Friday, March 11, 2011

Australian Romance Readers Convention

by Anna Campbell

It's March and I'm getting excited because March means I'm going to Sydney for the second Australian Romance Readers Convention (ARRC11) where I'm one of the keynote speakers. The other keynote speakers are fabulous dual RITA winner Cindy Gerard and Australasian writing sensation Nalini Singh.

ARRC takes place from Friday 25th March to Sunday 27th March at the Swiss Grand Resort and Spa at Bondi Beach, Australia's most iconic beach. As you can see from the photo, the hotel is right on the seafront. How cool is that?

A who's who of Australian romance writers will be there. There will be a huge book signing (that you can book for separate to the convention) and some amazing sessions that cover every variety of romance from vampires to velvet handcuffs. I'm involved in a number of sessions - obviously my keynote speech - but one I'm particularly looking forward to is an in-depth chat with Aussie historical romance queen Anne Gracie. She's described this as mud wrestling Regency style! You can see a full program here:

One of the major highlights of the convention will be Saturday night's awards dinner. The Australian Romance Readers Association have presented annual awards for favorite romances voted by the membership since the first convention in 2009. The list of finalists is amazing and includes many of my favorite books from last year:

I'm delighted that this year, I'm up for two awards - Favourite Historical Romance for MY RECKLESS SURRENDER and Favourite Australian Romance Author. The ARRA Awards have been particularly good to me. I was lucky enough to win Favourite Historical Romance for UNTOUCHED in 2008 and then last year I was astonished and delighted to win Favourite Historical Romance for CAPTIVE OF SIN and also Favourite Australian Romance Author.

The photo is of me holding the two awards in front of my next-door neighbour's flourishing tibouchina bush. Sadly last year, I wasn't able to attend the awards dinner as I was in Adelaide running workshops for the South Australian Romance Authors so I'm really looking forward to being there this year.

A highlight of the convention will be the silent auction in aid of the victims of the flooding here in Australia. I've given a couple of packs of signed trade paperbacks of my five books (most no longer available in that larger format) and signed hardbacks of TEMPT THE DEVIL and UNTOUCHED. There's some amazing stuff up for grabs. ARCs (including an ARC of Nalini's latest so you can read it ahead of the crowd), critiques, special experiences, jewelry, packs of signed books, you name it. Romance authors from all over the world have contributed to this worthy cause. At ARRC in 2009, the silent auction in aid of victims of the bushfires in Victoria raised thousands of dollars. I'm sure we'll raise a lot of money this year too.

ARRC09 was amazing fun. Hundreds of Australian romance readers converged upon Melbourne to share a wonderful weekend. I still remember the expressions of joy on everyone's face when they realized they were among friends who shared this obsession we all with a wonderful story about two people who fall in love and get a happy ending. The buzz in the air was like champagne. I hope ARRC11 is even bigger! I'm so excited and I can't wait to meet all the people there.

It's not too late to book -

Everyone is welcome and we'd absolutely love to see you! So come to Sydney in March for ARRC11!

So are you coming to ARRC? Given this is a wonderful opportunity for readers to meet their favourite romance writers, let's play fantasy convention. If you could meet any romance writer, living or dead, who would it be? And why?


ev said...

Oh how I would love to go someday. Maybe I'll be able to time my wishful trip the same time some year.

Have a great time!!

Anna Campbell said...

Ev, I think it's going to be huge fun. Wish you could make it! They hold the conventions every two years so get your piggybank out! ;-)

PJ said...

If I didn't live on the other side of the world, you can bet your sweet bippy I'd be there! Can't wait to hear all about it.

I've had the pleasure of meeting my favorite living romance authors so I'll choose one who is no longer with us. Victoria Holt was the author who introduced me to the romance genre and a writer who by the time of her death had sold over 100 million books under multiple pen names. I would have been thrilled to meet her!

Kaelee said...

That's such a hard question to answer as I love so many authors. I would have to pick my first favorite author, Mary Burchell. I'd would love to just have a cup of tea with her and chat a bit.

I'd love to go to a RWA convention but it would be beyond awesome if I could attend an ARRC convention as that means I would be visiting Australia.

Anna Campbell said...

PJ, you and the Dishes would be as happy as pigs in mud (very elegant pigs!) at this conference. And we'd love to have you. Sigh. Maybe one day! Love you picking Victoria Holt - as you know, she was a fixture during my teenage years. Loved her dark and dangerous heroes.

Anna Campbell said...

Kaelee, I can't believe you mentioned Mary Burchell! She was one of my favourite authors ever - haven't read her for years but I devoured her when I was a teenager. I loved her books about the opera world - I actually learnt something reading those books! Do you remember Althea and Oscar Warrender? Best continuing couple in a romance series EVAH!!! I did a piece in February on my teenage reading ( that featured Mary - if you get a chance, check it out. Here's what I said about Mary:

Another favorite was Mary Burchell who wrote a popular series based around the world of opera and classical music. Talk about glamour and drama! I particularly loved her stories featuring the arrogant but compelling conductor Oscar Warrender and his spirited and intelligent wife Anthea, a famous soprano. A favorite was WHEN LOVE IS BLIND featuring a blind concert pianist and the woman he blamed for his accident who then becomes his secretary to assuage her guilt. Yeah, lots of conflict there, yum! Mary Burchell talked about music with such passion, she even stirred me to do some piano practice! Mary Burchell was a heroine in real life too - with her sister, she helped to rescue Jews from Nazi persecution in the 1930s.

Kaelee said...

Anna ~ just read your favorite things post. I love Joyce Dingwall and Essie Summers also. I can't believe your mom threw out your books. I was very lucky in that my mom was the saver of books and I've inherited a lot of HR and HP from the 60's to 1992 when she passed away.

My other two favorite authors from early years were Betty Neels and Georgette Heyer. I picked Mary Burchell because of her history with the Jewish people. Her and her sister did a lot for them.

Anna Campbell said...

Kaelee, Mary Burchell (and her sister) were fabulously courageous, aren't they? Their stories about saving Jewish musicians from the Nazis always make me proud to be a romance writer. I'm currently re-reading the Georgette Heyers - they're as sparkling now as they were then. Great stuff!

Yeah, poor Mum. I don't think she ever realized quite how upset I was about the Anne Mathers hitting the bonfire!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hey Anna, I'm looking forward to seeing you at the ARRA convention.
I'm moderating the panel on contemporary romance and taking part in another. For the rest of the time I'm looking forward to meeting readers and catching up with author friends. Can't wait!

Anna Campbell said...

Kandy, it's going to be huge fun, isn't it? Can't wait to see you!

Michele L. said...

Have a fantastic time! I look forward to reading your blog next time and the pictures of ARRC.

Nas Dean said...

I'm looking forward to reading about it all, how you all spent your time with photos, please!

Wish I could meet you all, my favourite authors. Maybe someday..

scarlet wilson said...

What an absolutely gorgeous location, it looks fabulous! Hope you have a great time

Pat Cochran said...

I would love to attend your convention, I'd love to attend
any of the author conventions!

I would love to meet all the
authors who make up the Banditas
blog group. I would greatly enjoy
meeting William Shakespeare. Would
be asking if he really did write
all the plays ascribed to him!

Pat Cochran

desere_steenberg said...

These pictures are stunning ! Congratz Anna !