Wow. Just about sums it up really, The conference was amazing.
After rising at 4:15 am (not something I do happily or often) I went to Auckland International Airport last Thursday to catch my flight to Melbourne. I’ve never been to Melbourne before and was looking forward to seeing something of the city but seriously, with the jam packed programme available to us with the RWA conference, who had time?? I did get a couple of shots from the hotel looking across the Yarra River and toward the city and this one, closer to the river looking across to the train station from Southgate, which was a shopping complex right next to the sumptuous Langham hotel.
There was a great and very reasonably priced restaurant overlooking the river where I had breakfast a couple of mornings. It was very interesting people watching, from the wait staff with their intriguing collection of piercings and tattoos to the different types walking across the bridge over the river, between the railway station and Southbank. So many suits, and then every now and then you’d see a splash of colour–either a tourist or a cyclist. During one workshop I even saw a guy rowing on the river, poor thing fell out of his boat. Given the colour of the water I’m not sure I’d be too happy doing that.
On the Thursday night the gorgeous ladies from Harlequin in Sydney took the Harlequin/Silhouette authors out to dinner. We ate at a restaurant called The Deanery, and the food and wine were superb–only outweighed by the fabulous company. Here’s a photo of me with Trish Morey (Harlequin Presents), Bronwyn Jameson (Silhouette Desire) and Fiona McArthur (Mills & Boon Medical.) It was lovely to catch up with so many of the Australian authors there.
Friday I was ensconced in a workshop with Barbara Samuel. Can I tell you how much I *heart* Barbara Samuel? Actually there probably aren’t enough words. Not only is she the most amazing, most lyrical, writer, she’s a brilliant teacher as well. And generous with the wisdoms that she’s learned on her writing path. That evening we had the fun conference cocktail party with an enchanted theme. Here’s outgoing RWA President, Berkley author, Anne Gracie, together with the incoming RWA President, Modern Heat/Promotional Presents author, Kelly Hunter.
Saturday was filled with workshops and networking and the night finished off with the awards dinner. I always love awards dinners because it truly is the opportunity for recognising the achievements of so many writers over the past year. Sunday, again, was filled with magnificent sharing of information and stories. It’s one thing that never fails to amaze me with romance writers, the very very generous and warm spirit of sharing whether it be hugs or ‘what works’ or helping you brainstorm with what isn’t working for you. Carol Marinelli (Harlequin Presents & M&B Medical author) is one of those gorgeous people. She organises a massive push for breast cancer awareness and fund raising at the RWA conference each year and this year raised $4,991 for the Australian breast cancer research people. An awesome feat. She’s supported each year by Fiona McArthur who gives excellent advice on self examination and by Marion Lennox who, with her special brand of warmth and humour, finds the bright spots in what is a harrowing experience for so many families. Here’s Carol with another great Aussie author, Lilian Darcy (Silhouette Special Edition and Mills & Boon Medical) at the author dinner.
And of course, all good things must come to an end (actually I don’t really see why they should but, oh well) and I returned home to New Zealand yesterday evening. Ironically, to experience a lightning strike on the plane at just about the point it was flying over my house! Ha! Today is catch up day and retweak current synopsis day and tomorrow is back to the coal face chipping out the third in my upcoming trilogy (Feb/Mar/Apr 2009) Pretend Mistress, Bona Fide Boss. Wish me luck! With all I’ve learned in the past couple of weekends it should be a doddle, right?