I suppose it was inevitable that February should become Romance Reading Month. There’s St Valentine doing his bit on the 14th to remind the world that romantic love is a) universal b) important and c) can be awkward. The material of good stories, in fact.
It seems to me that Valentine’s Day gets increasing attention every year. Partly this is because Bloggins’ Aniversary And Activity Day has long been the jobbing editor’s lifeline to fill an blank column or an empty four minutes on broadcast magazine programmes.
Clearly there’s even more and more slots to fill these days, what with social media ‘n’ all. And, frankly, St Valentine doesn’t face many candidates for rival celebration attention in the shortest month. Ground Hog Day anyone?
Today’s blog is not only late but also shorter than usual — just apologies, a brief explanation (real life!) and a bowed head for Remembrance Day.
This picture is a photograph I took some years ago, of the West Gate to the Royal Hospital, Chelsea. This wonderful building by Sir Christopher Wren was built at the instigation of Charles II as a home for old and injured soldiers. And so it is still.
The two people in the photo are a serving policeman, and a resident Chelsea Pensioner. The latter is wearing his famous scarlet coat. When I bump into them in the local supermarket, they are generally equally smart but slightly less startling in navy blue.
I am really fond of that not very good photograph. I took it on a day in November — mist in the air, trees turning to gold before they started to lose their leaves. Very like today, indeed.
Real Life (Mine)
The reason the blog is late is that I have new member of the household.
After my dear Tom Kyd died in July I heard him about the house for weeks.
But then I began to smile more and weep less, when I thought about him. Then I started to feel I wanted to share all that love we generated between us.
Liz Fielding, multi-award-winning author, celebrates her arrival in the Libertà Hive with a Romance Conference Diary, after Joanna’s blog about the RNA Conference. Welcome, Liz!
Liz is just back from Denver, where the Conference in question was that of the Romance Writers of America — and where her lovely Sheikh’s Convenient Princess was short-listed for the 2018 Short Contemporary Rita® Award.
LIZ’s ROMANCE CONFERENCE DIARY — Monday
Packing for Conference is ridiculous. You have no idea how cold the hotel is going to be. You do know it’s going to be steaming hot outside, so you pack twice as much as you need. Plus conference “swag”.
I checked in online and printed my boarding card. Tick. Car delivered me to Heathrow in good time. Tick. Bags dropped. Tick. Through security… Er, hello Border Control. I was drug swabbed! I mean, could it be any more ridiculous? Noticeably all the swabbees were women. The lady in front of me had a scented candle. I hadn’t taken the plastic pouch with my toiletries out of my hand luggage before it went through the x-ray machine. Slapped wrist. Don’t do it again. Continue reading →
This week I spent a day with Georgette Heyer. Billed as The Nonesuch Conference, this was at a hybrid gathering at London University, offering a selection of papers from accredited academics together with reader/writer participation from people labelled in the programme as independent scholars.
Clearly, and heartwarmingly, most of the speakers I heard were also fans.
It was preceded by a writing workshop the day before. And there was a Regency Soirée in the evening after the conference, which sounds like a lot of fun.
Sadly, I couldn’t make either of these events. For one thing I’m still convalescent. (My energy gives out unexpectedly, so I didn’t want to push it.) For another, the programme was really full. Academics seemed to be supercharged, cheerily steaming from session to session, enthusiasm still at white heat.
When I read my notes I was astonished at the sheer volume of ideas I had noted down for further consideration. Continue reading →
A dozen published and aspiring authors attended the HOOK & HOLD (Sparkle1) full-day workshop in London on 17th June and they loved it! Sparkle2 — BLING IT UP! — will be held in London on Saturday 21st October. Bookings are now open. Details on the flyer below