Monday, July 13, 2009


Biddy Coady is in recovery from the RNA Conference in Penrith but has staggered to he laptop to bring you the highlights

WOW!! What a fantabulous conference that was. Three days of talking, drinking, learning and hanging out with friends. The RNA conference was in Penrith, Cumbria this year. A beautiful part of the country. It is in the North West of England just before you hit Scotland and it meant that some of the more northerly members could make it. What is also great about the conference is that if you need to come up the night before they have a pre-conference section which you can pay extra for and attend. This year it was a media course which went down a treat from what I can gather.

I rocked up at lunchtime on the Friday and negotiated the halls of residence where we were staying. Whilst this was going on two brave and intrepid M&B editors were having interviews with all the interested. I think they survived. After this we all settled down for the Introduction and panel talk which always kicks off the conference. We have a new chairman this year in Katie Fforde. She brought her own special brand of enthusiasm and warmth to the proceedings (and also was instrumental in my overindulgence in wine on both nights!). We were also filmed by a documentary film crew.

The panel session included M&B Historical Author Louise Allan along side other fantastic writers. All questions had to be asked in the form "How Much... Is Too Much?" we covered research, with Louise telling us that she researches retrospectively. We also covered sex, comedy and advances.

After this it was off to the bar with all of us arriving at the same time and the ensuing scrum. This year there seemed to be rather a large gap between the end of the panel and dinner and I had to fill it somehow. I just wish it hadn't been with so much wine! I was lucky enough to meet up with M&B author Sarah Mallory in the bar.

I will now blame Katie Fforde and the RNA committee for corrupting this innocent Pink Heart Society type... there I was minding my own business in the bar when I was Tweeted that there was a party happening in their dorms. Well I had to go! I owed it to you guys. The rest is fuzzy.

Pulling myself out of bed on Saturday morning was a struggle. I wondered whether I had peaked too early? To clear the mind and get the blood pumping I pulled on my running shoes and went for a 3 mile run. Cumbria is beautiful. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and I was running beside fields of wheat (I think... I am a city girl so I could be wrong but we'll call it wheat). In the distance were the fells and hanging in the sky a lone hot air balloon. It lifted my feet a bit more and I felt ready to hit the seminars.

I went to great talks from Hugh Summerson on public speaking, Jodi Thomas on Romancing the American Market, there were seminars from the M&B editors and some on writing short stories.
In between there was talking and laughing, drinking coffee, eating lunch and everyone was talking romance.

Biddy will be back tomorrow with news about the gala dinner and the events on day three of the conference


  1. sounds like a hoot, Biddy. Will have to try and make the RNA conference next year, haven't quite managed it yet and feel I am totally missing out.

  2. Biddy thanks for that - sounds like you had a fab time and I bow down in awe to you - a three mile run?!!! You are indeed a goddess.
    xx Abby Green

  3. Could I be nosy and ask who was filming the conference - and why?! You don't want a 'mockumentary' version out there on Youtube!

  4. Heidi - yes! You need to make it next year! It is in Greenwich so not too far.

    Abby - more stupid than a goddess. Lovely to hear from you xxx

    Alison - the lady filming the documentary is doing it about M&B and has been working on it for the last year. She was at last years conference talking to people and also at RWA. I don't think it is heading to YouTube just yet.


  5. Poor Biddy - sorry my tweet led you astry :-) Full report on opening session up on my blog!