This weekend was the Romance Writer’s of Australia’s annual conference and what better place to spend a few days but on the warm and sunny Gold Coast in Queensland. For this girl from southern Victoria it was bliss to be able to walk along a beach in shorts and T-shirts and not feel that wickedly cold southerly wind making icicles in my chest!
This blog post is ALL about the conference and I’m thrilled to say that Boomerang Bride won the R*BY (Australian Romantic Book of the Year Award) in the long romance category! But more about that further down in the post 🙂
It was held at QT hotel, Gold Coast in Surfer’s Paradise and my first reaction when I walked through the door was, ‘Funky’. With its retro furnishings and staff dressed in 1950s- meets- 2000 uniforms, it was a fun, fresh place and the food was great. Thanks to Sarah Mayberry for the photos of the hotel.
This year I am told there were 350 attendees and there were a lot of people but at the same time the conference still maintained its friendly atmosphere. I loved and appreciated that the conference volunteers wore pink Fedora hats…so easy to find someone when you needed them. I confess that my conference didn’t really start until 4.30pm on Friday afternoon at the ARRA book signing. Prior to that I had been lunching and reviewing the QT Spa and massage…all fabulous, BTW 🙂
The ARRA Book signing was so much fun. There were over 60 authors in attendance and along with Mills & Boon Australia’s generosity of free books, I was very busy signing away. One of my funniest moments was when ‘George the Ferret’ from Ebony McKenna’s Ondine series came to chat with RITA.
I shared a room with fellow Mills & Boon author, Ally Blake. Since Ally decamped from Victoria last year i don’t get to see her anywhere near as much so it was wonderful to have long chats in the night with her. We discovered that we both have a tendency to misfile things…put them down in the wrong places but between us we managed to find everything. I did have to keep an eye on her though with RITA.
The cocktail party on Friday night which launched the conference had a 1950s Hollywood theme which was so much fun. Some people have amazing talent for costumes and we had The Queen (Elizabeth 2) and The King (Elvis). As I have/had red hair, I went as Lucille Ball however next to Mz Glam (aka Melanie Milburne) I look more like her maid!
Saturday was busy with workshops and talking writing with good author mates like the talented rural romance author, Rachael John’s whose novel Jilted was seen everywhere at the conference! I gave my copy to a friend on Friday afternoon and she’d read it by Sunday lunch time! I taught a workshop in the afternoon and I got all the technology to work. YAY!
Saturday night was the awards dinner! Ally and I kicked off the night by having some champagne in our room with Nicola Marsh, Alison Stuart and Melanie Milburne. The ballroom at the QT was filled with excited writers who tucked into delicious food…I had the gnocchi with pesto, the duck and the scrumptious meringues with passionfruit. (BTW, when I got home I started to tell my husband and sons about the food and they said, ‘We know, we saw the menu on Twitter’ (!!!!!!)
Throughout the evening, all the RWA writing contest finalists were awarded their certificates and I had just finished my dessert when the R*BY…Australian Romantic Book of the Year awards were announced. I had two books nominated in two different categories. My medical romance, Single Dad’s Triple Trouble was in the short-sweet romance section which was won by the talented and much-loved Barbara Hannay. The short-sexy category was won by my great mate, Robyn Grady. She and I met in 2005 when we were both close-but-not-quite published. Helene Young who won the ARRA awards earlier in the year, took out the R*BY for the best book with romantic elements and Boomerang Bride won in the long romance section 🙂 🙂
Winning the RITA was amazing but winning the R*BY at home was very emotional and I got a bit wobbly…not to be confused with messy ;-)* (joke about my RITA speech) I am so thrilled that Boomerang Bride, a book that I always believed in and a book that tested my faith in my ability to write, is shining so brightly at the moment.
Angela James, the executive editor of Carina Press emailed me the most wonderful news that Boomerang Bride will be on sale in print in North America in January 2013! And they’re going to use the stunning Australian cover. More !!! 🙂 🙂 Can you tell I am excited?
Sunday was a day of more talking and listening, and I enjoyed a wonderful chat on the flight home with fantasy -romance author, MJ Scott.
So that’s conference over for another year! Now it’s back to finishing Picture Perfect Wedding which has been gathering dust while I’ve been jetting about. Oh and there’s washing and finding out what homework the boys didn’t hand in and a husband who needs some attention. Real life just got started!