Out and about: Australian Romance Readers Convention 2015

I spent the weekend in Canberra (which is the capital of Australia for non-aussie peeps) hanging out at the Australian Romance Readers Convention run by the awesome Australian Romance Readers Association. Because I have impeccable timing, I had some sort of coldy/fluey thing last week, spent Thursday in bed and then headed off on Friday feeling less than wonderful. Yay for cold and flu medication and Sambucol. Because of that and because I have post-conference brain, I will make this mostly about the pictures but I had a great time and met lots of lovely readers and folks I know online and hadn’t met in person before and got to hang out with writer buddies and met Victoria Dahl, so it was a great weekend!

Things started a little inauspiciously when my flight was delayed for an hour due to some rain. Which wasn’t even bad rain and there was no thunder or lightning so we’re all still confused as to why. At least I had the window seat.

Delayed

The view improved considerably up in the air (honestly, I never get tired of flying through sunset (or sunrise)…so so pretty.

Sunset sky

We arrived at the hotel about 9.30pm on Friday night due to the delay, said hello to a few peeps then I took myself off to bed. Canberra looked pretty good Saturday morning.

Early morning sun

My first panel was “Love in Alternate Realms” about writing fantasy romance with Kelley Armstrong, Nicole Murphy and Lillianna Rose which was fun. And moderated by Kate Cuthbert who made us all spill on OTPs and other silliness. And gave us magic wands.

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Then I got to hang out (and do some writing as you know, book due end of this month) until the signing. Lovely to meet readers plus I got to sit with Kandy Shepherd and Kylie Scott who are both awesome and had chocolate, so win. And Keri Arthur and Anne Gracie wandered by.

Photo battle

Saturday night was the Awards Dinner where everyone gets dolled up and eats delicious food and cheers on the writers who have kicked romance writing butt during the year.

Obligatory writer buddy selfies with Kelly Hunter:

Me and Kelly Hunter

And Keri, of course:

me and Keri Arthur. Our table had a good night.

Kelly won Favourite Short Contemporary for The Honeymoon Trap.

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And Anne Gracie won Favourite Historical for The Winter Bride.

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But the real rockstar of the night was Kylie Scott who won best cover and Favourite Contemporary for Play and then Favourite Continuing Series for the Stage Dive series and topped it off with Favourite Author of the Year. Since I love her books and she’s a very cool gal, I can only say, well played, ARRA voters, well played.

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Sunday morning I woke up early enough for breakfast (mmm waffles) then, fortified by caffeine, made it to Victoria Dahl’s keynote. She had kind of lost of her voice (what is it with bugs and travel and planes? Get on that, airlines) but her speech about being an unsympathetic heroine in books and life was amazing. And appropriate for International Women’s Day. So good to spend the day with a bunch of women who are doing awesome things with their lives.

Victoria Dahl

Then I snuck off with Sarah Mayberry and her hubby to see the War Memorial which I have never visited before. It’s a beautiful building and a very well done museum but also just heartbreaking. War is stupid. Let’s stop doing that.

This camel agrees with me.

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Then I did my second panel A Rich Man’s World on billionaire heroes with Sofia Tate, Sylvia Day and Kelly Hunter, moderated by Kat Mayo which was fun.

The last panel I went to was on Small Town seduction with Victoria Dahl, Margareta Osborn, Barbara Hannay and Cheryl Adnams. Moderated by Kate Cuthbert who went above and beyond her moderator duties to mock up hilarious covers for each of the authors to title and come up with the story for.

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After that, because Virgin had cancelled the 7.30pm flight out of Canberra and bumped us all onto the 5pm (thanks, for that), a bunch of us took our weary selves back to Melbourne. No window seat so no pics. Plus I may have napped a little. Luckily no delays on the way home, so was back with the kitties by 7.30 and passed out asleep by about 10.15pm. Thanks, ARRA, see you next time! Also, thank you to all the lovely ARRA peeps who nominated me for awards and voted for me. You are awesome.

2 Comments

  1. Great round-up and pics, Mel. Love the pic of Keri and Anne with their duelling cameras.
    And nice handbag!

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