Toe in Water – RNA Conference

On Saturday (9 July) I set off in great trepidation to drive to Caerleon in Wales for the RNA conference. It made me realise that I don’t drive far these days, but thanks to the satnav and Ellie Swoop keeping me awake we arrived safely.

It was lovely to see people I knew, people I had met on Facebook and Twitter and to make new friends. Isn’t it strange that from those little profile photographs you can’t gauge height or accent!

I decided to list some learning points from my first conference:-

1. If you put “big knickers” in your book people will remember it.
2. Queues are not always bad. You can make friends in a queue.
3. It is helpful to be able to say in six seconds what your book is about.
4. How motivating an “Ooo” from a crowd can be. (Got one for my 6 second pitch)
5. It is a truth universally acknowledged that romantic novelists like posh shoes.

The workshops I attended were very special. I learned loads in a short space of time. My novel was rearranging itself in my head during the day. For those interested I went to:

• Linda Gillard – Painting with words.
• Jane Wenham-Jones – Where’s my hook? What’s my angle?
• Flo Nicoll & Anna Boatman – Unpredictable journey to happy-ever-after.
• Liz Fielding – Blending humour with emotion.
• Rachel Summerson – Creating characters we believe in.
• Lorelei Mathias – Book marketing for small pockets.

Special mentions to Teresa Morgan, Talli Roland, India Grey, Sue Moorcroft, Anne Ashurst, Leanne Bibby, Alison Maynard, Elizabeth Hanbury, Sue Johnson, Jan Jones (for organising), Rachel Lyndhurst, Linda Gillard (for fantastic workshop), last but not least Ellie Swoop (for maltesers on way home).

Loved my ‘toe in the water’ experience and now want to join the RNA and go again. Pity I didn’t take any photographs, but there are loads on other blogs – thankfully not of me!

Have you had a great day recently? Please tell me about it.

By Morton S. Gray

Author of romantic suspense novels.


  1. Talli – Next time definitely, but nice to meet you. I hadn't imagined you so tall!

    Liz – Thanks for retweeting the post.

    Raven and Alexandra – It was superb, fun learning time with girly giggles!

    Linda – Workshop was very useful and no you looked totally in control. Thank you in advance for picture.

    Kiru – The idea is that when you find yourself in a lift with an editor or agent you can sell your book in six seconds. Needs to be short and sharp.


  2. Morton, it was brilliant to see you and Ellie – please promise you'll do the whole weekend next year as we didn't get NEARLY enough time to chat. I totally agree about the workshops – I too went to Linda's, Jane's and the M&B one and found them all head-spinningly useful. Linda's description one in particular, even though I didn't expect to feel inspired at 9am, I was!

    Would you think about putting your 'elevator pitch' up on the blog so your followers could gasp too?



  3. Thanks for the mention, Morton. It was lovely to meet you and Ellie.

    Me too! I've come away wanting to join the RNA NWS and everything. Hopefully we'll get to meet again soon.

    I'm working on my elevator pitch! Gosh, wasn't Jane Wenham-Jones good?

    T x


  4. Hi Morton – glad you enjoyed the conference, don't know how I missed you but we attended different workshops and we must have been standing in different queues. I've been going to the conference for years now and am always amazed that I miss people even though I do try to circulate. Just as well we can make cyber friends and one day I'm sure we'll be standing in the same queue!


  5. Doris – It was fun and yet I learned loads.

    Jenny – Not sure about stardom, but it did a lot for my motivation.

    India – It was a whirlwind and I didn't seem to chat to many people at all. Linda, Jane and Liz' workshops are still buzzing in my mind and I'm itching to rewrite my book, but family life on the slide to the end of term is getting in the way at the moment. Blushes about elevator pitch on blog.

    Teresa – I know what you mean. I just hope I can get my application in fast enough for NWS.

    Cara – I went through the attendance list when I got home and there were several people I “know” who I had missed. Maybe next time.


  6. Glad you had a good time. It was a fab conference wasn't it? Loved Linda Gillard's description talk so much that I'm busy searching out her books. x


  7. Jude – I absolutely loved Star Gazing. Now I have my Kindle I have downloaded Emotional Geology and House of Secrets. I could do with a conference every month to inspire and lift my motivation. Maybe that is the key – I'll work harder to pay for next years conference!


  8. Glad you enjoyed it so much Morton – sounds great. Linda Gillard's books are fab! I had a wonderful few days on holiday – walking and sharing good times with an old friend.


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