After a frantic week editing, I couldn't wait to head to the wilds of Wales for a weekend full of food, wine and fun. Oh yes, and fantastic writing advice. My first conference last year in Greenwich was a blast, and I was super keen to get out of the house and drink. (Did I mention I'd been editing?) And if you're looking for drink, there's really no better place than a romantic novelists' convention. Compared to others there (you know who you are!), I'm a lightweight. I can only aspire to such imbibing greatness.
Many have already written fantastic conference posts and since, at heart, I'm basically a very shallow and materialistic individual, I thought I would summarise my conference experience in shoes.
Friday morning, I braved the rain and boarded a train from Paddington to Newport wearing the shoes above. Practical for training, and ideal for puddle-jumping. Although the sky cleared around Bristol, as I zipped under the Severn and emerged in Wales, the heavens opened yet again. No matter -- a nice lunch at a golf course with a friend (who twisted my arm to indulge in a large Pinot) and several failed attempts to convince the waiter to purchase a Kindle, and the weekend was off to a flying start.
Conference shoes must be high-heeled and ultimately quite uncomfortable, and these high heels certainly filled that role. After checking in and getting settled in my dorm, I scurried over to register, slightly anxious I wouldn't see anyone I knew.
I needn't have worried. Instantly I spotted people I recognised from Twitter, Facebook, the last conference... I'd forgotten how lovely and friendly everyone is. It was amazing to see so many friends again and meet people for the first time. I didn't even feel the pain in my feet! Copious amount of wine were downed that night at the bar and the chatter and laughing continued.
With my feet smarting from the night before, I was only too happy to don this pair of relatively low-heeled shoes for Saturday and Sunday. Despite my slight hangover and zombie-like appearance, Saturday passed in a blur of fantastic sessions and speakers. One of the things I love about the RNA is that no matter how successful and experienced authors are, they always take the time to interact with aspiring writers and those just starting out in their publishing career, like me.
Party time! Yes, the time had come to don my lovingly purchased turquoise frock, slide my feet into these killer shoes (in more ways than one) and drink as much wine as I could. It's safe to say a good time was had by all, except my liver, which is still in recovery. The Gala was fabulous and everyone scrubbed up very nicely. I was particularly chuffed to have a lovely late-night conversation with the fabulous and talented Miranda Dickinson and Ruth Saberton, despite the fact that I was practically swaying on my feet and almost slobbered all over them in my delight.
Sunday afternoon rolled around far too quickly and I hopped (well, stumbled) on board the train back to reality. A big shout-out to Jan Jones and Roger Sanderson for being organisers extraordinaire, and to all the ladies of the RNA for being so wonderful!