But, last Saturday, I allowed myself a day off from the laptop and went along to the Festival of Romance in Bedford. I could only manage a day but the festival went on all weekend.
Organised by Kate Allen, it was a celebration of all things romantic.
At the gala dinner on the Friday night beforehand, my talented friend and writer, Phillipa Ashley, won the Best Romantic E-Book Award for her fantastic novel ‘Miranda’s Mount’. Published by Piatkus Entice, it’s a gorgeous Cornish pasty of a read, with a really romantic hero.
Sadly, I missed the dinner but have caught up with the very pink photographs this week. The hall in the Corn Exchange was suitably glamorous and endowed everyone with a romantic rosy glow!
I travelled down with another writing chum, Elizabeth Hanbury. It’s always fun travelling on trains with Liz. We’ve had fellow passengers agog when we discuss writing, especially if we stray into the tricky area of writing sex! I remember one chap, sitting next to us on a train to Birmingham, who did not turn a page of the novel he was ‘reading’ for the entire three hours of the journey!
However, back to Bedford and the Festival of Romance. First on the must do list was the Meet the Authors Coffee and Cake session in the very glam Lanes Bar.
It was great to catch up with Phillipa, along with C19 writers Hazel Osmond, Sue Lowe and Rosy Thornton. Good to see Choc-Lit writer Margaret James too, she’s always so warm and welcoming.
I also met one of my favourite writers, Trisha Ashley, and was thrilled to hear her read an excerpt from her book ‘Chocolate Wishes’, out with Avon. ‘Chocolate Wishes’ is a super, heart-warming novel and features the devastatingly gorgeous vicar, Raffy. Recommended!
Other writers read from their books too. Hazel read from her new one, ‘The First Time I Saw Your Face’ published by Quercus. Hazel’s reading was fantastically funny and I’ve decided, when I’m a grown-up, she’s who I want to be.
Very occasionally, you bump into someone with whom you instantly click and when I began chatting to Carol Wright also known as DizzyC, I knew that had happened. Carol runs http://www.romanticfiction.org and writes a blog too http://dizzycslittlebookblogspot.co.uk How she finds the time, I don’t know. Such is the enthusiasm for books and romantic fiction.
Next stop was to drop off some books for the Escape Press stand in the Romance Fair, in the Corn Exchange. The place was buzzing with writers and readers but we didn’t have time to linger, as we had to dash off to Bedford’s shopping centre where a readathon was taking place. Romantic novelists read out extracts from their books to the bemused Christmas shoppers. All good fun!
Must mention here the delightful Tread the Boards Theatre Company, two members of which acted out scenes from Mills and Boon’s finest. Sarah and Dan were superb.
Two enormous book ‘covers’ allowed those who were willing to make fools of themselves, to pose. Great fun. I chose this handsome hunk but he remained silent no matter how many faces I pulled! Perhaps he felt a little chilly without his shirt?
A quick pit stop for lunch and then we hurried back over to the Fair.
Always good fun to meet up with Julia Roebuck from Escape Press. Plus Liz Fenwick, Jon Beattiey and the charming Lizzie Lamb celebrating her release of ‘Tall, Dark and Kilted’.
Elizabeth Hanbury and I wended our way home, with bags full of books and goodies, after a fun-packed day at the Festival of Romance. If you’re a writer, an aspiring writer and especially if you are a reader of romance, I heartily recommend it. Next year, I’m staying for the whole weekend!