Archive for the ‘General writing industry news’ Category

As I mentioned in my previous post about the Canberra Writers Day, the Aurealis Awards were on in the evening. Usually my involvement with the AAs is as an event. I go because it’s a fab evening. I get to see friends and network with the industry. I also get to see the people win awards, some of whom I’ve never heard of so in that case it’s a discovery.

This year I was a judge in the Graphic Novel category and I was…wait for it…the trophy chick. I said to Nicole wouldn’t it be fab if I was your trophy girl instead of some young beautiful thing…and she fell for it. The downside to being the trophy girl is that you get to stand through most of the award ceremony in very uncomfortable high heels and my post may reflect some of that pain and maybe a photo of sore feet.sore feet

So the venue at University House turned into a charming venue for the awards ceremony. First there was the cocktail party where we all got to mingle (but not sufficiently for me to get around to everyone I knew or meet new people. Sorry Thoraiya I didn’t even get to say hello properly). I managed to get a glass of bubbly in before the fun began (because I was a dutiful person who went to rehearse with the presentation).

So a few snaps from the cocktail party. Alan Baxter and the lovely Rochelle Fernandez. Alan has a trilogy coming out with Harper Voyager, coming July. I have a book coming out with Harper Impulse under Dani Kristoff (http://danikristoff.wordpress.com for details). BTW I wasn’t out to take photos as Cat Sparks and Mr Fitzgerald were doing that.

Alan Baxter and Rochelle Fernandez

Alan Baxter and Rochelle Fernandez


So here is the room, the Great Hall at University House done up with lights.

University House, Great Hall with lights for the Aurealis Awards Ceremony

University House, Great Hall with lights for the Aurealis Awards Ceremony

Here is a piccie of the candelabra that was next to me. They were placed around the room with real candles. Nice!

Candelabra Great Hall, University House, Canberra

Candelabra Great Hall, University House, Canberra



Then there were the two fabulous MCs, Sean Williams and Simon Brown who were very funny and who created fantastic tales of intergalactic woe and time spinning tales about the presenters.

Sean Williams and Simon Brown, Masters of Ceremonies Aurealis Awards

Sean Williams and Simon Brown, Masters of Ceremonies Aurealis Awards

And so there were a few surprises in the winnings. Having been a judge I know how close it is to decide the winners so if you were short listed you are amazing to be there.

The ceremony went off without a hitch. (As trophy girl I did not drop anything or confuse the names, even though I didn’t have my glasses on-that’s because Nicole Murphy is so organised).

Some of the winners


Ally (Allyse Near) with her two awards- a tie for Young Adult and for Horror novel. Fairytales for Wilde Girls (Oh no. Not a good photo!)

Allyse Near, Aurealis Awards April 2014

Allyse Near, Aurealis Awards April 2014




Joanne Anderton, best collection for The Bone Chime Song and other stories

Joanne Anderton, Aurealis Awards April 2014

Joanne Anderton, Aurealis Awards April 2014



Kaaron Warren best SF short story, Air, Water and the Grove.

Kaaron Warren, Aurealis Awards 2014

Kaaron Warren, Aurealis Awards 2014


Jackie Ryan-tie for best graphic  novel

Jackie Ryan, Aurealis Awards, April 2014

Jackie Ryan, Aurealis Awards, April 2014


Mitchell Hogan for best fantasy novel, The Crucible of Souls. This was a wow moment for me. It was self-published and his thank you speech included editors I knew and I realised I’d been down a similar road to him with my own fantasy novel (and got nowhere). It opened my eyes quite wide. Well done you, Mitchell. Fabulous.

Mitchell Hogan, Aurealis Awards, April 2014

Mitchell Hogan, Aurealis Awards, April 2014


A photo of Liz Grzyb-who tied for best and anthology for the Year’s Best (with Talie Helene). The awards are in the boxes.

Liz Grzyb, Aurealis Awards, April 2014

Liz Grzyb, Aurealis Awards, April 2014


A shot of the wonderful Nicole Murphy looking on at the end of the ceremony. The mastermind behind the flawless awards ceremony.

Nicole Murphy, Aurealis Awards, April 2014

Nicole Murphy, Aurealis Awards, April 2014



Now for some of the crowd, Keri Arthur and gang.

