March 10, 2013
Australian Romance Readers Convention 2013 - australianromancereaders.com.au

I’ve compiled the tweets from ARRC 2013 on Storify. If you can’t see the embedded thread below, you can go directly to Storify to view the tweets.

These are mostly chronological order (oldest tweets first), but where a side conversation develops, I’ve tried to keep the tweets together. Let me know if something doesn’t make sense.

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March 3, 2013
Anna Campbell - 2013

Photo by Kat Mayo

In which everyone played a game called Have A Drink Each Time Anna Campbell Accepts An Award…and everyone ended up drunk.

This year’s Australian Romance Reader Awards was dominated by historical romance author Anna Campbell, who took home the award for Favourite Australian Author, which she has won since 2010*. Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed won Favourite Historical Romance, a category in which Campbell has never lost. She also won all three minor awards for Favourite Meeting Between Hero and Heroine, Favourite Love Scene, and Favourite Cover. Since 2010*, she has not lost an award for she has been nominated.

Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series was awarded Favourite Continuing Series. Singh remains undefeated in this category since it was first awarded in 2010*.

The biggest upset of the night was in the Favourite Sci-Fi, Fantasy or Futuristic Romance, which was awarded to Kylie Griffin for Alliance Forged (accepted by Anna Campbell) and breaks Nalini Singh’s three-year run in this category. In a similar vein, Kaz Delaney won Favourite Paranormal Romance for Dead, Actually (accepted by Paula Roe), beating an impressive list of finalists, including J. R. Ward, Nalini Singh and Kresley Cole. Favourite Erotic Romance went to the only non-Australian winner of the night, Sylvia Day, for Bared to You (accepted by ARRA).

Two categories featured all-Australian finalists. The Favourite Short Category Award went to Kelly Hunter for Cracking the Dating Code, despite three other authors being twice-nominated in category. Rachael Johns won Favourite Contemporary Romance for Jilted and gave a somewhat teary but very gracious acceptance speech.

Bronwyn Parry also gave an emotional speech when she accepted the award for Favourite Romantic Suspense for Dead Heat. She previously won this award in 2010* and this year beat Nora Roberts, who was nominated three times (twice as J. D. Robb) in the same category.

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February 28, 2013
2013 Harlequin Summit - Photo by Kat Mayo

Photo by Kat Mayo

Yesterday, Book Thingo bloggers were fortunate enough to be invited to Harlequin’s first blogger summit. Decadence, Envyious, Jen and I (we missed you, Wandergurl!) attended the event, which was held at Harlequin HQ at Chatswood. It was a surprisingly intimate event, with opportunities to meet the team at Harlequin, as well as guest author Rachel Vincent, who stopped by Sydney on her way to Brisbane for the Australian Romance Readers Conference (ARRC).

I haven’t heard of any other publishers who have done anything similar to the Harlequin Summit, so it was quite interesting to be part of this event. I was also surprised at the large turnout, with a number of people—Envyious and Jen included—traveling interstate for the occasion.

I made some notes, but most of the presentations centred around Harlequin’s pipeline and teasers about the books, so I’m just going to list those, and you can check out the blurbs for yourselves. Afterwards, Rachel Vincent gave a talk (highlights below) and then was generous enough to sign our books.

Harlequin community page

Harlequin Australia launched a community page, which brings together tidbits from their Twitter stream, Goodreads reviews of their books, videos from their YouTube channel, photos from Instagram, book extracts, and memes and games related to books. Every month they’ll feature a book blog, and I’m chuffed to say that Book Thingo is the featured blog for this month. :-)

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February 25, 2013

As I suspected, Galaxy has pulled off a coup and will be hosting a Rachel Vincent signing on Wednesday at 11am. Drop in to say hi, get your books signed and order her next release—the final book in the Soul Screamers series.

If you haven’t been to Galaxy in a while, they’re now located above Abbey’s Bookshop, behind the QVB.

Posted by Kat in Events (1 comment)
November 15, 2012

A recap of last night’s official launch of Harlequin Australia’s digital-first imprint, Escape Publishing.

Harlequin went all-out with a photo shoot for its authors around Sydney harbour, interviews with mainstream media, and cocktails at ECQ Bar. Upon entry, attendees were photographed and given an ornate key (in the fashion of Escape’s logo) that may open a treasure chest of prizes. Sadly, I didn’t win the iPad Mini, but everyone also got a USB key with all the launch titles in it. The bar served cocktails tailored to each of the launch titles, the hors d’oeuvres were lovely, and there was even a DJ (although, sadly—or not, YMMV—no dancing).

Michelle Laforest, Managing Director of Harlequin Australia, officially launched Escape’s first five titles and their authors.

In Safe Hands by Lee ChristineChains of Revenge by Keziah HillChaos Born by Rebekah TurnerGrease Monkey Jive by Ainslie PatonChristmas Wishes by Rhian Cahill

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November 9, 2012

Some highlights from GenreCon 2012 at The Rydges, Parramatta. (Skip to the end if you want the bullet points.)

