Sunday, September 23, 2007


I'm back.

I've been back for a day really but I had so much catching up to do - plus unpacking, washing . . . and I needed to catch up on some sleep as I didn't do much of that while I was away

There are other reports on other blogs - Michelle Styles, Kate Hardy, and I'm sure Trish Wylie and Donna Alward will report back as soon as they catch up too. I'll just be able to touch on some personal highlights.
Thursday night was the Presents Authors dinner which Michelle Reid and I hosted the night before the AMBA lunch. There was a mixture of the older authors - myself, Michelle, Jacqueline Baird - and some of the newest signings - Abby Green, Christina Hollis, India Grey and Natalie Rivers. And as always once a bunch of authors get together then the conversation flows - and the wine does just a little bit. (So yes, lara a 'round' of romance novelists might well be a good title for a group of us.)

But Friday was the big day when the Association of Mills & Boon Authors met at the RAF Club Piccadily for lunch. The lunch is always well attended so I was looking forward to meeting so many friends. The first half an hour is always a flurry of hugs and welcomes and greetings meeting - in no particular order - Michelle Styles (who organised the whole thing superbly with Jessica Hart and who was wearing a stunning red and black vintage jacket that had belonged to her Grandmother), Fiona Harper, Nicola Cornick, Roger (Gill) Sanderson, special friends Kate Hardy and Trish Wylie, Christina, Jacqui, Abby, India and Natalie again, Jenny Haddon (in her Sophie Weston personna), Joanna Maitland, Catherine George, Carole Mortimer, Heidi Rice, Sharon Kendrick . . . I will just leave that as a selection as there were so many authors there and I'm bound to forget someone.

Michelle Styles making announcements at the AMBA lunch

I was thrilled to see everyone and specially snatch a few moments to chat with PHS creator and wonderwoman Trish Wylie - to congratulate her on finally getting the dreaded Gabe revised and bought - and to hear news of her plans for the PHS - some of which involve me personally - believe me, there are some good things coming up.

But this year I was looking for a special guest who had flown over from Canada for her very first AMBA lunch - Romance author Donna Alward.

With Scary Kate (Hardy) and Fiona Harper

You'll remember Donna from her appearance at my Great Big Blog Party back in June. I had 'met' Donna on the eHarlequin message boards but this was to be my firts opportunity to meet her in persona and as soon as I saw a beautiful, glamorous lady standing in the middle of the room I knew this had to be her. One of the great things about making friends on the internet is that you get to know them in a relaxed and open way and people I have really enjoyed chatting to that way have rarely been a disappointment in real life. Donna was no exception - she is warm, open and totally delightful. Meeting her made so so glad that there is the internet to keep us in contact - but so sad that wonderful friends like her actually live so very far away. Safe journey home tomorrow Donna and I hope that it won't be too long before we meet again.

With Donna outside the RAF Club
The lunch was fun and business with information about the company's pans for the Centenary Celebrations for 2008 - more on that later - and some new developments that are coming up for the Presents line in the near future too. More on that when it can be announced. And there was the great news that Mills & Boon are moving into India. Now I know that there are plenty of readers of romances in India - I have had many email messages from readers there and some of you have won my contests. But I know that actually getting hold of the books can be difficult. Hopefully this will now be easier. At the reception later on Friday I met the charming and enthusiastic man who will be in charge of this new venture and he is very keen to make it work. The launch of the first books will be, if I remember rightly, in November this year and there will be six Mills & Boon Modern novels in the first books released out there.

Between the lunch and the reception Michelle and I had been invited to afternoon tea but a nagging migraine meant that I needed a break if I was to enjoy the evening but at 5.30, together with Marion's husband and the Babe Magnet, we made our way to the Oriental Club off Oxford Street where all the editors from Richmond had gathered and there was champagne on offer and even more talking. The Reception was held in the beautiful library there, a fabulously ornately decorated room where of course the BM had to investigate all the wall to wall bookcases.

Being a Babe Magnet of course, he had also to live up to his reputation - which he did. He can be seen here with his - er - his Babes, all suitably magnetised!

The babes are Trish Wylie (with blonde hair) PHS Supremo and Romance and Modern Extra (now Modern Heat) author
India Grey new Presents/Modern Author
and the irrepressible Abby Green another new Presents author.

Other authors who are special friends joined us at the Oriental club including the lovely Julie Cohen and Natasha Oakley, and I managed to have time to snatch a chat with my editor (who looked even more glamorous than usual after a wonderful holiday and a promotion) and many of the other eds there including Executive Editor Tessa Shapcott who is here with Michelle Reid .

