The Romance Writer’s of Australia annual conference was on a couple of weeks ago. It’s an intense few days of networking (I had a half dozen different business/industry related appointments) and craft and catching up. Which means a lot of talking and laughing and, yes, the odd trip to the bar or two – but who can resist a rooftop bar?
And then, at the awards gala on Saturday night, for two of Harl’s medical authors, this happened…
In fact Avril went on to win another Ruby award for the overall best romance of the year so she ended up with two gorgeous iceberg statues!
Neither of the awards were for medical romances (although mine does have quite a bit of medical stuff in it…) but we always celebrate our own here and both Avril and I are still proud medical authors no matter what other kind of books we also write. If you’re curious about the books, they’re both available online and if you’re in the UK you can actually buy the paperback version of Numbered through Amazon UK now!
The best part was that Numbered was co-authored by my sister so we got to share the accolade and the spotlight together. I didn’t think anything could make us closer which goes to show you can get to 47 and still be clueless 🙂
yes….we look nothing alike….
And, for your viewing pleasure, I spotted some other med authors over the weekend!
And last but not least – the two Ruby girls!!! Avril has the most sassy haircut now which I really love. She rocks the short and sexy 🙂
And that’s it. I am utterly exhausted but so very grateful that this is my life and I get to share it with all you guys. Until next year…..
My friends are talking about it in relation to their teenage kids. I’m not sure that it applies to my boys – they seem to march to the beat of their own drum – and I know that I’m more than happy at home in my PJs but at this time of the year I must admit to a little bit of FOMO.
Everyone in the romance writing world is heading off to conferences. First is the RWAmerica conference which starts this week in Orlando and the annual Harlequin Pajama party is tonight – BTW I’m perfectly dressed for this with nowhere to go! – then the RWAustralia conference is on in Brisbane and this is followed by New Zealand. Exhausting but loads of fun and I won’t be at any of them this year.
If anyone else out there fears they are missing out too I hope I can cheer you up. I have a few new releases which might help you pass the time and help you to forget what you’re missing.
Love Me Again and Love Me Forever are ebook exclusives available in the USA and Canada (am I contributing to FOMO?).
There is a Giveaway running for readers in the USA to win a copy of Love Me Again
This was my second time attending Nationals. As I told Gerri Russell who sat next to me at the massive Readers For Life Literary Signing, the first time I attended was San Francisco in 2008 and about 2 months after that I found out I was pregnant with my youngest child. So my eight year hiatus was filled with having a kid.
The first time I attended I was fairly green. I pitched, which went nowhere in the end but I’m still glad I did it and attending workshops. Attending RWA Nationals as an author with Harlequin was a WHOLE different experience. Busy doesn’t even begin to describe it.
I was nervous about flying and then meeting all these fantastic people I’ve only talked to online. My flight to San Diego was pretty much filled with the Toronto HQN team. Thankfully, I had audio books to distract me from the fact I was thousands of feet in the air.
And I knew, waiting for me in San Diego was my two roomies Amalie Berlin and Tina Beckett.
Wednesday is a bit slow, so it was the perfect time to catch up with my editor. I’ve met my amazing editor Laura McCallen before, because she’s Canadian, but in the UK so she comes home to visit. We had an amazing light appetizer/lunch/drink thing (I really don’t know what to call that meal) in the nearby Gas Lamp District where we caught up and talked shop. I love my editor. After our chat she introduced me to Bronwyn Scott who is also a Greyhaus Literary Agency Author.
The kick off for RWA was the Readers for Life Literacy Signing, where the publishers donate the books and the proceeds go to local literacy funds. Books not sold would be donated to local libraries and the Naval base.
At the literacy signing I got to meet a special volunteer! Traci Douglass who is active on the Harlequin writing forums (like me). She’s SUPER sweet. At the end of it, as I was leaving, I got to FINALLY meet the amazing Scarlet Wilson from Medicals who is absolutely delightful.
