What do you call a mass gathering of romance writers? A pen of writers? An embrace of romantic novelists??? It has to be something like that ...
Anyway, whatever we're called we gathered at the Savoy in London on Friday for the annual Romantic Novelists' Association's Award Luncheon. (As if you didn't know! We've been talking about it all month.
The Savoy is a kind of scary place. It's the kind that has slippery floors interspersed with thick carpets, mirrors everywhere and subdued lighting. It makes you feel like you should speak in whispers and wish you'd concentrated on the Pink Heart Society Diet (that's because of all the mirrors btw).
I'd arranged to meet fellow nominee, and last year's winner, Jessica Hart off her train. We had time to grab a coffee (and change our shoes) at the National Gallery before making our way to The Savoy. With our comfortable shoes quietly stashed away in the cloakroom we glided through to the Lincoln Room.
I'm assuming you're all kindred spirits and are most interested in the food - so you're getting that in detail! The starter was Onion tomato tart tatin with orange and melted goat cheese. Not only was it melt-in-the-mouth-to-die-for, it was incredibly pretty. We should have taken a picture.
Carnivors then had Stuffed breast of chicken with wild mushrooms, Potato cakes with almonds, Mousseline of spinach and Baby winter vegetables. Vegetarians had Riccota-spinach ravioli with mushroom cream and parsley salad.
Dessert was Treacle and raspberry tart with vanilla ice-cream arranged as a work of art. Then we had Savoy blend coffee (except I was too busy talking to drink mine)and Petit fours (which I was too full for).
After a short 'comfort break' and the guest speaker, Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE, it was time for the awards.
First up was the Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2007.
We haven't much mentioned this award here at the Pink Heart Society because it's not for category fiction.
The shortlist this year was:
A Step in the Dark
by Judith Lennox (Headline)
Beyond the Blue Hills
by Katie Flynn (Heinemann)
Iris & Ruby
by Rosie Thomas (Harper Collins)
Learning by Heart
by Elizabeth McGregor (Transworld)
The Ex-Boyfriend's Handbook
by Matt Dunn (Simon & Schuster)
Welcome to the Real World
by Carole Matthews (Headline)
And the winner was ....... Iris & Ruby by Rosie Thomas. Rosie then gave a speech and was taken away to be devoured by reporters.
Meanwhile we moved on to the Romance Prize 2007.
Very lovely things were said about all the seven books on the shortlist and then they announced a short shortlist of three in alphabetical order.
by Nell Dixon (The People's Friend Story Collection)
The Millionaire's Runaway Bride
by Catherine George (Harlequin Mills & Boon)
Accepting the Boss's Proposal
by Natasha Oakley (Harlequin Mills & Boon)
for 'Marrying Max' published by The People's Friend Story Collection.
Then it was Nell's turn to make her way to the podium and make her acceptance speech. She did all lovers of category fiction proud. Absolutely wonderful!
Do visit Nell's website and blog!