Tuesday, November 25, 2014

RNA Winter Party: A cold night but a warm atmosphere

Today we welcome Francesca Capaldi Burgess and Elaine Roberts to the blog. Both ladies accepted our challenge to cover the RNA Winter Party for our blog and what a fantastic job they did too!

On Wednesday 19th November, members of the RNA gathered for the annual winter party, ready to meet up with old friends and make new ones. As with some previous events, we occupied the wonderful panelled Hall of India and Pakistan at the Royal Over-Seas League in London.
It was the first time the two of us had been to the winter party, so didn't know how it would compare to the other enjoyable RNA events we'd attended. It was soon clear that everyone present was bound on making it a joyful evening, judging by the animated chatter and laughter. Many people acquainted only on social media took the opportunity to met in real life. A good deal of head bowing and squinting took place as we all tried to read each other's name badges to find out who we were!

180 people attended, representing the industry across the board, from writers new and established, to editors, agents and publishers, all of whom mingled seamlessly. As usual, the frocks were fabulous, a fact celebrated by a photo call on the grand staircase (due to appear on the front cover of Romance Matters).

Tracy Hartshorn (aka Sally Quilford)
Tracy Hartshorn (who writes as Sally Quilford), the main organiser of the event, did a splendid job. She could be spotted for a good part of the evening on the front desk welcoming guests. Tracy explained afterwards that, “The RNA parties take several months to organise, culminating in just three hours of party time. But what a three hours they are. The mood is always cheerful and positive, and it gives a glow of satisfaction to those of us who do the organising to know that our work hasn’t been wasted. The Winter Party was no different. A good time was had by all, including me!”

Chairman: Pia Fenton

Our chairman, Pia Fenton, gave a speech thanking the committee, along with others who’ve contributed to the work of the RNA, for all their efforts. We raised a glass to those no longer with us. Pia thanked those who’d helped with the organisation of the party, particularly Tracy, who got a rousing round of applause.


Waiters weaved their way through the guests offering an array of canap├ęs which included mini fish and chips and tiny pies. The bite sized chocolate cakes were particularly delicious. Not only did everything taste good, it looked good as well, the catering as ever living up to the splendour of the venue.

Wendy Clarke, Deirdre Parlmer, Karen Aldous, Rosemary Goodacre

First time attendee, Wendy Clarke told us, “I’m not much of a ‘party person’ and was expecting to spend most of my first RNA party behind one of the pillars – but I’m happy to say that this couldn’t have been further from the truth. From the moment I walked in, the welcoming atmosphere enveloped me and any fears of awkwardness evaporated. I didn’t feel the need to hide behind a pillar once – which was just as well, as there weren’t any.”

Vanessa Savage & Catherine Miller

Having some well earned time off from her adorable twins, Romaniacs member Catherine Miller declared it “another wonderful RNA party.” She went on to say that, “It's great that NWS members are made to feel so welcome.” As New Writers’ Scheme members ourselves we can certainly vouch for this. 

Sue Barnard

Another newby, Sue Barnard, said, “My first RNA party, but definitely not my last! What a great evening. It was wonderful to be able to put faces to names at last, and I made some lovely new friends too. I'm only sorry I couldn't stay longer!”

Rachel Crafts & Maggie Swinburne

Maggie Swinburne, editor of the twice monthly My Weekly Pocket Novels, travelled down from Scotland for the event because she said it was, “lovely to meet people”. She relayed some funny stories to our group regarding her job as editor, along with some tips on what she looks for in a story. She also came wielding the guidelines and is hoping for more submissions.

As the evening wound down and people started to don their coats and flat shoes (what a relief!), it was evident by the smiles and hearty farewells that the evening had been another RNA success. It might have been cold outside but the atmosphere inside was warm and friendly.

A hearty thank you to Tracy Hartshorn and all those involved in organising the evening.

Thank you, Elaine & Francesca for a wonderful blog post. Here they are earning a well deserved rest in between their reporting duties:

Elaine Roberts & Francesca Burgess

If you would like to cover an event for the RNA blog please contact us on elaineeverest@aol.com


Unknown said...

A lovely post Francesca and Elaine - it was a fab evening and lovely to catch up with friends old and new!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Karen. Doing the blog was a good way to talk to lots of different people too. Francesca

Lizzie Lamb said...

It was the first winter party I missed in many years. This great blog post gives a flavour of how fabulous (an exhausting!) the parties can be. Thank you, ladies - see you at the summer party.

John Jackson said...

My first RNA party - but definitely not my last. I had an absolute blast - with, very much, friends old and new!

Thankyou Tracy, and all those who must have helped - a cracking night out, and also thanks to Francesca and Elaine for some excellent reportage!

John Jackson

Unknown said...

Thank you fo covering the Winter Party for the blog, Elaine & Francesca.
I know I speak for Natalie as well when I say how much we appreciated your hard work while we helped Tracy at the reception table. It was a great evening.
Elaine E.

Natalie Kleinman said...

On this occasion I am more than happy to allow Elaine E to speak for me. A lovely post, Elaine and Francesca, that covers so many aspects of what was a wonderful evening. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you everyone for your kind words. Elaine Roberts and I enjoyed writing it. Francesca

Unknown said...

Definitely it is a great time to celebrate dear and I am thankful that you shared about it here. Just a week ago I also had a New Year party at local venue but it was planned by a team of good corporate event planners. It was really great.