|View from conference hotel|
Speaking of distracted, here's one of the reasons conference time disrupts routine. Not that I mind! This is the view from my room at Surfers Paradise on Queensland's Gold Coast. At home the weather was chilly - think warm pullovers, fires at night and cups of hot chocolate. At the conference the weather was balmy, perfect for walking on the beach and soaking up some sun. Warm enough to swim too!
|Morning walk on the beach.|
I love getting away with other writers to hear what they're up to, what's happening in the publishing industry, take some time out to think about my craft, meeting readers, and share information. When you team that with a place just perfect for invigorating walks in the fresh air, it's almost perfect. One of the great pleasures of this conference, and there were many, was simply opening the curtains and full length windows and letting the warm sea breeze in. Something about listening to the sea is relaxing yet invigorating at the same time. I was so inspired I even managed a little time writing more of my current book in between sessions! That's a first for me.
I love the feeling of being away on a vacation even when I'm working. What could be better?
And the fact that the hotel itself was terrific, with warm, friendly staff, and there was a great Thai restaurant just across the road...?
|Some of the LoveCats DownUnder bloggers|
I started blogging this year with a number of Australian and New Zealand category romance authors who call themselves the LoveCats (for Category Romance) DownUnder. Some I've known for years. Others I've met only on the web and recently. The conference was a wonderful opportunity to get better acquainted with that lovely sisterhood. Here's a picture of some of us (we couldn't get everyone in one place at one time). I'm second from the left at the back.
|RBY Winner Fiona Lowe with her Rita|
One of the lovely things about the conference is that there are so many things to celebrate, with prizes announced for competitions for both unpublished and published authors. The Awards Dinner is always a treat. A very special event this year was the induction of the wonderful Helen Bianchin into our RWA Hall of Fame. Our first recipient of this honour and such a lovely and talented author.
My own celebration was for GIRL IN THE BEDOUIN TENT. The UK edition of that book won the Favourite Category Romance Cover Contest. Yay! You can check out that lovely, lovely cover on my website if you're interested.
In conjunction with the conference, the Australian Romance Readers Convention also organised a big book signing. Here's a photo of the authors just before the doors opened to readers for the signing. I hadn't realised there would be so many of us. That was a lovely afternoon, talking books and reading and discovering some new writers too.
|Authors at the ARRA booksigning, courtesy of Marie Miller|
This month Annie has a couple of releases to celebrate. If you're in Australia or New Zealand, look out for an anthology entitled 'Greek Affairs: Tempted by the Tycoon' (the one with the gorgeous, summery cover). It contains 3 full length stories, including Annie's bestselling book 'The Greek Tycoon's Unexpected Wife'.
If you're in the UK then keep an eye out for 'Defying Her Desert Duty' in book stores in October but available from Mills and Boon in September. It's a sexy love vs duty story featuring a couple whose love for each other is forbidden.
For more information on these stories, pop by Annie's website or of course look out for them in bookstores.