The next day was jammed pack filled with workshops, open houses and meet and greets. I attended most Open Houses and Meet & Greets that day, but I got to attend some fun workshops like Kindle Worlds. I was asked to be involved in one and I had questions, so this workshop answered all my questions and gave me a lot to think about.
At the Mills & Boon Open House I FINALLY got to meet Robin Gianna, Lynne Marshall and Louisa George. I also got to meet the UK team that was there, Sheila Hodgson, Byrony Green, Kathryn Cheshire & Linda Fildew. And of course, my editor Laura McCallen.
In an elevator I met Sara from Harlequin Junkie (You never know who you’ll me in an elevator!). And I attended the glorious keynote address of Beverly Jenkins who gave an inspiring speech about diversity in romance, which I’m all for given my family’s diverse heritage and the fact that I love writing diverse characters. My editor encouraged me to continue writing my diverse characters.
As Beverly Jenkins said about romance writers (paraphrasing her) “We are the sh#t!”
Friday was the busiest day. I attended my first ever Harlequin Signing. Wow. I had never been to a publisher signing before. It was crazy, but before the crazy all began I got to meet Sarah Morgan, who I gushed over like a crazy person. I also got to meet Pamela Hearon (who is a doll, love her), RITA winner Sarah M. Anderson, RITA winner Maisey Yates and Caitlin Crews. I also FINALLY got to meet Susan Carlisle of Medicals who is just wonderful.
As soon as the Medicals lunch was over we went straight to the Medical Author luncheon. We had a delicious lunch overlooking the Harbour.
I was completely nervous about meeting the UK team, I mean these are the people who say YES or NO to your books. My fears were completely unfounded the whole Harlequin team, every editor from all three offices I met were so nice. It made ever so proud to be part of Harlequin.
After our lunch and a picture Laura wanted of all her Medical authors who were there, I attended a Susan Elizabeth Phillips workshop on characterization. I tried in 2008 to attend an SEP workshop as they’re not recorded ever, but couldn’t get in. It was complete magic to get in this time and it was worth it. She’s an amazing speaker.
Then I napped. Jet lag, time zone change and the fact every function Harlequin held was filled with ice creams, cookies, wine, chocolate. Man. My agent told me to suck it up! Drink coffee. Instead I ended up eating a brownie, falling asleep and drooling chocolate onto my pillow. Just as Tina Beckett who walked in and saw me.
At night it was time to get ready for the thing I was most excited about. THE HARLEQUIN PARTY! It was my first time attending and I was not disappointed. I’m usually quite shy and feel awkward getting up to dance, but once that music is started and you see Nora Roberts out there, I was not so shy any more. I danced like I never danced before. The wine did help. LOL
I also got dragged into a photo booth with the Medical gals and Laura where I ended up looking like the Pringle’s Chips dude’s sister.
Saturday was low-key for me. I did have revisions which were due three days after I returned from Nationals. Cruel, right? KIDDING! The revisions were for a Duet coming out in Spring 2017 with Robin Gianna. Since we share the same editor and we were all there, we had an editorial meeting pool side under the palm trees, the way every editorial/revision meetings should go. So look for His Pregnant Royal Bride in the Royal Spring Babies Duet in the spring!
After the RITAs where I was cheering hard for the amazing Scarlet Wilson in her double RITA nom, I went to bed because that brought Nationals to a close. Sunday I started the long day of traveling back to London, Ontario.
And my flight back home was filled with the Toronto HQN team too.
I’m not a winter fan. Which is funny as I’m a native born and bred Canadian, but I don’t like winter. I never have. I hate the way the cold bites at your cheeks, how your fingers and toes go numb and feel like bricks when you pull them out of your heavy boot.
When I go for a walk, which I’ve been trying to do every day since I got my Fitbit, I don’t want to have to concentrate on the ground beneath my feet, looking for ice to make sure I don’t slip and fall.
Much like Olaf in Disney’s Frozen. I want to think about Summer.
