Conference, unexpected interviews(!) and August reading list

How on earth did I have any time to read at all this month? Can’t figure it out! What with the lead-up to the conference, being so exhausted afterwards I spent two days in a zombie-like state barely able to function and then having sick kids and now a sick husband to deal with, I thought this month’s reading list might be a tad on the short side. And on top of this list, there’s also been our monthly RWNZ magazine Heart to Heart, the Romance Writers Report, Romantic Times magazine AND our RWNZ Liaisons magazine with short story finalists and an interview with Lora Leigh. Phew! I guess here’s proof I’ve perfected the art of reading rather speedily over the years :-).

I’d promised myself I wouldn’t buy any books at the conference since I’d already bought a bundle at our last writers’ meeting and I ‘wouldn’t have time to read them anyway’ because I have a competition I’d like to enter and I need to get writing! Besidesand there were bound to be enough freebies to keep me happy. This intention, of course, went by the wayside the moment I sidled up to the Barbara’s Books stand and cast my eye over the bounty displayed there. Oh boy! Managed to limit my spending but it was sooooooo hard, sob!

And just as I’d made my purchases I spotted a couple of guys festooned with mics and headphones hanging round. Turned out they were from the local radio station and wanted an interview with an author. Nalini was there with me so I pointed to her because she actually IS an author. She’s also experienced in giving interviews and wasn’t likely to make an idiot of herself, like me. I explained this to the guys. I’m a writer, yes, but that doesn’t mean I’m published and anyway, wouldn’t you prefer to interview the best-selling international author standing just over there? Nope. They wanted a sucker to answer questions live on air. And bummer, there was noooooo one else around I could point them to. Workshops had finished for the day and everyone was cooling their heels in their hotel suites waiting for the evening function. I tried, I really tried! Come back tomorrow, there’ll be heaps of people you can talk to then and yes, even some guys! But no. It had to be now.

So I did it. And they asked the usual silly questions about writing romance and I answered them as best I could. And although Nalini and Barbara assured me I didn’t sound like an idiot, I sure felt like one. The moral of this story? Be prepared when you attend a writers conference. You never know who’s going to stick a mic in your face. Or worse (as we discovered a couple of years ago) who might come to your conference, talk to people and then write an article dissing the romance genre and poking fun at the people he spoke to. So have some answers ready in case you’re asked the hard question. You may not have control of what goes to air or what’s written and published, but at least you’ll come away knowing you did your best!

Now about the conference. Being part of the organising team, I didn’t really get a chance to say thanks to some people who really deserved it. So here goes.

Thanks to Stuart MacDonald from Harlequin for sponsoring us, fronting up and speaking from the heart – as he always does. Not to mention his help in solving one of our equipment hassles… never knew that’s what those function buttons were for!

Thanks to Jean Drew for founding RWNZ and helping make it an organization I’m proud to belong to. And Jean, thanks for gifting me with the Founder’s Award this year. It means more than I can say to be recognized by the organization in this way.

Thanks to Barbara and Peter Clendon, who, on top of all the other work they did this year in organizing the Clendon Award, had badges made to honour every single Clendon Award finalist and winner over the ten years since the award’s inception. I’m proud to be both a finalist and a past winner, and being called up with all the other finalists in 2004 and 2006 was almost like reliving the experience all over again.

Thanks to Nalini for being an inspiration and a wonderful roomie. Your freely-given advice and tips for an unpublished writer is a mark of just how generous and giving a person you are.

Thanks to Sue and her horde of volunteers, without who we just wouldn’t have managed! Every year they help the conference run smoothly and fight the little fires that inevitably crop up at the most inconvenient of moments.

And lastly, but never leastly, thanks to all our guest speakers who made this conference very special indeed. You opened your hearts to us and shared what you thought we should know to be better writers. From pitches and queries, to the bones of writing, to inspirational stories about heartache and success… it was all there for us this year. Thanks for sharing.

Now to this month’s reading list… yay for freebie books and Barbara’s overflowing bookstand!!!

-Firethorn by Sarah Micklem
-Contracted: A Wife For The Bedroom by Carol Marinelli
-Back on Track by Abby Gaines
-The Surgeon and the Single Mum by Lucy Clark
-The Billionaire Bridegroom by Emma Darcy
-In the Billionaire’s Bed by Sara Wood
-The Billionaire Bid by Leigh Michaels
-Billionaire on her Doorstep by Ally Blake
-The Secret Passion of Simon Blackwell by Samantha James
-You Had Me At Halo by Amanda Ashby
-Bad Boy by Olivia Goldsmith
-Stray by Rachel Vincent
-The Italian Boss’s Secret Child by Trish Morey
-The Perfect Girlfriend by Coleen collins
-Just One Spark… by Jenna Bayley-Burke
-Reluctant Mistress, Blackmailed Wife by Lynne Graham
-The Kitchen Witch by Annette Blair
-The Bejewelled Bride by Lee Wilkinson
-At The Greek Tycoon’s Pleasure by Cathy Williams
-Cast In Shadow by Michelle Sagara

Until next month,



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2 Responses to “Conference, unexpected interviews(!) and August reading list”

  1. Thanks for reading Just One Spark!

  2. Abby Gaines says:

    Hi Maree
    Wasn’t it a fabulous conference! My TBR pile is just about as high as yours, I think. I’m plunging in and finding some great stuff! Love the look of your website…