RNA Conference 2009!

Audience gathering for Kathy Gale

Audience gathering for Kathy Gale

The Romantic Novelists’ Association certainly knows how to put on a conference!

You put together (or, rather, Jan Jones and Roger Sanderson put together) a few days on a campus in Penrith in Cumbria, 130 or so writers, dozens of hand-picked and fabulous guests (and a bar and dining room) and you get an exhilarating, informative, networking, friend-making experience.

It was joyous.

But I’ve never worked so hard at a conference! And I know I still let at least one person get away when I wanted to work on them to give me a spot at a lit.fest. next year.

From Chairman Katie Fforde’s welcoming speech on Friday until it was time for me to leave after lunch on Sunday, I spoke, networked, attended meetings, attended workshops, helped out, made introductions… I’ve lost count of the number of people who offered congratulations on my new contract with Choc Lit and wanted to know everything I could tell them about the publisher and my novel. Then there were some great speakers and guests for me to schmooze into contributing a couple of paragraphs for my ‘how to’ book: Love Writing – How to Make Money Writing Romantic or Erotic Fiction (Accent Press) and… I’m exhausted. I have three pages of notes and reminders to action this week.

Isn't she nice? She pulls a 6-seater carriage.

Isn't she nice? She pulls a 6-seater carriage.

I didn’t expect to find a horse in the car park but she was lovely.

I’m ashamed to say that I forgot the fundaments of journalism and didn’t ask her name!

But she had lovely manners (whereas one of the guys she brought with her was cheeky!)

Work in progress...

Work in progress...

Writers are industrious – below are Anna Scamans and Brigid Coady enjoying the weather.

The charming Jodi Thomas spoke more than once but here she is on Saturday, witty as she gives hints about how to succeed in America (SUCH a big market!) and makes suggestions about plot-finding. If you begin to discover books that cross Harry Potter with Gone with the Wind or Pirates of the Caribbean with Babe, they probably began life in this workshop!

Jodi Thomas shares some of her knowledge about the US market

Jodi Thomas shares some of her knowledge about the US market

Hugo Summerson, public speaker extraordinaire

Hugo Summerson, public speaker extraordinaire

Worried about speaking to any gathering from your local writers’ group to a 3000-strong audience at a convention? You should have been in Hugo’s session.

Leading by example, Hugo was funny, animated, engaging, positive and informative. I couldn’t decide if he was most like Hugh Laurie or John Cleese.

A full workshop for Myra's workshop on writing a non-fiction book proposal

A full workshop for Myra's workshop on writing a non-fiction book proposal

One of my favourite sessions was Myra Kersner’s. Having published several non-fiction books in her field of Speech and Language Therapy she had hours of information for us. That she condensed it neatly into the hour available speaks volumes for her comfort in the lecture hall environment.

A peep behind the scenes of publishing

A peep behind the scenes of publishing

I’m sneakingly thrilled that Kathy Gale got a full hall for her workshop because it was I who made the original contact with her when Writers’ Forum asked me to interview her in 2008.

She’s a lovely person with great insight into the world of publishing and so many people wanted to talk to her about her function as a Writing Coach that her tea was nearly cold by the time she got it!

It was a brilliant conference. There were a few cases of ‘Wine Flu’ in the mornings and, I’m afraid, only the standard 24 hours in each day, at least 5 of which I felt I had to use for sleep, but, otherwise, it was great.

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23 Comments

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23 responses to “RNA Conference 2009!

  1. Eliz G

    Thank you, Sue. That was so good for us non-attenders!

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  2. Great post, Sue. Glad you had such a good time. Wish I could have been there!

    I’ll link to this post if I may.

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  3. Great report Sue. Welcome to the world of blogging – and if you find anyone to give you a slot at a litfest next year, put a word in for me, too!

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  4. Thanks for your lovely newsy conference report. Many congratulations on your Choc Lit contract – very exciting!

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  5. Excellent account, Sue and lovely photos. It was one of the best yet with super efficient administration and organisation by Jan and Roger, even if they couldn’t prevent the head chef chopping off the end of a finger. There was a happy atmosphere, with or without the wine. Gwen

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  6. Welcome to the world of blogs. Lovely set up and such a good report on the conference. I had a super time, but then I wasn’t surprised. Great organisation as usual.

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  7. Welcome to the blogosphere and thanks for the report.

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  8. Thanks for sharing, Sue – I was so disappointed not to be there this year, so you’ve really helped me feel as if I haven’t missed out quite as badly :o)

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  9. A great blog to start off with, Sue. So enjoyed reading about the conference. I can’t wait for Megan to be old enough to look after herself then I can start to go to more of these sorts of events.

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  10. Congratulations on your Choc Lit contract, and many thanks for the report on the conference. I was sorry to have missed it this year, but fully intend attending the next one.

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  11. Sue, I’m just about to load a picture of the horse at home! Discoverd her early on Saturday morning, lazing around in the sunshine…
    http://jen.black11@btopenworld.com

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  12. Yeah, I’m working on that 24-hours-per-day problem

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  13. Christa McDermott

    Looks like it was a lot of fun. Happy blogging!

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  14. Great stuff, Sue. I loved Kathy’s talk and had a chat to her afterwards. Hope the RNA invite her back.

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  15. It’s sounds fabulous. I’m so sorry I missed it. Great start to your blog, Sue.

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  16. Thanks for the mention, Sue. From my point of view, up there on that platform, all I could see was a sea of smiley faces – RNA members are the nicest and brightest of audiences!

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  17. Love the blog Sue – really excellent! And thanks again for using my “expert” quotes in Love Writing.

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  18. Wine flu, LOL!

    Lovely sum up, Sue – it realy was a wonderful Conference, wasn’t it?

    Any chance I could beg you to e-mail me a copy of that photo of me and Biddy?

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  19. So, you had a very busy July, then! Enjoyed your class very much at Caerleon, and will definitely be using ‘Amanda’ in a story at some point, as I think she has a tale to tell. I look forward to reading a post from you about Caerleon and your impressions.

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    • suemoorcroft

      Glad the workshop worked, Fran. You certainly seemed to get the most from it that you could.

      A Caerleon post will follow in the next few days…

      Like

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