Is happening. Today, tomorrow and Sunday. I am only going today and tomorrow and, since it is happening half an hour away from where I live, I am going as a day visitor. I write this from the comfort of my own home at the end of the first day.
It’s being held at the agricultural college where my brother was a student, many years ago, and which is now calling itself a university. I mean, it is a university and they are allowed to call themselves that, but it is still basically an agricultural college. I spent some happy minutes communing with the cattle and then falling in love with some tiny baby piglets that were only a couple of hours old. Outside, it smells like a proper farm, which makes me very happy.
Inside, there were no farm smells.
There was a LARGE goody bag. I have divided the contents into: readable stuff (7 books!), useful stuff (pens, paper, cards), edible stuff (chocolate, biscuits, tea bag), and other stuff (flyers, postcards, business cards). I was going to be really dismissive about the value of the ‘other stuff’ except I have already bought one book on the basis of the bookmark (Say it with Sequins). Whereas I have eaten all the chocolate and haven’t bought any of the books they were supposed to advertise. So there’s something. The teabag is a really brilliant idea for residential conferences, I think.
Anyway, I was loitering forlornly in the reception area when someone waved me over enthusiastically. To point out that I was wearing my cardigan inside out. Excellent. Turns out she wrote that fun re-telling of Much Ado About Nothing I read earlier this year.
And then, and then one of the people I REALLY wanted to talk to came over to say hello to me! Amy Andrews who was only there today, in the middle of a family holiday to the UK. We had a great chat and I only wished I’d had longer to pick her brains properly. But then we were joined by Fiona Harper and Lucy King and I started to get all starstruck.
The first session I went to was a Mills and Boon thing. The main take home message was: Everyone wants to be Sarah Morgan*, a sentiment with which I wholeheartedly concur.
Then I broke half the teacups by mistake. In the manner of a cutely klutzy romance heroine, perhaps. Though no dashing hero stepped forward to rescue me so I ran away. And then Jessica Hart asked me if I was Ros who did the funny tweets and I no longer cared about anything else.
After ‘tea’ there was the main welcome session which was a mix of tedious housekeeping and announcements of various achievements. I am ashamed to admit that I got the giggles at the announcement of a book which comes with accompaniment of folk music composed and performed by the author. Courtney Milan, your enhanced ebooks have some way to go to beat that.
I went to the M&B single title session next and spent the time outlining a book set on a cruise ship. And then I went to the drinks party sponsored by Amazon Independent Publishing. Thanks for the warm orange juice, Amazon! And then I had had enough of people so I came home. I bought fish and chips on the way and ate them out in the garden. Lovely.
Tomorrow I have to get up Very Early because I have an appointment with a M&B editor to talk about my sheikh book. The appointment is not that early but there is a local show happening two fields away from the agricultural college and I predict that the traffic will be vile.
But tonight I am giving books away! I already gave the Sarah Morgan book away on twitter, and I’m keeping a couple of the others, but I have these up for grabs. I’ll chuck in some of the other swag too, probably (unless you live on the other side of the world and it makes the postage extortionate). Just leave a comment and I’ll contact the winner of each next week.
*Okay, there was more to it than that. And possibly some people don’t want to be Sarah Morgan, more fool them.