May 20, 2010
Melina Marchetta

Source: www.melinamarchetta.com

Or as I like to think of it: Meeting Melina Marchetta.

Well, maybe that’s not quite fair. This panel featured four female Australian authors reading excerpts from their books, and each of them sparked my interest in different ways.

But I can’t lie. I was there for Melina Marchetta.

Pier 4 was teeming with people when I arrived a few minutes before 10am for the session. It was a wonderful atmosphere. Attendance at Reading Muster 1 seemed fairly small, which meant I got a great seat … looking straight at Marchetta.

What? I’m a big fan!

I confess I wasn’t expecting much from this session. I’m not big on written stories being read aloud, and I’m also not convinced that authors are the best people to read their work. I’m happy to say I was wrong.

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May 18, 2010

Proud member of the Australian Romance Readers AssociationBecause ARRA members just wanna have fun. (And read!)

The Awards dinner was excellent. I’d never heard of Cello’s Restaurant before, but it’s a beautiful venue—although the lifts are a challenge if you’re the least bit claustrophobic. High ceilings, chandeliers, and even a grand piano to the side—it’s just reeked of old world romance.

If you follow  us on Twitter, you’ll know that Tracey O’Hara issued a challenge that eventually resulted in a call for a bling off at the Australian Romance Readers Awards dinner. And do you know what I love most about my fellow ARRA members? They said, Bring it!

You can see photos of the bling off here and here. (I’m missing a lot of blinged out people, though, so let me know if you have any more links!)

Sadly, I got carried away and left my outfit shopping so late I turned up to dinner, well, quite UNfashionably late. Others also suffered for the sake of bling and leather, with stories of shoes superglued to the kitchen floor, the case of the killer heels, and last-minute

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May 16, 2010

Proud member of the Australian Romance Readers AssociationAnna Campbell took out the top prize in last night’s Australian Romance Readers Awards, held last night at Cello’s Restaurant in Sydney.

Campbell was voted Favourite Australian Romance Author of 2009 and also won Favourite Historical Romance for her fourth novel, Captive of Sin.

The night was a bonanza of wins for Australian authors, with Paula Roe, Kandy Shepherd and Bronwyn Parry taking the prizes in their categories.

Roe won Favourite Short Category Romance for The Magnate’s Baby Promise. Shepherd won Favourite Contemporary Romance for Love is a Four-Legged Word. Parry won Favourite Romantic Suspense for Dark Country.

New Zealand author Nalini Singh, who was also the guest speaker for the event, won Favourite Continuing Romance Series for her Psy-Changeling books and Favourite Sci-fi, Fantasy or Futuristic Romance for Angel’s Blood.

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May 12, 2010

Proud member of the Australian Romance Readers AssociationThe 2009 Australian Romance Readers Award dinner is on this Saturday at Cello Restaurant in Sydney.

Today is the last day for registrations, so if you’ve let it ’til the last minute or are on the fence about coming along—make sure you register today. Click here for details and a list of finalists.

The guest speaker is Nalini Singh, but there will be many other authors coming along to the dinner. It’s a great way to have a chat with some of your favourites!

Are you coming along? If so, let me know in the comments. It’d be great to catch up with Book Thingo readers.

RWAus author signing

Romance Writers of Australia has announced the author signing at this year’s conference in Coogee. The book signing is jointly organised by ARRA and will be held at

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Posted by Kat in Events (Leave a comment)
Keywords: awards
March 10, 2010

Scott Westerfeld and Foz Meadows at the Solace & Grief book launch in SydneyI broke a little rule I have about book signings—I don’t like to go and meet an author without having read anything they’ve written.

Solace & Grief is Foz Meadows’ debut book and technically I could have picked it up earlier in the week, but decided it would be best to buy it from Kinokuniya, because they hosted the launch.

Foz’s family and friends were on hand serving sandwiches, crackers and dip and a nice, spicy fruit slice with plain white icing (I’ve always loved icing sugar). White wine (Kat, do you remember if it was a still white or champers? The glasses seemed a bit wide for champagne and I can’t remember if it sparkled) was also on hand for the celebration. Given that Solace is a vampire, I think it would have been appropriate to serve red wine as well, but since I don’t drink, it made no difference to me.

Scott Westerfeld introduced Foz and her book. He said that he wasn’t familiar with her when she asked him to help launch her book so he asked her to send him a copy first. His praise ended with, ‘It’s a really good book and you should buy it,’

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March 7, 2010
Foz Meadows (source: Foz Meadows)

Source: Foz Meadows

The Sydney launch of Solace & Grief featured an introduction by Scott Westerfeld, copious wine, much book talk and—not to be underestimated—home-baked goods.