Leife Shallcross, David Versace, Keri Arthur and  Rob Porteous. Aurealis Awards, April 2014

Leife Shallcross, David Versace, Keri Arthur and Rob Porteous. Aurealis Awards, April 2014


Liz’s fab shoes, which I snapped later at the after party. They are  Fluevogs. Want! That’s it from me. Don’t forget to come along next time.

Liz Grzyb's shoes, Fluevogs

Liz Grzyb’s shoes, Fluevogs






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I’m late with this and I don’t have many photos, but what I do have are awesome.

Sydney completed its third wonderful Aurealis Awards. As it was so close to Conflux I wasn’t certain I was going to make it and with one thing and another I didn’t think I could afford it.  Nicole was of the same mind. While we were on a writers’ retreat with Cat Sparks and others, she told Nicole and I we had to come and she even offered accommodation close by for free. That made it doable and of course, we didn’t want to upset Cat.

So like Uncle Jed, we loaded up the car and moved to Sydney for a night. We had Kaaron and Jasmina with us for the road trip. All arranged very last minute but accomplished successfully.

The ceremony was once again at the Edwardian era, Independent Theatre in North Sydney. Venue info here.

We had dinner first at the Thai restaurant next door and we were pretty wowed by the food including braised lamb shank in a coconut curry. (Oops no sidelining to food got it!)

So before the ceremony is a cocktail party, with nice bite sized food and bubbly, wine and beer etc. I was so full I only managed one canape. Oh dear! I managed to squeeze in two glasses of bubbly. This was the time for smoozing and catching up with friends and acquaintances. We got to say hello to Robert Hood, Thoraiya Dyer, Alex Adsett, Amanda Pillar, Cat Sparks, Kaaron Warren and others. (older persons’ memory cells), before being ushered in to the ceremony itself. I didn’t take a photo inside the theatre though it is lovely.

Scott Westerfeld hosted the ceremonies and did a bang up job. He was funny, wooed us about how awesome spec fic genre is and was generally very cool. Margo Lanagan won so many awards, she of course got teased about it. One of them was shared.  The young adult novel with Kaz Delaney.

Here is a link to the press release with the winners.

So then we rock on to the after party. We all mingle outside, grab photos before heading to the bar. My shots come from these. I managed to snag a few winners with their awards.

Thoraiya and KaaronThis is Thoraiya Dyer and Kaaron Warren with their awards. They were giggling a lot. The shot below is them posing a bit better.

Thoraiya and Kaaron 2They were so happy!

Outside I managed to capture Margo Lanagan.

MargoThis amazingly talented author couldn’t carry all her awards. Okay I’m kidding. I’m sure she had them there somewhere.

In the squeeze in the bar I managed to corner, Daniel O’Malley with his award in hand and the Aurealis Awards convenvor, Tehani Wessely.


I was dressed in retro and so was Amanda Pillar (editor!) so we begged someone to take a photo of us. (I had a little red cardigan but dropped it. Lucky Sydney isn’t as cold as Canberra so I didn’t freeze).

amanda and me

Nicole Murphy is the person to watch.

NicoleShe was having a fab time after all that work co-chairing Conflux with me. It was fun just to hang.  Wasn’t it Nicole?
nicole with wineTo tell the truth she could have been minding my glass of champagne.

The party moved on to Rydges North Sydney.

I grabbed a shot of Alex Adsett (agent and in red) and the lovely Kaz Delaney (must buy her book too), who tied with Margo for young adult novel. She told me she is a romance writer. Yay!

Kaz and Alex

I was feeling pretty tired myself, so I parked myself in a chair with Steve Dunbar and then chatted to who came along.

Here is a shot of Kaaron looking happy and replete after her award win. She said it’s the second one but with a big gap between. She won for A-Positive in 1998 and now with Sky in 2013.

Kaaron in the bar

And then I took passing shots of people who were at my table. Here is Cat Sparks talking to Steve Dunbar.cat and steveAmanda Pillar and RobThat’s one of Amanda Pillar talking to Robert Hood. It was late by the time we went home. I was knackered and guilted Nicole into going home earlier than she would have liked. She was having a ball. We arranged to come back to the hotel for breakfast, which gave us a chance to catch up with the people we didn’t catch up with. Highlights for me were Liz Gryzb’s and Kirstyn McDermott’s shoes. Just being there in the buzz and the announcement that Canberra is going to host next year’s Aurealis Awards. That’s right. Conflux Inc, with Nicole Murphy at the head will be hosting the next ceremony sometime in March. Here is a shot of Nicole explaining to the Conflux committee about what her vision and strategy is for the next awards ceremony. You think after Conflux she’d had enough but no, Nicole the dynamo is charging ahead. Me? I’m going to just linger on the sidelines, although I have signed up to judge the graphic novel section of the 2014 awards. Don’t forget to come along to Canberra next year. We know who you are!

