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Category: News

Author Friends

Yesterday I headed out to meet up in the city for lunch with some author friends. We meet on Southbank, on the banks of the Yarra River, in Melbourne. It was a perfect sunny summer day, warm but not too hot, and with a lovely breeze.

 A lot of people assume that authors must be quite competitive and that that there’s a fair bit of rivalry between us. That’s not at all the case in my experience. Maybe it’s the nature of romance writers — we do, after all write the literature of hope — or maybe it’s that most of us are women, and women tend to be more cooperative and helpful, but whatever the reason, I’m blessed in my writing friends.

I belong to a number of writers’ organizations, and a number of informal groups. Yesterday’s  group is from Melbourne and surrounds, and we meet several times a year for lunch, always at the same place, which has a wonderful smorgasbord and yummy desserts. First there’s a bit of personal catching up, because we’ve known each other for a few years now, and then, inevitably the talk turns to books and writing. 

Pic: from left: Sarah Mayberry, Alison Stuart, Melanie Scott, Michelle Conder, me. On other side of table, from rear: Carol Marinelli, Keri Arthur, Marion Lennox, Joan Kilby

We talk about what we’re writing and what we’re reading, we do “show and tell” showing our books and new covers, and sharing things around. Most of the talk is about business — because we’re all professional authors and make our living by writing. We started as all traditionally published authors (ie published with large international publishers) but several in the group have now become fully self-published, and are doing very well. And the business is always changing, so that’s  always fascinating. And a little bit unsettling — for me, anyway.

Another informal group I meet up with is a little “historical” group. There are just four of us, and three of us write historical romance and one is the official biographer of Georgette Heyer, Jennifer Kloester. Julia Byrne and Stephanie Laurens started out writing for Mills and Boon Historicals at the same time. Julia then left writing for many years for family reasons and has only recently recommenced her writing career, but they have remained friends and each others’ crit partners for all that time. Isn’t that wonderful?

Pic: from left me, Julia Byrne, Jennifer Kloester (standing) Stephanie Laurens. 

Another of my writers groups is called the Word Wenches, a group of mainly historical romance writers, mostly from the USA, but with one Canadian, one Brit and one Australian (me.) Being so far flung, we rarely meet face to face, but most days we chat on email, and even though I can count on my fingers the number of times we’ve met, we know each other pretty well. I’m going to the USA this year for the Romance Writers of American conference, where the Word Wenches will be presenting on a panel, and afterwards, we’re heading off to go on a small writing retreat. I can’t wait!

Speaking of retreats, I attend a writing retreat every year with another group of writers. It started around twelve years ago as a way of breaking down isolation between romance writers — we come from four different Australian states, and one is from NZ (and now lives in France) The first time we came together, we were relative strangers — some had never met — but now, with daily email conversations and annual retreats, we’re all very close.


Pic: From left: Carol Marinelli, Trish Morey, Marion Lennox, Kelly Hunter, me, then on the right from the rear: Barbara Hannay, Fiona McArthur, Meredith Webber. Missing: Alison Roberts.

We help each other all the time — we brainstorm plots, talk over scenes, share information and advice, and offer feedback and encouragement, especially  when times are tough.  And of course, since most of our communication happens on line, when we finally do meet up face to face, what better thing to do than share a meal? 

I’ve only shown you the tip of the iceberg of my romance writing friends here. When I first started writing, I never imagined I’d make so many friends — and some are the best friends I’ve made anywhere. And I haven’t even touched on the readers who’ve become friends —I’ll save that for another post.

Exciting news

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The full list is here.

The winners will be announced at an awards dinner in Sydney on February 23rd in the gorgeous historic dining room at the Castlereagh boutique hotel. 

These dinners are always a lot of fun, as readers and authors mingle, eat, and talk books. I love them because I get to catch up with friends — both readers and authors.

It’s always a fun night. You can book for the dinner here.

Alternatively (or additionally) you can attend the High Tea that takes place from 11am – 1pm and devour yummy cakes and savories while you meet people and talk books. For the high tea booking, click here.

I’m also pleased because the photo ARRA is using of the awards shows three of the awards I won in 2016 and one by my good friend Keri Arthur.  That was our table — and yes, we did drink that champagne.

 

Last year my table was also very lucky. I won three awards and my friends Kelly Hunter and Keri Arthur also won. That’s them in the photo below,  holding their awards.

 

 

 

Thank you to all the volunteers who organize and participate in ARRA — romance readers are so wonderful and enthusiastic and encouraging.

A snippet of Christmas past

When I was seven, we went to live in Scotland, just for a year, because of my father’s job.  It was a magical year in so many ways for me, with a lot of “firsts” — snow, deer, Scottish schooling, and much more. I will never forget my own “secret garden” moment — I wote about it on the word wench blog and you can read it here

We lived in a small village with a Pictish tower, and the house had an attic, which I thought was magical. Attics had featured in a lot of my childhood reading but nobody I knew in Australia had one — most of the houses in Australia back then were all on one level.  So to have an attic, possibly with a ghost, definitely with all kinds of dusty treasures, and with slanting windows set into the roof, was very exciting. (BTW in Marry In Scandal, when Galbraith as a little boy used to stand and stare out over the rooftops — that was me, in my house in Scotland, drinking up the magic of being in an attic.) 

We did a lot of travelling that year. We had a caravan and every second weekend Dad would hitch up the van on Friday after work, and we’d head off to some part of the British Isles. Australians are used to driving long distances, so it seemed quite normal to us, but the local people were quite stunned that we’d been to Land’s End, or John O’Groats (which are on the southern and northern end of Great Britain) or somewhere in between — just for the weekend.

At the end of that year we were returning to Australia. Our school year starts at the end of January, so we left Scotland at the start of the Christmas break and headed for London, where my mother’s uncle and aunt were living — Uncle Neil and Aunty Ella — to join them for Christmas. 

I’m sure we had a wonderful Christmas — my grandmother was a superb cook and I’m sure Aunty Ella (her sister) was too, and they had a beautiful house, and would have had a lovely Christmas tree and decorations, but I have no recollection of any of it. Not one thing.

For me, aged almost eight, everything was eclipsed by one present — a pair of roller skates. They weren’t “white boots” — the ice skates from a Noel Streatfield book I loved — they were the strap-onto-your-shoes type, and much more practical for a growing child and one, moreover, who would never see ice for skating in small town Australia, where we would be living.

That Christmas day in London was damp and drizzly, but that wasn’t going to stop me. There were footpaths all around and I was itching to try out those rollerskates. So out I went, with my older sister to catch me when I fell, as I did often. But I lurched and swayed and stumbled along those wet footpaths until that magical moment when suddenly I “got it” and I was off and speeding along. Utter bliss.

There are photos of that day, but they’re slides, and I have no idea where they are.  Still, the memories are still very fresh.  I suspect I had to be dragged inside when it started to get dark, and I do remember I was drenched and muddy and was thrust into a hot bath and scolded for letting myself get into such a state.

But did I care? Not a bit. In priligy buy online us leading strategy is an yet Association were are Scientific observational the the way http://oldiesrising.com/?mapl=Costco-Price-For-Propecia&18f=24 long I could roller skate!