Saturday, February 23, 2008

February = 3 parties by Michelle Styles

For romanctic novelists, February has been one whirl of parties. Or rather, there have been three marvellous parties for them to go to. I made one. All three though were glamourous and no one has reported on them I will attempt to do a small recap as living vicariously is fun.

First up was the Romantic Novelists Association awards lunch on Monday 4 February. The winner of the Romantic Novel of the Year was Freya North for Pillow talk and the winner for the Betty Neels Rose Bowl (aka the Romance Prize) was Kate Hardy and her book Breakfast at Giovanni's (to be published in April in the US as In Bed with Her Italian Boss as part of the Promotional Presents programme). I was out on a walk when Kate texted me, but my dh says that I burst into tears. It is a lovely book with a lot of heart and a worthy winner. Kate has done a marvellous post on her blog about the can read it here.

Next up on the 7th was the one party I did go to -- the Mills & Boon Centenary Celebration. The party could have easily stepped straight from the pages of a Presents novel. The venue, the Wallace Collection, is the former main townhouse of the Marquis of Hertford and displays its suberb collection of 18th century objects d' other words, the sort of setting for a Regency novel.
The courtyard was bathed in pink, and as befits a birthday party, there were various stalls for cotton candy, ice cream and cupcakes with the M&B centenary logo. The bar boasted an array of different coloured drinks. Most of the authors has peach bellinis but I stuck to champagne. The room teemed with authors, agents, editors, public relations people, and journalists. At one point, they had all the authors on stage for a photocall. It was an impressive sight. Several authors were interviewed by the BBC for a proposed documentary. A tenor crooned while red roses were handed out to all the ladies. And UK television personality, Alan Titchmarsh gave a lovely welcome address.
There was a wonderful buzz about the party and all the guests left with a party bag.

The third party happened last Thursday om Manchester and was the culiminating event of the Manchester Library's year of Pure Passion. Penny Jordan has been tireless in her support of this, and gave a number of talks about romance. The party was held in the Neo Gothic Town Hall and by all accounts, it was a wonderful event with flowing champagne and glamourous dresses. Authors, editors. librarians and readers gathered to celebrate romantic fiction and find out the winner of the Pure Passion prize. Christina Jones won for her chick lit novel Love Potions. Annie Burrows has more on her website, including photos.

Because I know that people like to live vicariously, I have the little gold bookmark from my party bag, and a copy of the programme from Mills & Boon party to give away. The question I would like answered is in which year was Mills & Boon founded. Please email me with your answer with Totebags contest in the subject line. I will draw the winner on 1 March.

UPDATE: The first name out of the hat was Estella Kissell. I have sent a message, but I do need a postal address to send the bookmark and programme. Many thanks to all who entered.


Gigi said...

Hi Michelle,

Your round of February parties sound just like out of story.The location for the Mills and Boon party at the residence of the Marquis of Hertford sounds like a perfect location for a romance publishing house to have a birthday party.

I live in America and I watch BBC America on Direct TV hopefully the documentary will make its way to my television some day.

Cryna said...

Thank you for sharing the parties with us. They sound like three special and wonderful parties. What a perfect location for to have a birthday party and it has been exciting to read about it on the different blogs.

Estella said...

Sounds like those parties were a lot of fun.

Michelle Styles said...

Yes from what I understand the parties were a lot of fun. I know the one celebrating 100 years of Mills & Boon certainly was.
It was the sort of party that I thought authors went to all the time when I was growing up, and Harlequin Mills & Boon authors especially. We don't. It is what makes parties live in your memory.

Karen H in NC said...

Sounds like fabulous parties. But, you stopped short of telling us what was in that party bag. Inquiring minds just want to know...

Michelle Styles said...

The party contained:
1 Galaxy chocolate bar ( shared that night with two friends as we talked about books)
1 M&B cover card (given to a friend who gave it to her dh for Valentine's day. Said friend is into riding and the card featured two riders plus double entendre)
2 pens (these my children grabbed, pens are at premium in my house)
A book of vouchors that has disappeared somewhere in the house.
the new HR by Margaret Way. I read it during the horrendous journey back up North. Everyone received a different book.
a calender that is now sitting on my desk.
the book mark (which is what the competiton is for)
and some pink tissue paper.
The bag is lovely pink & white with the M&B 100 years logo. At the moement, it is living in my study.
The programmes were on a little table just before the actual entrance to the courtyard. They are gold, and fold out to show some of the M&B covers and were meant as a keepsake.
I think that covers it....