#5before50: Romance Writers of Australia and me!

Thursday, August 10, 2017 Permalink

Some of you may recall the post I wrote earlier this year about ‘why I don’t read romance novels’. The timing was ironic because no sooner had I hit ‘publish’ when I won a registration to the Australian Romance Readers’ Association convention in Melbourne.

Although I still had to pay accommodation and flights (and am again a mortgage-holder) I decided to go, and am so glad I did. The people I met were unbelievably friendly and it was wonderful to hang with people as passionate about reading and writing as moi.ย 

It also allowed me to tick an item off my #5before50 bucket list. (Attending a readers / writers conference.)

In fact, I enjoyed it so much I decided to head to the Romance Writers’ of Australia Conference in Brisbaneย which kicks off tomorrow night (11 August). And yes, I know… I’m not a writer of romance. Or ‘author’ full stop. But I still dream about being one. About finishing either of the two suspense novels I’ve started (one of which consists of 50,000 probably-very-poorly-written words) or… the (gulp) chick lit / romance novel I started late last year. (Yes, it’s true… now you know my dirty little secret! And yes, I am being facetious. #obvs)

Unlike other writers’ festivals held across multiple venues in various locations, this is more like a conference – at one place where we’re forced to mingle with like-minded peeps.

I’m exceedingly excited to again see some of the fabulous writers I met in Melbourne and so admire their camaraderie and support I see on social media and the like. And I’m again catching up with my writer and blogger friend Jo Tracey – who has written and published three books and has another in the works (and is running a session at the conference). A local writing friend is also attending the event as well, along with an old friend I haven’t seen for years.

I love meeting and chatting to new people and am – if I do say so myself(!!) – a most excellent networker, so the social element doesn’t worry me. And the sessions I’ve chosen to attend look great.

There are however, are some stressful (highly-fraught) elements. Like what to wear. Well, not what to wear to the Saturday and Sunday conference sessions (cos I’m thinking jeans and shirt!), but what to wear to Harlequin’s animal-themed cocktail party Friday night or the Awards / Conference dinner on Saturday night (cos obviously EVERYONE will be care what I wear!). The only other special occasion I’ve dressed up for in recent years was the Awards dinner at the Romance Readers’ Convention in February so I may need to pull out that kinda-boring outfit (previously worn for friend’s wedding in September 2011 and my dad’s funeral the following month).

Speaking of the Romance Readers Awards dinner in February, here I am with my much-deserved award.

romance writers

Okay, so that’s not true. That’s actually Amy Andrews’ award, but still…. a girl can dream!

Amy and yours truly, when I was still a brunette!

I should mention that my niece (my only sibling’s only child) will be turning 21 this weekend as well and although we’re doing family celebrations on another weekend I will get to see her before heading home.

Do you enjoy conferences and / or social soirees? Any suggestions for the animal themed cocktail party? (As low-maintenance as a headband with ears?)

the-lovin-life-linky I’ve joined Leanne from Deep Fried Fruit and some other bloggers to help promote “ageing positively” and the Lovin’ Life mindset across the world wide web. You can link up via any one of us!

The Lovin’ Life Team includes:

34 Comments
  • Jo Tracey
    August 10, 2017

    Looking forward to catching up with you too… and, as don aside, I don’t even have low maintenance animal ears!

    • Debbish
      August 10, 2017

      The pack I bought yesterday has two pairs so I can loan you the silver ones! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Mine are black and glittery. Not sure what sort of animal that makes me, but whatevs…

  • Ingrid Ingrid
    August 10, 2017

    Have fun at the conference!

    • Debbish
      August 10, 2017

      Thanks Ingrid. Heaps of people have already arrived and I’m looking at their social media feeds with envy. Am v.excited!

  • Denyse Whelan
    August 10, 2017

    I am so happy for you! This sounds like another awesome weekend for you and lots of socialising which is fun. And to get to hear Jo do her thing will be great! Happy 21st to your niece. I bet you are wondering how that time flew! Enjoy your special time away! Denyse x

    • Debbish
      August 10, 2017

      I’m extremely excited about it Denyse. It only occurred to me later that it might be huge and I won’t be able to find people there, but everyone at the Feb conference was so friendly I’m assuming this will be the same!

  • Vanessa
    August 10, 2017

    I’d just buy some animal print fabric and use it as a wrap! Literally as simple as you can get.

    • Debbish
      August 10, 2017

      I’ve seen some scarves and shawls Vanessa and did look at material to make my own ears and tail but couldn’t really be bothered going to much effort. Must easier to have something unobtrusive that I can ignore (like my headband ears) for a few hours!

  • kathymarris
    August 10, 2017

    I think you could rock a bit of animal print for the cocktail affair. I do like conferences, but seldom attend them. Normally anything that interests me is either too expensive or I’m not able to attend on the date. I know I should make more of an effort to network with other bloggers and writers, but I’m a bit lazy. I hope you enjoy the upcoming weekend conference. #TeamLovinLife

    • Debbish
      August 10, 2017

      The cost of the conference and accommodation really adds up Kathy but at least I didn’t need to pay for travel this time around (though parking at the hotel isn’t cheap). I’d decided against the usual blogging conference and other writers’ festivals didn’t really offer the atmosphere I was after.

