Women's Business

Ladies Who Lunch

It’s great to have friends. It’s even better when they do what you do. Writing is an isolated profession. No going into “the office” clocking in for your eight hours, going about your day, laughing and chatting with your colleagues while you work, sharing the load, seeking their advice etc. etc.

For an author the office is wherever your computer is at and there’s just you and it. Oh, and a blinking cursor goading you, making you feel inadequate. Day in, day out, sitting at the computer with characters and words and no-one to bounce things off, to give you a squeeze on the shoulder and say, hey, how are you going? Are you stuck with something? Would you like a hand? How can I help? Would you like a cup of tea? Go and have a lunch break, I’ll finish up here (I wish!)

Our staffroom is the internet and many of us connect through cyberspace because we crave that contact with like-minded souls. But it’s really not the same as face-to-face. There’s no immediacy.  No pats on the back for a sentence well written, no shoulder to cry on when all you’ve written all day is that one brilliant sentence.  

That’s why the annual conference is so great, because you get to catch up with people you’ve only talked to online for the past year.

Luckily in my corner of the world, there is a strong author base and we do try to get together every once in a while. Last week I drove to beautiful beachside Mooloolaba and met up with a few gal pals who also happen to be terrific authors.

Robyn Grady who writes for Presents and Desire.  Rachel Bailey who writes for Desire. Amanda Ashby who writes YA for Puffin.  Sarah Hantz who writes teen fiction for Flux.

We laughed and ate and drank to the sound of pounding surf. Several hours of chat about books and movies and television and the industry and agents and whose taking what and our latest crazy plot ideas and my well was filled and my muse was invigorated.  As it should be when ladies lunch.

So what about you guys out there? Do you have a group of friends who meet regularly? Who are they? What do you talk about?

I’ve included a pic of our lunch date – a signed book to the first of you who can tell me who is who.


43 thoughts on “Ladies Who Lunch”

  1. Okay. Trying again. Don’t know where my first comment went. Sorry if it posts twice.

    I’ve become friends with several writers from my local RWA. That said, I don’t attend many meetings because they’re held over an hour and fifteen minutes from my house. And with my children’s schedules it’s hard to get away most Saturday mornings.

    I’m lucky to have a core group of writing friends I interact with via loops and e-mail. I wish they lived closer so we could hang out more often than once a year at RWA national.

  2. OK – far right is Rachel Bailey, and center is Robyn Grady, but I am sorry to say i am unfamiliar with the YA authors. I’m old, what can I say???

    Amy – I’m glad you have a “crew” to see you through.

    I have the Los Angeles Romance Authors and we meet monthly. Also, online I have my peeps, including the medical romance authors’ loop. I couldn’t make it without my dear critique partner, Dee J Adams!

  3. Hey Wendy. Its a shame you can’t get together as often as you like but kids and their schedules do tend to interfere, dont they? 🙂
    Thank goodness for the www

  4. lol Lynne – yes, you’re right on the two R’s.
    Los Angeles Romance Authors sounds very glam. I imagine you meet at the Ivy and have to duck out the back to avoid the paparazzi, yes? 🙂

    1. LOL – we meet at a rundown hotel and conference room place in Studio City. I’m sorry to say, heard Sunday night, after our meeting was there that morning, a tragic shooting occured in the hotel. I’m serious!

      Our chapter librarian is good about taking photos at meetings, though. :/

  5. Ok let’s see if I can get these right….
    Starting on the far left
    Sarah Hantz, in the orange top….Amanda Ashby with the white top and necklace….Robyn Grady with the blonde hair….and Rachel Bailey with the stripped top.

  6. And what a classy looking group we are! lol It was a great lunch, like they always are. You’re so right Amy. We’re lucky we live relatively close by. And isn’t Mooloolabah the perfect spot! But, didn’t we take one with you in it though???
    Robbie, waving hi to Lynne and Wendy!

    1. HEY Robbie. No I was the camera person – and they all know what I look like around here 🙂
      Mooloolaba is great unlike the weather that day :-/ but the company definitely made up for it.

  7. Okay, I know who they all are, but I’m not going to spoil the fun. A lovely group of women all of you! We miss Sarah and Amanda here in RWNZ (they both left last year to live in Aussie). I attend our chapter monthly meetings, it’s so important to spend time with like-minded people and we always have a good time catching up and sharing news. I also have grown to know a group of people online who I talk to regularly and we have fabulous supportive loops. And, of course, there’s my wonderful critique partner and roomie Sue MacKay and my good pal, Iona Jones (RWNZ president) who I don’t get to spend nearly enough time with. What do we talk about? Everything. Gossip, news, work, family, friends…what we’ve seen, what we’ve read and a whole lot of laughter along the way! There’s just something wonderful about a group of women having a natter!

  8. YAY Ellen!!! I see you’ve been Googling. Congrats!

    Send me an email and I’ll get an Amy Andrews out to you pronto 🙂

    1. Thanks Amy….email sent.
      Isn’t that what google is for??? 🙂 Although I only had to look up Amanda and then I could figure out which was Sarah because I all ready knew which were Robin and Rachel.

