The Australian Romance Readers Convention started off with an intimate gathering of readers and authors at the Swiss-Grand, Bondi Beach. The Swiss-Grand is a 4.5-star hotel across the road from Bondi Beach. It’s tucked into a side street so there are no noisy crowds spilling over from the mains strip along the water. The rooms are really small suites with a small lounge area.
As expected, it was a much smaller crowd than the one we saw in Melbourne in 2009. The upside to this was that it way easier to chat! By the end of the night, people were having pockets of conversation in small groups. There was a larger crowd sitting outside, and I think it’s where many of the authors were.
A couple of people have reported a Kiss of Snow ARC sighting. But apparently it’s now locked in a safe. So close and yet so faaaaar!
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to tweet at the reception. It was really impossible to do this and still experience the thing. I did, however, take photos of as many people as I could before I was distracted yet again by books and authors and bubbly and food. You can find all my photos from the convention on Flickr.
Unlike Melbourne, there was no official pyjama party this time. However, I issued an open invitation for people to squeeze into my room for some post-cocktail book chat. (I’m not sure how many times I remembered to issue the invitation, but everyone was certainly welcome!) I think we ended up with about nine people hanging out in my room. Between us we managed Cheezels, M&Ms and…peanut butter on bread! I had intended to have a plate of nachos, but there was no microwave and, worse, I forgot the corn chips! (For some reason I thought the suite would have a kitchenette, but I was wrong.)
I brought with me a large tub of books that I no longer wanted to keep and I was hoping they’d magically disappear into the hands of eager readers by the end of the night. I think it shrank by about half. (And then I got a stack of books from Debbie, so really, I didn’t decrease my library by that much at all.)
The PJ party ended up being pretty much like Twitter except in person. Almost all the Twitter insomniacs I knew were in the room, plus a couple more non-tweeting readers. It was great fun! We covered, among other things: killing fairies, sucky Mills & Boon titles, buttsecks, the glory days of 80s romance, Jackie Collins, royal weddings and people’s opinions on the books that were in the tub.
I thought I’d list some of the recommendations I got at the PJ party. I didn’t take out a pen until much later in the night when there were only three of us left, and a lot of these are for sff, but given that many romance readers spill over to urban fantasy and other genres, I thought some of you guys might find it useful:
Tanith Lee – I found out that there’s a sequel to The Silver Metal Lover! Apparently, it provides a little more closure, so I’m keen to read this. Also recommended were Black Unicorn and Drinking the Sapphire Wine (which may be in an omnibus called Biting the Sun).
Kylie Chan – This author was highly recommended, but I have mixed feelings about trying her work because I’ve heard a different opinion—not necessarily bad, but not a ringing endorsement either. We’ll see. Chan’s books are published by Voyager, whose new releases are out in Australia first.
Katherine Kerr – I’m almost certain I read her work when I was younger, but can’t quite remember.
Dinah Dean – She wrote Regency historicals set in Russia. I vaguely remember looking up her titles on Amazon, but I’m not sure why I never chased it up a bit more.
A Magnus of Angels by ???
Lines Upon The Skin – This is a book about cartographer sisters, by Julie Haydon.
A Clockwork Heart – I’m fairly sure I’ve heard this via Twitter.
Jim Butcher – Dresden files (although it’s urban fantasy, not fantasy)
Wen Spencer – This was intriguing because it’s about a Regency-style society where females vastly outnumber males. Apparently, sisters of the same family are wedded to the one man. Also, there’s a role reversal in terms of the man having to assume many of the duties that a Regency heroine would undertake. The premise is similar to Dara Joy’s.
Tomorrow I have to be at a volunteer briefing at 7.45am and there’s a plan afoot to sample the buffet brekkie at 8.15. I know where I plan to be during those times, but let’s see if I can even get up before housekeeping knocks on the door…
(Note: Yes, yes I could. But don’t expect me to make sense until 10am.)