It was only after Michael started talking that I realised this was a repeat of the workshop I'd been to yesterday. Note to self: read programme properly before you plonk your bum down. And I was sitting right at the front, facing more than a hundred people. It was going to be really, really obvious if I left straight away. I decided to sit it out for a bit and then creep out after twenty minutes.
Bad plan. As the room started to fill, our illustrious speaker began to get worried about us all cramming in. He turned and asked me directly if I was okay sitting on the floor, especially as I wasn't leaning against the wall. I nodded fiercely and said I was fine, but a couple of minutes later when he said the wrong word, he said: "It's because I'm still worried about her..." and pointed over his shoulder at me. Flip, I thought. I can't leave now! The whole room is looking at me. I'm just going to have to wait a little bit longer...
Now, there may be those of you who are wondering why I just didn't get up and walk calmly out. I asked myself the same question, and I have only one logical answer: I'm BRITISH! It's part of my genetic code to have a really low embarrassment threshold. Add in the fact that I'm a shy introvert at heart and there was only one thing to do - listen to more of the the workshop and hope the pins and needles didn't eat my legs alive.
After forty minutes I was ready to go. Unfortunately, I suffered a bout of pins and needles so strong that it left my right leg totally numb. I could have stood up, but it was likely that I'd fall straight over again. Not the way to make a discreet exit! I just had to sit there a little longer and subtly try to get the blood to revisit my leg.
Yes, I finally made it. But walking those steps to the door was like walking the green mile... ;-)
Thankfully, after the next seminar I could head out for lunch with some of the editors and gals who write for M&B RIVA. If you haven't heard already, Harlequin is launching a new line next year called KISS! It's basically the North American version of RIVA. Stories will have a range of sensuality levels but will be fun, sassy comtemporary books united by a similar tone and 'voice'. Books will be by authors either currently writing for Presents Extra or Harlequin Romance.
|RIVA/KISS authors Kimberly Lang and Heidi Rice|
We went to Benihana and sat round a hot plate while our chef cooked our food in front of us. First, he impressed us with his knife skills and then he started cooking our rice.
Look, he even made a heart with our rice! I don't know if he knew that was significant or not, but I thought it was kinda cute. I had scallops and steak and Oh My Goondess! Heaven. Do we have this restaurant in the UK? I have to find out. Too lovely. (Newsflash: Two branches in London! Yay.)
Behind: Heidi Rice, Kimberly Lang, Aimee Carson, Exec Editor Tessa Shapcott & Susan Stephens
Front: Senior editor Bryony Green, Fiona Harper & editor Lucy Gilmour