  9. Hi Louisa – sorry I didn’t mention that NZ loss is our gain! And how wonderful they both decided to settle so close to me 🙂
    You know you are so right about nattering women! I love the way women tell stories. How they meander and take little side alleys and digress onto other topics that can be seemingly unrelated before getting back on track. Very different to the “march straight ahead” way of men.
    If only life was one long ladies lunch!

  10. Sarah, Amanda, Robyn and Rachel from left to right (looking at the picture). I have an amazing bunch of ‘critiquers’ though it’s mostly coffe and cake that we critique. We meet monthly on a week night, once a term on a Saturday for a Writers’ Intensive (yep, we all work at schools) and at least twice a year all go away for the weekend to someplace quiet and coastal to write, as well as partaking of the all the usual girlie gossip and eating/drinking/being merry stuff. Awesome, and it really helps us all to focus, produce, and recover! 🙂

  11. Hey Clare, that sounds like my kind of retreat. But really, Fiona is right, you’re giving everyone the wrong idea – we’re all alone in our drudgery and Ivory towers – sob!

  12. Hi Everyone

    Just back from South Africa- had a wonderful time but feeling a little groggy this am. My sisters are my critique partners whenever I get stuck (no hold barred there) but as one lives in Uist and one in South Africa our contact is mainly by email. I also have the med rom loop- couldn’t do without you guys when it comes to asking questions about the industry and when I need some advice and sympathy- and am about to start a new writing group here in Glasgow.

    So I guess I’m lucky. I have loads of writing friends- some published, some who are yet to be- who understand what it is like to be a writer. (Non writing friends tend to imagine that the books I write just ‘appear’ somehow! They don’t always understand when I say I can’t meet for lunch etc no matter how often I say that I’m working.)

    I have to admit it can feel isolated at times, but when I listen to tales of office politics from others, particularly moans about bosses or work colleagues, I’m glad the only person who gets on my case is me.

    Anne Fraser

  13. Only one glass each on the table – what an abstemious bunch you all are. Mind you, the glasses are all empty so maybe not such an abstemious bunch. Completely agree about it being great to meet up with other writers. Some of my best lunches have been with writers who are a mixture of category and mainstream – lots of laughter, gossip, and a source of endless information. Some of my worst lunches have been with writers who write Literature with a capital ‘L’. Everyone takes themselves so tremendously seriously that you find yourself – well I do – wanting to say, or do, something dreadfully outrageous.
    Maggie Kingsley

    1. lol Maggie – that was the end of thye day and several glasses had already been cleared! 🙂

      I know what you mean about the desire to be outrageous around serious people, I usually tend to say something outrageously shocking just to relieve myself from the boredom!

  14. Isn’t being a writer the greatest?!? Especially when you have writer friends to share with. Love lunching w/ my local writer friends, too. The looks we get from the waiters when we’re brainstorming new stories are priceless!

    1. Oh yes, brainstorming whilst out in public should come with a warning 🙂
      Mind you, I think that sort of thing gives wait staff something interesting and new to brighten their day and a story to tell when they get home!

  15. Amy,
    What fun. I have a regular group of authors I “hang out with.” We get together to eat, have write away weekends, and see each other at our monthly romance meetings. I don’t know what I would do without them.

  16. No lunching for me…sniff. That’s why I love Nationals so much, though. I finally get to meet all the lovely people I’ve gotten to know online. And yes, the Medical Authors’ loop is wonderful!

      1. You could say that, Fiona. I live in Brazil, far from any other RWA members or chapters. And yay on your first RWA conference. I was totally overwhelmed at my first one…but maybe that’s because it was my first writer’s conference of any kind. Hope to see you there!

        1. Yes, getting together at a big event does make the year alone worthwhile, doesn’t it, Tina?
          Brazil is pretty isloated from your nearest writing buddy I’m betting but I also bet you have some gal pals you hang out with down there?

  17. What a lovely bunch of ladies in the pic! I recognized Robyn Grady and Rachel Bailey, but I see numerous others have already identified the four. It sounds like you had a fab day.

    Let’s see, the writing groups ‘near’ me are all at least 90 minutes away from me, one to the east, one to the north and one to the west (that one is closer to 120 minutes away–I think). The one to the west has a few HM&B authors that occasionally attend (I think). The one to the north (the closest one at closer to 70 minutes away) is a pretentious lot of literary people–so not my crowd. LOL, and the one to the east is a mix bag. Being a loner I write in a vacuum, probably why I’m not published, yet. 😉

    1. Ah but Nan, at least you have online contact to bring you out of your vaccum and help you on the way to your own call story!
      I can’t believe people ever wrote without the www!

  18. Finally! I’m in! Love the title of this post Amy. I keep telling my other half that I was born to be a Lady who Lunches! He tells me to get back to work!

  19. I’m definitely in favour of the lunches! Better than office politics and sandwiches at your desk any day 🙂

  20. I’m late to see you lovely lunch ladies, Amy! But what an awesome crew! Waving to my fellow LoveCats, Robyn and Rachel!

    I do have a wonderful group that meet in Melbourne regularly – I don’t get there as often as would be nice but it is lovely to know that they’re there. And I’m lucky enough to live fairly close to Fiona Lowe so I can catch up with her occasionally too.

  21. A bit late to this post…… we had a fabulous time it’s awesome to be living so close to everyone. Can’t wait for the next time we catch up…. probably at conference.

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