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The ARRA Signing in Sydney

I took a lot of photos of the various authors signing in Sydney, but am sharing mostly the historical romance ones here. 
And I’m wrestling with the software, so please forgive the wonky arrangement of this post.

First up is Charlotte Anne.

Isn’t her banner stunning? A lot of the authors there had large, striking banners on display.

I felt very remiss by not having one, but it’s just too cumbersome to drag around on planes, trains and taxis

Next is Clyve Rose, who had an impressive array of swag, including this lovely bird-cage-like display.

She also brought her daughter. In fact quite a few young readers were in attendance, which was lovely to see.

Next — and I’m doing this in order of their first names — is Danielle who was one of the organizers. She’s with some silly person in a feather hat.

Actually it’s just an old sun-hat and I wound a feather boas around it. I thought I ought to do something, seeing I didn’t have any swag or a banner or anything. 

Dani looked fabulous in a lovely purple outfit, and spent her time helping out. Thanks Dani. Also thanks to Debbie, the ARRA chair and superwoman organizer, who didn’t want her photo taken.

On your left is Donna Maree Hanson, who doesn’t write historicals, but since she and I were sharing a table, 

I wanted to include her. Donna writes a variety of fantasy novels.

On the right is Heather Boyd, another historical romance writer.

On the left of the screen we have one of the most enthusiastic and generous readers ever — Helen Sibbritt, who reads and reviews hundreds of books a year. And she loves historicals!

She’s standing with me, this time without the silly feather hat.
I often wear a boa in some form or other at these events, and at romance conferences. 

They’re easy to wear — I usually have them on a hat or on my head, as they tend to get a bit hot and prickly around the neck. I’m not fashionista, so I choose to be silly and feathered instead. <g>

On the right we have Joanne Austen Brown, who was at her first signing.
Go, Joanne!



And here I am with the star of the day, Julia Quinn. She was amazing — signing non-stop the whole day and never flagging with her friendly smile, and happily  jumping up to have her photo taken with people. 

Over JQ’s shoulder you can just see the other star of the signing, Audrey Carlan, who was so bright and bubbly and friendly, but I’m only featuring historical writers in this post, so . . . 

Here  on the right is Michelle Montebello, who writes Australian historical fiction. Her book The Quarantine Station has been hugely popular.

On the left we have Samara Parish whose historicals have the most gorgeous covers. 

And they’re Regency, my favorite historical era.

It was really heartwarming to see so many young and gorgeous new(ish) authors writing historicals.

Who said historicals were dead? They’ve been saying that for decades and it never happens.

As you can see from her banner, Tamara Gill, on the right, writes Regency and Time Travel romance — what a great combination, eh?

And they’re doing really well, so if you’ve never tried Regency Time travel you might want to check her out.

And finally we have Tanya Nellestein. Can you guess what she writes? Yes, the gorgeous banner is a dead giveaway, isn’t it?

So there we have most of the historical writers who were at the Sydney ARRA signing.

I say “most’ because I have to admit, I haven’t read them all and I know I  have missed some.
So many new writers — it’s very exciting — but quite a few had their QR code on display, and my phone camera kept picking up the code and connecting me with their sites, and I didn’t realize until later, when I noticed the photos didn’t all come out.
Stay tuned for others at the Sydney signing in the next post. And after that, Melbourne.


The School Reunion

The school reunion is over and I enjoyed it very much. I haven’t been to many large gatherings in recent years because of CoVid, so this was extra fun. There were only 9 of the original 36 students in my class attending, but we were one of five classes and our final year was even bigger, as we were an academic high school and students came in on scholarships for the last two years. At this reunion there were only about 70 out of more than 200 possibles — some down with CoVid, others away or overseas. And plenty who we were unable to contact.

What was most interesting for me was talking to people I either hadn’t seen for decades, and some I hardly knew at school — just had an impression of.  Some had changed quite a bit, some lived up to that teenage impression and others not at all. A lot of people had travelled — Australians in general travel quite a bit: it’s a bit of a rite of passage for young people to head over to Asia and Europe—but it was fascinating how many had also worked overseas, as well as all over Australia. 

I went with my two oldest friends and on the way home in the car we exchanged stories of who we’d caught up with — and who we hadn’t. We agreed it wasn’t nearly long enough. My brain was buzzing for several days afterward. And some of us have been talking about getting together sooner, rather than later and catching up properly.

And I’m sorry, but I didn’t take many photos—was too busy talking and catching up —and I have none of me, and I don’t want to put other people’s photos up here.

So the photo above is of a red pelargonium in my courtyard — a brighter one than the dark one I showed in an earlier post. And below there’s a photo of Milly’s (slightly) better side —she was sitting very nicely but was distracted by a butterfly. You can see both the bright and dark red pelargoniums in the background.


School Reunions

I have a school reunion coming up in a month or so, and though I’m not one of the people organizing it, I’m finding the process very interesting. We’re all well and truly adults now but it’s funny, so many of the reactions people have been having show me that though  we’re all mature-looking on the outside,  inside there’s a big chunk of the insecure teenagers we used to be.  (That’s not me in the photo, by the way — it’s my mum. I couldn’t find any photos of me — they’re somewhere in a box.)


People have come up with all sorts of reasons they don’t want to come. One friend was saying she wasn’t going to go the reunion because “everyone else’s life has turned out so much more impressive” than hers, which from where I’m standing isn’t at all true. She’s just hard on herself,  but an old friend had told her recently “You had so much potential” — so now she feels like a failure!

Other reasons for not going have ranged from “I won’t know who to sit with” or “I don’t want to run into my old girlfriends/boyfriends” and “Nobody will remember me (or liked me) anyway.”

I understand, because I was very reluctant when the first of these school reunions (just of our year) came up. I had no plans to go —  I’d kept contact with my main friends anyway— but two friends of mine badgered me into it. And to my surprise, I really enjoyed it. And it got me thinking about, and analyzing, my youth/adolescence in a different way.

High school was a transformative experience for most of us. Ours was an academic, government high school and students were selected academically, and came from all over Melbourne and from all walks of life. We went from thinking ourselves one of the smartest in our year to just being average — some of our schoolfellows were truly brilliant — and the culture of the school was stimulating and challenging—and transformative. So after that first reunion, I realized we all had more in common than we thought. 

Since then, a small group of the women I went to school with meet a few times a year  for lunch and/or an outing — all because of going to a reunion. We weren’t all great friends at school but now we all get on wonderfully well  and are getting to know each other as we didn’t at school. And reflecting about our very different lives. (That photo isn’t of me in high school, but of me at school in Scotland when I was 8. I found it on my own website. <g>)

But finding people is hard. For a start, we came from all over a large city, and ours was a large year, so there are a lot of people to find. Since school we’ve scattered all over the country, and even the world in some cases. One guy is a music performer and teacher in London. I remember him wrestling his double bass on and off the tram (trolley car) to and from school. Luckily he was a tall guy. I guess he still is. <g> Another woman lives a good part of the year in France and pops all over Europe. And others I have no idea of.

We’ve tried FB and LinkedIn, and other on-line places, and though we have old address books from school years, only one person I know still lives where they used to.   I’ve managed to dig up a small group of the men in our year — but the people I’ve come unstuck on are the women. So many changed their names on marriage and there’s no hope of tracking them down. So it won’t be the full group, but still, past experience has shown that will be a valuable and worthwhile experience. 

I’ll keep you posted on how it all goes, but in the meantime, what do you think about school reunions — love them or hate them?