Friday, October 03, 2008

Photos from the AMBA Luncheon— London 2008

by Jennie Lucas

Every year, the Association of Mills and Boon Authors held their annual luncheon in London. Last year I heard so many stories of all the fun that I vowed that I had to go in 2008--and by some miracle, I actually was able to do it!

Here I am near Trafalgar Square on my way to Browns, a posh tavern near Covent Garden. (I was walking with fellow authors Abby Green, India Grey and Natalie Rivers, who were all staying at the same hotel.)

To the left: the outside of Browns.

To the right: a view from the sweeping stairs of the pre-luncheon drinks and chatting.

I unfortunately had lost my voice from French-kissing my laryngitic husband farewell before I got on the plane for London. So although I'd hoped to meet many of my fellow Harlequin Mills & Boon authors, I wandered around the party as speechless as Ariel the Mermaid, trying to communicate with pen and paper. ACK! Now that's a confidence-builder when you try to network with strangers. But at least I was able to take lots of pictures...

To the left: Harlequin Presents/M&B Modern authors Trish Morey and Kate Hardy (in purple).

To the right: the luncheon room--elegant as a wedding reception, complete with assigned seating! The lunch was scrumptious, a starter of goat's cheese and mixed salad with fig relish, then chicken breast served with mixed roasted pepper and chocolate truffle with raspberry coulis for dessert.

The view across my table. From left, Presents/Modern author India Grey, Harlequin Historicals author (and fab luncheon organizer!) Michelle Styles and Presents/Modern author (and 2008 RITA finalist) Natasha Oakley.

To the right: beaming Harlequin Historicals author (and 2008 RITA finalist!) Nicola Cornick after receiving her milestone award for 25 books! Other authors also received milestone awards, and I wish I could list them all here too...if anyone else can remember their names, please help me!

To the left: me, the head of the HMB office Karin Stoecker, and Presents/Modern Heat author (and 2008 RITA finalist) Heidi Rice.

After the Champagne Toast to the Authors from Mills and Boon later that afternoon, a bunch of us headed out into the night....

Here we toast London with fab strawberry bellinis! From left to right: Presents/Modern authors Abby Green, Jennie Lucas and India Grey! (Thanks to Natalie Rivers for taking this photo!)

Thanks London, AMBA and Harlequin Mills & Boon for a heck of a party! Hope to see you all again soon--when I have a voice and not just a camera. :)

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Michelle Styles said...

Oh hopefully you can come back one day -- with your voice.
But I was seriously impressed with the notepad.

Lois said...

Ooh, love those pictures - and seeing the names to faces of people that I read and know virtually! :)


Kate Walker said...

It was great to see you, Jen. And at least we got to talk a little on the previous night. Hope you come back agin soon


Maureen said...

What lovely pictures. It looks like you have a wonderful time.

Jennie Lucas said...

Hi Michelle! Thanks again for organizing the event (with some help from Sharon Kendrick too I think?). It was great to finally meet you in person!

I'm so grateful I had that notepad and pen, courtesy of Trish Morey and Abby Green for scrounging it up for me!

I'm already dreaming about next year--the fantasy of doing either AMBA again or the RWAustralia conference in Brisbane. But since this time I'm determined not to leave my kiddos and husband behind (to avoid those potentially deadly farewell kisses?), I'll have to see what happens.

Jennie Lucas said...

Thanks, Lois--I always love seeing photos too!

A few weeks ago I was panicking over what to wear to this, and googled last year's AMBA for clues about what people wear to an all-day event that starts out with luncheon and ends with a cocktail-hour champagne toast. How fancy to go? How plain?

Thankfully, I found Abby Green's AMBA photo blog here at Tote Blogs from a year ago. (The original blog that inspired me to vow to attend *this* year!) It really helped me pick out my kinda-cocktail-but-kinda-workday purple silk dress. Whew!

You can see Abby's blog at:

Jennie Lucas said...

Kate, it was so great to see you again! I got a bunch of terrific photos from the Presents dinner you organized for us the night before. I'll be posting pics of all the glamorous fun on Monday at!


Jennie Lucas said...

Hi, Maureen! Thanks for stopping by! Yes, it was a wonderful time, even though I was forced to keep my mouth shut (for a change).

The best part was that I brought my mom with me. She'd never been to London before, and it was a dream trip, to be able to spend a few days sightseeing just the two of us! I'll never forget it.

Estella said...

It sounds like you had a really good time!

Annie West said...


Thanks for sharing with us. I'd love to go to the AMBA function one year. It's a long way from Australia to London so I'll have to plan carefully. Looks like it was such fun!


kimmyl said...

Great pics. Looks like evryone had a great time.

Pat Cochran said...

Too sad that you were under the weather for the gathering! Enjoyed
all the great photographs and seeing some of my favorite authors - just
finished books by Abby Green and
Nicola Cornick.

Pat Cochran

Jennie Lucas said...

Estella, sorry it's taken me so long to reply--I went out on a late-night date with my husband last night, then went to the pumpkin patch with my kids this morning! Ah, I love this season. October is my favorite month. "Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness." The pumpkin patch was muddy from all the rain this kids were totally mud-splattered and soaked from jumping in puddles!

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Jennie Lucas said...

Hi Annie! So great to see you here! And hope to see you in person somewhere next year--whether that's in Australia, London or Washington DC! *hugs*

Jennie Lucas said...

Hi Kimmyl! Thanks. I had so many pictures it was hard to pick through them! :) But I'm getting nostalgic about the trip (already?!), so it was really fun to look through them!

Jennie Lucas said...

Hi Pat! I'm glad you liked the pictures. Which books are you reading by Abby Green and Nicola Cornick? Abby is one of my favorites too. She is the coolest person in real life--she always is at the center of the party, she and India Grey are so glamorous and funny and witty. And I'm just finishing Nicola's Regency romance Unmasqued--fantastic!

Dina said...

Lovely pics, I want to go to London.

Jennie Lucas said...

Dina, thanks! You definitely should go to London. It's great! The exchange rate is painful, though. The only way I could enjoy it was to pretend the British currency was just Monopoly money. Otherwise I would have freaked out every time I paid the equivalent of $5 for a Diet Coke. Now I'll just freak out when I get my credit card bill next week. Aaaah!! *laugh*

Anna Campbell said...

Jennie, don't you look gorgeous? And what fun to see photos of all the authors. Thanks so much for sharing them with us! Looks like it was such a fun day! And Trish Morey always turns a day into a party, doesn't she? Nicola's UNMASQUED is next on my TBR pile. Can hardly wait! I loved her Edwardian romance THE LAST RAKE IN LONDON!

Michele L. said...

Thanks again for sharing the pictures with us all! It sure looks like you had a wonderful time!

It's nice to look back on fun events like this one. I keep all my photos in scrapbooks and embellish the pages with accessories from the events I take home with me. It makes for a memorable, treasured album.

Michele L.

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