Saturday, September 20, 2008

Weekend Wind Down - the work 'do'!

Pink Heart Society Editor, Natasha Oakley, shows you exactly why writing for Harlequin Mills & Boon is a wonderful job!

The life of a writer isn't often glamorous. It's difficult to summon up much enthusiasm to put on make-up and sexy footwear when you're generally holed up trying desperately to get words (and preferably the right ones) down on paper. BUT .... there are those days when it is rather glamorous. The AMBA (Association of Mills & Boon Authors) lunch is one of those days.

This year it happened at Brown's in London's Covent Garden. Should you wish to follow in our footsteps you'll find it a short step from Leicester Square Tube, right in the middle of theatreland.

Michelle Styles was the genius behind the planning. Her choice of venue was inspired. Very central and rather lovely. Grade II listed, the restaurant began life as the Westminster County Courts in 1908. That was a nice twist since Mills & Boon published its first book that year. Since 1996 it's been a place to have breakfast, afternoon tea, pre and post theatre suppers and, of course, lunch and dinner. You can even get married there, should you so wish.

Whilst we all spent a bit of time in the bar, the lunch proper was upstairs in The Courtrooms, which still retain the Bench and Judges Chairs. Four tables full of chattering authors - and, yes, we do talk shop.

We followed a starter of warm goat's cheese with mixed leaf salad, basil oil and fig relish with corn fed chicken breast with mixed roasted pepper tomato provencal sauce, seasonal vegetables and roasted new potatoes. That was followed by rich chocolate truffle with raspberry coulis and cream for dessert, followed by coffee and after-dinner chocolates. It was lovely.

But the AMBA lunch is really about meeting up. It's fun. A little informative, too. I wouldn't be surprised if you don't find a good number of us try really hard to understand widgets (apparently something I really should have on my website) and I was completely seduced by the Sony ebook reader. Apart from being able to go everywhere with a hundred odd books in your handbag, the UK version has Fiona Harper's lovely Romance 'English Lord, Ordinary Lady' preloaded into it.

I didn't do very well as a roving Pink Heart Society reporter because I was too busy talking to get many photographs - but here are Presents/Modern authors Sara Craven and Jennie Lucas just prior to walking up that staircase.

And, here is India Grey, who you just cannot get a bad photo of.

Not a bad work 'do', was it!!

Now it's back to real life and a hero who just will NOT do what I want him to ....

Much love

Natasha's latest Harlequin Romance 'Wanted: White Wedding' is available in the UK here and in NA here!

Romantic Times Magazine says: 'Natasha Oakley's Wanted: White Wedding (4.5) has its share of deeply touching moments, but what makes it stand out are the humor and the wonderful characters.'

You can find out more about it on her website and you can hear her moan about 'life, the universe and everything' if you visit her blog.


  1. What a lovely place. I can see why you all enjoyed yourselves. Great pics....thanks.

  2. Natasha, it was so wonderful to finally meet you! (And to meet Sara Craven as well--thanks for taking that picture of us!)

    It was such a whirlwind time, traveling to London on a four-day trip with my mom. It was wonderful, aside from abruptly losing my voice the night before the luncheon. I didn't think it was a "real" cold as I had no other symptoms, but now I'm aghast with worry. If I made anyone else lose their voice, I am so deeply sorry--please pelt me with a pie next time you see me!