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: http://www.australianromancereaders.com.au/ARRCprogram.html
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: http://www.australianromancereaders.com.au/awards.html
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 - http://www.australianromancereaders.com.au/ARRCrego.html
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?