Monday, 16 July 2012

Romantic Novelists Association Conference 2012

Well, hello folks – as you’re aware I was away for the weekend at The Romantic Novelists Association Conference 2012 in Penrith, Cumbria. I have to say, I had the best time networking with other writers and talking books, books, books.

The conference began on Friday – which was a simple case of travel and settle prior to the main events on Saturday and Sunday. I arrived extremely late on the Friday night, as I completed a day at the day-job – but hey, I saw it as a challenge to drive for five hours having completed the eight hour day! I can honestly say, it was worth every minute. On arriving I discovered that the RNA organiser, Jan had actually arranged for a hot meal to be reserved for me – now, I ask you, how many organization do that for their members? Not many.

I did nothing Friday night apart from settle into my room and rest in eager anticipation of the full weekend ahead. I was not disappointed. The conference had a wide selection of workshops and talks to attend – each given by notably knowledgeable bods – on a range of subjects. I took much delight in attending Talli Roland’s session regards on-line marketing, Kate Harrison’s discussion about the future of women’s fiction and Kirsty McClusky’s affirmation as to why we love romantic fiction. I would have been content to have gone home having attended and learnt so much just from these three talks – but, there was more. Jane Wenham-Jones, who I have followed for numerous years in Writers’ Magazine and Writers’ News, took the red eye slot on Sunday morning. Boy oh boy, what a funny lady. Was there a moment in her hour talk where I wasn’t laughing or wiping the tears from my eyes? No, not a single second. Her anecdotes, her jokes and her advice came thick and fast. She also told a particular joke - especially for the literary set. Afterwards, I attended a creative coaching session aimed at liberating our pent up fears and emotions linked to our writing – honesty was the measure of this session, but hey it worked, I came out with a sense of self realization.

I have to mention the ‘official Goodie bag’ – it deserves a paragraph to itself, it was that spectacular. Now, I’ve seen ‘Goodie bags’ in the past, pathetic attempts to offer freebies hidden amongst a ream of advertising and marketing flyers. The RNA Goodie bag is the best I have ever seen. There were five novels, yes, five! Plus chocolate mixed in with the novel seed packets, postcards, bookmarks, pens and business cards. It weighed that much, it actually hurt your shoulders to carry it about! Now, there is a definite measure for any future goodie bag, I receive.

I met lots of wonderful writers, some published, others (and I loved this term) pre-published! My Twitter account has been inundated with new followers – who I have eagerly followed back. One particular acquaintance was Helen Phifer, a romance/crime writer, who has been working on her novel the same amount of time I have been working on ‘Her’. It is so comforting to hear others relay the same difficulties regards family commitments, full-time jobs and general life holding back their writing careers. And yet, we continue to plod the best we can!

All in all, I had a wonderful time and already know that I shall be attending next year’s conference in Sheffield.

I have returned home with my creative energy, motivation and determination at an all time high. The RNA conference 2012 was exactly what I needed to complete this year and begin moving towards the future.

For further details, please visit – where you’ll find a wealth of information.

Before I sign off, I do have to say a big hello to all my over seas followers – I have seen a vast increase in your traffic in the last week. It is such a delight seeing the global map (linked to my blog stats) change colour as you each connect and read. So, a big ‘Thank you’ for your continued support.

Remember you can follow me on Twitter @odwyer_author to receive random updates throughout my week. Enjoy!

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