Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A good sign?

I'm nearing the end of revisions on my latest which I have to hand in this evening. In this story a white heron plays a small but significant role. Woke up this morning to see this guy on the front lawn.

Can't see him? Sorry... I didn't have time to get closer... but here he is cropped and blurry.

It might just be a cattle egret, but I've never seen one here before. I'm not fussy. I'm taking it as a good omen... I need help. Set myself quite a challenge with this storyline.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A review for Bridesmaid Says: 'I do!'

From Romantic Times...

BRIDESMAID SAYS, "I DO" (4) by Barbara Hannay:

Zoe Weston is surprised by the sudden engagement of her friend Bella Shaw to Kent Rigby, a man whom Bella has always described as just a friend. Zoe is even more surprised when she meets a man who sparks a love-at-first-sight reaction -- and then discovers that man is Kent.

The first book in Hannay’s Changing Grooms Duet is a fast-paced, funny, twist-of-fate read, and will leave readers clamoring for the second book, due out in December.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Conference workshop...

I've decided that I won't post my notes from New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs' workshop. It was called Plotting from the Inside Out and it was fabulous, but I don't want to poach on Susan's intellectual property.

However, I will say that her talk was all about the value of pre-writing time. She suggests using this time to really get to know your characters and their world very well, and that the better you know them, the fewer plotting decisions you'll have to make. What happens will feel inevitable.

And this was my favourite takeaway quote.
Writing a novel is like driving at night. You can only see as far ahead as the headlights show you, but you can make a whole trip that way.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Other Melbourne memories...

As well as enjoying the conference and friends, I also took a little time to explore Melbourne. I particularly love visiting the art galleries and reacquainting myself with old friends, like all those beautiful early Australians -- Charles Conder and Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton and Frederick McCubbin.

I could stand for hours in awe of 'The Pioneer'. It tells such a story. And then there are the more modern artists like Dobell and Blackman and Whitely...
For me, these wonderful, familiar paintings help me to feel centred and they refill the well.
This time, we also wanted to see the collection of Art from Vienna, but this involved crossing St Kilda Road -- which proved to be impossible, because Cadel Evans was about to make his victory procession into Federation Square. So instead we were caught up in the huge crowds waiting to see him, which was an unexpected and exciting bonus. I was more than happy to yell for Cadell.
As were these construction workers, who scored a birds' eye view.

And being a romance author, I always have an eye for a noteworthy hero type in the crowds. -:)

When we were finally able to get across to the second gallery, we were wonderfully rewarded. Gustav Klimt was the star of course, but it was fascinating to learn about the flowering of art, fashion, interior design and music (Mahler, for example) that occurred in Vienna in the first part of the twentieth century (until WW2).

And even at the art gallery, there was an eye-catching male...

Or two... I'll take my inspiration any way it comes...

Tomorrow, I'll share my notes from Susan Wigg's workshop -- Plotting From the Inside Out.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Trish Morey just sent me this photo, which is another view of Robyn A (mentioned in the last post) taking a photo of moi. :)
So cool... such dedication...

And of course there was the cocktail party...

Working backwards...
After a full day for published authors, and another full day workshop (this year conducted by Bob Mayer  on Warrior Writing), the conference properly kicked off with the Friday night cocktail party, hosted by the Harlequin Mills and Boon Sydney office.
For some years now, we've made this party a fancy dress do. Rather than  having everyone standing around  and feeling self conscious in little black dresses, fancy dress costumes magically break through the barriers and create laughter, fun and lots of chatter -- in other words, dressing up seems to be the perfect ice breaker.
This year the theme was the Roaring Twenties and was embraced with great enthusiasm. Here are Marion Lennox and Fiona MacArthur making wonderful flappers.
Ain't they sweet?
And here's the lovely English Mills and Boon editor, Lucy Gilmour, looking absolutely gorgeous in a genuine 20s dress that was her grandmother's.

The winning costume was this South Australian writer dressed as Charlie Chaplin. She was fabulous, keeping in character and only miming throughout the party. She's being held at gunpoint here by gangster, Jennifer Kloester, author of a new biography of Georgette Heyer to be published by Random House in October.
We also had Popeye and Olive Oil...
And the Sydney Harlequin team made very impressive flappers...

Anne Gracie looked wonderful, as always...

And Elliot enjoyed donning his New York scarf and playing the boss gangster with an eye on his molls... he even had a scar which worried quite a few people :)
And my favourite photo of the night is this shot I took of Robyn Aldridge, who has been coming to RWA conferences since the very first one 20 years ago -- and who has become our, self-appointed, official conference photographer. Here, she's on her knees, desperate to get exactly the right shot. I love it.
T'was a fabulous night and a great start to a memorable conference.

Monday, August 15, 2011

2011 Romance Writers of Australia Conference...

What a fabulous conference we had. Melbourne was at its wintry best, which was exactly what we North Queenslanders hoped for, because we love the chance to don our coats and scarves and boots, and to see bare trees that haven't been ravaged by cyclones.

I really wish I could be one of those energetic people who can blog while a conference is in progress, but I'm afraid I'm too busy lapping up every second of the fun and inspiration.
As it is, I'm going to give my conference report backwards... beginning with our Awards Night, and the exciting news that our very own wonderful North Queenslander, Helene Young, won Romantic Book of the Year award (category: novel with strong romantic elements) for Wings of Fear (formerly Border Watch.) You should have heard the crowd roar!!!

Here is Helene above (right) with her editor from Hachette, Bernadette Rowley.

And this is fellow NQer, Shannean Moncrieff, giving Helene a well deserved, congratulatory hug, as did we all.

And we managed to help Helene celebrate in fine style afterwards. :)
Another massive roar went up when Anne Gracie was honoured with Life Membership of Romance Writers of Australia for all the hard work and visionary guidance she's given the organization. T'was wonderful!!!!

Melanie Milburne won the sweet short category of the R*BY, and you can see her above, giving her acceptance speech. And Sophia James won the Regency romance category. I'm afraid I'm hazy about other details, but for all the details of the many wonderful awards, check out Romance Writers of Australia's website.

And here am I about to present the ROMA award for the best media coverage of romance during the past year to the ABC in South Australia for an interview with Emily Forbes entitled the Changing Face of Romance..

More to come, including cocktail party fun ... a glamorous UK M&B editor, yell for Cadel, and much more...

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Deadlines and dedication...

I've been writing really hard to make my deadline before going to Melbourne for the annual RWA conference. Last week, however, I had a babysitting date with my grandies inTownsville. I worked on my manuscript during the five hour car trip and forgot to wriggle my legs -- so now I have a painful clot -- only a surface one, thank heavens. So it's elastic stockings and aspirin for me. Who would have thought writing could be a health hazard?

Anyway... the little girls were as gorgeous as ever, and the book must go today... and I think I'm almost there:)