Nicole talking AAs

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The Romance Writers’ Australia Conference is over. It is kind of sad but also a relief because of the fatigue. I’m grateful for what I have learned and the inspiration I derived from those around me. A few little things I forgot last post. At the opening of the conference, the RWA celebrates the first sales of its members. In all 31 tradition and e-published authors were called up. I thought this was wonderful. Your first sale (I haven’t had my first novel sale) must be the most exquisite moment and to have your peers recognise it for those authors, was very moving for me. Well done RWA!

I also gathered that the RWA does a lot of things to help emerging romance writers through its competitions, mentorships and writing intensives. On a personal level, I found everyone I met was welcoming and interesting in sharing a few words with me. It was very nice. By the way, I sent my membership form off before I left for the conference as I was already convinced that it was right for me.

Last night I didn’t attend the awards, but I did write 4000 words after my blog post. It was a bit of a breakthrough for me because I haven’t written that much in one go for over 7 months. All because I was inspired to be more focussed and to put my eye back on the main game. (Note I am currently writing this blog on the train).

One of the funny anecdotes from day one was the difference in Australian English usage and USA English usage. Almost all romance is published in the USA, so writers have to be aware of that if they are aiming for that market. Anyway, one of the writers said on her panel that her novel ended with the final line. “You sanctimonious bastard.” It was changed by the USA editor to “You sanctimonious asshole.” This made us all laugh. Apparently ‘bastard’ is very strong language and a terrible thing to say in the USA so it was changed. However, I think ‘asshole’ or ‘arsehole’ is much stronger and nastier. Judging by the laughter, I think others felt the same.

So today I attended a very interesting session on Georgian and Regency cloths. The underlying message is that silk was not worn as underwear and that the dresses that survive today in museums aren’t the normal every day wear of people in those times. Only the best dresses survived, like wedding dresses, ball gowns, formal wear. So Lizzie wouldn’t be walking around Pemberley in a muslin gown during the winter. The presenter had been working on a thesis on textiles and so it was very interesting as she walked us through the changes in how textiles were made and how some types of cloth was no longer made and they were lost after a while, ie they no longer exist except in sample books. I thought it was a great presentation, which confirmed that most of my Victorian-themed MS has the right detail, but also inspired me for another idea for a Regency romance that has been on my mind for about 10 years.

I went to a session on sub-characters and that was instructive too. The main lesson for me, don’t let your sub-characters (secondary) take over and make your hero look bad. Sometimes we fall in love with our secondary characters, but for a romance they must be focussed on the hero and the heroine. Actually I think it is the same for other genres too.

By the way, most of the publishers said rural romance is hot at the moment and Australian rural romance is selling well here.

The other fun session today was the speed dating panel with publishers and agents. It was hilarious, at times, and also fun to hear agents and publishers asking for manuscripts and even being funny about it. The Harlequin representative said come on a publishing date with us because we are desperate. Then she quoted stats that said they took 7 out of 10 of the submissions in the last three months. They also did a presentation later in the day to explain that Harlequin don’t only publish romance but a range of commercial fiction and even non-fiction. So check out their sites. Also, they have launched the digital first imprint Harlequin Escape. This afternoon, Sarah Fairhall said that Penguin’s digital first imprint, Destiny, would be publishing in print too, next year. So what an opportunity. A new imprint looking for Australian voices. I’d say flirt with your Destiny.

So it is over and I’m inspired. Inspired not only to write, but to write a range of things and to be more focussed on the main game and to treat writing as a business, a serious business. I love romance as well as science fiction, fantasy and horror but that doesn’t mean I can’t explore all of them. Also I need to give myself permission to write romance and pursue a career in romance writing.

The next RWA conference will be in Freemantle. I’m seriously considering it. I hope I am one of the authors receiving my first sale ribbon.

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