The start of this year has been full-on writing for me. All that computer interaction has made Anna a very dull girl indeed. So I was really looking forward to a couple of days down south with my very dear friend and critique partner, Annie West, at the beginning of April.
Annie lives in a very beautiful part of the world, Lake Macquarie in New South Wales. That's the lake behind me in the photo to the left of this paragraph. As you can see, we had lovely weather for my visit!
Her house is set amongst towering gum trees and I love watching the birds that visit - lorikeets and cockatoos and rosellas and other assorted natives.
So I thought I'd share a few photos and a few memories of my writerly visit. Annie herself blogged about my visit in April here at Tote Bags if you'd like to see some more pics: http://www.authorsoundrelations.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/joys-of-sunday-drive-annie-west.html
I took pictures of the desserts. Aren't they spectacular? Annie's was the delicious chocolate looking thing and I had a very rich banana pudding concoction.
Another lovely thing about being on the lake is that you get to watch the fishermen and the walkers and the prolific bird life. We saw black swans and gulls and cormorants who perched on the boat rails to dry their wings. I love it when they stand there like silhouettes!
It's always such an affirmation of the paths we've taken when we get together for one of our author lunches. The next one is at the Gold Coast during the Romance Writers of Australia conference. My turn to pick up the tab for MIDNIGHT'S WILD PASSION!
Don't mistake that we just played ladies of leisure on my visit. In between all the highjinks, we did a stack of serious critiquing work. We speak often on the phone and email like fiends, but there's something special about face-to-face sessions. So inspiring. I always come home with a million new ideas.
It's always wonderful for me to have such an in-depth session on my career and work. I hope Annie feels the same! I know I always feel very lucky that we hooked up together at my very first Romance Writers of Australia conference.
If any of you are aspiring writers and wondering whether attending a writing conference is worth the expense, take the chance. You never know who you might meet!
We also celebrate good news. Writing tends to be a fairly solitary occupation - after all, you're sitting on your own at a computer getting those words down. There are days when the only 'people' I talk to are the characters in my head. And while naturally those characters are excellent company, it's nice to raise a glass with someone flesh and blood. I dread to tell you quite how many bottles we empty when we get together. I think our livers are grateful that there's a recovery gap between each visit! Annie had recently won a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for her sublime PROTECTED BY THE PRINCE so we raised a glass to Alaric and Tamsin. Hic!
The photo on the left shows the goodies we picked up at Tyrrells Winery, one of the oldest in the area. The views from the vineyard were beautiful - check out Annie's blog to see them! And yet again, the weather blessed us. It's been a wet year in Australia; I've learned not to take the sunshine for granted.
Michelle Douglas. We had an uproarious get-together at a coffee shop down near the lake.
I love this fun photo of the girls. They look so happy holding up Michelle's latest book THE MAN WHO SAW HER BEAUTY. Michelle made that very groovy tote bag Annie is holding up. Isn't she clever? I can't even cut wrapping paper straight so I'm in awe of anyone who does crafty stuff.
So have you been out and about lately? Tell me somewhere nice you've been!