RARE19 LONDON – Once Upon A Time

This year’s RARE London was aptly named “Once Upon A Time” and I certainly felt like I was in a fairy-tale. With so many of my favourite authors in one place how could this not be a magical experience. Make A Wish

My day started very similar to last year’s RARE.  Up early ready to catch the train.  I think I may have caught an earlier train this year, or I was just more aware of what I was doing and where I was going, as I definitely arrived at the venue earlier than last year.  The weather was also a major improvement!

Waiting in queues is not everyone’s idea of fun but I like to take this time to talk to the people around me.  Everyone is there for the same reason but not always the same authors, so it’s nice to hear who they enjoy and why.

This year the registration occurred at the queuing stage which made entry into the building much quicker and more efficient. Great work done by the RARE Team and Volunteers (this will not be the last time I congratulate them on their hard work).

Upon entry into the room an overwhelming sense of awe takes hold.  Moving away from the lift I had to pause for a moment to take in the room and the atmosphere.  Ladies, let me just say that although 5 hours does not seem long to get round all your authors it really is worthwhile to just stand still and take it all in for a few minutes, the atmosphere is amazing.  When you are ready consider you attack plan, have your table map to hand and then delve right in. A really good idea that one lady had, actually I think her husband did it for her, was to laminate her table plan. Mine was a screwed up mess when I finished but this would make a really good keepsake.

I knew exactly where I wanted to go as soon as I’d taken it all in…Tiffany Snow, one of my favourite authors for this RARE. Sometimes things do not always go to plan and I found this as approached the table where Tiffany should be…it was empty! No sign of her anywhere.  Don’t Panic! I knew she was there because she had posted on Facebook just that morning but now the fun began tracking her down.  This was actually really good as it gave me a chance to have a look around and see where all the other authors where situated.

My day progressed in a procession of autographs, photos and fun.  I visited all the authors I wanted to and I met some new authors I haven’t read yet.  Please don’t avoid an author just because you haven’t read their work yet, it is a fantastic opportunity to discuss their work with them and find new reads. Also don’t forget the Swag.  I will admit that last year I was a  bit hesitant when taking swag, I only took something when the author offered it but I was much better this year.  They lay it on their tables with the intention of you taking it, so take it!

Swag

I did make an epic error in judgement this year.  I decided to take some books for tsbooks.jpgsigning…7 in total plus my autograph book.  I carried everything with me in a rucksack as I was travelling by train and thought this would be easiest.  It may have been easier but that bag was heavy! It also meant that I was unable to buy any books while I was there as I had no room to carry them.  Do yourself a favour and get either a crate or suitcase with wheels, you will be grateful for this little piece of advice.

Onto my authors.  I had several circled that I wanted to visit and my absolute favourites I managed to have photos with.  Authors are more than happy to have a photo taken and generally with have someone on hand to take it for you, this is normally a volunteer assistant.  So here are mine and I thank each and everyone of them for making RARE19 a fantastic experience.

Tiffany Snow

ts.jpg

 

Jane Harvey-Berrick and the very lovely Gergo Jonas

JHB1

Laurelin Paige

LP2

Julia Quinn

JQ1

Melinda Leigh, Catherine Bybee and Kendra Elliot

MLCBKE

An amazing experience and fun time meeting wonderful authors and readers alike.

Thank you to Amy Jennings and all the Team at RAREvents, and a massive shout-out to all the volunteers who helped with author tables, line management and registration.

 

RARE Author Re-reads

 

With RARE19 London fast approaching, Ok so it’s still 8 months away but that’s not long,   I have decided that each month I will reread a selection of books/series from some of my favourite authors who will be in attendance.

I was fortunate enough to go to my first RARE in Febuary 2018 in London and it was such an amazing experience.  It will be great to meet different authors that were not at RARE18 but can’t wait to see again some that were.

January

  • The Kathleen Turner Series by Tiffany Snow
  • The Billionaire’s Obsession by J.S. Scott
  • The Cafe Series by Jana Aston

 

February

  • The Tangled Ivy Series by Tiffany Snow
  • The Knight Series by Kitty French
  • Heart of the Billionaire by J.S. Scott

 

March

  • The Risky Business Series by Tiffany Snow
  • The Weekday Brides Series by Catherine Bybee
  • The Billionaire’s Salvation by J.S. Scott

 

April

  • The Corrupted Hearts Series by Tiffany Snow
  • The Billionaire’s Game by J.S. Scott
  • The Tall, Dark & Deadly Series 0.5 – 2 by Lisa Renee Jones

 

