Romancing Australia

10496963_10204629371998003_1448232547716691685_oHi all! I’m just back from the Romance Writers of Australia’s annual conference, which was held in Sydney. I think it’s going to take me a week to recover!

As always, we had a ball. So much fun to catch up with writer friends and meet new ones. I was thrilled to see many readers, including our lovely Bandita Buddies Helen and Barb, who were there representing the Australian Romance Readers Association.

ARRA does an enormous amount of great work in promoting Australian romance writers. If you’re in Australia, check out their convention, to be held next year in Canberra. It’s going to be fantastic! BunVlwgCAAA_RxD

There were also some lair favourites among the authors–Amy Andrews, Denise Rossetti (right and yes, the lighting was purple, not the people!), Helene Young and Annie West. Also Sarah Mayberry (pictured with me, above), who won BOTH the Ella and the Ruby award for her fabulous books. Congratulations, Sarah!

Jen St. George, Cherry Adair and I battled it out with Anne Gracie, Amy Andrews and Sarah Wendell in a very unruly debate on the topic: “Alpha heroes are better than beta heroes”. We were for the affirmative side. Go Alphas!

BuatU98CAAEfXpTThere may have been roll-playing involved. And singing.

In fact, there is a video of our song floating around out there somewhere in cyberspace, which absolutely confirms my belief that while I can write some fairly decent lyrics (if I do say so myself) I am a shockingly bad singer. But all in a good cause!

The leather and lace cocktail party run by Destiny publishing was a huge success, with a very brave Roz Baxter as Cher a la “Turn Back Time” taking out the first prize.

10353716_10152340584749895_6246595976759433856_nWe had a great turnout at the Australian Romance Readers Convention signing, where, as you can see, I made the acquaintance of the infamous “Bondage Bear”.

On awards night, the legendary Emma Darcy was inducted into the RWA hall of fame. Her speech was magnificent — inspiring and moving — she was accorded 2 standing ovations.

Onwards and upwards to Melbourne next year!

What about you? Do you go to conferences? Or have a regular get-together with friends, colleagues or other people who share a similar passion? Are you a member of a book club or a readers’ group where you can get together to discuss stories? 






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  • Amy Conley says:

    Australia, my second place to visit. Oh, and I’ll bring the GR with me.

  • Amy Conley says:

    Anna, glad you had so much fun, and Sydney on top of it all.

    I’ve only been to Buns and Roses, annd that was just lsst year. It was wonderful and I hope to go again this year. It is so inspiring.

    I’ve been to several booksignings, which are nice in their own way, smaller, but still nothing like the larger conferences. Maybe next year in NYC.

    • Amy, our Suz always goes to Buns n Roses, hope you managed to catch up with her there. Yes, I’m thinking I might get back to RWA next year in NYC. We should meet up!

  • Jane says:

    Hello Christina,
    It would be fun to attend one of these conferences. I try to meet up with my friends on a regular basis, but it just depends on how busy everyone is. There are certain friends and coworkers who I go to ball games with and others I go shopping and the movies with.

  • J St George says:

    It was so lovely to see you and debate with you, Christina! I thought our singing might just get us over the line in that debate. Can’t wait for Melbourne.

  • Deanna says:

    I’m not a huge fan of conventions and conferences just because I am such an introvert. That said I went to the ARRA conference that was held in Sydney a few years ago and I’m planning on going to the one in Canberra next year. I’m looking forward to it but at the same time freaking out over it.

    • Oh, Deanna, I know what it’s like to be an introvert but as long as you build some ‘alone time’ into your schedule, you should be fine at ARRA. They really are the most fun, welcoming group of people!

  • It was so nice to see you at the Sydney conference Christina! I love going to romance writer’s conferences, I find them inspiring and enjoy catching up with old friends and making new ones. I was at Romance Writers of America conference in San Antonio too, so am going to find it difficult to settle back down to work!

    • pjpuppymom says:

      I’m still recovering from San Antonio and you already have another conference – plus that long flight- under your belt! It was wonderful seeing you again, Kandy!

    • Kandy, as always, it was an utter pleasure to spend some quality time with you at the conference. Wish we’d had a photo together.

      Lovely to see you and PJ getting together over in San Antonio, too!

  • Helen says:


    I had such a great time always lots of fun catching up with friends and making new ones I love conferences and conventions and we didn’t get a picture this time we were all so busy and I am so looking forward to Canberra next year I have been to all of the ARRA Conventions and this was my 3rd RWA Conference and seeing as it was about a 30 min drive from my place I didn’t stay overnight but I have all intentions of being in Melbourne next year


    Have Fun

  • Helen says:

    Oh and I had afternoon tea with the fabulous Cherry Adair what a fun Lady and a reader get together with Marie Force so yep I had a blast

    Have Fun

  • pjpuppymom says:

    I love conferences! I was at RWA in San Antinio last month. Missed you and Fo but had a wonderful time catching up with the Bandits in attendance as well as Aussie friends like Kandy and Anne Gracie.

    Hope you’re able to make it to NYC next year, Christina. It would be wonderful to see you again!

    I’ll be attending the Moonlight and Magnolias conference in Atlanta this fall. I know of at least two Bandits who will be there! 🙂

    • I missed you, too, PJ. It looked like a fabulous venue for a conference. I would love to go to NYC next year, if only to catch up with old friends.

      The Moonlight and Magnolias always sounds very special. I hope you and our banditas have a wonderful time!

