Looking back on RWNZ conferences

I began a series of “Things I Learned From” posts after our Romance Writers of New Zealand 2013 conference, and thought I’d continue that series for our recent 2014 conference. I’ve already published a couple of posts specific to the recent 2014 conference, but before I begin posting the new series, I thought it’d be cool to revisit previous conferences — kind of a one-stop summary post, if you like.

Rest assured, if you’re not a writer there are links (bold and in red font) to plenty of amusing stories sprinkled among the writerly fare, and I’ve summarized each post here so you can easily skip the ones you’re not interested in checking out.



The silly things we do AKA giving the porter the wrong room number, meaning he has to key you in — because, duh! your key card doesn’t work coz it’s not your room! — and not realizing you’ve got the wrong room until you’re inside, staring at someone else’s unmade bed and suitcase. (There’s one helluva potential romance plot in there that I must write one day, is all I can say!) And then there was the thrill of getting locked in the stairwell with my luggage….



Unexpected interviews AKA what happens when the clueless guy from a local radio station, who wouldn’t know a really famous author if she was standing right in front him, turns up out of the blue wanting a live interview… and aforementioned really famous author standing right in front of him *cough* Nalini Singh!!! *cough* happily tells him you’ll do the interview.

Oh, and here’s one of my favorite photos from past conferences — me and my mate, Shar, featuring halos supplied by the lovely Amanda Ashby, who was celebrating the release of her book You Had Me At Halo:

Shar & Me, 2007 RWNZ conference



2008 RWNZ Conference roundup Highlights included: fan-girling over published authors, and coming down to earth with a thump.



A touch of fantasy from RWNZ Photos from the RWNZ 2009 conference awards dinner

Hot August NightsPhotos from the Romance Writers of Australia 2009 conference, Arabian Nights cocktail party, and awards dinner

Memories: Remembering the surprise of being called up for the “first sale” ribbon presentation at the RWAustralia conference

RomAus Sat, First Sale presentations



Be Prepared! Highlights included: Why tail-winds are not so hot when you’re picking up international guests; getting drenched with cold water (and I mean, drenched!); why you should always dress your best (AKA walking into another unexpected interview, this time with TV cameras — EEEK!)

An Affair To Remember Photos from the RWNZ 2010 conference



Nic Harrison’s “Live by the Sword” sword-fighting workshop – the photos

Nic Harrison’s “Live by the Sword” sword-fighting workshop – the videos

Highlights included: Lots of photos of the guys dressed in authentic period regalia (including my personal favorite, a photo of Silver wielding a not-so-authentic accessory — see below), and a heap of videos of the guys demonstrating sword-fighting techniques in both slow-mo and real-time. (BTW, I can’t express how fantastic this workshop was!)

Silver and not-so-authentic accessory



I’m afraid I can’t seem to locate any posts from the 2012 conference, but I did find this Facebook post mentioning how I scared the hell out of other guests at the conference cocktail party *g*



20 things I learned from RWNZ 2013 This was a fun post that didn’t have anything to do about the craft of writing. Highlights included: buff men with omigod hot bodies and to-die-for abs  sightings of our national rugby team (who happened to be staying in the same hotel; poor, unsuspecting guys didn’t know what hit them!), getting hypnotized and being a little too relaxed, and waiters who almost set light to your precious 1st place writing contest certificate.

20 things I learned from Shirley Jump Highlights included: Shirley’s “Rule of Six”; character’s weaknesses saving the day; trusting the process i.e. ‘Did you turn off your computer last night because you’d written yourself into a corner? Trust that when you re-read what you’ve written so far, there will be little half-buried clues that will give you the tools to write yourself out of that corner.’

15 things I learned from Allison Brennan Highlights included: What to do so your feet don’t look gross if you end up on a slab in the morgue; pleasing yourself first; ‘if you’re a writer, just write!’

20 things I learned from Megan Crane/Caitlin Crews Highlights included:Making cliches into real people; (in romance novels) emotion is everything; “Sometimes what you think the readers want isn’t what you need to write!”

15 things I learned from Nalini Singh (Note that this post centered around writing novella-length stories.) Highlights included this very sage advice that, as a reader of series, I heartily endorse: ‘If your aim is to entice new readers to an existing series, it’s not recommended to include critical series plot developments in your novella. Be aware that even devoted readers of the full-length books in your series won’t necessarily buy or read your novellas. And when they read subsequent books in the series they may be confused and feel cheated at missing critical plot developments featured in the novellas. Therefore…. It’s prudent to showcase your “world” in a complete and satisfying story without affecting the overarching plot of the series.’

And here’s a photo of one of the aforementioned members of our national rugby team, sauntering through the lobby of the Intercontinental — you’re welcome! (And my apologies it wasn’t one of AB Dan Carter dressed only in a towel, opening his door to a conference attendee who’d gotten the wrong floor and was wondering why her key card wasn’t working. And BTW, that conference attendee wasn’t me!)



Golden moment at RWNZ 2014 conference book-signing event Photos of authors at our first ever RWNZ conference book-signing event; a photo-worthy moment I wish I’d managed to capture.

Chapter Bookstore surprise The one where Maree spots something totally unexpected, but this time has the presence of mind to remember to take a photo!


Watch out for more highlights of the 2014 RWNZ conference, coming soon; I’ll add more links to the 2014 section of this post as they go live.


8th Sep 2014: Some things I learned from… James Scott Bell

13th Sep 2014: Some things I learned from… Marie Force

19th Sep 2014: Some things I learned from… Courtney Milan

24 Sep 2014: Some things I learned from… Jim Azevedo








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