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Archive for the ‘Romance Writers Australia Conference’ Category

Today was the official start of the program, although things have been going since we arrived. Nicole attended the published author day, which is focused on professional development targeted at published writers.

Friday we did our pitch sessions, after spending the morning drafting pitches. Carole George couldn’t make the sessions so we pitched to the lovely Sarah Fairhall. It was a bit nerve-wracking because the appointments were running behind and waiting there felt like I was waiting to see the school principal. It was that sort of thing. I think the pitch session went very well, though I think my pitch needs more work. You see the novel I’m pitching I hadn’t really thought of as romance, even though I know quite well that that is the main thrust of it. The traditional romance tropes are there, but because it is a meld of steampunk and gothic horror, I had been targeting it to spec fic  genre rather than romance.

Also, I’m not across how to market the romance side, or I wasn’t until I came here to the conference. Now it is a matter of rethinking how I think about this work. Even with the paranormal romance I’m writing, I have to think about the core elements so I can work out a pitch. I saw a woman today recite her pitch perfectly. I was thinking, my goodness they really mean you have to learn it off by heart and be ready. So they’re not kidding. I have to take this writing gig more seriously than I do now.

So I sent my ms off. Apparently, people don’t always send their ms off when requested so Nicole said we had to make sure we did.

Last night was the Harlequin sponsored cocktail party. I wore an excellent dress. Nicole to a photo so hopefully it is here. (maybe later) I was more like Doris Day than Marilyn Monroe. However, I do like retro- either vintage or reproduction. My dress is reproduction. The cocktail party was fantastic and packed. I wondered about a chatted to a couple of people and also listened to Harlequin talk about their digital first imprint, called Harlequin Escape.

Now that I’ve had my head rearranged, I have some other things that are also romance in my dusty hard drive that I will be reviewing and perhaps submitting.

Today, Nicole invited me to have breakfast at 7.00am with a number of paranormal romance writers and that was cool. I sat down opposite Rowena Cory Daniels and Keri Arthur and got to chat a bit. Nicole and I were a bit queasy from the night before. It could have been the excellent room service we had- bbq beef rib that was a whole chunk of meat in yummy bbq sauce or the canapés or just too much of everything. Then it was the start of the professional development part of the day. Eloisa James did a wonderful and inspiring key note address, then the breakout sessions commenced. I did one on finetuning your suspense delivered by JJ Cooper, author of The Interrogator and Deadly Trust. He had been a military intelligence interrogator so he knew what he was writing about and his presentation was very interesting. He didn’t get through all the presentation because we asked so many questions. It was a very worthwhile session and he has emailed us the presentation.

Next excellent session was Alexandra Sololoff’s Screenwriting Tricks for Authors part one and two. Now there was a workshop on the Friday, which I couldn’t afford to do, so it was great to be able to have these sessions presented as part of the program. Basicall,y what she taught is a plotting/analysis tool, where you divide your story up like a movie is broken up into sequences. She had some terrific tips and I can’t wait to use the tool to analyse what I have done. I think Ruby Heart pretty much meets the analysis, but we’ll see.

Also, while in that session, I had a few epiphanies about myself and how I’m approaching this writing gig. When I first started out I was very enthusiastic and I never wasted a moment on anything else and just wrote. Then after a few years, I think I lost confidence and went into the whole I am not very good etc mode, which I rode as best I could and I never gave up, but nor was I very focussed. I came out of that stage and into the mature stage. Now I see that I have to have a more business-like approach to writing, perhaps something like a business plan. I also need to sit down and do a drafting schedule and plan out what I’m going to be working on during the year. I probably need a spreadsheet to monitor submissions (short and long). I am probably being a little hard on myself as I am just recovering from RSI but I think I need this focus if I’m going to reach my goals. Yes I have goals but I need to acknowledge them more to myself instead of hiding them away. I’ll need this schedule thing because of the Masters in Creative Writing too.

Tonight is the awards dinner. I didn’t buy a ticket as money has been tight this year. So while Nicole frolics with the others, I’m going to write in some capacity. I’m going to order room service first.

Nicole sent me a shot of me in my dress.

Me looking like Doris Day.

There is lots of red.

A close up of me taken by Nicole

 

 

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I am a romance writers’ conference virgin, or newbie. I’ve been a plenty of SF conventions but have not put a toe on the romance side. What an experience it has been so far, even though the actual conference doesn’t start until tomorrow. There have been a number of pre-conference events. I’ll say one thing these romance writers are organised.

I arrived on Thursday afternoon to the QT hotel in the Gold Coast. I missed out on the convention room booking, but ended up with a really cool deal through my Rydges Priority Awards. We have a fantastic room on the 20th floor, with 180 degree views from the ocean across Surfers Paradise and the canals up to the mountains. The weather is fantastic and warm.

 

Here is a shot of the canals and mountains.

View of the canals with the mountains in the distance.

The romance writers provided an informal ice breaker event last night for the newbies to the romance writers’ conference. It was great to meet people and talk writing. I felt my head expanding as people talked of what they were writing with such terms as romantic suspense or romance crime or romantic comedy. It is bit daunting to know there are around 300 writers here. Also, the ones I met and observed are open, welcoming and articulate. Most of them appear to know what they want and what they are doing. It is also daunting that I only know a handful of people here compared to SF cons where I usually know most people by sight.

 

Here is a shot of the contents of my goodie bag.

Contents of my Diamonds are Forever goodie bag.

 

Straight after the icebreaker where I met a range of interesting writers, including a whole bunch from Adelaide, I headed with Nicole into the Penguin event, which was champagne and rather a lot of food. Again I met some interesting people who introduced themselves, inquired where I was from and what I wrote. Then the launch of the Destiny imprint came along with readings etc and still more food coming out. Nicole and I had a free dinner booked at the restaurant so we were trying to say no. After the launch a lady came around enquiring whether we wanted to pitch our novels to Carole George, from Destiny. When I was listening to the readings and also from conversations around me I realised that I could pitch one of my novels, because it had a strong romantic line. So I signed up for a pitch and so did Nicole. As I had been working on a paranormal romance, I didn’t think I’d pitch anything at all, but the lights went on in my head. Yes, that story of mine is also a romance.

We also caught up with Peter Ball who is organising Genrecon in Sydney in November. We had a very interesting conversation-idea creating conversation. Oh dear. I don’t need any more ideas.

We had a fantastic buffet dinner, where we controlled ourselves mostly. Nicole didn’t eat dessert but I indulged. We retired pretty early after talking and reading a bit. I was out like a light apparently.

This morning we went to the beach and had a walk. Nicole put her toes in the water. Her camera died and I forgot my phone. It was lovely. The ocean was a deep green blue and looked so clean. I’m afraid we brought a lot of sand back with us. I didn’t realise it was in my pockets until I lay on my bed. I have sand in my sheets. Eww! We also scored breakfasts with our room booking so we are now completely stuffed with awesome breakfast goodness, which probably isn’t good for us.

 

Here is a photo of me and Nicole at the beach this morning.

Me at the beach this morning.

Nicole at the beach

So this morning we’ve been sitting here in our hotel room working on our pitches, which is hard work. I’m meant to be writing now that I’m done but I find I’m rather fidgety until I get that pitch over and done with. I’ve not done one of those either. I did a workshop on pitching once but that was yonks ago.

So my star rating for this conference so far is 5 stars. Tonight is a cocktail party, with a 50s movie star theme. I hope to get shots of me in my dress.

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