Saturday, 22 September 2007

Good food, good wine, good company!

As a writer, I spend most of my time in a tracksuit, no make-up, slumped infront of my computer. Friday was one of the days I get to dress up, talk to other people who do the same thing and have a good time.

First event of the day was the AMBA (Association of Mills & Boon Authors) Lunch. It's an annual event where we get a chance to meet, catch up on news and find out a little bit more about what's going on at HM&B. This year we had guests from the marketing department and I came away from the Q&A session realising that I need to get over some of my technophobia and do a few more things online. My absolute favourite bit of the lunch was meeting Donna Alward, my fellow M&B Romance author from Canada! I cyber-met Donna on the eHarlequin messageboards back in 2004 before either of us were published, so it was great to finally see her in person. (Here's a picture of Trish Wylie, me and Donna at the lunch.)

Afterwards a group of us headed off to Selfridges for tea. As if there wasn't enough drama to be had that day, we passed the Hitlon and found one of the side roads blocked off with police tape. A little more observation revealed a broken window up on the 17th floor and a whole host of firemen climbing onto the flat roof. Let's just say someone hadn't had such a happy day as the rest of us. A local man spotted us staring upwards and informed us that the firemen had put a net out to catch the guy that had jumped. I'm glad to say that I didn't find out until I read a news report about it the next day that he hadn't survived. Even so, we walked the rest of the way to Selfridges in a more sombre mood.

We had a resorative cup of tea in the basement cafe and Abby Green swore she saw one of the Gallagher brothers from Oasis on the escalator. From there it was only a short hop to the Oriental Club, tucked away just off of Oxford Street, for a toast by HM&B to its authors. The champagne flowed! Dangerous stuff. Especially when you only have to take a few sips and someone is filling up your glass! Thankfully, I was gassing so much I didn't ever seem to empty mine out too much!

Here are a few pics:Top left: Julie Cohen & Sandra Kendrick; Top right: Donna Alward and Fiona Harper; Left: Annie Burrows & Emily Bascom; Centre: India Grey, Abby Green & editor Jenny Hutton; Right: editor Jo Carr and Donna Alward; Bottom: editor Maddie Rowe, Emily Bascom and Julie's back!

It's lovely to celebrate each other's achievements and both Kate Hardy and Mary Nicholls received their pins for producing 25 books, and Kate Walker celebrated her 50th title! I would have posted photos of that too, but I was waayyyy at the back of the room (eating canapes) and I couldn't see a thing!

Too soon it was all over, but we were destined for more chat and good food. A group of us all went out to Brown's for dinner and had a whale of a time. Kate Walker has managed to come up with a collective noun for a group of romance writers. She even has the photographic evidence to prove it (although I'm told she's saving it for blackmailing purposes). A gaggle? A quill? Nope. If you want the answer you'll just have to head on over to her blog and read it for yourself!

I'm not doing labels for this one. The culprits know who they are!


liz fenwick said...

Fabulous post and goreous jealous :-)

Kate Walker said...

Lovely to see you again Fiona - and yes I do have the photo for blackmail purposes! ;o)

But I sent you a copy for yourself


Fiona Harper said...

Thanks, Kate! That picture must be a sight to behold!

Ray-Anne said...

What excellent photos - thank you for sharing them so the rest of us can join the fund - looks fab!
And yes, I think the collective noun is just about right!
LOL Ray-Anne

Trish said...

Ahem - could I look like I have any MORE of a double chin in that first pic??? Consider us even for the ten g&t's - k???

Sending another *lovies* kiss!!!!

Michelle Styles said...

It was lovely in the extreme to see you Fiona. You brighten any party!

And yes, I am pleased that I didn't know until now that the poor man did not survive.

India said...

Excellent to see you Fiona-- looking forward to the next time already!


Donna Alward said...

Fi - you got GREAT pix! Feel free to e-mail some to me, ok? Like you I was at the back and couldn't seem to get any pics of the Kates picking up their pins. Damned good samosas, though, and that bottomless champagne glass....

Culprits indeed. *snicker* It was a joy to meet you. And a shock to realize you never mentioned the squeaky chair. :-)