Friday, August 14, 2009

Very hurried news from the Brisbane conference…

It might not be quite the news you’d expect… because for many of the published authors, going to conference is mainly social – or to give a workshop in the spirit of passing on the gems of wisdom about writing that we think are worth passing on.
I’m not giving any workshops this year, but this afternoon I’ll be involved in a Sweet Author chat (Yes, I know … I dislike the “Sweet” label, too) so I’ll be chatting with writers aspiring to write for the “sweeter” lines.
The conference started for authors on Thursday night with a Harlequin dinner hosted by the staff of the Sydney office. We all gathered in the hotel foyer in our glad rags and walked to the restaurant. (I was reminded of those “crocodiles” walking to church in boarding school books. It’s all very exciting, greeting people you haven’t seen since last year – or in my case, because I didn’t go to conference last year, for several years.
I was thrilled to catch up with Lynsey Stevens and Robyn Donald, two authors I hadn’t seen for yonks – and to meet two new Harlequin Romance authors, Michelle Douglas and Nikki Logan. (Nikki’a first book, Lights, Camera, Kiss the Boss… is coming out early next year.)
One of the nice things that happens at this dinner is a tradition begun by gorgeous authors, Marion Lennox and Anne Gracie. Firstly all new Harlequin authors are presented with “new chicks” badges – yes proper fluffy chickens.
Then, the womanfuzzy awards are presented. This award started several years ago when Ally Blake was doing a radio interview. She was asked why she loves romance and she said: ‘They make me feel so warm and fuzzy.’
‘Womanfuzzy?’ said the interviewer. ‘What’s womanfuzzy.’
Hence the awards.
This year I was given a Bah-Humbug Womanfuzzy, because I had to cancel my plans for last Christmas and stay home and fix the book. So it was very sweet of people to remember and this is what I got…

Yesterday, I went with a group of friends to the Art Gallery to see the American Impressionism and Realism exhibition that’s been brought out from The Met in NYC. So many fabulous, inspiring paintings with stories to tell.

Last night we had an amazing cocktail party with fancy dress on an Arabian Nights theme.

Wow – those writerly imaginations can come up with fabulous costumes.
Alison Brideson and her husband were a pair of English Egyptologists, complete with pith helmets and archaeological tools.
Anne Gracie was the River Nile, dressed in floating blue robes draped with water lilies and crocodiles.
I wore a rather embarrassing headdress made from a World Vision Shop mobile. The little ladies on the mobile were originally Pakistani, but I gave them Arabian veils.
Alison Roberts looked utterly divine as a belly dancer
Paula Roe came in a Saddam Hussein mask
And this morning the conference started with a fabulous keynote address from highly accomplished and acclaimed author Mary Jo Putney. She totally summed up what it means to be a writer, but she had some great things to say about readers, too. I’ll share just a few.

The ability to love a story is a great gift.

It takes imagination to be a good reader. It requires involvement and a well furnished mind (don’t you love that phrase?)

Most good readers, have the necessary imagination and the spark of talent to be a writer.


Unknown said...

Gee Barb and I had a whole Egyptian outfit I could have leant you from our Nile trip. Sounds like a great catch up.....enjoy. Marg

Magdalena Scott said...

Thank you for sharing the news, Barbara. So glad you're having fun!

JoyfullyHis said...

Wow! All those familiar names. I think I would have been kind of starstruck. But seeing those costumes would have broken the ice for sure. It seems like a great and creative crowd, to be sure. Thanks for letting us enjoy it with you!

JoyfullyHis said...

Oh, and I mentioned the part about the 'well furnished mind' to my husband. His response was to pat me on the back in a sympathetic fashion and say "Is that what they're calling it now?" Sheesh. Men.