Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Conference High - Annie West

I’ve been home a week and I’m still on a high. Exhilarated and just a tad exhausted after attending the wonderful Romance Writers of Australia Conference. It’s held every August and each year it seems to get better and better. I always come away feeling so glad I write romance, so enthused about writing, so thrilled at having such a lovely time and so tired from the late nights. This year at least I came home with a voice. In the past I’ve suffered from laryngitis. Really! It’s absolutely NOT a case of talking too much. No way!

This year we gathered in Sydney and it was a real treat. Our plenary speaker was Jennifer Crusie who started off proceedings in such a positive way that we were grinning for days. There were editor pitches, chats with lots of published authors, great plenary sessions and informative workshops. There was lots and lots of talking (how surprising), lots of familiar faces and plenty of new ones to get to know. It’s rather sad that no matter how hard you try, you just can’t get to talk to everyone. We had our second Pink Breakfast, with all proceeds going to breast cancer research. Honestly, donating to charity has never been so much fun!

On a personal note, I survived the experience of running my first writing-related workshop, and even better, so did the participants! I presented with friend and Avon author, Anna Campbell on ‘Unleashing the Alpha Hero’. Lots of fun and even a few chocolates thrown in (literally). It was such a terrific feeling to have other writers talk to me later and say they’d got something useful from the session, (apart from the chance to stare at pics of fantastic heroes).

We had a glittering awards dinner where successful authors received awards for competition wins and other successes. Our own Aussie RITA winner, Barbara Hannay finally got to collect her lovely RITA statue since she’d been unable to attend the Dallas conference this year. There was another fantastic cocktail party sponsored by Harlequin Australia. This year’s theme was Venetian carnivale. I’ve never seen so many glittering masks and costumes in one place. Here’s just a glimpse of how it looked! From left to right here are Anna Campbell, Sharon Arkell, Fiona Lowe and Judy Griffith.

Already I’m planning for next year. Melbourne promises to be another fantastic conference and the venue, the Langham Hotel on South Bank, is just gorgeous. So if anyone wants an August treat, do consider popping in! This year there were attendees from all around Australia, New Zealand, the USA, and Europe.

What do you like best about conferences? Or don’t you attend? Do you like large and fabulous or small and friendly? Seeing familiar faces or learning more about publishing? Or maybe getting home and starting to put those good ideas into practice?

Annie’s smiling because she’s just sold her 6th book to Harlequin Presents. Meanwhile her latest release, ‘For the Sheikh’s Pleasure’ is on sale now in North America. To read an excerpt, or to enter a contest to win a copy, visit her website at


Sharon said...

Hi Annie

I'm so excited - I might be your very first comment if I hurry! LOL
I attended the tutorial that you gave with Anne C and it was so much fun! Learning and laughter - what a great combination!

The conferences are a fabulous opportunity to catch up with people - and I'm sure I used my word-allowance for a whole year while I was there!


Anna Campbell said...

Annie, your blog brought back a lot of happy memories. Wasn't it a great conference? The best bits, though, are catching up with old friends and making new ones. Although I must say your 'inspirational' pictures of alpha heroes were a highlight for me this year!!! And congratulations on your sixth book being accepted! Well done, you!

Maureen said...

Congratulations on your new sale.

Annie West said...

Ah, Sharon, so you're like me - lots and lots of talking at conferences. But isn't it great? Writing can be so solitary (LOVELY but solitary) that it's so exciting being with other writers - ones who really 'get' what you're talking about.

Thanks for the feedback on the tutorial! What made it such fun to present was the way people got so involved.


Annie West said...

Maureen and Anna, thanks so much for the congratulations on this latest book. It wasn't my easiest, though I'm pleased with the result, so it was a hugh relief when it was finished!

Anna, why am I not surprised that one of your conference highlights was pics of inspirational heroes? I'm sure I heard sighs of delight whenever Richard Armitage appeared from 'North and South'!


Anna Campbell said...

And why not? RA in N&S is DELIGHTFUL! Snort!

Annie West said...

Anna, yes I know he's fantastic. I was just worried we wouldn't get to see any of the other heroes. Good thing I got the projector before you...


Fiona Lowe said...

It was a FABULOUS conference and who knew I wrote Alpha heroes! Thanks to you and Anna I realise that I do :-)

Fiona x

Lois said...

Yeah, congrats on the 6th book! :) And I count myself a lucky person to have come across For the Sheikh's Pleasure at Walgreens up the street last week! :) Alas, haven't read it yet, still working my way through a few others but I'm getting there - and I know I'll love it since I loved the last one! :)

Conferences though, well, I'm just a reader, so I don't need to go to them, but I'm hoping to one of these days go to those incredibly nice and large book signings at them! :)


Cherie J said...

Congrats on selling your 6th book. Sounds like the conference was fun. I would love to attend one someday. I have never been to one but I have heard they are lots of fun. Maybe when my little ones are much older. Ihave a 4 year old boy and a 10 month old baby girl so it is difficult to attend those kind of events.

Annie West said...

Fiona, I'm still giggling about you not realising your heroes were alpha - strong, caring, protective, take charge doctors who can be relied on in a crisis. Sounds like they fit the bill to me!


Annie West said...

Lois, how exciting, that you've just bought my latest book! I'm very fond of that particular story so I hope you enjoy it.

As for being 'just a reader' - that's what we all are. I don't know one romance writer who isn't hooked on the genre! I've heard about those big book signings at the RWA conferences in the US. They sound daunting but lots of fun. At this stage I'm wondering if I might be able to make it to the one in San Fransisco. Maybe... It would be nice to see so many authors I admire and snaffle some of their books, and maye sign a few myself.


Annie West said...

Cherie, I do hope you manage to get to a conference one day. I know people who've brought their husband and baby along and just ducked out to feed the bub and then went back to the conference. In my case my problem is that the Aussie conference usually overlaps with my son's birthday. The last few years I've arrived home late in the afternoon of his birthday, but he's old enough not to mind, especially as that's when he gets to open his presents!

Thanks, too, everyone for the congratulations on book 6. It was such good news.


Lois said...

LOL I always get into trouble when I say just a reader. ;) I guess I should remind myself to specify that I mean me not a writer. LOL :) But yep, that happens a lot. LOL :)


deseng said...

Congratulations on your 6th book Annie! I have never been to a conference. Although, I have been to some book signings. They sound like so much fun!


Annie West said...

Michele, I suspect that if I went to a book signing I'd buy so many books I'd have trouble getting my bag back home to Australia! Those weight restrictions...


Nathalie said...

Can readers also attend... i didn't know. But I have to say I never went to one mainly because I don't think there is many activity in Canada!

PS: Annie, of couse you are smiling... great news :)

Annie West said...

Nathalie, Actually, I don't know if non-writers can attend the American conferences. I'm sure there would be parts of them that they could, especially the signings. I know at the Aussie ones you don't have to be a writer to attend, but it's cheaper if you're a member.

Annie (yes, still smiling over no 6!)

peggy said...

cong. on your book i so enjoy them.
thank you