This is a round-up of ARRC09 and is not in chronological order. If you want to read more anecdotes, check out the liveblog. Click here for a list of ARRC09 posts and liveblogs .
I wasn’t sure what to expect at the gala dinner, but there had been some discussion in the ARRC Lounge as to what people were wearing. Opting for a little black dress, I arrived just as the entrees were being taken away. Oh, well. I didn’t have much time to nibble, anyway, because as soon as I sat down I was immersed in book conversations left, right and centre.
I was seated with Vassiliki, my librarian and my fellow blogger Marg from Reading Adventures. Also at our table were authors Jess Dee and Lexxie Couper, two readers from Sydney, one from Malaysia, and another lady who was too far away for me to have a proper conversation with. Obviously, we mostly talked about books. I was seated next to an erotic romance reader, so I asked her for recs. I think she said Anya Bast, and possibly a few others that I can now no longer remember.
I pimped out Joey Hill even though I have yet to find a print copy of Natural Law. And I bemoaned the lack of good erotica/romance crossovers, and the difficulty of finding HEA in menage stories. (Long rant best reserved for a post of its own. I had a similar conversation with Paula Roe, the next day, on the lack of well-written erotic romances that read like good erotic but with an HEA. I may, however, be defining erotic romance differently from the rest of the world. I’ll have to get the audio of the erotica panel to see what I missed.)
We also had a table-wide discussion on whether or not we considered Hugh Jackman to be the quintessential Aussie hero. I think the table was split in half. I think this would be a great topic for a competition! (And it will be, so start thinking…)
As for the food, it wasn’t bad. The mains were a little plain, but considering we only paid $50 per head, I couldn’t really expect much more, and it was certainly filling enough for me. The lamb seemed quite red, and I was glad I didn’t get it. The chicken was okay, but the salad and veggies it came with didn’t do much for me. The dessert, however, was petit fours from Brunetti’s. Sooooo delish. I ate 3 pieces. I don’t know why, but the other girls didn’t want seconds, and to tell you the truth, if I hadn’t been distracted by friends from another table, I would have scoffed the lot before the waiter took them away. I still mourn the waste.
In between our meals, awards were presented to favourite authors in various romance subgenres based on an online poll. The winners were:
Favourite paranormal romance for 2008 — Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Favourite category/series romance for 2008 — The Marciano Love-Child by Melanie Milburne
Favourite historical romance for 2008 — Untouched by Anna Campbell
Favourite erotic romance (ebook) for 2008 — Lords of Were by Bianca D’Arc
Favourite Australian romance author for 2008 — Stephanie Laurens
The paranormal award was sponsored by Galaxy Bookshop and presented by the lovely Sofia, who is a tireless advocate for paranormal romance in the shop. She lucked out and was seated next to Kenyon, who is one of her favourite authors. You know you’re fan girl when you’re seriously contemplating whether or not you should take someone’s wine glass home because it has their DNA. *g* Also, she wore stockings for the occasion.
Tony from Booktopia made a short speech before he presented the award for Favourite Australian romance author. I suspect it may have rubbed some people the wrong way because it sounded like he was taking a jab at paranormal and erotic romance, although I’m pretty sure he didn’t mean it and was just trying to be funny. He ended graciously by urging everyone to remember the ARRC sponsors and to buy books from
the independent bookstores to ensure that they thrive.
Oh, and I won the ARRC Reader Challenge for my review of Claiming the Courtesan. I was in the middle of dinner and was rather flustered because I had no time to ask anyone if I had bits of food between my teeth. Also, I made a small speech, but I can’t remember what I said, and I can’t even remember if I thanked anyone. I’m pretty sure I pimped out the blog. In any case, if you voted for me or for anyone else, THANK YOU! I’m quite chuffed that we can now claim to be an “award-winning” blog. *happy dance* I’m planning to share my prize—a Borders gift card—with blog readers, so watch this space.