The Booksellers’ Tea was a chance for authors to meet booksellers and chat to them about their books. I took some of my newly-made ‘Fiona Harper’ pens along as a giveaway. I managed to chat to a couple of booksellers but they were vastly outnumbered by eager authors, so I ended up chatting to some authors as well, including the gorgeous and vastly talented Jane Porter who writes for Harlequin Presents/Modern Romance and Five Spot. I have vowed to love her forever because she liked ‘Blind-Date Marriage’. I think knowing that other writers, especially those you admire, have read your work and like it is one of the best confidence boosts a new author can have. I left the Booksellers’ Tea with a huge grin on my face.
Book signing virgin ahead!
Let me explain the pictures from that post: the first one is me doing my ‘serious author’ face, the second is me cracking up at my own attempts to be serious and the third is me calmed down (or at least as good as it was going to get).
The 'Readers for Life' Literacy Signing was my first book signing ever. Up until now the only signing I've done is when my family embarrass me by shoving a book and pen under my nose and make me scrawl on their copies. What a way to start! Four hundred plus authors and a scarily long queue of eager readers. I got butterflies as I raced past them all (late - blame the lifts) into the ballroom.
My one and only fear was that no one would come to my little table and ask me to sign a book. I arranged my books and my little pot of clotted cream fudge to entice the readers and sat down to wait...and wait...and wait.
Forty minutes later I was definitely in a gonna-go-and-and-eat-worms frame of mind. Especially as I was sitting next to Kim Harrison, New York Times bestselling paranormal romance author, who had a steady stream of visitors ever since the crowds has stampeded through the doors.
But, eventually, as the people made their way to the middle of the alphabet, I got some visitors and the rest of the afternoon went really quickly as I chatted to people I'd met online, people I'd met at the conference and complete strangers (bless 'em for helping me not to feel like Billy no-mates!). I had a really great time. The Readers for Life signing was in keeping with its Texan setting - larger than life and on a scale that had to be seen to be believed!
From left to right: me, Melissa McClone (Romance), Trish Wylie (Romance & Modern Extra), Olivia Gates (Medicals), Jennie Lucas (Modern/Presents) and Sandra Marton (Modern/Presents). I think Jenna Bayley-Burke must have been hiding behind the camera! Also present but not pictured were Marion Lennox and Carol Grace.
Next it was time to have a Mills& Boon Authors’ get together. We had planned to go to the Italian restaurant in the hotel, but found out it was a) rather small and b)rather busy. Plan B was pizza and vino in Sandra Marton’s room. Plan B was definitely the way to go! We could actually have a decent conversation and, as we munched on delicious pizza that we got delivered to the hotel, we had great fun. Medical author Olivia Gates produced a whole plate of baklava (yum) all the way from Egypt for dessert. Marion Lennox donated a whole box of Tim Tams (which somehow ended up in Trish and Jenna’s room afterwards). I had heard a lot about these legendary Australian chocolate biscuits from my best friend and was delighted to actually sample them for myself. Odd that I finally had them in Texas…