When I think about a fantastic summer it makes me think of the summer I went to San Fancisco for RWA in 2008. So bear with me as I distract myself from winter.
I was with a group of Canadians, a couple of Americans and an author from New Zealand. Now, it was our Summer and the author from New Zealand was escaping their winter. We all went out at night, the Canadians were quite comfortable without a jacket (as I was told by a native San Franciscan that the city was actually warmer in October as opposed to July), the Americans were wearing their light jacket and our poor New Zealander was FREEZING cold. She had my jacket and few others. 😉
I guess it’s all about what you’re used to and the fact I’m “used to” winter sucks. LOL
I think San Francisco, to date, has been my favorite climate. I was comfortable. Not too hot, not too cold, just right the entire time.
That’s why when I was asked to base my next medical in a city I chose San Francisco.
Melting the Ice Queen’s Heart was set in one of my favorite cities in the world.
The first thing I did when I landed in San Francisco was take a sight seeing bus trip and the thing which freaked me out was when the bus was driving up a hill and stopped at a light in the middle of the hill. I thought we were going to die. I was positive the bus was going to go backwards.
This is the lookout on the twin peaks. Where my hero and heroine kissed before the benefit party. On a clear day (they do have a lot of fog there) you can see the entire city.
And one last shot of me, on Alcatraz, overlooking the city. The headphones were part of the guided night tour of Alcatraz, which was advertised as “spooky”, but it’s not. Not at all, or at least I wasn’t nervous.
I hope to get back one day and take my kids there.
And this post thoroughly distracted me from winter. Thanks for letting me ramble.
So, are there any cities you’ve visited you totally love? Any you’d like to visit? I know New Orleans is on my bucket list of cities, as is Nashville and this May I’m hitting both for Romantic Times.
Two weeks ago I was busily packing my suitcase to attend the annual Romance Writers of Australia conference. As I was choosing a dress for the Friday night cocktail party and another for the Awards gala plus heels, jewellery AND make-up I knew I was going to enjoy the chance to get out of my winter writer’s uniform of track pants!
Somewhere in my subconscious is a vision of a glamorous writer, a neat tidy desk, no dust and no ring marks from my tea cup and perfectly manicured nails tapping away at the keyboard, but sadly that is not reality. But, for a couple of evenings at the annual conference, my alter-ego can come out to play.
The ballroom looked fabulous for the Awards Gala. We were served Champagne and dessert (lots and lots of delicious bites) and everyone looked gorgeous.
I was among the final four in contention for the R*BY (Romantic Book of the Year) in the short sweet category for my Medical Romance Sydney Harbour Hospital: Bella’s Wishlistso that was all the excuse i needed to wear my new blue dress (I can never resist the colour ).
I’ve been nominated before so I was just excited to be in the running again and so surprised and honoured to win! Being at the conference is always fun but winning the R*BY was amazing and I was so pleased to be able to share it with fellow Medical Authors Fiona McArthur and Amy Andrews and Sheila Hodgson, Senior Editor HM&B London (pic below).
I know that everytime I wear my blue dress I’ll remember this night. Do you have a favourite colour or outfit that makes you feel great or is asscoiated with happy memories? I’d love to hear about it, but wedding dresses don’t count – too easy:)
I’ve been married to my husband for a long time but I’ve found some new loves. I was blindsided. I had no idea that I would or could fall so easily. But, I did.
Each of us came from different parts of the world and live a long distance way yet we hit it off as if we were family. I can’t remember in my life meeting a group that I liked more – instantly. I’m a happy author for Mills and Boon and I’m even happier to be associated with such a talented group of medical authors. I believe their inter beauty shows in their books. You’re missing a treat if you’re not reading them.
I hope they felt the same about me. If they didn’t that’s okay, I’m still going to stalk them at the next conference we attend together. There were a number of medical authors that I’ve not met yet and I’m looking forward to doing so one day. I expect to feel the same way about them.
Have you ever immediately connect to another person?