May

  • The Fixed Series by Laurelin Paige
  • The Over The Edge Series by Julia London
  • The Billionaire Undone by J.S. Scott

 

June

  • The Anchor Island Series by Terri Osburn
  • The Found Duet by Laurelin Paige
  • The Billionaire Unmasked by J.S. Scott

 

July 

  • The Needing Moore Series by Julie A. Richman
  • Blank Slate by Tiffany Snow
  • The Billionaire Untamed by J.S. Scott

 

During August I would like to read some new books that I haven’t yet read by some of these authors.  On that list is:

  • The Dirty Duet by Laurelin Paige
  • The Ardent Springs Series by Terri Osburn
  • The Billionaire Unbound by J.S. Scott

Please note that this list is only rereads and does not include any new books that I will be reading in between. Most of these books I have already written reviews for so please have a read of these as well.

Authors Websites

 Tiffany Snow

Jana Aston

J.S. Scott

Kitty/Kat French

Catherine Bybee

Lisa Renee Jones

Laurelin Paige

Julia London

Terri Osburn

Julie A. Richman

 

Happy Reading!

RARE 19 London current line up

OK, so it’s still 11 months away but that doesn’t mean that I am not counting down the days or desperately trying to read as many books by attending authors as I can.

My first and only book signing was at this years RARE in London and the day went by in a blur of excitement and awe!  The chance to meet my favourite authors had me a nervous wreck but once I was there and actually face to face with them I can honestly say that they are some of the nicest, friendliest and funny people I have ever met. Everyone was there for the same reason (or I hope they were) and that was to share their love of romance novels with the authors who bring them to life.

As you can probably tell I am still on a bit of a high from it and that is definitely having an impact on my enthusiasm for the the next one.

Speaking of which…as you can see from the header image, the line up of authors next year is HUGE!

The main authors on my list of must sees are:

(the books/series that I have put next to the names are only the ones I have read)

Tiffany Snow – The Kathleen Turner Series & associated companion novellas, The Tangled Ivy Series, The Risky Business Series, The Corrupted Hearts Series, Blank Slate.

Brenna Aubrey – Gaming the System Series, High Risk – Point of No Return #1.

Catherine Bybee – The Weekday Brides Series, Not Quite Series #1 – 4, Chasing Shadows – First Wives #3

Kendra Elliot – Bones Secret Series, Callahan & McLane Series, Mercy Kilpatrick Series

Kitty/Kat French – Knight Series, The Chapelwick Mysteries Series, One Hot Summer, Undertaking Love, The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach, A Summer Scandal.

Jane Harvey-Berrick – Undefeated, Model Boyfriend

Lisa Renee Jones – Tall, Dark & Deadly Series #1 – 3, Cinderella Chronicles #1 – 3.

Melinda Leigh – She Can Series #1 – 3

Laurelin Paige – The Fixed Trilogy, Hudson, The Found Duet.

Julie A Richman – The Needing Moore Series, Henry’s End

J S Scott – The Billionaire’s Obsession Series #1 – 6 ,  The Sinclairs #1.

This list may seem quite short in comparison to the number of names on the line up list but it will grow and I am always open to suggested reading of new authors.

As yet there is no mention of whether the delectable Men of RARE – Stuart Reardon, Jase Dean & Franggy Yanez – will be attending but I live in hope! 🙂

 

 

RARE18 London

 

Saturday 28th February 2018

This date will stay with me forever as one of the best days of my life.  I had never been to a book signing before and had absolutely no idea what to expect.  Unsure about the process I joined the Facebook page and the Gooodreads group to try to learn as much as possible before the event and through doing this I made new friends, Bridget Palmer and Becky Blair.

Getting a ticket was my first hurdle as they seriously get snapped up quickly.  This was where I go lucky and made my first friend, Bridget.  The organisers set up a group to buy and sell tickets for anyone who finds that they are unable to attend for whatever reason.  I happened to be on this page at the exact time that the lovely Bridget happened to be selling as she did not need her extra tickets.  We communicated through Facebook and have kept in touch since.  Ticket obtained it was now just a year long wait for the event itself!

During the year I kept a close eye on all the posts and mentions connected to the event.  This is vital. I cannot stress enough how much information goes through these pages whether it be information for volunteers, authors who are attending, dos and don’ts for the day, group meetings, people establishing local book clubs, merchandise sales, pre-orders etc.  It really did become like one big family group.  This was were I became friends with Becky.  Although we never actually got around to meeting before the event we stayed in touch and finally met at the event.

