Jet lag. It’s awful, isn’t it? I wondered if RARE London was going to be worth it. Hells yeah, it was.
RARE (Romance Author Reader Event) was a huge gathering. More than 1500 readers and 60 authors gathered for this three-day event (40 authors at the main signing and about 20 at the pre-registration party and the After Dark after party).
I was told most people come to RARE with a strategy — how to see the authors they’d like to meet, how to get the books home, how they were going to get from Point A to Point B, etc. My RARE strategy was to wander around like a lost puppy until I found Stuart Reardon. Last time I popped into LadySmut I told ya’ I was going to meet him at this readers-author gathering if it was the last thing I did. There he is below in all his glory. I got to touch him, friends. TOUCH HIM. Granted said touch was for a nanosecond–as long as it took for the kind woman behind me to snap the pic with my phone. But these hands touching the keyboard right now were around this man’s waist for one glorious moment. I was a good girl. I restrained myself and did not sneak in a lick.
Other than that, I managed to get a few books signed and discover a few new authors, especially during the main book signing. It was well organized though there was no way on God’s green earth you could see everyone even if there were only forty authors in total. E.L. James, Colleen Hoover, Jodi Ellen Malpas and other big names required tickets to see.
I know some people went home disappointed that they didn’t get their books or scrapbooks signed, but the organizers warned us and encouraged us to have a plan. Did you catch that about the scrapbooks? They were amazing. I signed so many!
I was one of the After Dark Party authors, though most people were far more interested in the bar and dancing than books at that event. I couldn’t blame them because 1) they’d spent hours at the main signing and 2) the party was held in the swanky Park Lane Hilton in Kensington, whose decor alone demanded parading around the room in high heels while holding a wine glass or taking over the dance floor.
Intrigued? Want to go to the next one? If you ever go to a RARE event, here’s some advice. Wear comfortable shoes. I don’t care if London is a fashion capital and that some people will show up in high heels to the after parties. I learned on day one that blisters and bleeding toes do not a fashion statement make, and the great yet challenging thing about RARE is that every event — the pre-reg party, the actual book fair and the after party — was held in a different location throughout London. If you’re someone who likes to hide in the hotel room until it’s time to go do something, you were out of luck at RARE. You were going to see some of London whether you wanted to or not. Over three days I took the Tube, cabs, an Addison Lee (their version of Uber) and walked miles. It was fun, tiring, and I kinda want to do it again — soon.
I got spend a lot of time with my fellow book lovers and authors, including my UK bestie, Rachel De Lune (who has a new release out, by the way, called Innocent Eyes. Like your steaminess with a side of dark? Click here.) I also got to meet Althea Romig and Julie Kent, and some wonderful friends I only knew online previously.
So, what else can I tell you? How about some things about London?
First, everyone was so polite and mannerly. I expected to experience the legendary British manners, but their demeanor was such a contrast to what I’ve experienced in the U.S. of late, I was often stunned into silence. Stunned. I mean, they ask before taking swag off an author’s table! If you visit the U.K. anytime soon, and if manners mean anything to you, you’ll notice how far down the lack-of-civility hole we Americans have fallen. Far, my friends. Very, very far. Enough said about that…
They also are the fastest beings on two legs. Seriously they walk faster than New Yorkers—and me! They also cannot be overtaken. Just for grins, while walking on Kensington-High Street, I tried to catch up to this one chick who whizzed by me. She was wearing high-heeled boots and yet her land speed record was not broken. She left me and my flats in the dust. Since London was colder (and drier) than expected, this may be one cause of the fast walking. Then again they get a lot of walking practice because holy shite, London is HUGE. Their tube system is massive, and their traffic rivals DC and LA. I spent 10 British pounds to go one mile in a taxi. Heathrow airport also is massive on top of being advanced, tech-wise & manners-wise (that polite thing again). It was a 20 minute walk to my boarding gate. Of course, the polite British have signs warning you of this fact. Suffice to say I logged my 10,000 steps every. single. day.
And ooo, the shopping at Heathrow and at their super mall, Westfield Shopping Centre was to die for. Gucci! Tiffany! Harrod’s! I was lured into many shops. You heard this hear first: Pink is going to the “it” color next year. Americans are generally one year behind in beauty and fashion from Europe. If the shops I visited were any indication, light pink (not hot pink) will be the color of the year here in 2019. Hey, being on trend is important, too. The only thing I could not buy was iced tea. Ice cream is everywhere, but they view iced tea as an abomination to the Church of Tea.
One thing about RARE didn’t surprise me. The romance world is the same all over. No matter where you’re from, we all geek out over books and book boyfriends. We can talk about books for hours! Romance readers and authors rock the world over. Now if we can only adopt that manners thing…
Like to color? For a chance to win this one-of-a-kind, limited edition of the RARE London 18 coloring book, enter here!
Elizabeth SaFleur writes contemporary romance that dares to “go there.” Expect alpha males (and females), seductive encounters, and love. Learn more about her steamy and sexy stories by following her on Amazon and Bookbub.