Festival Of Romance 2012

I’ve just been reading Louise Allen‘s “Seduced by the Scoundrel” (Mills and Boon). A shipwrecked young lady finds herself naked and defenceless on a beach in the midst of a mob. Ooh, I now know just how she must have felt. On Saturday I ended up in a terrified state of emotional nudity in the  Harpur Shopping Centre in Bedford. All I had to do was to read from my book to passing shoppers. Having never been shipwrecked or had to read aloud in a shopping mall, I think I would have gone for the shipwreck if there had been a choice! At least I would have been trembling with cold as opposed to terror. 

The occasion of course was the Festival Of  Romance. This was my first time at such an event. There I was, not even a dairy maid on the Milky Way or a knobbly asteroid in the Romance Universe. Around me were all manner of authors, some of whom I knew only as names on the covers of books I had read. My greatest impression of the whole show was that everyone was so friendly, helpful and willing to share their experiences. 

You know who you are (I hope)


The festival was organised by Kate Allan and it was a triumph of hard work, logistics and enthusiasm. I think everyone involved in the organisation should be really proud of the result.

I’ll be coming back to different aspects of the weekend over the next few blogs. One the highlights for me was Mandy Baggot from the “Love a Happy Ending” group picking up the prize for Innovation In Romance at the prize giving ball. The frocks were fabulous too.  I shall never forget Nicky Wells performing an ad lib singing performance of “You Give Love A Bad Name” at the Rock Star party. Oh for that kind of confidence!

I had some lovely table mates at the book fair so thanks to Cara Cooper, Caroline Bell Foster and Gilli Allan. Dear old Oscar was there too because he knew I would never be able to construct my poster display without his help. He is my favourite poet and some of his poems aren’t too bad. He is a knight of the cable tie and a Prince of masking tape. 

I had a lovely lovely time meeting all the other writers. I’ll be coming back here to digest some of my more technical impressions of the business from my  independent viewpoint. In the meantime….thanks for having me, it was wonderful to be had. 



Emma thinx: Sisters are doing it for their shelves. 










Ordeal By Pagan Passion

Wednesday, the day of Wodin, the most powerful of the Norse gods. Who could feel secure on a Wodinsday? I guess I could just hang about to see if I could get selected as a Valkyrie since I’ve had rejections slips from the other big six publishing gods. 

But even more worrying is the pagan ordeal that lies ahead. Rather than diving down to collect dead warriors on my horse, all I have to do is meet the book buying public. They will be able to poke and question me. They will be able to mock my prose and ask me to expose my purple literary cellulite. Writing of love and passion in the warm air of France with a glass of wine, responding to the remembered thrill of new love and a view of a muscular sun bronzed young man forking his harvest is easy. Presenting my somewhat experienced and time washed persona to the masses is NOT.  All the same, I have signed up to attend the Festival of Romance in the historic city of Bedford, UK. I just know I can do it….

The good news for all you scribes out there is that if you are not already a block busting mega stegosaurus you can enter their New Talent competition. Check out the details below.


New Talent Award aims to uncover romantic fiction authors of the future
The Festival of Romance is delighted to announce that the New Talent Award will run again this year. The industry judges are Georgina Hawtrey-Woore senior editor at Cornerstones, Random House and Diane Banks, literary agent at the Diane Banks Associates Literary Agency. The Festival of Romance New Talent Award aims to cast a spotlight on the authors of tomorrow and is open to all writers who have not yet had a book commercially published. Writers may submit the opening chapter (up to 3,500 words) of a romantic novel of any type by 30th September 2012. The winner and runners-up will be announced and presented with trophies at the gala Festival of Romance Awards on Friday 16th November 2012. There is a small entry fee to cover the award administration. Entrants may also gain a critique of their entry written by a professional novelist.
“As part of the Festival of Romance we want to help new writers with talent get their break into the commercial fiction world,” says Kate Allan, chief romantic at the Festival of Romance. “At the Festival of Romance in November we are running writing workshops, an industry conference and chance to meet publishers face to face as well as the New Talent Award. I’m delighted that Georgina Hawtrey-Woore and Diane Banks have agreed to judge this year’s entries.”
Winner of the 2011 New Talent Award Henriette Gyland subsequently garnered a book deal from publishers Choc Lit. Her debut novel Up Close will be published in December 2012.
For more details about how to enter the New Talent Award please see www.festivalofromance.co.uk
Anyway, here I am back in the UK. I’m trying to drive on the left 

and live without plat cote de boeuf cooked in a full bodied red. I 

had severe warm baguette withdrawal symptoms this morning. It is 

tough but I’m coping.



Emma thinx:  Never stop doing within what you can’t do without.