Monday, September 25, 2006

Off to Glamorous Writer Land

Day two of my London adventure (yep - only day two - what can I say, day one was eventful....) And it's back onto the train for Natasha and I... And I'm in heels. Yes. I know... But my feet puffed up so much during the show the night before that on the way home my brand new flat shoes gave me blisters on my heels - so now I can't wear them!!! And these heels are smaller... and they're really well broken in - and they're comfy. Alright!!!

Got froffee at the station for the trip (my absolute fav so far - yes - iced coffee with a twist...) - I am now officially an addict... And off we went. Today it's raining. But is it cooler? Is it heck!!! I'm beginning to feel since I touched down in England that I'm possibly suffering hot flushes - my imagination says early menopause... But either way - IT WAS HOT. And the tube was hotter - with NO AIR... I'm officially a country bumpkin...

We arrive at the RAF Club near Green Park and we get rained on - so frizzy hair is the look of the day (at least it is for me). It's one of those places you probably would never get into normally unless you had RAF connections or an AMBA lunch to attend ;) And from the moment you set foot on the insignia'd carpet and walk up the long staircase lined with painting after painting of the Air Force history - you just know you're inside a place that's a bit special. My first year here I did what every newbie probably does - I walked a little slower and took in all the paintings and insignia's and faces of men who had flown from the first planes to the first jets. Some first time visitors even commented on doing the same thing over lunch... It's an incredible place...

Just off the room we have lunch in every year there is a little bar - and this is where the authors appear in their glad rags to greet each other after a year apart. My first year it was petrifying - this year it was much more fun. 'Cos this year I could put faces to names and the moment Natasha and I hit the room - we went off in different directions to see as many people as we could before we sat down...

First person I saw was the lovely Kate Walker - looking very glamorous indeed with a new haircut - and greeting me with the hug she is now so famous for. She's an amazing woman. Truly. Not only a prolific writer and a great teacher - but also a very staunch 'den mother' to all of us new authors coming through the ranks. With her was Anne McAlliser - who I had only *met* online through The Pink Heart Society - she's super! A little quiet at first but with that intelligence in her eyes that tells you she's listening to every word - and a wicked twinkle when she talks about our Hugh or the need for a Male On Monday slot at the PHS... Loved her!!!

Kate Hardy was there with her brand new shiny hand held PDA type thingie whatsit. I may not be technical but I WANT ONE... And she had all the chapters she had done on the train on the way down, loads of pics of her family (yummy hubby!- lucky gal) and she was wearing a gorgeous brown ensemble that made me green with envy! Kate is so much fun, so enthusiastic! And can juggle about fifteen balls in the air project wise while I'm still trying to figure out where I last left mine down... One day I want to be like Kate... And do you know - technically she's a new wave newbie too!!! Yeah - I KNOW! And she's gonna get her 25 books pin pretty darn soon too!!! I need to get a move on really....

I got to meet new Modern/Presents signees Abby Green (fellow Irish lass so Hurrah!) and Natalie Rivers before we were ushered into lunch - and for the first year since I've attended we were mixed between lines which was a truly fantastic idea - as we all got to meet loads of people we hadn't met before. Which is how I found myself between the truly hilarious Sharon Kendrick and another brand new Modern/Presents author - Christine Hollis. In fact there were FIVE new authors at the lunch this year from the year before - for Presents we had Abby, Natalie, Christine and Chantelle Shaw and for Romance we had the lovely Fiona Harper (who really is - and was great fun to talk with - though it really does feel like everyone already knows her due to her RNA win this year and her friendships with so many of us on the net....) - Add last years newbie Michelle Styles for the Historicals line at another table and Natasha and I and even Kate Hardy as signees from after 2000 and it's plain there is plenty of new faces around.... (more on that very subject later...)

