I just got back from my annual writer’s conference, run by the awesome Romance Writers of Australia. Over 350 writers, editors, and agents were in attendance in Sydney for four days of fun, friendliness, flirtiness, and fabulous… dancing. (Those who listened to Emma Darcy’s Hall of Fame speech probably thought I was going to say something else there) 😉
As usual, lots of photos were taken (some good, some that were maybe best not taken at all), and I’m sharing a few here today along with some highlights from the conference…
- The night before the conference started I went out to dinner with my writing club and critique partners, and then we got comfy in a hotel room for an Offspring party! In other words, we watched the final episode of our favourite TV show Offspring. As a writer, I can tell you that this show is fabulously well-written. We weren’t missing it for anything! #TeamLeo by the way.
- Thursday I went to my first published author day which was filled with great industry advice and media training, followed by the Literacy High Tea fundraiser which had scrumptious food and laugh-out-loud guest speakers, along with a debate that gave politicians a run for their money. Our debate topic was of much worldly importance: Which heroes are better – betas or alphas? (betas all the way, in my opinion) 😉
- And on Thursday night at the Harlequin author dinner… this happened:
What’s a writers conference without a bit of tango dancing? 😉 My critique partner Alli Sinclair forced me to do this (really, she did) and one of the photos will be an entry into her tango pose competition she’s running on her blog, which you can check out HERE to win an original oil painting.
- On Friday there was a very informative and practical workshop by James Scott Bell, and I wrote lots of notes to take back and utilize in my own writing. And he showed some great examples from movies! I like the fact that as a writer, when I’m watching a movie, I can say that I’M WORKING.
- Friday night = Leather and Lace cocktail party. Maleficent, Cher, Catwoman… just a few of the great costumes worn by enthusiastic dresser-uppers.
- On Saturday there were a variety of informative and entertaining workshops (and I must make a special mention of our international guest speaker Cherry Adair who was the life of the party – ahem – conference. Her talks were inspiring, emotional, and downright hilarious, and she blessed us all with her generosity and support, and some touchy-feely-huggy stuff.)
- I had the pleasure of introducing Jenn J Mcleod’s workshop on small town twists and secrets which was fantastic and filled with lots of great ideas on how to make your small town story shine. Thanks Jenn!
- I was very proud to see my critique partner and debut author Alli Sinclair receive her First Sale ribbon, after receiving mine last year and getting rather excited, I told her she had to pull a crazy pose like I did. 😉
- Saturday afternoon I went to my first ever book signing run by ARRA! (milestone moment, pass the Kleenex please). What does a digitally published author sign at book signings? Postcards, brochures, flyers…etc, and the occasional body part or handbag. I’m joking about the body part, not about the bag. Thanks to the readers who came up to say Hi! And thanks to my critique partner Diane who gave me a present: a fluffy little owl writing mascot, who I’ve called Solomon. He joined me at the book signing!
- Then we had all of 20 minutes to get back to the hotel and get glammed up for the RWA awards gala – the Logies of the romance writing world. One problem: my left eye decided to become rather inflamed and bloodshot, uncomfortable and watery, making me squint now and then with the occasional eye-bulge for good measure – I’m sure I looked like Rik from The Young Ones after a bit too much alcohol or a whack on the head from Vyvyan. Luckily, when the Escape After Party began, the weird bluey-purple lighting changed to weird reddy-pink lighting and I thought ‘Yes! Now my eye will match.’ 😉
- But I’m getting ahead of myself, back to the awards night… congrats to all the winners! I was especially excited to see my fellow Escape author Kendall Talbot take home the RUBY award for best romantic elements book of the year for Lost In Kakadu! 🙂
- There was much celebration after dinner with almost two hours of letting loose on the dance floor. Abba, The B52’s, Michael Jackson… nothing beats having some energetic, crazy, slightly daggy fun with some golden oldies (songs, not people… because everyone braving the dance floor was young and hip in my opinion) 😉 Escape had organized a photo booth with crazy dress-ups, and that was a hoot! (Solomon the owl told me to say that). Then we all dragged ourselves off to our hotel rooms to get a completely sufficient three hours of sleep before the Sunday workshops began.
- When the conference finished, my buddies and I had fun walking around Sydney Olympic Park among the crowds of people there for a big soccer match, looking for food to eat. We ended up back where we started and charged like swarming locusts towards a tiny table when it became available in the bar of the Pullman Hotel, where we squished plates for six both on the table and on laps. There, we discussed goals for the next year, book marketing, and what we want to achieve by the next conference. We also pretended the stretch limousine outside the hotel was ours.
I love spending time with other writers, many of whom have become wonderful friends, and the RWA does a great job at putting on this annual conference and for that I am truly grateful.
Rock on! 🙂
To see all the tweets about the conference, check out the hashtag #RWAus14 on Twitter.