Last week the banner above attracted my attention on Twitter and I retweeted (I think it was) a tweet from Mills & Boons for a chance to win a ticket and then I forgot all about it. Until, while I was working on the laptop on my translation stuff, a little voice told me to go check my Twitterfeed again (not that I don’t do that ALL THE TIME, whether I’m on the computer or on one of my i-devices) and Sarah Morgan tweeted (https://twitter.com/SarahMorgan_/status/610831601577140224) that the first two to reply would win a ticket to this event. I replied, thinking I was too late because the tweet had been posted a few minutes earlier…but I wasn’t and lo and behold: I was going to my very first author/reader/blogger event in the UK!
Yesterday was the big day! For the first time since moving to the UK I was going into London by my self, to an event with authors, other readers and bloggers. And suddenly the nerves attacked! Because, other than Sarah Morgan, who has been so lovely to me ever since we connected on Twitter YEARS AGO, and who has generously sent me copies of her books to the Netherlands for years (since before 2011!) I knew nobody there and I’m not very courageous when it comes to meeting people I don’t know. So on the train and in the Tube, the nerves got worse and worse. But romance reading is my passion, and I love meeting other romance readers and romance authors…and on top of that: Sarah Morgan was going to be there so…I manned up and stepped into the event location, finding a small group of bloggers and readers and thought: “It’s now or never.”
Coincidentally the first person who spoke to me was Shadia (the other person who won the ticket from Sarah). She and Tracey (from Bookthing.co.uk) asked me if I was an a reader, blogger or aspiring author and while talking we found out we were both Sarah’s winners and Tracey found out Sarah was going to be there. This was the first of many lovely introduction to lovely people in the UK romance fiction community.
The people (I’m sorry if I didn’t catch all your names but I remember Cara and Cait and they were awesome!)from Harper Collins UK and Harlequin were so lovely and welcoming
The other bloggers and readers were equally wonderful and welcoming
The authors were amazing and welcoming
The HC offices were fantastic! I’m still miffed that I forgot to take a picture of the Wall of Books!
The highlight of my afternoon was meeting Sarah Morgan! As I mentioned before I have been talking to her on Twitter for years now and while I was hoping to get to meet her now that I had moved to the UK but never in my wildest dreams would I have thought it was going to be so soon. Sarah is the nicest, most graceful and funny person ever! I am so happy I finally got to meet her in person and put a face to the Twitter-handle who writes these wonderful books and sends them to me without hesitation or expectation of something in return other than my reading pleasure. Talking with her made my entire year!
But I don’t want to short-change the other authors who were there because while I didn’t get around to speaking with all of them (I was clinging to Sarah like velcro LOL), all the authors I did speak to or ask to sign the books we received were awesome. So thank you Jenny Oliver, Lucy Holliday, Eva Woods, Erin Lawless Haley Hill and Zara Stoneley! For signing my books, for talking to me (I loved my brief chat with Jenny Oliver), for being super funny (Lucy Holliday made me laugh and worry with the story about her husband’s fall), and for being so welcoming and friendly in general. To me, who gets a bit anxious at the thought of meeting people I don’t know, you made it a whole lot easier to jump at the chance to go to another UK author/reader event.
I decided to go to this event because now that I live in the UK I want to get to know people in the UK romance community and all I can say is: MISSION DEFINITELY ACCOMPLISHED.
I mentioned above that authors signed the books I got. We received a gorgeous tote filled with books and other goodies from Harlequin and Harper Impulse and on top of that, there was a bookcase in the middle of the room and we were told to just pick any book from that case we would like. This is music to a booklover’s ears.
Even a booklover who has no room to store print books. (Our move to the UK meant me going fully digital because I have no storage space for books in the small flat we live in). But as of yesterday I have claimed on shelf of the bookcase that my hubby specifically said had no room for books when first thing I did when we got here was buy a Karen Rose book at Tesco (OOPS!!). And all the pretties I received and got signed yesterday have been shelfed, waiting to be read.
I want to thank everyone, but Sarah and Cara in particular, for the wonderful afternoon I had yesterday! Hope to see you all again soon at a future event!