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.
I had carbs and a soothing a pot of mint tea. Totally recommend The Pilot restaurant. Food was excellent and the staff were great.
Arrived safely in Denver after the pilot aborted his first attempt at landing — whoah — because of a tail wind. Checked in.
It was 8.30 local time, 3.30 am my time. I went to bed.
ROMANCE CONFERENCE DIARY — Tuesday
Nothing much happens until 3 pm when Conference Registration opens. I had pancakes for breakfast. It was cool — cooler than the UK — so I went shopping. I didn’t need lunch; I was still full from breakfast.
So then I sat in the lobby and watched people arriving.
And discovered that I was sitting by Rita Clay Estrada — Rita® herself — and we had a chat for half an hour about travel and conferences. Lovely, lovely lady. I’m still kicking myself for not getting a photograph of us together, but it seemed, you know, a bit tacky. British reserve…
Then I looked up and saw someone I’d known online for years, who dedicated one of her books to me.
And all that reserve went out of the window in shrieks of recognition and hugs.
And that was how it was for the rest of the day; in fact the whole conference! In the queue to register, I found myself behind someone else I knew, then spotted colleagues I’d met, and was spotted by people who recognised my name.
Kristan Higgins had arranged a dinner for about 25 of the Rita-shortlisted authors at Earls that evening. Again, I caught up with old friends, and met people who became friends throughout the conference.
ROMANCE CONFERENCE DIARY — Wednesday
I had breakfast with my loopies — the writing sisters of my heart. I’m plotting a mini series with three of them
That’s Barbara Wallace (see above), Donna Alward (left) and Nina Singh (Photo fail — sorry!).
More pancakes, lots of talking, laughing.
After that there were great workshops but I had a meeting for coffee with an editor from Tule. And later in the afternoon Tule threw a champagne tea party for their authors at the Brown Palace Hotel. Oh my goodness.
That evening finished in a burst of celebration with the reception for Rita and Golden Heart finalists.
The RWA gave us all our certificates…
… and yet more good food.
ROMANCE CONFERENCE DIARY — Thursday
The day started with a call from my lawyer asking me if I could complete my house sale on 31 July.
I called my removal people to see if they could do the dates. Whew. They could.
How the heck did we manage before we had mobile phones?
Then it was off to the Harlequin book signing. Dozens of Harlequin authors signing books for other conference goers. I sat with uber-talented colleagues, Kandy Shepherd and Nina Singh, and we got through a heck of a lot of books.
Coffee…. lunch… this time with fellow authors and the editorial team from Mills and Boon at the Art Hotel. A slightly unfortunate pudding had us all weeping with laughter (another photo fail — sorry again).
Rested. (I needed it.) Woke, showered, put on the face again — I swear I wore more makeup this week than I usually wear in a year. And then to a toast from our editors to the impressive line-up of authors from the London office who’d been nominated for a Rita.
ROMANCE CONFERENCE DIARY — The AWARDS!!!!
A totally fabulous evening, celebrating the romance genre, announced the winners in all categories.
I didn’t expect to win with my unPC sheikh — I didn’t — but the London Party were all thrilled when Catherine Tinley won the Short Historical category with her first book, Waltzing With the Earl. (Other winners listed here.)
The highlight was a rousing speech from Suzanne Brockmann (helped by her son, Jason) on inclusivity, diversity and the meaning of love. Inspiring!
ROMANCE CONFERENCE DIARY — Friday
I finally managed to cram in a couple of workshops on Instagram for Authors and on the Six Stages of Falling in Love. A lot of the workshops are recorded and I bought a memory stick with them all on, so I can catch up later.
Harlequin threw a great party at the Ritz Carlton, with pink Prosecco plus hair stylists and makeup artists to give their award-nominated authors that extra sparkle.
I had made up my mind to slip away after the main reception. But somehow, I was still dancing at eleven o’clock.
ROMANCE CONFERENCE DIARY — Saturday
This morning we met with the bloggers and also librarians.
At last, the chance to say thank you and give them the swag bags I’d brought. We had a great chat, too.
After that came the last big event of the conference: the Literacy Signing.
Hundreds of authors sign books donated by their publishers — or these days donated by themselves, if they are self-published. And It was notable that the self-pubbed did very well at this conference!
The proceeds go to literacy charities. This year $38,226 went to @ProLiteracy and the Literacy Coalition of Colorado.
Slept on the flight home. Happy smile!
To celebrate her arrival at Libertà Books, Liz is giving away a tote bag with a pen and a copy of her Bridesmaid’s Royal Bodyguard. Leave a comment below for a chance to win it. We’ll draw a random winner from all the comments left here
before midnight (UK time) on Sunday 5th August
The draw for the giveaway is now closed
The winner is Rosemary Gemmell. Congratulations Rosemary 😉