As well as writing children's books, I'm quite partial to writing a nice romance every now and then. 

In fact when I first started writing 30 odd years ago, it was romances that I particularly wanted to write. At the time I joined The Romantic Novelists Association (RNA) as a probationer, and went along to a couple of their events.

One was a weekend in Bournmouth where I heard author Mary Wibberley talk, and recall being absolutely awe inspired by her. I bought her guide on writing romance, To Writers with Love which she signed for me.
Such a useful book

I was saddened to learn that she passed away in December last year. She'd written almost 50 books for Mills & Boon, the first being Black Niall in 1973.
When my writing went in the direction of children's books and non fiction, romance got put on the back burner for some 20 years. Then a couple of years ago, I caught the romance-writing bug again and finally got two romances published as floppies with My Weekly and People's Friend – and then in large print and ebooks.

But, it rekindled my interest in writing romance, and I re-joined the RNA, this time as a full member. Good friend and fellow author Karen King – who writes romance under Kay Harborne joined at the same time, and in July this year we went along to their annual conference, which was superb.

Karen King and I
It was held at the Harper Adams University, Telford and for the three days we were treated to a packed programme of talks and workshops by top romance authors, publishers, editors, agents and other professionals.

Pamema Hartshorse was one of the top speakers
There was always a choice of three different session to attend, so on the Saturday for example you had 15 great talks/workshops to go to. Absolutely spoilt for choice as to who you were going to be inspired by next!

Food and drink was wonderful – it was good to see they recognised the fact that writers like to eat and drink!  There was a free drinks party before dinner on the first night - courtesy of Independent Publishing at Amazon. And they again provided lots of free wine the following night before the gala dinner.

Hobnobbing with Victoria Oundjan of Harlequin.

There was also an opportunity to have a one-to-one with editors and agents, which you pre-booked and submitted some work beforehand that you wanted feedback or comments from. All these slots were quickly nabbed, and I think everyone there really appreciated the opportunity of talking about their latest masterpiece with a possible publisher, or agent.

Karen King and I

Everybody was networking, exchanging emails, phone numbers and business cards. And a few new friendships sprang up too, no doubt.

It was just such a great three days – and if the RNA is an organisation that you think would interest you, then I'd recommend you take a look and see what they have to offer. As well as conferences and get togethers, they have annual awards and lots of other activities going on.

Have you been to any good writing conferences this year?

Please visit my website:


Chris Longmuir said…
My one and only romantic! saga was placed with a publisher by the RNA probationers' scheme many moons ago. Unfortunately, that was the year sagas went out of fashion and loads of saga writers were losing their contracts - bad timing - the story of my life! It now nestles among my darker crime books, like the odd one out! As for conferences, I've been to Crimefest in Bristol, Harrogate Crime Festival, and I'm booked for Bloody Scotland. I love conferences for the networking and I've got to know loads of writers etc, over the years.
glitter noir said…
This brought back memories of the few conventions I attended when I sold my first books. Of course, Horror cons are a thing apart--with the reigning deities at that time cruising for action and accolades in their black leather dusters. Shenanigans galore, but interspersed with chances to meet wonderfully talented editors and writers.
Lydia Bennet said…
Sounds like great fun! Like Chris, I've been to Crimefest bristol and Harrogate crime festival, and of course many poetry and literary festivals but these are more widely based. Good luck with your return to romance!

Popular posts

Writing Cold Environments - Elizabeth Kay

Dudley's Devil by Susan Price

Is Anyone Shooting At Me? - Surprise Lessons from an Ocean Race. -- Julia Jones

Is a picture worth a thousand words? by Julia Jones

Writing to help children save the world - Kathleen Jones