I spent the weekend at my old university, in the company of several hundred romantic novelists, at the Romantic Novelists' Association annual conference in Lancaster. It was a long awaited and much anticipated break for me, although I now have to fight my way back to the mindset of the PhD, and get over the exhaustion! It was a fabulous weekend. In glorious sunshine, I revisited old haunts on campus and in town, watched the bunnies on the lawns, met up with lots of old friends, sat in on panels and lectures, ate meals that I hadn't prepared, took part in a panel on romantic suspense, with some other lovely authors, learned a lot, laughed a lot and helped write a book in an hour. When I tell you it involved a mermaid, a set of handcuffs and a synchronised swimming team, you might get an idea of how mad that was. Most of the sessions were serious though, and some a bit scary, like how long it really takes for agents and editors to decide how far they will read in a slush pile submission. I enjoyed the session on writing crime, discussion of writing sensitive material and learning a lot about what agents and editors are looking for at the moment. Lots of people had one to ones with those agents and editors, with requests for manuscript submissions, so there were lots of happy faces. I also found that Never Coming Home was among the nominees for inclusion in the list of best books in the last 60 years, which will be part of the RNA Diamond Jubilee celebrations next year. I have no expectation of being on the final list, but to know someone had nominated me was a great boost. Looking forward to next year, when I might even have a new book in the works!!!!