Wednesday, 20 November 2013

I really hope you enjoyed Part 1 of the diary yesterday. So, continuing on from where I left off yesterday.............
Saturday 9th November - Cinders did go to the Ball!
After returning to the hotel after meeting up with all the other lovely bloggers and Kate Allan, Festival Organiser, I hot-footed it back to my broom cupboard hotel room to get changed into my post frock for the Romance Ball and awards! Now, those who know me really well in my personal life know that I do not do dressing up particularly well. I feel very uncomfortable wearing a frock and high heels. I'm more of a jeans and boots type of girl. But, this was a special occasion after all. I was one of the lucky shortlisted bloggers for the Romance Blogger of the Year award. Eeeek! So, after a quick shower and accidentally using super glittery body lotion which made me look like I'd been dipped in gold glitter, I made my way down to the hotel reception where I was met by Carol Wright aka Dizzy C who looked totally glam and really amazing! I had the opportunity to finally meet her lovely family. Next to arrive was the very lovely Pete Cook in his James Bond tuxedo. I'd been really looking forward to meeting Pete as we had become good online friends and he is just about one of the nicest people you could meet! Last and not least, was the very dapper looking Les Moriarty!
(From L-R) Pete Cook, JB, Carol Wright, Les Moriarty
Pete and Les were very kindly escorting Carol and myself to the ball and thank goodness because I could not walk in my shoes and had to hold onto poor Les the whole way there!
JB & Pete Cook (and half of Les Moriarty's head!)

Anyway, we finally arrived at the ball after going to the wrong Ball. Yes, that's right, Carol and I ended up at the Farmer's Ball next door by accident! Once Carol managed to stop laughing we managed to get ourselves sorted for a photograph and seated at our table.
Heidi & JB (Not sure what I am looking at here!

The awards were to be announced first and it was lovely to see so many lovely authors receiving their awards. Every person there was supportive of everyone else and genuinely pleased when someone won.

Some of the Loveahappyending Lifestyel Mag team!
(L-R) Carol Wright, Heidi, JB, Linn B Halton with the trophy, Sheryl Browne & Janice Horton

The lovely Linn B Halton won an Innovation in Romantic Fiction (Author) Award and it was lovely to see recognition for all her hard work in putting together the LoveAHappyEnding Lifestyle magazine, of which I am proud to be a part of. 
The Award!

Next, it was the turn of the blogger award. I thought that at this point I might pass out with nerves! The very lovely Sharon Goodwin was announced as the winner. She so deserved this award for the amazing amount of hard work she puts into supporting authors and fellow bloggers such as myself. I have to say I was genuinely pleased for her. All of the bloggers felt that no matter who the award went to we would be thrilled because it was going to a friend as we all knew each other really well and I did actually feel quite emotional for her. I was thrilled to have been nominated in the first place and consider it a huge honour.

Next, the bloggers all got a bit of a shock as Kate Allen, called the Carol, Kirsty and myself up to collect a lovely little runners up prize and have our photo taken. What we hadn't realised at the time was that we received a standing ovation. Totally amazing! Humble bloggers being so celebrated. I felt like a celebrity!!! A very emotional night and I loved every single minute of it! I had such fun the rest of the evening and after saying goodbye to the fantastic Pete Cook, Kirsty and Heidi we made the wobbly journey back to the hotel where I proceeded to phone my poor husband in a very emotional state and kept him on the phone until 2am!

 Sunday 10th November - Goodbyes & Festival Conference and going home!

The final day of the Festival of Romance! Noooooooo! Before the conference I had to say goodbye to lovely Les Moriarty who had looked after me so well the entire weekend. One of life's true gents.
At the conference there was a whole host of speakers from authors to publishers and a chance for 1-1 sessions with authors / publishers too. Valuable tips were passed on and a fair bit of networking was done. Carol and I took notes and learned so much from the conference. It was so nice to learn about the whole publishing industry and the journey to getting published. I adored being surrounded by people from the wonderful world that is books and just felt so at home. The conference is very informative and definitely something I would highly recommend to all writers! At the conference it was lovely to have bloggers acknowledged once again.
After the conference there was very little time to say my goodbyes as Janice Horton and I were leaving almost immediately after the conference to travel together to the airport. Janice had flown in from Scotland and her flight home was almost the same time as mine. Leaving Bedford was so difficult as I was saying goodbye to all my lovely friends. Very difficult to do. But, luckily I had such fun getting to the airport with Janice, almost getting off at the wrong train station, and then I was swabbed for drugs at Airport Security (not the first time this has happened to me) whilst poor Janice looked on hoping I wasn't some sort of drugs mule!  Eventually we were able to  share a glass of wine over dinner  and have a really good chat before our flights! Janice is such a hoot and one of the most lovely people you could ever meet. Saying goodbye to Janice at the airport as she went to her departure gate was so difficult and I will admit to shedding a little tear!

I eventually got home at 9.30pm after touching down rather bumpily at Belfast International airport. I was tired but happy. Attending the festival was such a positive experience for me. It felt totally amazing to have the hard work that bloggers do recognised. The friendships I had formed online are now stronger because I had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people. Everyone I met was so genuinely warm and loving that I fell in love with them all! The Festival of Romance offers authors and bloggers a great opportunity to learn from one another and offer support. Writing and blogging is a fairly solitary way to spend your time and so the friendships formed through such pursuits are ones that I feel will last a lifetime. Attending has definitely confirmed for me that I'd love to make a career in the world of books / publishing /journalism / writing of some sort. Thanks to everyone who made the weekend so special and thanks once again to Kate Allan and her team for all their hard work. Roll on Festival of Romance 2014!

7 Responses so far.

  1. Dizzy C says:

    Didnt we scrub up well! LOL

    Once I had recovered from the fit of laughter at gatecrashing the Farmer's Ball instead of the Romance Ball we had a fabulous time.

    I couldnt have expressed our emotions at the ball better, JB.


  2. Lovely post and you all looked very glamorous indeed. x

  3. Lovely post and you all looked very glamorous indeed. x

  4. What a fabulous account of an fabulous weekend, JB! A weekend made complete by all sections of the industry coming together and being recognised and celebrated for their amazing contribution to the what the Festival is all about: writing! I couldn't agree with your sentiments more. You looked fantastic. You, and your fellow bloggers, are. Simples!! Are you sure wandering into the Farmers Ball was an accident though?? ;) xx

  5. Glynis says:

    Loved your diary of events. I am laughing again, as the young man seated next to me was a farmer. He is the husband of a writer and was bored, I should have sent him next door! LOL

  6. JB - I'm still giggling at you being drug swabbed at Luton airport. Not that you looked guilty - the security guy just clearly fancied you!

    Soooo great that we had time to have a lovely chat and a meal together and a glass of wine at Frankie & Benny's at the airport while waiting for our flights. You are as lovely as I imagined you'd be JB, and I can't wait until we get together again.

    Until then I'm looking forward to your blogiversary parrtay!!

    love, Janice xx

  7. Mandy says:

    Loved this second part! Can't wait to do it all again!

    Mandy x

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