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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Attending AMBA - by Abby Green

I’ve just recently returned home to Dublin after my second outing to London for the annual Mills and Boon author’s lunch, which is always followed by the celebratory champagne reception that Mills and Boon throw for their authors.

This year was even more enjoyable for me, primarily because I wasn’t shaking in my shoes, at every moment, and because I had met and made friends last year and it was so nice to catch up with them again. And I also got to meet and make new friends like the lovely Donna Alward who came all the way from Canada…

The trip started with meeting my room mate India Grey in our hotel room, she got there first and got the best bed, ransacked the tea and generally exploded all over the place. (Just kidding, she was very tidy and left a copy of her new book in its minty hardback cover on my bed: The Italian’s Captive Virgin UK January 2008, and quite brilliant it is too – but she did take all the tea).


The evening before the lunch we had dinner with some fellow Presents/Modern Authors. It was organised by Kate Walker and Michelle Reid, and also there were Jackie Baird; Christina Hollis; Natalie Rivers; myself and India again. A lovely chance to meet and talk before the mayhem of the next day…

…Which was straight to the RAF club, Picadilly. A very grand place with lots of plaques and pictures of flying men and women (well not literally…you know what I mean). The lunch was very ably and gracefully compered by Michelle Styles, historicals author. As if there hadn’t been enough talking and discussing the night before...I had Donna Alward on my right and Gill Sanderson on my left, and as Trish Wylie was on Donna’s other side I spent a lot of time sticking my face across Donna’s chest, but I’m sure she didn’t mind, as she ate her vegetarian noodles…very posh.

Then when lunch was over we managed to fit in a little tea and shopping at Selfridges…as you do. And I saw Noel Gallagher from Oasis going down the escalator. As he’s practically Irish, I didn’t get too excited. Brad Pitt might have got me excited…or George Clooney…but I digress.

After we’d taken tea, (have I mentioned that India Grey is inordinately fond of tea? She could give Mrs Doyle from Father Ted a run for her money), we walked up the road the short distance to The Oriental Club which is just off Oxford St/Bond St, right in the centre of everything. Amazing. In a little tree line cul de sac, it is exactly what you would imagine one of the old gentlemen’s clubs to be like.

As soon as we arrived and had left our coats in the cloakroom and marveled at the size of the bathroom – well I marveled at the size because my own house could have fit into it…twice – we went downstairs, got name tags and entered the fray. A very handsome waiter, straight out of central casting for the cover of a Mills and Boon/Presents novel offered us a glass of champagne, of course I accepted, well…what’s a girl to do?! And I won’t go into the fact that the glass always seemed to be full, I swear I wasn’t holding it out on a regular basis.

So, apart from even more authors here, who hadn’t made the lunch we also had the lovely and very glamorous Editors from Richmond. They are all gorgeous, buzzing around checking on their various authors, making sure we were all looked after.

And the day was even more special when first of all Kate Hardy received her 25th book pin and commemorative gift along with Mary Nichols, and then the other Kate, Kate Walker received her 50th book pin…! Needless to say we didn’t need any encouragement to celebrate and toast them. The day was rounded off with dinner in Brown’s, a restaurant just around the corner and organised by the lovely Biddy Coady. All in all, a great couple of days. It’s such a special treat…especially for us authors who don’t live near anyone else, this is generally the one chance in the year to meet up, discuss and talk the hind legs off a donkey…Here’s to next year, I’m looking forward to it already!

Abby

19 comments:

Michelle Styles said...

We will not go into the fact that Abby Green is lovely and Irish, and that Irish are renown for seeing things. But she does swear that she did see Noel Gallagher in Selfridges...Things simply happen when Abby is around...and it makes everything that much more special. Looking forward to next year.

christina said...

So glad to hear you're looking forward to next year too, Abby. I had a great time and can't imagine you EVER shaking in your shoes - you're so full of confidence!

Anne McAllister said...

Sounds like such fun, Abby. (And I know it was) I'm really sorry I missed it. Maybe next year . . .

And I wonder that you didn't see a sheep going down the escalator at Selfridge's. You never know when one might turn up. Or where!
xx
Anne

Donna Alward said...

