I'm back! Hope everyone had a great week. I managed to get a lot of editing done, and while I'm not quite finished, it's getting there. Slowly.
But! Last weekend, I had the great pleasure of attending the Romantic Novelists' Association Conference in Caerleon, Wales. My first conference last year in Greenwich was a blast and I was super keen to get out of the house and drink. (Did I mention I've been editing?) And if you're looking for drink, there's really no better place then a romantic novelists' convention. Compared to many there, I'm a lightweight. I can only aspire to such imbibing greatness.
Apart from drinking wine, the women of the RNA are also famous for shoes. Since, at heart, I'm basically a very shallow and materialistic individual, I thought I would summarise my conference experience in shoes.
Friday morning, I braved the rains and boarded a train from Paddington to Newport Wales wearing the shoes above. Practical for training, and good for puddle-jumping. Lord only knew what I'd encounter in the Welsh wilds. Although the sky cleared around Bristol, as we zipped under the Severn and emerged in Wales, the skies opened yet again and rain poured. No matter -- a nice lunch at a golf course with a friend (who twisted my arm to indulge in a large Pinot) and several attempts to convince the waiter to purchase a Kindle, and the weekend was off to a flying start.
Conference shoes must be high-heeled and ultimately quite uncomfortable, and these high heels certainly filled that role! After checking in and getting settled in my dorm, I scurried over to register, feeling slightly anxious I wouldn't see anyone I knew.
I needn't have worried! Instantly I spotted people I knew from Twitter, Facebook, the last conference... I'd forgotten how lovely and friendly everyone is. It was amazing to see so many friends again and meet some people for the first time. I didn't even feel the pain in my feet! Copious amount of wine were downed that night at the bar and the chatter and laughing continued.
With my feet smarting from the night before, I was only too happy to don this pair of relatively low-heeled shoes for Saturday and Sunday. Despite my slight hangover and zombie-like appearance, Saturday passed in a blur of fantastic sessions and speakers. One of the things I love about the RNA is that no matter how successful and experienced authors are, they always take the time to interact with aspiring writers and those just starting out in their publishing career, like me. Jill Mansell, Elizabeth Chadwick, Katie Fforde and many more were all present and so giving of their time and advice.
Party time! Yes, the time had come to don my lovingly purchased turquoise frock, slide my feet into these killer shoes (in more ways than one) and drink as much wine as I could. It's safe to say a good time was had by all, except my liver, which is still in recovery and sleeping off the effects. The Gala was fabulous and everyone scrubbed up very nicely. I was particularly chuffed to have a lovely late-night conversation with the fabulous and talented Miranda Dickinson and Ruth Saberton, despite the fact that I was practically swaying on my feet and almost slobbered all over them in my delight.
Sunday afternoon rolled around far too quickly and I hopped (well, stumbled) on board the train back to reality. Another fantastic conference, and if you live in the UK -- or even if you don't! -- and you write romantic fiction, you really couldn't do better than to join the RNA. It's one of the best writing moves I've ever made!