I’m back! Back from Perth, back from the quite fabulous Riding the Waves Conference, put on by the Romance Writers of Australia and I’m finally getting around to telling you how it was.
(Just quietly, who ARE these people, who manage to get blog posts up WHILE THEY ARE STILL AT CONFERENCE? Clearly people who spend less time in the bar than I do.)
So, I went to the conference and it was fab. I cannot go any further without thanking and congratulating the quite marvellous ALL VOLUNTEER conference team, who put on such a great show. I always enjoy the RWA conference, but this was definitely one of my favourites. There are too many people to thank individually and I would hate to forget anyone, but I’d like to do a special shout out to Shannon and her Mum who came up from Bunbury to help us out. You guys helped to make my conference!
I am terrible at taking photos (as in, I forget to do it, not I’m a terrible photographer, although probably that too! 😉 ), so I only have a few.
I’ve included this one as it is a watershed moment – my very first selfie! (My teen friends have informed me that it is a little lame to take a selfie in a mirror, but what can I say? I’m rocking lame!)
This was me, prepared to go to the Friday night cocktail party, complete with pirate hat, to identify me as a conference-newbie helper. I am wearing sunglasses, not because I drank rather a lot of champagne the night before a the Destiny Romance first birthday party (although I did, it cannot be denied) but because they always live on my head and I had to move them to put on the hat. Yes, really. In the picture below (at the cocktail party) I seem to have found somewhere to put them, but it’s also possible that they were just knocked off by the awesomeness of Cap’n Jack.
I am frantically busy finishing some projects at the moment, so I won’t go into detail about all the fabulous workshops I went to here (I will be expounding on some of the things I learned in future posts, so stay tuned for that).
But I can’t leave without mentioning two visitors I met who impressed me very much.
The first is Kim Hudson, who presented the Friday workshop on The Virgin’s Promise, her quite wonderful re-imagining of story structure. Many parts of me are delighted by her work. My latent academic is excited by the thoroughness of her analysis and the way she has shaped it into a proper theory. The Hero’s Journey is a wonderful tool and it has been recognised as such for so long that it is very easy to think it’s the only way of looking at story. But of course, it isn’t and work like this can start a whole new conversation about story and archetype that has far-reaching implications for how we see ourselves and our lives, as well as how we see stories.
The storyteller in me is also thrilled by a whole new approach to what makes story. And the writer in me can see a whole swag of ways to use this practically in planning and deepening written stories.
So that was fun! Also, Kim is an absolute doll whose presence was a joy. A gifted presenter and a lovely person.
The other person I must mention is Sarah Wendell, from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. I have been a fan (along with thousands of others) of her smart, snarky, funny website and reviews, dedicated to romance, ever since I discovered them and in person she did not disappoint. She is whip smart, very funny, a wonderful presenter, a generous and genuine supporter of romance and a barrel of fun. I didn’t make it to all her workshops but I loved the ones I did and very much enjoyed the re-enactment of her session on romance clichés that went on in the bar afterwards (there were actions, apparently). I had the pleasure of chatting with her a little at the conference and meeting her again in Melbourne at an event hosted by Penguin here. I can’t tell you how impressed I was that, at the second function, she remembered my name. There were over 300 people (most of them women) at that conference and I bet she spoke to a fair swag of them over the weekend. I don’t suffer from false modesty, but nor do I imagine myself to be particularly fascinating. To be remembered was delightful, of course, but also seriously flipping impressive. The lady is a pro. If you like romance at all and don’t already follow Smart Bitches, do yourself a favour and start!
As always, it was also a joy to see so many friends both old and those I previously only knew online. Always fun to see who matches their avatar!
There’s so much more to say, but not enough time! I’ll be back as soon as deadlines allow. In the meantime, don’t forget that Playing by the Rules is coming out September 15. There’s a link to its page at the top right of this page and that’s where you’ll find all the buy links as soon as they’re available.
So – what have you been up to while I’ve been gallivanting?