After the main course some of us got to swap places to other tables where we could meet even more people (another fantabulous idea! Really, the AMBA organizers had out-done themselves this year! BRAVO! And they do it all voluntarily - THANK YOU LADIES!) so I got to sit beside Presents Superstar Sandra Marton, Caroline Anderson (I think that was who it was - if not I'm truly truly apologetic - but yes, even we writers who have been here a year or two are in awe of the talent and great names we get to meet so it can get a little blurry... - but really she was super - and had read my White-Hot! book and loved it so I loved her all the more!!!) and famous Historicals Author Joanna Maitland - I'm at this stage hoping that some of the greatness of these people will rub off on me.... Julie Cohen avec bump (aka Fecklette) came over for a hug and a catch up (and she's GLOWING gals - really. Absolutely stunning!) and Amy Andrews who we met on the tube from the office the day before came over with a copy of White-Hot! for me to sign (I still blush every time someone does that to me ) - so we set *him* up on the marble mantlepiece and did the 'eyes follow you round the room' test - yep - still works...

After coffee and choccies (which I resisted due to the ninety five billion calories I have consumed since I got here) we then had a Q&A session with the foreign editors who had come over from Holland and Germany. Fascinating stuff. And Harlequin Mills & Boon is one of the few companies who distribute books all over the world in various languages - they even had Dutch copies of some of our books at our places on the tables when we arrived.... Gotta LOVE this job...

As time was running on a little we went said our goodbyes to the foreign editors - having gotten some very thrilling news about Modern Extra and the possibility of more foreign distribution of them - and then off we went for coffee at Starbucks before we had to go drink champagne with the editorial team... Over huge mugs of coffee and one iced coffee (yep - uh huh) - and for the first time - Natasha, Amy and Julia James got to chat together which was fun - cos they have a novella together next year... While Fiona, Natalie, historical author Claire Thornton and moi chatted about my blisters from the day before...

And then it was off to Brooks...

Now for those of you not in the know Brooks is a Gentlemen's Club of Regency Historicals fame world-wide - and it's a very rare and special occasion to be allowed within it's walls! Inside is spectacular!!! Outside we were greeted by Kim Young and Joanne Carr from the editorial team - and it's just as well they were cos Brooks is not the kind of place that has a sign outside. Up the stairs - champagne is immediately forced on us (it's a tough life really) and Tamara Campbell introduces me to - wait for it - Lynn Graham!!!!!!!!!! Lynn Graham! Who not only is another fellow Irish woman - but little and all as she may ever admit to it - is also the name that many many new authors look up to. She's delightful - so unassuming - so softly spoken - so unprepared to wear the mantle of greatness that you just take to her straight away - and she had her very beautiful daughter with her... I could have merrily sat with them all night! But instead I brought the new Presents Authors to meet her - which I think she enjoyed as much as they did - and I got dragged off by the lovely Bryony Green to meet a BRAND SPANKING NEW MODX Author!!! Yes - ANOTHER newbie! In fact I think I heard a figure of about ten new signings bandied about as the night progressed!!! So - people out there with stories - get em done! They ARE signing new writers all the time!!! All it takes is that one story.... In the words of the Lottery ad - It Could Be You!

We got a fascinating talk from the Brooks club - and you could almost see the lightbulbs going off above Historical Authors heads. And then one writer received her 25 book pin (and she's a newbie too - slow down gals!!!) before the truly amazing Liz Fielding got her RITA statue to a huge cheer from the room. Really - it couldn't keep happening to a nicer person!!!!

