Thursday, August 07, 2008

Harlequin Party Report

By Jennie Lucas

Since I joined RWA in 1999, I've heard tales of the fantastic Harlequin party held every conference on Friday night in a glamorous ballroom. This year the Harlequin party was held at the San Francisco Four Seasons Hotel. To the left is a picture of Sharon Kendrick (in pink) and me (in green).

As a new Harlequin author finally able to attend the party, I'm obviously biased, so I'll try and act in my usual restrained, stoic manner...I think this was possibly the best party in the history of all recorded time!!

The ballroom was huge, decorated with San Francisco landmarks like palm trees and an enormous Golden Gate bridge over the bar. (The image to the left is what the ballroom looked like before the Harlequin invasion!) Speaking of the bar...I had no idea this party would have free drinks. Free booze?! Are they crazy?? Don't they know we're writers?!?

To the right: Olivia Gates, new Silhouette Desire author, glamorous in her floor-length orange gown from Cairo--one of the best dresses of the night IMO!

The dancing was fast and furious, and the floor was absolutely packed. A jolly but dangerous place with elbows and feet flying. The DJ was incredible. I spent four hours on the dance floor and I literally had trouble walking the next day. (Now that's when you really know you've had a good time!)

Here, Harlequin authors are honored for achieving the career milestone of 25 or 50 books published! (I recognize Holly Jacobs to the left. Can't wait to read more from these great authors!)

And then there was the legendary Sandra Marton, in a class all by herself! She received a silver Tiffany keychain to honor the occasion of her 75th published book. Wow!

To the right is a picture of Sandra accepting her Tiffany box from Craig Swinwood (EVP Retail Marketing & Sales) and Loriana Sacilotto (EVP Global Publishing & Strategy).

Handsome guys are always in demand on the dance floor, where the demographics are generally 95% female. (And 100% talented!) Here's Randall Toye, who helped us dance the night away.

And (continuing our tour) to the right are some gorgeous dancers--didn't get their names, sadly--cha-chaing their way across the ballroom to get to the dance floor. The song might have been "Dancing Queen", or possibly my current fave, "American Boy". (Did I mention how great the DJ was? He did a great mix of classic crowd-pleasers along with more modern stuff!)

To the left: CONGA!

To the right: fab Harlequin American author Trish Milburn, just gotsta have her conga!

And then one of the ten-foot-tall palm trees fell over. I was too much in the dance zone to really pay much attention, but hopefully no one was too knocked over by the avalanche of paper mache. Here's a photo of the defective tree being carried out by some hunky guys, courtesy of Harlequin Historicals author Michelle Willingham.

To the right, senior editor Linda Fildew looking radiant. Editors Suzy Clarke (in black) and Sally Williamson (in green) from the Richmond office are dancing behind her.

Um, no, all those drinks on the table couldn't possibly belong to us... (from left) Carole Mortimer, Jennie Lucas, Jessica Hart (standing--she also got her 50-book award that night!), Susan Stephens, and Trish Morey. Also, that girl in white in the upper left corner is Silhouette Desire author Laura Wright. (Thanks to the wonderful Jacqueline Baird for taking the photo!)

To the left: 2008 RITA finalist Jane Porter!

To the right: Presents authors Kate Walker, Abby Green and 2008 RITA finalist Heidi Rice (in blue).

So, did you find yourself in any of the photos? (Would you admit it if you did?) Thanks for an amazing party, Harlequin authors (and Harlequin!). See you next year!!

Jennie Lucas's third Presents novel, Caretti's Forced Bride, is on sale now in the U.S.


Michelle Monkou said...

The photo of the African American ladies are Sha-Shana Chricton, an agent, and Glenda Howard (black dress with gold sash), Executive Editor for Harlequin's Kimani Press.

I had a blast at the party.


Jennie Lucas said...

Thanks, Michelle! They were such great dancers that I just had to take a picture--even though they were total strangers! Thanks for letting me know who they are.