She said it and I'll swear to it...he was looking at history books when I went to the loo. LOL

It WAS a lovely time sweets. And you can look across my chest anytime. I think we were talking and laughing so much I never even noticed.

We're all still looking for your off switch. LOL

Charlene Sands said...

Living in the USA, it's always wonderful to see and hear about events that Mills and Boon host. Thanks Abby, pictures were great!

Kate Walker said...

Ah yes, the Abby Green off switch - well, I've been looking for that ever since I met her in Wales last year . . .I've come to the conclusion that she just doesn;t have one.

Abby, you've revived such great memories - can't wait to do it all again.

Lynne Marshall said...

Thanks, Abby, so much for the wonderful recap on the AMBA lunch. I dream of going one year. Maybe after I've sold my tenth book? Like I said, it's a dream.
Loved all the pictures, too.

Marilyn Shoemaker said...

Ladies, it sounds like you had a marvelous time and Abby the pictures are wonderful!

Annie West said...

Abby,

How fantastic! I've been wishing I could attend but at least this way I almost feel like I've finally made an AMBA lunch. It sounds like an event not to be missed. I'll have to start planning for a trip to the UK. You must all have been exhausted by the end of the day but I bet it was terrific meeting and catching up with so many other authors! Love the sound of the oriental club, complete with handsome waiter. It sounds like you girls did yourselves proud.

When I finally make it to AMBA I'm going to stick with you in the hope that I see a celebrity or two, and no, Anne, I don't mean sheep!

Annie

India said...

Abby, you're so kind to mention that I drink a lot of tea... Hopefully now no-one will ever find out just how much champagne I managed to knock back as well!

Jennie Lucas said...

Abby Green and Trish Wylie...together?! Oh my gosh! I can't even imagine all the fun. The way you put it Michelle -- "Things simply happen when Abby is around"--that's exactly how I felt meeting Trish in Dallas this past summer, and knowing Abby a bit online too, I can only say... MAN, that must have been quite a party!

I recognize some of the people in your pictures, Abby -- like the gorgeous India Grey -- but I would love to know who the rest are! Would you mind mentioning the names of all the authors in the three pictures?? Just in case I ever run into any of them on the street and need to ask for an autograph. ;)

Thank you so much for posting the recap. It really helped me imagine what it would be like. Now (like Anne, Lynne and Annie) I'm promising, swearing and positively VOWING to myself I'll go next year!

I now have eleven months to come up with a plausible reason why my husband should stay home with our two young children while I sail off to London to sip champagne served by hunky waiters...

Lee Hyat said...

Jennie, it's my fault. I forgot to label the photos when I posted the blog for her. Abby did mention the names of each person. Let me try and correct the mistake here...

Photo 1 - India Grey, Christina Hollis and Kate Walker

Photo 2 - Michelle Reid, India Grey, Jenny Hutton, Lucy Brown and Natasha Oakley

Photo 3 - Meg Sleightholme, Michelle Styles and Abby Green

I hope this isn't too confusing -- and I'm so sorry!!

Melissa said...

Sounds like a fab time! Thanks for the wonderful recap and pictures. I would love to go next year. Just need to convince the hubby it's worth a trip across the pond!

Sue A. said...

Thanks for sharing your photos. It looks like you all had a great time. And it's great to be able to put names to the faces.

annie burrows said...

Do you know, I though it was Noel Gallagher, wandering around Selfridges, and I thought nah...I shouldn't have drunk that wine with my lunch.
Twas my first time at AMBA this year, so really relate to your shaking in your shoes comment. But everyone was so lovely and welcoming, I soon forgot my nerves and enjoyed meeting so many lovely warm people.
Chris B

Kate Hardy said...

Chiming in late (as I'm on deadline - yeah, I know, what's new and it's my fault for writing so many so quickly) - you've definitely captured the flavour of the day, Abby. And it was LOVELY to see you!

India and tea, eh? Hmm. Whenever I've been with her it's been wine... *g* (And we don't even mention the chocolate...)

Maureen said...

It looks and sounds like you all had a wonderful time.

Nathalie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nathalie said...

It really looks fun :)