Festival of Romance, Bedford

I got back on Sunday, and after having chilled out a bit, I am almost back in the swing of things. As it was my very first event as an author, I thought I’d share what happened with you all.

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First stop – Nando’s!

I took mother with me, since hubby had to look after the ratbags, and I didn’t want to go on my own. We stayed at the Park Inn, which was on the same level as a Premier Inn – comfortable but basic. It was ideally placed, and only walking distance from the venues.

On Friday evening we went to the Higgins’ Museum to listen to some readings from some amazing historical romance authors. My TBR list was suddenly extended. We were also given an impromptu private tour by the lovely William Coles (if you’re reading this – thank you for showing us the teapots!!)

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Evening view of the Great Ouse from the hotel dining room

Saturday was when the fun started for me. We got to the Harpur Suite at 8.30 a.m. to set up, and I shared a table with Lucy Felthouse. I have to admit to being a little bit overwhelmed by it all. I was surrounded by authors, many of them having been featured on the Sunday Times Best Seller’s list. I was meeting people I’ve been following on Facebook and Twitter for a while, and authors whose books I have on my shelf, like Miranda Dickinson.

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The set up

At 10.30 I followed everyone down to The Lane, and waited to do my reading. To say I was nervous would be a severe understatement. I was shaking so much that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to read the words. But armed with Citrine point (my birth crystal) for luck, a copy of the book, and my glasses I took my place and read the opening scene from Seven Dirty Words. I think it went okay…

And after that we headed back to the Harpur Suite to pick up sales. Well that bit didn’t go as well as it could have. I sold 2 books. And now have a box of 47 sat in the boot of my car. But hey-ho! I did give away a fair few bookmarks, postcards, and business cards, and quite a lot of people did say they would download it on Kindle – I only hope they are true to their word.

I try to look at it as experience. I did a lot of networking, made a lot of connections, and “put myself out there”. Overall it was a good day, and I had fun.

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Listening to the Baby Shower readings

Saturday evening was the ball, but I was shattered and so was a party-pooper, heading for the hotel, a cup of tea, and QI in bed.

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But not before a second Nando’s…

A quiet drive home, and I am now back with my babies and the hubster, planning a massive market-drive next week to try and shift some of these books and swag. (Watch out for a giveaway in the next week or so!!)

But I am looking forward to next year’s Festival of Romance!

A break before a break!

I use Grammarly’s grammar check because bad grammar is like an ex-boyfriend and with hindsight they could both have been avoided!

Talking of ex-boyfriends, love lost, and romance – it’s the Festival of Romance 2013 in a couple of weeks. I shall be there, in Bedford, signing and selling books so make sure you get down there. I have 50 books that need a new home!

But before mother and I hit the road and head for a comfy hotel, I shall be taking the kids up to Nottingham to see the “Northern Bunch”. I am well aware that Nottingham isn’t technically in the North, it’s East Midlands, but down here in Somerset anything north of the Watford Gap is considered “Northern”.

I’m looking forward to getting a break, although I will miss the hubby (he has to work – boo!!) and I’m 99.9999% sure the kids will too. With grandparents, aunties, and a (fairly) new cousin I doubt I’ll see much of them. I am wondering if I should warn Grandad that William is bringing his Nerf gun and fully intends to play war games with him. Oh, and Rebecca has written a lovely song that she’s going to play on the recorder for both Grandma and Grandad… Nah… It’ll be a wonderful surprise for them both!

With the kids sending the grandparents up the wall and around the bend, I’m hoping that I will get some precious laptop-time and get some more of my latest novel, The Black Door, written. Yet another smutty romance about a 37 year-old single Mum, it’s a step away from the spoiled poor little rich girl books I’m used to writing.

We shouldn’t forget that November (yes, that’s only a week away folks) is also home of NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month). Yet again I have challenged myself to write 50,000 words in the space of 30 days. I didn’t complete it last year due to having major surgery, but I have no excuses this year.

It’s also the month of my son’s birthday. So, NANOWRIMO, Festival of Romance, my son’s birthday party, Bonfire Night, several more birthdays, and a desperate need to prepare for Christmas… November is going to be a busy month. I’m going to need this break before I break!!

Festival of Romance 2013

Are you going to be in Bedford, UK between the dates of 8 and 10 November this year? Yes? Then you need to come and visit me at the Festival of Romance! Supported by Piatkus Entive, Mills & Boon, Choc Lit, Pulse, XCite Books and loads more, it is set to be a fun weekend for all us romantics. But most importantly, I will be there!

I will be on a table with copies of SEVEN DIRTY WORDS to sign and sell. If you already have a copy, why not bring it along and talk to me? Not only that, but during the Coffee & Cake event, I will be giving a short reading. I can’t tell you how nervous I am. Panic attack begin!

Last year they also had stalls selling gifts, and tasting chocolates so you can bring your unromantic friends and partners along and there is something that they’ll enjoy too. For all you budding authors, last year they also had a Pitch Your Novel event, where writers were invited to discuss their novel with a panel of publishers for constructive feedback. There’s also an awards ceremony, where readers (that’s you!) get to decide which are the best romance novels published this year. Should I enter???

It sounds like it’s going to be loads of fun, and as nervous as I am, I can’t wait to meet everyone and perhaps get a few sneaky autographs of my own!

Dates and timetables have to be confirmed yet, but I will update you, and you can always check out my website or FB page for more information.