Stevie Carroll (stevie_carroll) wrote,
Stevie Carroll

Festival of Romance Day 1

In spite of being already a little conferenced-out by going to one in Central London on Thursday., I was up bright and early yesterday to drive up to Watford for the Festival of Romance. This was held in a stunning venue, with a constant supply of free coffee and biscuits (well we didn't manage to exhaust the supply anyway. There was a choice of what to do during each session, so I attended the following.

Workshop: So You Want to Write Short Stories For Women's Magazines? With Helen Hunt.

Growing up, I read a lot of fiction in other people's cast-off magazines, and I have a huge soft spot for them. The market's shrinking, but there are still a few places that will take a wide range of stories. Definitely time to polish up a few I've got lurking on various computers and try them at Woman's Weekly or Take a Break, both of which will take LGBT themes.

Useful blog link: WoMagWriter

I also need to track down a copy of November's Writing Magazine for Helen's article on the same subject.

Panel: Romance That's Out of This World: discussing paranormal, SF and fantasy romance. With Lynne Connolly, Hywela Lyn, Tara Newlands and Berni Stevens.

There was some good discussion on world-building in this one, and I need to look into Tara Newland's books. Mainly, though I wanted to introduce myself to Lynne Connolly and be fannish at her. She gave me Ellora's Cave swag in return, and I bought more of her books later, so win all round.

Around this point I managed to find Phillipa Ashley, and after some chatting we went to the Authors Coffee Club where ideas were swapped about what else we could be doing to make the Festival even more awesome.

Then there was Lunch, which was supported by Myrmidon Books. We all got a free book, and I failed to win the Renovation, Renovation, Renovation goody box, although the author Nell Dixon is another lovely person to know. The buffet was better than I've had at a lot of business conferences, and I chatted to Fiona Harper while queuing, who recommended Nikki Logan's category romances to me (Mills an Boon stories with interesting heroines and wildlife themes).

There was a Charity quiz in which my team came second, then...

Meet Rouge - the UK's newest romance line from Random House/Ebury. Gillian Green, editorial director, told us all about how Rouge came about and what the plans for Rouge were.

Rouge is digital-first romantic fiction.

Wide range of titles planned. All full-length fiction (80,000 – 90,000 words), priced at £3.99.

Launch 29th September 2011.

Aiming for dedicated monthly readership. Authors from Random House US initially (not previously published in UK). Open to new authors from UK in future. Submission guidelines on websites.

New imprint but have full backing of Random House. Able to cross-promote within ebury press.

Will be paying advances and royalties.

Will accept simultaneous submissions but must make them aware.

Turnaround time not yet established but will try to be quick.

One to watch, I think

Next up was Research Club: Expert authors share their knowledge on subjects from their books in a whistlestop of bite-sized low downs!

Argentine tango- Cara Cooper
Beautiful dresses, fishnet stockings, fantastic shoes. Ballroom tango far more rigid than Argentine. All about the frame: man leading, lady following. Needs complete trust in partner. 'Vertical manifestation of a horizontal desire'.

Medical- Roger aka Gill Sanderson
All written from research rather than experience. Facts interwoven with romance. Family members in medical profession. Good powers of observation when visiting. Ask the experts.

Horses- Hywela Lyn
Need to know differences between English and Western saddles. Sidesaddles: historical evolution.

Regency Theatre- Jan Jones
Programme started 6pm (or earlier in winter) and went on until 11pm. Increasingly longer pieces with short song or dance sections (or performing dogs!) in between. Eventually, five act melodrama. Social change messages sneaked in commonly. Then finished with short piece and two act farce.

Great segregation of classes. Theatres tended to be packed throughout. Could get in for half price to see half of performance unless very new or very popular performance.

Buildings- Nell Dixon
Cathedral and church architecture. Buildings in different parts of country have own regional character. Interaction of people with buildings.

Outdoor/action sports- Phillipa Ashley
Mountain Rescue: very matter of fact people. Abseiling. Search and Rescue helicopters. Camper van in Devon during March. Surfing. Hands-on research gives best results.

WW2- Pamela Strange
Daughter of ARP Warden. Tried to show other children that gas masks were fun (at age of four). Babies put into full suits that had to be pumped continuously. Pig bins and spivs. Had to give up aluminium saucepans (supposed to make nose-cones for planes but ended up being junked).

Of course all that lot just made my To Buy list even longer, and I had some good chats will Nell about buildings afterwards.

Finally, we had a chocolate-making demonstration (with tasting) from the ChocChick ( as sponsored by ChocLit.

Then I drove home via various unexpected places due to motorway delays.
Tags: for reference, on writing, out and about, publishing, real life, uk meet
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