And yeah, the party rocked! It was nice to finally meet you at the Harlequin booksigning. I'm so glad you had a great time at the party too!

Estella said...

I can tell you had a wonderful time!

Aideen said...

Hi Jennie,

Now that looks like a party ought to!! Fabulous snaps, some possible inspirations for stylish Presents heroines I'd say.

It must be wonderful for you all to get together and be recognised for the hard work you do all year. A deserved night no doubt.

All the best,

Annie West said...


Thanks so much for the blog and the pictures. I was so sad I couldn't make it there this year, particularly when there were so many other Presents authors attending. All the Harlequin authors look like they're having a wonderful time.


Jennie Lucas said...

Hi Estella! Yes, it was great. I actually went to the party last year as well, but then I arrived late and left early. This year was special. Maybe it was the DJ, or maybe it's just that I knew more people and that made it fun. :)

Jennie Lucas said...

Hi Aideen! Great to see you! It was fun just to have an excuse to buy impractical shoes for the party. You can't see in the picture (I took them off when I really started to dance) but I wore these purple silk high heels with disco-ball heels. Not something I can usually wear to the supermarket!

It was, just as you put it, everything a party should be. Just being around so many happy women making jokes and being funny, my cheeks hurt from smiling so much and laughing so hard.

Jennie Lucas said...

Hi Annie! We missed you! I ran into your critique partner Anna Campbell--saw her at the restaurant across from the hotel and just ran over and introduced myself, madly snapping photos like a crazed fan. I expect she's used to that kind of reaction though!

Next year the party's in DC. Annie, you have to come. Mojitos are on me!!

Cheri2628 said...

Thanks for the photos! It looks like it was a blast! ;-)

Trish Milburn said...

LOL! I totally don't even remember you taking that conga line photo, and I wasn't even drinking! :) I had a blast, but like you I had trouble walking the next day. And I wasn't even the dancing machine that you and Stephanie Rowe were. I did notice a lot of flat sandals and flip-flops being worn on Saturday, including by me.

Lee Hyat said...

It was a fun party! And OMG Jennie Lucas and Trish Morey really know every dance move in the book!! You were all awesome!! :)

Pat Cochran said...

Wow! What a party! You all deserve
to celebrate, you've all had a busy

Pat Cochran

michellewillingham said...

It was truly an amazing night! Even though my roommie, Larissa Ione, got hit by the errant tree (she's okay). It was great dancing with everyone--cannot WAIT until next year!

Christine Rimmer said...

Jennie, great post and great pictures. Love your dress.

Nathalie said...

Thanks for the pics :-)

Jennie Lucas said...

Cheri, thanks for stopping by! It was really fun to choose which photos to post. :)

Jennie Lucas said...

Trish, I'm glad I wasn't the only one saying "Ow ow ow" the next day! And it was such a hoot to watch the conga dancers. Maybe next time I'll actually join in--although it's hard to imagine anything more fun than watching!

Jennie Lucas said...

Lee, I'm totally blushing! Thanks for your nice words. And Trish Morey does rock, doesn't she? :)

Michelle, thanks again for the photo of the tree. I'm glad Larissa is okay! It was great to meet you and I'm definitely looking forward to the party in DC!

Jennie Lucas said...

Christine--thanks for your nice words! And thanks for your comment about the dress. Thank heaven for Spanx, is all I can say!

Nathalie, hi! Thanks for stopping by. :)

Pat! I almost missed your comment! Great to see you... Thanks for all your nice words!

Anonymous said...

Wow, sounds like everyone had a great time. Thanks for posting the pics and congrats to everyone who received awards.

kimmyl said...

I just bought this book and I loved it.

Jennie Lucas said...

I just saw your comment, Lisa--thanks for stopping by! :)

And Kimmyl, thanks for your wonderful comment about Caretti's Forced Bride. It really made me happy!

Julie P. said...

Looks like so much fun!