PHS Editor and Harlequin Historical author Michelle Styles recently travelled to the 2nd Loveletter Convention to meet with Romance readers from across Europe.
Having attended the first Loveletter convention last year, I knew what to expect in many ways. And the Loveletter convention did not disappoint. The atmosphere was as warm and friendly as last year and I was made to feel like a star.
My convention started with a slight hiccup. I arrived in tiegel airport expecting to meet up with Fiona Harper. However, trouble at Heathrow meant her flight was cancelled and she would not be arriving until the next afternoon. Fiona had thankfully emailed the hotel as the reservations were in her name and the Hotel Lindenufer could not have been more welcoming. TheGerman arm of Harlequin Cora had also left some wine and chocolates. I had arranged to meet some of the Dutch readers for drinks so I went over to the restaurant and had a very pleasant chat with several of the ladies as well as a few authors including Karen Rose and Courtney Milan but travel had tired me out and so I didn’t stay long.
The next morning started with breakfast with Annie Burrows as we went over our workshop on Regency Lords and Ladies. Annie had thought it would be fun to do it in costume. She was going as the Dowager Countess of Warrington and I was to be Mrs Chalmers, a pushy nouveau riche mama from up North with a daughter who had two left feet, a tin ear but a dab hand at pastry. The Dowager had clutch fisted son and her own reasons (including one Major Armitage) for wishing to remain in London for the Season.
The Kulturhaus was full to bursting when we arrived. The bags this year were a bright green and full of various goodies. Because I wore my red shoes again, I have become known as the Author with the Red Shoes. I love my red shoes, even if my husband doesn’t.
I was able to catch Courtney Milan’s workshop on broken heroes before doing my blind date. Blind dates which were thankfully conducted in English enabled readers to meet various authors. Exactly who would be appearing when was not public info. I had thought there would only be about 8 -10 people but rapidly learnt that there would be more so I went and retrieved all of the English books I intended to give away at the signing. In the event there were about 30 enthusiastic readers I met through the blind date. The sort of people that make you think – yes these are the sort of people I write my books for.
At the end of the day was the Cora signing. I had seen posters of this woman in Roman costume hanging up all over the convention centre but no name on the title. Imagine my surprise when I learnt that it was for a reprint of the German translation of my book Gladiator’s Honour! The book also includes one of Terri Brisbin’s. As ever the queues were long. People sat camped out on the stairs waiting for the doors to open and they streamed in. I signed and signed. All the remaining English copies I had brought went quickly and they even found me a few posters sign. Fiona arrived slightly late to the signing but the readers patiently waited and she signed and signed. Fiona swears it was because she was late but I had several readers come up to me during the day and say that they had come especially to meet her.
Dinner was once again held at the Zitadelle Spandau and the food was delish. Even the heavy rain could not dampen our spirits.
After breakfasting with some German readers, Sunday included a reading from my upcoming novel Paying the Viking Price and a workshop on hot men (aka warriors) with paranormal author Pamela Palmer. There was also a panel on category. When we were planning the workshop, Pam emailed how strange it felt to be planning a workshop for Berlin!
IAnnie Burrows (and husband), Fiona Harper and I went to a dinner party hosted by the blogger Aurian. There we met with readers from across Europe including Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and one of the best parts of the conference.
The conference is so warm and friendly and the readers are genuinely enthusiastic readers of romance. It served to remind me how global the readership for romance is. And best of all Loveletter Magazine are having another convention in 2014 at a bigger venue with fewer stairs -- 24 -25 May. It should be great fun.
Michelle Styles writes warm, witty and intimate historical romance for Harlequin Historical. Her next book Paying the Viking’ s Price will be published in November 2013. You can learn more about Michelle and her books on www.michellestyles.co.uk
Photos courtesy of Aurian, Freya Wolf and Annie Burrows