  • sizzlesue15
    August 10, 2017

    I don’t mind a romance novel occasionally Deb especially if I don’t have to think too hard. I’m not very good at networking, I’m probably better in written conversation but you sound so excited about attending the conferences and great that you ticked something off your 5Before50 list. I’m 60 in 13 days and I don’t have a list maybe I should do the 60 things at 60 but I can’t think of that many LOL:) Enjoy the conference.
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

    • Debbish
      August 10, 2017

      Sue I haven’t even come up with my 5th thing in my #5before50 list yet and I’ve only filled in 13 items on my 101 item bucket list book so I’m no help at all on that front.

      I enjoy romantic suspense novels or novels with a bit of romance.

  • Sydney Shop Girl
    August 10, 2017

    Have fun and can’t wait to read more about what you will learn and gain from the conference

    SSG xxx

    • Debbish
      August 10, 2017

      If I was braver I’d do some sort of FB live ‘wrap-up’ each day but I haven’t quite gotten to the vlogging point yet! ;-/

  • Jodie
    August 10, 2017

    We should get together, because I’m just the opposite!! I have no trouble with the what to wear aspect, yet the networking—-ugh!!
    XOOX
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    • Debbish
      August 10, 2017

      Well I’ve been assuming the networking will be great… I hope it’s the case. I’m usually fine with talking to new people. (I was actually a diplomat in a former life, so can play nice!)

  • writeofthemiddle
    August 10, 2017

    I think it’s fabulous that you’re going to the Brisbane event because I know how much you enjoyed the Melbourne one. I wish so much I could see Jo’s presentation. I’m sure she’ll be awesome. For the animal night – maybe something in leopard print? Even just a scarf if you don’t want to go over the top? I actually LOVE romance novels – as long as there is a good gutsy story line to go with it. I look forward to hearing all about your experience! ๐Ÿ™‚ #TeamLovinLife

    • Debbish
      August 10, 2017

      I’ll definitely be reporting back in Min. I’ve asked Jo if she would prefer I not attend her session, or if she wants me to go. I know we’ve only met the once but we’ve been online friends for years… I’ll live-tweet her session if I go! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • leannelc
    August 10, 2017

    I am so in awe of your socializing skills! I am a gutless wonder when it comes to meeting new people – I’m always glad after it happens, but a bundle of insecurity in the lead-up. BTW you look very at home with that award – maybe it’s a sign that you will be getting one of your own someday (possibly from that chicklit novel you started).

    • Debbish
      August 10, 2017

      Ha yes, I had that photo tucked away on my phone and hadn’t deleted it so thought I should finally use it. I can’t even imagine winning something for my writing! It would be amazing.

  • Anne @ Let Me Be Free
    August 10, 2017

    Enjoy and i look forward to hearing all about your time at the conference.

  • Janet Camilleri (@middleagedmama1)
    August 10, 2017

    A cat headband should do the trick! Can’t believe you’re going to a SECOND Romance Writers Event! Have a wonderful time xxx

    • Debbish
      August 10, 2017

      I know! I’d love to go to a crime fiction one as well but there isn’t really an equivalent, though there’s a one-day event later this year. All of the authors and readers I met at the last conference were great so I’m looking forward to this.

  • VirtuallyAllSorts
    August 11, 2017

    Sounds like great fun! I think you’d make a great zebra… Thanks for linking to #HighlightsofHappy again.

    • Debbish
      August 11, 2017

      Ha yes, the zebra was my preferred animal of choice but I ended up being just too lazy to organise my costume.

  • Kooky Chic
    August 11, 2017

    Looking forward to hearing all about the conference but looking forward even more to reading your novels one day.

    • Debbish
      August 14, 2017

      Oh, if only…. though I’ve really got no excuse for not writing something. Time certainly isn’t an issue. Far better I moan every so often about how I wish I could write (or had written) a novel!

  • Retiring not Shy!
    August 11, 2017

    So, you will pretty much be in the thick of it by now. I hope the Conference is a great event for you. I love them for learning but networking not so much, i have to really work hard at that. At least you will have a buddy, that makes it so much easier and more fun.

    • Debbish
      August 14, 2017

      Yes, the lovely Jo was there and it was great to catch up with an old friend I met in the early 2000s at my very first formal creative writing course. Sadly neither of us have finished a manuscript or have been published (though the third of our trio has several children’s books in print!).

  • Nise' (Under the Boardwalk)
    August 13, 2017

    I like to read romance in between my suspense/thrillers. I hope you have a great time and look forward to your recap of the weekend.

    • Debbish
      August 14, 2017

      I overanalysed my antipathy towards romance on my drive home today Nise’ and wondered if I’d have such a problem with it IF I wasn’t single myself. If I ever end up in a relationship I’ll have to revisit my thoughts on that. Perhaps I just don’t want to read about something I may never have and it’s too depressing to go down that make-believe path.

  • Estelle Anderson
    August 13, 2017

    Hi Deborah, I so enjoyed your post. Keep writing & continue attending conferences. I love how you are putting your vision and passion into the public arena – by blogging about writing, and by attending the conferences. Good luck with the conference. No doubt it will be great fun and very inspiring. And definitely go with the theme. Themes are meant to be fun & will probably take the pressure off whatever else you are wearing – as a great distraction. Keen to hear how it all goes. Good luck

    • Debbish
      August 14, 2017

      Ah yes, I went for the ears option which were easy. Some people had made a great effort with their costumes which was wonderful. And I had a great time at the conference. I was incredibly tired afterwards (and during to an extent). I’ve forgotten what it’s like to socialise a lot! (Not to mention sit around absorbing information!)

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