My husband has been chastising me for not doing part two of my post. He's right, of course. I get so busy that the days just sort of slip by and I don't realize it's been a week. I ended on the evening before the Association of Mills & Boon Authors' luncheon. Now I'll tell you about the luncheon day.
Jennie and I slept in as long as we could. We were still suffering the kind of jetlag that makes you wake up in the middle of the night and not sleep for hours while it's dark. And, interesting note, but the building beside ours was an office building. When I woke up at 2AM, people were still working! Seriously. The building was mostly dark, but there were a few intrepid souls at their desks at that late hour. I have no idea what kind of business it was.
Anyway, Jennie and I got up and got ourselves dressed, then headed out on the Tube to the Charing Cross Hotel, where the luncheon was being held. I wore a nice dress and heels, but I admit to wearing flip flops until we reached the hotel. Then I pulled the shoes from my bag and transformed from short-ish to tall (4 inch heels will do that!). We climbed up the elegant staircase to the second floor where we could hear the sounds of women talking. There were so many authors gathered! And I met so many people I can't even remember them all. I met Natasha Oakley, Nina Harrington, Julia James, Kate Hardy, and Elizabeth Power, for instance. That was within the first few minutes — it becomes a blur after that. (Kate Hardy is my new best friend – she told me she loved The Devil's Heart, which made me want to follow her around pitifully and ask her to repeat it, but I refrained. TDH will be out in North America in April 2011, btw!) 🙂
At noon, we sat down in our assigned places and had a lovely lunch. After lunch, we moved seats for dessert (or pudding, as they say over there). There were speeches. There was wine. There were pictures.
Here's a pic I snapped of two gorgeous ladies, Sharon Kendrick and India Grey. I'd met Sharon (in purple) in DC, but only met India the night before at the Presents dinner. Both women are so lovely and charming, aren't they? (Though Sharon did steal my coat. She set me in a panic when my coat was missing after lunch, but I figured someone had thought it was theirs; I just hoped they would bring it back. She did, of course, and we had a good laugh.)
Then I met Lucy King, the Feel the Heat winner (the competition immediately after Instant Seduction, which I won). Lucy looked gorgeous, and she has the most seductive speaking voice imaginable. Kind of like Kathleen Turner back in the day. 😉
Meeting Lucy was fabulous, but I'm really thrilled with this next picture. Me and Sara Craven, who I'd met at dinner the night before. She is a wonderful, hilarious, amazing woman. I hope I'm half so interesting when I get to be her age.
And here's a reunion photo of me, Jennie, and Carole Mortimer, who I'd met for the first time in Orlando.
The luncheon lasted for hours, it seemed, and then we were off for a couple more hours before returning to the hotel for a champagne toast that Mills & Boon was giving us. Jennie and I walked over to Trafalgar Square, went book shopping, and meandered over to the hotel where Kate Walker and Michelle Reid were having several ladies to tea. We joined them for a while, and then it was back to the Charing Cross hotel for champagne.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur. I talked to so many people — and people I'd hoped to meet slipped away before I ever got to do so. I have to go back next year to meet the ones I missed! After champagne, several of us went out for pasta. Jennie, me, India, Heidi Rice, Abby Green, Fiona Harper — and I'm sure I'm forgetting someone, drat it. But we had so much fun. And I learned that the Trafalgar Square area of London is rocking no matter what time of night. Pubs are so busy that people are crammed on the sidewalks with their pints of lager or Guinness or whatever. No one seems to mind it either. That would never happen in America — liquor laws and all that.
But that's why I love to travel and see how other cultures do things. It's refreshing and eye-opening, and it makes the world so much more interesting than if we all did everything the same. Where have you gone lately that they did something differently? Doesn't have to be another country — could just be the next town. I'd love to hear about it!
More on the London trip, with more photos, soon. Yes, I swear it: soon.
And the winner of a signed backlist book from the last post is Jami! Jami, send me your details at lynn AT lynnrayeharris DOT com. 🙂