At the reception several awards were handed out by Editorial Director Karin Stoecker. Mary Nichols and my dear friend Scary Kate - aka Kate Hardy - both receieved their silver pins for their 25th novels (and I'm not even going to think of the short space of time in which Kate H has made this achievement). I was so delighted to be able to cheer and appplaud her as she received her pin.

And then it was my turn. I'll be honest and admit that really until this moment it hadn't actually really sunk in that I had had 50 titles published so when Karin announced it, I found that I was shaking and nervous. I barely registered the introduction - though I was stunned to hear myself called 'a force' on eHarlequin and now apparently on the I heart Presents blog. Apparently it has been spotted that a lot of the visitors to the blog come via this blog/website - so thank you all for going across and reading - it's been noticed!

Kate Hardy and her special award

Soon, like The Other Kate, I was clutching a turquoise box and a special letter from Donna Hayes, Harlequin's CEO. And then was amongst all my wonderful friends and fellow authors who wanted to congratulate me - and everyone wanted to see just what the 50th title pin looks like! What I wanted was to find the Babe Magnet and share it with him. He had promised he would take photos too and I could only hope that this time he had the camera the right way

round - last time he had to take important photos he ended up with a fabulous image of his own right eye!

But this time he managed to get things right as this picture of me with Karin Stoecker shows.

Soon the Reception was over - but not the evening. More friends arrived - Anna Louise Lucia who was looking very beautiful - as was Biddy Coady who is, I very much hope, is now getting very close to being yet another of my wonderfully 'deflowered' and about to be published ex-RNA-virgins. (Fingers tightly crossed Biddy).

Biddy had organised a dinner for many of us at Browns and so we all staggered there (staggered because of being unused to spending so long in elegant high heels, I assure you - not because we had had too much champagne!). It was a wonderful meal with lots of laughter and - guess what - lots of talking. During this part of the evening we finally decided what the group name for a bunch of romance Novelists must be - so, courtesy of Trish, Fiona, Donna et al - I can announce that the correct term is in fact -
A CLEAVAGE of romance novelists.

I do have a photograph to prove this perfectly but I am not displaying it here to protect the innocent - and no, the novelists in question were not - definitely not - the innocents - but I think I shall keep that photo to blackmail anyone I might need to have in my power later. The BM is still recovering from the sight of it!!

Anna Louise Lucia, Biddy Coady and Julie Cohen

Eventually, and very very reluctantly, I had to tear myself away and the BM and I headed back to our hotel. I have to send a very special thank you to Biddy for orgainsing a fabulous end to a wonderful day. It was a gorgeous way to celebrate once more that 50th title - what better way than to celebrate with friends and fellow writers who have come to mean so much to me as a result of this writing career of mine. I had a truly fantastic time.

And I think that's me caught up - except for one thing - I know that like everyone at the Reception, you'll all want to know what that special pin looks like - so here it is - and I have to add to this a special thank you to each and every one of my readers out there because without you reading my books and buying the next one - and the next - I would never have been able to keep writing, keep selling- and so reach ths special celebration and achievement. So here's the gold pin that I'm sharing with you all because you helped me to achieve it - Thank you so much


Natalie Anderson said...

Wow - it looks like it was such a great day! Thank you so much for sharing - and I love the pics. And a HUGE congratulations on your 50th. What an awesome achievement!!!

liz fenwick said...

Fantastic Kate.....totally jealous here however with your report I felt I was there except I missed out on the champagne :-)

Kate Hardy said...

Lovely to see you there, honey - and congrats again on your 50th! I was so proud to be there applauding you.

Nell said...

Wonderful report. I'm loving hearing all the goss!

Anonymous said...

CarolC said...

It sounds like you all had such a great time. Thanks for the brilliant update Kate!

Biddy said...

It was lovely to see you!! And I'm not sure I am THAT close but closer than last year :-)

And congrats again on your 50th!

Anne McAllister said...

thanks so much for sharing the day, Kate. I wish I'd been there. Congrats again on the 50 books. Lovely little pin, isn't it?

Julie Cohen said...

It was wonderful to see you! Congrats again.

Ray-Anne said...

Thank you so much for sharing your big day with the rest of us in Blog land.
Not sure that London was quite ready for the CLEAVAGE CLAN! FANTASTIC!
Many congratulations, Ray-Anne


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