  • Caren Crane says:

    Christina, I’m always jealous of all the pictures from RWAus and ARRA. SO JEALOUS! I love getting together with writers and readers and talking, talking, talking about books and story and where the magic comes from. I was so sad to miss the RWA conference this year.

    Next year, though, I WILL BE AT RT IN DALLAS! Everyone needs to come since it starts on May 13, my 50th birthday! Yes, people, come and party with me. There will be cake (Susan promised) and there will be shenanigans (I promised).

    Not sure I’ll make it to RWA in NYC because of the expense, but I would love to go. Of course, my son lives there now, so maybe I will have the perfect excuse. Hm. Must think about that one.

    Meanwhile, I’ll be at Moonlight & Magnolias with Nancy and PJ and whoever else turns up. I hope to see lots of the Lair-folk there! 😀

    • Posh’s birthday, cake and shenanigans… who could refuse? I wish you could join us in Oz some time. It would be so much fun. Next year is in Melbourne–a very stylish city, absolutely your cup of tea. Have a lovely M&M conference, won’t you. Give PJ a big hug for me!

  • Becke says:

    Woohoo, Australia,

    I would love to attend that conference and airfare would be tax deductible. Hmm sounds like a good start. Sounds like a bucket list addition to me.

    Although conferences can be overwhelming, they’re also rewarding. I love catching up with old friends and recharging the mojo. Yes, it takes rest afterward, but the zing from attending carries me through the year.
    I admire your engagement of the big 50. I must say that was the only birthday that whacked me up side the head. The good news is I did recover.

    As always, I’ll attend GRW.

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Thanks for sharing details about the conference, Christine. It sounds lov-er-ly!

    When I taught I really enjoyed the annual English Teachers conference usually held at Asilomar in Pacific Grove, a northern Cali beach area. We had a team of teachers that went together every year. It was so energizing to meet with like-minded people and share new ideas and techniques.

  • Cassondra says:

    What a fun time!

    I love conferences but they wear me out something awful. My true introvert nature gets a little overwhelmed by all that people energy, I’m afraid.

    When I see the photos of the fun, though, it makes me so jealous.

    I’m especially wishing I could get to meet all out lair buddies Down Under. *pouts*

    • Cassondra, when we’re all NYT bestsellers, instead of buying that island, what you all need to do is fly down here and party with the Aussies! I hear you on the introvert stuff, though. I came home to chattering children and much as I adore them, I was craving quiet!

  • Christine, what a fun post. Glad you had a wonderful time. I really enjoyed the Facebook updates on everyone – although I have to say I could have done without all the purple lighting in the pics. That got old pretty quickly! LOVE that shot of you with Sarah. Just want to be there with both of you giggling my head off. I must check out the video of you singing – you have a better voice than you claim, my friend. I’ve plied you with champagne and made you sing in the past and survived the experience.

    I’m really looking forward to the next ARRA convention next March. Booked my berth last week so I’ll be there with bells on!

    • Yes, wasn’t that purple awful?? I don’t know if they put that on just for us or if it’s a fixture but it was really dire.

      No, seriously, the singing was terrible. Worse than usual! Anyway, it got people laughing and talking, which was what we aimed for.

      ARRA is going to be a lot of fun! I know I shouldn’t go because I have a deadline but I’m seriously tempted!

  • This year I felt I was ALWAYS at a conference. I did the RT conference in New Orlearns, the RWA conference in San Antonio and, thios past weekend, the Nora Roberts Writing Institute in Hagerstown, MD where I met the lovely Shannon! I still have the New Jersey Writers Conference in October on my schedule along with the Central Ohio Fiction Writers conference – then I’ll be done! YAY! I love conferences but they do wear me out. I’ve been in recovery all day today 🙂

  • catslady says:

    Conferences always seem like so much fun. I have different groups of friends – some I meet for cards, I bowl with another group, I play bocci with another, we have an American Legion Group – getting together is always the best part.

    • Catslady I always think when there’s a focus or purpose to the get together people are more likely to do it regularly, don’t you? Great variety of activities there. You must never get bored!

  • Christina, what a fun weekend! Someday I want to come down for it.

    Yes, I go to conferences. Had a great time at RAGT with Donna, meeting readers, and will soon go to Dragon*Con to see friends and indulge my inner geek.

    I don’t belong to a book club because most of the ones around here are only for “serious” books, which I rarely read because they depress me. There is a science fiction club at a local bookstore, and I’m going to try that out as soon as I get this manuscript in shape.

    • Nancy, I can’t imagine anything worse than a ‘serious’ book club. I like reading challenging books but I don’t think I could stomach other people seriously waxing lyrical over them. Most of the book clubs people I know belong to are more about the food and wine 🙂

      Hope you enjoy your SF one. That sounds fun. Happy conferencing! And yes, we would LOVE to have you down under.

  • Shannon says:

    Christina, the conference sounds so much fun. And I love the posts about signing and purple lighting!

    My quick trip to Maryland was fun and a wonderful opportunity to meet several banditas at the NRWI book signing. I was able to get back in time to have dinner with friends and show off Donna’s book and a lovely peacock feather.

    • THanks, Shannon, it was a blast. Love hearing about Bandita Buddies meeting up with Banditas in the flesh! We all have a great time on the blog but it’s extra special to meet face to face.

  • You sang WONDERFULLY, my dear! I was extremely impressed and no one could possibly say I’m biased in your favour! *snork*