Before I begin – yesterday was International Kissing Day! I hope you found someone to smooch; if not, the day seems to fixed as 6 July, rather than the first Sunday in July, so get ready to pucker up on Monday 6 July 2015.
On Saturday, I went to the Romance Author and Reader event in Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange. I had no idea what to expect, but it certainly was an interesting day! The historical romance author Marguerite Kaye had sent me a link months ago, and I noticed that tickets were selling quite quickly, so I bought my day ticket for £20 (plus another pound or so booking fee!) from http://www.eventbrite.com.
Registration had started the night before, but as I hadn’t been there I needed to exchange my printed ticket for a neon wristband that would give me access to the hall. Queuing for this started at 10am outside the Corn Exchange, and there were three queues – A-H, I-M and N-W. That was the longest queue, unsurprisingly! Everyone registering was given a rather nice black goody-bag stamped with a pink version of the logo, and with one or two treats inside. The Hot Bed had a lollipop raffle, where you picked a lolly and if it had a coloured stick you won various prizes. If the stick was white – well, at least you won a lollipop.
Then it was back in the queue to wait for admission to the hall itself, which opened at 11am. There was such a huge queue – hundreds of women with an occasional husband or boyfriend – that it took me until half past eleven to get in. There were around 70 tables arranged up and down the hall, with romance authors and their books. Most also had various items of swag – pens, bookmarks, keyrings etc. Some authors limited swag items to purchasers, others limited the number of items you could take – fair enough, since I imagine many of them paid for the items themselves. I wasn’t out to scoop what I could, but I gathered a numbered of signed bookmarks and postcards after chatting with some authors. Top tip if you’re ever doing a signing – lots of Sharpies in evidence everywhere, and some clever people had brought gold and silver to contrast with the often dark backgrounds on printed material. Some readers were asking authors to autograph their e-reader cases, which I thought was a clever way of getting an autograph onto an e-book!
I have to admit I hadn’t heard of many of the names on the ist of authors appearing, but that was a splendid excuse to order some new books. I spoke to the authors whose books I’d tried – well, except for Sylvia Day, who was in a separate little room by herself as she was so popular. Anyone wanting to speak to her had to collect a numbered ticket and then be called forward in turn. I got to the pile of tickets so late I decided I’d skip it as I wasn’t sure how long I would need to wait.
I had a special apology for Jennifer Probst, as of all the books I’d read I liked her ‘The Marriage Bargain’ best. Unfortunately it had disappeared at home, so I wasn’t able to bring it for her to sign. She was very sweet and gave me a card with her signature, and a t-shirt showing the latest title she had out. Even better, she told me that she had a series of four books, of which ‘The Marriage Bargain’ was the first, all on the subject of ‘marriage of convenience’. One of my favourite tropes.
In the end I staggered out with sore feet, but I really enjoyed myself. There’s another signing in Dublin this Wednesday (9 July) if you’re kicking yourself for having missed this one – but I’m afraid it seems to be sold out (https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/dublin-author-signing-2014-tickets-9944858339)
Comment on this blog post, or any in July or August, for a chance to win this set of notecards from Papyrus – 12 identical glittered cards saying ‘hello’ and 12 lined envelopes. Unfortunately the picture hasn’t scanned very well – the notecards are a landscape rectangle, rather than the square they appear as here. But they’re very pretty. And surprisingly tasteful for something covered in glitter!