Ok, so the day is getting close and the nerves of excitement and worry are starting to set in.  As it is my first event I decided to keep it simple and go with a GA (general admission) ticket.  There are varying parties that the organisers put on that cover the whole weekend but as I was going on my own I didn’t really want to stay in London by myself, yeah,yeah! I know….big wuss! And to be honest I would have loved to have attended the Registration party on the Friday night, The After Party on the Saturday night and the private screening of Fifty Shades Freed on the Sunday. Maybe next time. So anyway, I have my train ticket booked and I’m all set to head out at 7.00am on Saturday morning.  Trusty Kindle in hand for the train journey I head off on my epic adventure!

The event this year was held at the London Olympia.  We were advised to dress in layers (very sensible advice) as there was nowhere to queue inside before registration began.  Queue!  This was an understatement. As I approached the Olympia at around 10.50am I could hear the women waiting before I could see them.  I am in no way being sexist here because I really could count the men that were there (as visitors, we’ll get onto the men in attendance later) on one hand.  Anyway, as I’m getting nearer I can see the main doors and I happen to be approaching from the opposite side of the line. So I walk past the main doors in search of the end of the line.  And I walk. And I walk. And I spot Bridget, have a chat and then head off again. And I walk some more.  I kid you not, the queue was massive! Finally finding the end, I joined just at the same time as another lady who appeared to be by herself, and as I have heard countless times in the posts I actually did something I don’t normally do…I started a conversation.  Talking to others in the line is essential. You discuss which authors you want see,  find out about authors you may not have previously read and get recommendations.  The important thing to remember is that everyone is there for the same reason….to meet their favourite authors.

Once the doors opened the queue moved along a good steady pace.  I would say that it took no longer than 45 minutes to get to main doors and the organisation that went into getting everyone in as quickly as possible was amazing.  Now we are moving onto the main floor. Everything feels a bit surreal! Walking onto the main floor just knocks the breath right out of you.  Tables lined up, people everywhere, and the only thought that went through my head was “Authors! Authors are here! My favourite authors are here…OMG!” Yes, I did fangirl. I’m not afraid to admit it.

It took me a moment to take it all in but then my feet started moving and that was it, four and half hours of non stop walking around, lining up and having an awesome experience.  I was concerned before I went that meeting my favourite authors might be a bad thing, the old saying “never meet your hero” kept going round my head but I can honestly say that everyone was so friendly, willing to chat and have photos taken.  When I was telling people back home/work about my experience they seemed surprised that there was no extra charge for anything, and there isn’t.  You do not pay extra for signing, talking to, or having photos with any of the authors or the MoR (Men of Rare).  Books are for sale but that’s it. Some authors are ticketed, which basically means that they are really popular and this was a great way to ensure that you don’t stand in one line for hours, it lets you go around and just join their line when your number is called.   If you want to see a ticketed author go there first and get your ticket, there is absolutely no point waiting until later in the day thinking you’ve got time because you don’t.  The time flies by and it is highly likely that you won’t get to see every author that you want to.  This is no ones fault.  Every author is popular and it takes some planning to get to see who you want.  I made a list of all the authors I wanted to see starting with my favourites. I made sure I saw them first.  There is also nothing wrong with seeing an author who’s books you have never read as they are more than happy to talk about their books.

I do have to mention at this point the very gorgeous Men of RARE – Stuart Reardon, Jase Dean and Franggy Yanez.  If you have never heard of these guys before I can probably guarantee that you have read at least one book with one of them on the cover.  They were brilliant the whole day, very approachable and happy to sign items and have photos taken, and constantly walking around. I may have been a bit overwhelmed by it all and felt more like a 15 year old than the forty-something that I am but hey! They were fantastic and made a great day even better.

What you take to get signed is entirely up to you, although some authors do have signing limits.  I saw people with trolleys and suitcases full of books, canvases, kindle cases etc. I personally took 9 paperbacks and an autograph book, this was mainly due to transporting them on the train. I intend to use the autograph book for future signings – London 19 is already in the planning/saving up for stage.

It is a long day but it is worth every second.

To finish off I would like to send out thanks for making the day so memorable to:

Bridget Palmer and Becky Blair – friends who are not going to get rid of me now!

Authors – Julia Kent, Julie A, Huss, Kitty French, Erika L James, Colleen Hoover, Brenna Aubrey, C. J. Roberts and Natasha Preston (all of whom I had photos taken with) , Samantha Towle, Nelle L’Amour, A Zavarelli, A. Meredith Walters, Ker Dukey, Nikki Sloane

 

Men of RARE – Stuart Reardon, Jase Dean and Franggy Yanez

 

Organisers – Amy Jennings and all the team at RARE

I look forward to attending future  events and meeting you all again!