By now I have shunned any semblance of glamour as the heat is crucifying and my hair has gone all curly... AND I'm sure my entire body is starting to look like I've been pumped up with a foot pump. I really don't do heat well you know... But I still manage a catch up with Kate Walker, Jacqueline Baird from the Presents line - the lovely Anne McAllister again - Sandra Marton again (who I'm just sorry isn't here every year!) - I talked to Karin Stroeker a couple of times (she claims the long walk incident from the day before is an editorial plot to force us to sit down and write.... *sneaky*) - Guy Fellowes whose head honcho talked about the possibility of flagging Irish Authors books in Ireland - which would be fabulous cos it's been so successful for Australian Authors in Oz - then on to Kim who again told us about how mega pleased they are with the sales of the new Romance line this launch month (100 branches of WHSmith sold out in the UK!!!) - Kate Hardy, Julie Cohen, brand shiny new Modx author and moi formed a Modx corner for a while... I *eventually* managed a chat with my own lovely Ed Jenny Hutton about changes we'd discussed for this new Modx - and I secured a promise she would stay with the company FOREVER - and then it was time to do the rounds of the room for goodbyes...

Thing is - I don't really want to go. The atmosphere this year has been just out of this world! There's a real sense of family and enthusiasm and hope for the future and that's just so addictive!!! I mean, just look at the honour roll of people I am having champers with! And we get to talk books and heros and writing all night long... Where would you rather have been if you'd been me??? I LOVE being a part of this world - and it's days like this one that remind me why I stay locked away in my little cave for so much of the year...

So I guess it was only natural that Natasha and I sneaked off for more coffee - this time with Sharon Kendrick... I tell ya - the day wasn't long enough!

Big news to leave you on would be that in 2008 Mills & Boon will be 100 years old!!!!!!!! Now - thats gonna be ONE HELL OF A PARTY!!!! And who knows that year who I'll get to sit next to at lunch.... Any volunteers???

9 comments:

Marcy said...

Sounds like another fabulous day, Trish. I'm so jealous!

Marcy

Trish said...

Well there' still space for new writers next year Marcy ;) Do you like iced coffee????

Carol Hutchens said...

Trish, your story sounds like a dream!!! I'm in awe of your experience...dreams really do come true! Congratulations!

Carol
PS...I LOVE iced coffee!!!!

Kate Hardy said...

Lovely to see you, too, Trish. It really is one of the year's highlights, isn't it? (And yeah, I did scoop you on the pic on Sunday, as promised *g*)

Iced coffee... is this Frappucino? Hmmm... might be tempted but my addiction is skinny lattes. Mmmm. Must go make myself one...

I told Chloe about your ponies. She has gone into nag mode. 'When can I meet her? Can we go and see her? Are her ponies like your friend Caroline's?' (Anderson - yeah, as in 'THE Caroline Anderson', as I once squeaked down the phone to her)

You can order the PDAs online at pcworld - and you can do email/web surfing on them too, btw. And then there's the keyboard (Fiona H promised to bring it next time - is all her fault I bought one...)

JENNA said...

Oh, I SO want to go! The energy and support sounds fantastic!

Jopee said...

Trish, if you do get that PDA and want a portable keyboard, email me. Ive got one floating around.

Trish said...

Carol - THEY DO - They just don't always sink in.... even when you're RIGHT THERE!!! Any day now I expect to wake up... ;)

LOL Kate - sorry about the pony thing!!! But we're open to visitors anytime it has to be said... mucking out duties may be forced upon her tho... that'll either cement the passion in place or put her off for life....

Jenna - YOU GOTTA!!! Start planning for 2008 if you have to choose - cos I really do think that party will be fantabulous!!!!

JOPEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I-LOVE-YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There's at least a couple of years supply of books in that deal!!!!!!

Julie Cohen said...

It was great to see you Trish. Your enthusiasm and charm are just the same as they are online. What a great day.

Marilyn Shoemaker said...

I've so enjoyed reading this entry, so much in fact that I've posted it on Writerspace.com. We so love M&B and Presents authors there. We have Abby Green and Annie West, plus Trish Morey joining the cast of characters.....Kate Walker, Lucy Monroe and Sandra Marton plus Jane Porter and Anne McAllister joining in at times. It sounds like you all had a grand time. Keep on writing those wonderful books and greetings from the USA. Maybe you'll consider joining us on this forum?