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New Romantics Press @ the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Conference

Two members of New Romantics Press – Lizzie and Adrienne, travelled to Telford to attend the Romantic Novelists’ Association‘s conference. First stop was the LAMB INN – most appropriate, or so we thought – until we discovered it was the-inn-which-had-no-food. They were prepared to make us a tuna sandwich (thanks, but no thanks) so we quickly got back into Adrienne’s car and headed for Harper Adams University.

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The eponymous Lamb Inn – which had run out of food!

Luckily, we managed to hit the snack bar before it closed, then high-tailed it to our rooms where we unpacked and got ready for the highlight of our day: the Indie Authors’ Cocktail Party,  which Adrienne and I hosted in our kitchen. The guest of honour was lovely Freda Lightfoot  (author of over 48 books) who went from saga writer to hybrid author, publishing her own backlist on Amazon in 2010. Freda was joined by another hybrid author, Margaret Kaine who has been a great supporter of NRP since it was first formed. Listening to Freda’s fascinating summing up of her career, we wish we’d put our books on Amazon before the algorithm changed and T&C became less favourable. The old adage time and tide wait for no man certainly

The old adage time and tide wait for no man certainly applies here. Cue clock face …..

Harper Adams University

Tempus Fugit – The clock tower at Harper Adams University

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Freda talking to Margaret Kaine, hybrid author and supporter of NRP, about the difference between ‘then’ and ‘now’.

The purpose of the party was to celebrate the many successes achieved by indie authors, such as New Romantics Press and others, and to celebrate them. In recognition of the changing face of publication, the RNA  established the Independent Author category almost two years ago. Lizzie was the second member to make the transition from the New Writers’ Scheme, with Alison Morton pipping her at the post as the first! After three years Independent Authors become full members of the association and have voting rights accorded to them. Here’s a snapshot of some of the Incredible Indies who joined us at our drinks party, along with newly designed Chair of the RNA – Nicola Cornick and Vice-Chair Alison May.

Recent blogs have concentrated on the marvellous panel talks and workshops organised by members of the RNA. But this post is all about how we spent the weekend networking, talking to agents, meeting editors and generally having some downtime after publishing ten books between us in under five years. Twelve books, if we add on June and Mags’s books, too.

One of the best parts of the conferences is touching base with friends we only see on social media and this conference was no exception. Shrieks of delight and recognition greeted us every time we turned a corner and bumped into old friends.

The gala dinner is always the highlight of such events and Harper Adams did us proud, ensuring that the food was top notch and banished all thoughts of the tuna sandwich we’d earlier turned down! Lizzie was glad that her new dress from GRIZAS (Lithuania) had arrived in time and didn’t clash with Adrienne’s zig-zag catsuit. Purrfect.

One notable absentee at the conference was the late Carole Blake, a wonderful agent and great supporter of the RNA. Sadly, Carole died last autumn and this fabulous quilt was auctioned off in her memory. As a result, enough money was raised to pay for two delegates to attend the conference in Leeds next summer. Carole would have heartily approved.

At the end of the gala dinner, two lovely NWS members sought Lizzie out to tell her how much they’d enjoyed TALL DARK AND KILTED. Next day, they bought more of her books

Lizzie and Adrienne went their own way during the conference, attending those workshops which took their fancy, but meeting up back in the kitchen to share their experiences. Lizzie especially enjoyed the TIME SLIP seminar and Adrienne became a SCREENWRITER, albeit temporarily. Perhaps she’ll turn her Irish trilogy into a film? Wonder who’ll play the hero? Aiden Turner, perchance?IMG_4897.jpg

To round up the conference, Lizzie attended the ‘warts and all’ talk given by Mandy Baggot on her path to publication. New Romantics Press respect Mandy’s work ethic and how she’s made the transition from indie to contracted author at prestigious Ebury Press. Lizzie will be writing up Mandy’s talk for a forthcoming edition of Romance Matters, edited by Adrienne.

Well, that about wraps up this personal take on #RNACON17. Hope to see some of you at the Winter Party or an RNA Chapter Meeting very soon. Footnote: neither June nor Mags could make the conference this year and were missed. We hope they join us at the next one in Leeds, or at the Historical Novel Conference in Glasgow August 2018.

And finally, a big thanks to everyone who organised this fabulous conference – and a couple of photos which sum up the spirit of the conference for us and which we hope will leave you smiling –

And our favourite, taken by Anita Chapman . . .

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