Every year I attend the Romance Writers of Australia Conference in August. This year was my twentieth year! So to mark the occasion, and while I’m still buoyant with energy and enthusiasm after attending the 2019 Melbourne Conference, let me share just a few of the reasons I love this event. This isn’t a complete list! (Note, rather than post from this year’s event I’ve gone back to the vaults to find photos from previous years).
|Sunny Queensland in winter|
1. Travelling away from home. There’s nothing like actually getting away from the day to day routine to make you feel rejuvenated. And in winter especially, there’s something about the lure of a beach, or a vibrant city, that appeals. Because of RWA I finally got to Western Australia – somewhere I’d been meaning to visit for ages.
|With the wonderful Helen Bianchin|
2. The warm welcome. I have fond memories of the year I’d sold my first book to Harlequin Mills and Boon and attended a lunch put on by the company for its writers. That was a thrill, but most especially there was the joy of receiving an ‘award’ (a comic item I still treasure) from the established authors. It was presented to me by the lovely Helen Bianchin and I couldn’t quite believe I was in such exalted company.
|First sale celebrations with Elisabeth Rose, Alison Stuart, Anna Campbell and Fiona Lowe|
3. The way everyone celebrates when a writer finally achieves their dream of publication. Here I am with some authors celebrating their first sale. It was a while ago now but you may recognise some of the faces.
|1920s themed cocktail party|
4. There are plenty of chances to have fun and to dress up, including at the themed cocktail parties.
|Living the good life|
5. Conference time means no cooking or cleaning. Sometimes it even means room service with your feet up, listening to the waves rolling in on the beach!
|Booksigning with the lovely Helene Young|
6. You get to sit with terrific writers, whether at a booksigning or participating in a workshop or listening to a panel discussion. It’s a great way to pick up information and make friends. I always come away from conferences feeling like I’ve learned something new or learned to look at something I do/or don’t do from a new perspective.
|Winning the Romantic Book of the Year!|
7. Saturday Awards Night! I’ve included a photo of me here where the grin says it all. But whether you’re in the running for an award or not, it’s wonderful seeing the many writers who’ve made the effort to enter writing contests, to see the names of finalists and share their excitement, and of course, share the buzz of a win with all those winners.
8. For me this writers’ conference is an essential part of my year. I get to catch up with people who understand my love of story telling and of romance in particular. I get to commiserate and celebrate with them, to learn new things and feel like I’m part of a strong, vibrant community of talented women.
Do you have an event or group that you’d never miss? Something that makes you feel good and connected to people with similar interests?