The conference this year was held at Chichester University. The drive down was through rolling hills and stunning scenery and Bishop Otter campus exactly where I expected it to be; unlike Leicester University which proved remarkably elusive last year.
There were too many excellent seminars, talks and meetings to list them all here; they covered such subjects as, "What Is Romantic Fiction, Anyway?", how to polish your manuscript, what publishers and agents are looking for, what happens to a novel from the time it's taken, to its publication; plus talks from Jill Mansell, Claire Lorimer, Katie Fforde, and Jane Wenham-Jones.
Melanie Hilton gave us a light-hearted, hands-on look at some of the more unusual, as well as better known, sources for researching Regency costume. We were invited to bring along our own Unmentionables!
One of the best parts of any conference is the opportunity to catch up with old friends, make new ones, and talk writing all weekend. I learnt that "Pride and Prejudice" was originally called "First Impressions" and took Jane Austen over 16 years to write.
I have started reading it again and am enjoying it just as much this time as I did the first. Having seen several TV and film versions over the years I had expected my enjoyment of the original to have been somewhat spoilt, however I am finding it as fresh, witty and delightful as if it was new to me.
The House Party will be released by Robert Hale and on www.regencyreads at the end of July. It can be bought from www.halebooks.com and on Amazon UK for around £13. Don't forget you can also order it from your local library in the UK.