When Foz Meadows first invited me to the launch of her debut novel, Solace & Grief, I had to decline because it was all the way in Melbourne. So I was chuffed to learn that she was having another launch in Kinokuniya in Sydney, which makes sense given that the novel is set in secret places within Sydney landmarks and locations.

(Aside: What do you wear to a book launch? Believe it or not, the answer to this question occupied 20 minutes of my morning. When Decadence arrived I had to laugh because we had on almost exactly the same outfit!)

Scott Westerfeld provided the introduction. I’ve not read any of Westerfeld’s books yet, although I have Leviathan on my wishlist, thanks to various reader-spruikers aided by the weight of an Aurealis Award for Best Young Adult Novel. Westerfeld gave a wonderful

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January 16, 2010

Nalini Singh at Galaxy Bookshop (14/1/2010)It was the surprise that couldn’t be kept under wraps. Plans were dropped for this … or they would have been if I’d made any.

Galaxy’s monthly book club would have another special guest in New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Nalini Singh, who jumped across the pond from New Zealand.

I managed to arrive before Nalini and learned that Sofia (Galaxy’s paranormal romance guru) had invited a reporter and photographer from the Daily Telegraph to meet Nalini.

While I was waiting for Nalini to arrive, I had a chat with the reporter, Julia, who will soon converse with (rather than interview) Charlaine Harris. (I asked what the difference was, and apparently a conversation is meant to be more comfortable, informal and less inherently interrogative than an interview.)

For research purposes, Julia has read the first 2 Southern Vampire Mystery books (which she enjoyed) but hasn’t read any other paranormals. Yet. (I’d like to think that might change as a result of her stories on Nalini as well as Charlaine.)

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December 12, 2009

Tracey O'Hara at Galaxy (photo by Decadence)BOOK GIVEAWAY: Read on for a chance to win a free copy of Night’s Cold Kiss. The contest ends midnight on Sunday, December 20 AEST.

What happens when an Aurealis Award finalist comes to visit our local bookshop? We take over the paranormal romance aisle, of course! And yes, there were Tim Tams involved.

Decadence, the early bird

This was not your traditional book signing, with a long line of people waiting, the publisher’s reps asking for the name you want to personalise your books and standing ready to take your photo with the author. Thursday night’s book signing with Tracey O’Hara took place during one of Galaxy’s book club meetings, so there was a row of chairs down each side of the paranormal aisle, ending in a table of refreshments. I was a book club virgin, so I didn’t know what to expect from the evening.

Sofia introduced me to Tracey (who was standing in the new releases section, at the back, with a female relative and her father) before the meeting started

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December 6, 2009

It’s not often we get romance author signings, let alone two at the same time, so when Tracey O’Hara and Erica Hayes did a signing at Intrigue Bookstore in Canberra last month, Kate Cuthbert generously offered to do a recap for Book Thingo.

Kate is a reader, writer, reviewer, twitter-er, blogger, and starter of readers’ groups, all devoted (mainly) to romance novels. You can read her Romance Buzz newsletters at Booktopia, check out her sadly-neglected website, email her, or follow her (@katydidinoz).

Here’s a hint: showing up first thing for a signing means you get a couple of extra minutes to hang out with the authors. Of course, you’re up first thing for a signing, but as Intrigue’s sponsoring of brand new Aussie authors Tracey O’Hara and Erica Hayes started at 11am, it wasn’t that hard to pull myself out of bed. Plus I’d read both Night’s Cold Kiss and Shadowfae, loved them, and really wanted signed copies for myself.

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November 19, 2009

Diana Gabaldon (2009) by decadenceDecadence, who is fast becoming our author event specialist, ducked out at lunchtime last Tuesday to attend one of Diana Gabaldon’s Sydney events.

In what is sadly becoming a book signing tradition for me, I missed my train to the city and had to wait half an hour for the next one, which would hopefully still get  me to North Sydney before 1pm, but leave me right at the end of the queue.

Stanton Library is at the top of a hill I used to walk up to get to work a few years ago, so in my defence I was younger then and wasn’t carrying 6 very thick and heavy books, even if they are all mass market editions.

I had almost made it to the library when I was ushered into the neighbouring council chambers and up the stairs to their meeting room. I found a seat with a few minutes to spare before Diana arrived. I looked around and even though I’d heard about a friend’s experience in Melbourne, I was still surprised to notice that most of the crowd consisted of middle aged women. I noticed a small group of girls closer to my own age and two very brave and intrepid men.

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