hessayon Award ceremony was held early in the evening when everyone was armed with a glass of bubbly to toast the nominees. It was really wonderful to hear such nice things said about my book ‘Who Does He Think He Is?’ and I’m so honoured to have been a finalist. The overall winner was Kate Field with her novel ‘The Magic of Ramblings’, which I’m very much looking forward to reading.

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I had a thoroughly enjoyable time catching up with old friends and making new ones. Thank you so much to the RNA committee for arranging the event, and also thank you to Dr David Hessayon for kindly sponsoring the award in memory of his wife.

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Party and pre-ordering time!

It’s a good thing I’m typing this post rather than having to say it out loud as I am rather hoarse after attending the Romantic Novelists’ Association Winter Party! I’m not sure what the collective term for a group of romantic novelists is, but it should definitely be a word which conveys both how welcoming everyone is, and how chatty they are. I would have illustrated this post with lots of pictures of the party, but I was too busy enjoying myself to take any!

I was delighted to attend the event, but it was made even more lovely because I had been invited by my reader on the New Writers’ Scheme.fullsizerender-5 For those who don’t know, the New Writers’ Scheme is a marvellous thing whereby established authors read manuscripts from new writers and provide a report with lots of useful help and guidance. My debut novel ‘Who Does He Think He Is?’ went through the New Writers’ Scheme, and I am hugely grateful to my wonderful reader for the advice she gave me. fullsizerender-6

When she heard that my book was being published by Crooked Cat Books, she got in touch and sent me a ticket to the party to say ‘well done’. I was absolutely delighted to meet her, and chatting with her gave me a huge boost as I count down to publication day.

And the count down is definitely on, as ‘Who Does He Think He Is?’ is now officially available to pre-order on Amazon at the bargain introductory price of just 99p. Eek, exciting times! If you want to find out more about it, check out the blurb below.

image2-1Lady Aurelia Osbourne-Lloyd has long wished her bank balance was as big as her name. But her home, Leydale Park, is more of a pile in a state than stately pile, and with her father off ‘finding himself’ in Thailand, it’s up to her to turn the family fortunes around by entertaining demanding tourists.

When – thanks to her father’s interference – a Hollywood production company chooses the estate as a location for a Regency movie, a whole new level of chaos enters Aurelia’s life. Her quiet days shattered and privacy non-existent, she has no choice but to go with the flow and let them take over.

Never mind the added distraction of dishy leading man, Xander Lord, who may have an ulterior motive for wanting to get close to her…

Can Aurelia keep her cool in light of all the upheaval?

 

Romantic Novelists’ Association Conference 2015

Last weekend I attended my first ever Romantic Novelists’ Association Conference. I’d been looking forward to it for ages, but I have to admit that as it drew closer I also started to feel a little nervous about the whole thing. After all, the great and good of the romance writing world would be there… and then there would be me!

New girl's conference badge

New girl’s conference badge

However, I needn’t have worried. My conference badge had a sparkly little flower to indicate that I was a newbie and people went out of their way to make me feel welcome.

The weekend consisted of lots of talks and workshops, and of course, the gala dinner on Saturday night which gave everyone an excuse to put on their glad rags.

Gala dinner shoes

Gala dinner shoes

And between scheduled events, there were plenty of kitchen parties and drinking by the canal, which was more sophisticated than it sounds, honest!

So among the many things I learnt at over the weekend, these are a few highlights:

  • The villain is never a villain in her own story
  • Post its are the way forward when it comes to doing edits
  • You should always take a big suitcase to conference (I managed to acquire 14 new books, oops!)

Julie Cohen's fabulous talk on the art of rewriting had us all rushing out to buy Post It notes

Julie Cohen’s fabulous talk on the art of rewriting had us all rushing out to buy Post it notes

It was a truly fabulous weekend. I made lots of new friends and had an amazing time talking books with fellow bibliophiles.

I’d like to say a big thank you to the wonderful organisers. I’m already looking forward to my next RNA event!

Conference book shop - most of which I bought!

Books for sale at the conference – most of which I bought!