First, the disclaimer: I couldn’t be there for the entire weekend of GenreCon. And in hindsight I regret this so much, particularly that I missed out on a discussion of tentacle porn at the Friday night panel hosted by Rosie Courtney from Fangtastic Fiction, as well as some impromptu dancing by some Very Important Publishing People and a Debut Author Who Shall Not Be Named. In this day and age, for that not to be on YouTube is an utter travesty.

Anyway, I arrived just before the Pistols and Parasols Banquet, whereupon I claimed the best unreserved table and put my bag on the seat offering a free copy of Seven Night In A Rogue’s Bed by Anna Campbell. The banquet was a chance for me to catch up, reconnect and meet with book folk. I met Sarah Fairhall, commissioning editor for Destiny Romance, and we had a great chat about the imprint. Most of the attendees were writers or people who work in publishing, but as they’re all readers, too, I felt in very good company.

GenreCon - Kate, the masked editor

Kate, the masked editor
(Photo: Kat Mayo)

Kim Wilkins was the banquet MC and she did a fantastic job. I mean, I was really impressed. The format was a lot more informal that the conference dinners I’ve been to—it helped that this was not doubling up as an awards ceremony—but Kim was polished and witty and just delightful, really. She interviewed Escape Publishing acquisitions editor Kate Cuthbert—whose costume was fab, by the way—and Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

Sarah also did a ‘live cover snark’ of Australian-themed covers, and if you think you’ve seen hideous covers, I think she went all out for GenreCon. Here are the best of the best (these are all safe for work, but there are worse things than NSFW covers—trust me):

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November 7, 2012
High tea with Sarah Wendell -- The Victoria Room Tea Salon, 28/10/2012

Photo: Kat Mayo

Highlights from the reader high tea with Sarah Wendell at The Victoria Room Tea Salon in Sydney.

I was going to begin this post with an undignified level of squeeing over the fact that not only did we meet Sarah Wendell, one of the pioneers of romance book blogging and reviewing (at least as we know it), but that we convinced her to eat scones and cucumber sandwiches with us. However, Vassiliki did such a great job with her recent post at Shallowreader that I’ll just invite you to go read her post and then come back here for some gossip. :D

We had over thirty people at the lovely Victoria Room Tea Salon at Westfield in the CBD, which exceeded even my most optimistic estimate, and ended up being split into two table groups adjacent to each other. I finagled a seat next to Sarah and finally met fellow romance readers that I’d only previously known through Twitter and blogs. We had people from Canberra and Wollongong, but top prize for effort had to go to Anna Cowan, who flew in from Melbourne for the occasion.

Thank you to everyone who came along and made the afternoon such a success! I heard lots of positive comments, and it really couldn’t have gone any better than it did. Most came in twos and some on their own, which I know would have been daunting, but whenever I looked around it felt like everyone was engrossed in conversation.

The discussions were dominated by books, of course, but also Tim Tams, scones and, on a grimmer note, the looming threat of Hurricane Sandy.

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Posted by Kat in Events (7 comments)
Keywords: sarah wendell
October 18, 2012

Sarah Wendell is coming to Sydney and we’re having a reader get-together over tea!

We had a few options—Nutella pizza, steak, sausage sizzle—but really, how could we go past high tea? We considered various venues and it was hard to go past The Victoria Room’s salon in the CBD. The scone menu is to die for.

Readers, bloggers and bookish folk are all welcome to come along. It would be great to catch up with bloggers and tweeters as well as meet new faces.

Bring a book (optional) and an empty stomach!

When: Sunday, October 28 from 1pm
Where: The Victoria Tea Salon (Level 4, Westfield Sydney CBD)
Who:  Lovers of romance fiction, scones and smart bitchery
Cost: Varies, depending on what you plan to order (click here to view their menu)
Bring: A book to show off, swap or give away (optional)

If you’re coming along, please RSVP to kat@bookthingo.com.au by Sunday, October 21. I’ve made a tentative reservation for 25 (under the name ‘Smart Bitches’, of course), just in case Sarah’s fan horde descends upon us (we would love that!), so if we go over I need to panic and then beg the venue for more seats.

It would be great to see fellow romance readers and bloggers there, so we hope you guys can make it!

Posted by Kat in Events (2 comments)
Keywords: bloggers, sarah wendell
September 17, 2012

Yes, it’s the event we’ve all been waiting for—ARRC 2013 registration is now open to readers.

You can find a link to the ARRC 2013 brochure and registration at the ARRA blog. The event will be held at The Mercure, Brisbane from March 1 to March 3. The keynote speakers will be Kristan HigginsAnne Gracie and Rachel Vincent.

Registration rates

Early-bird — $214/$234
From November onwards — $244/$264
Day rate — $144
Book signing only — $7.50/$10

Registration closes February 27, but a late fee of $30 applies after 22/2.

* Day and book signing only  registration will be available in November.

Social functions

Welcome reception — $39/$63
Awards dinner — $58/$92

The cheaper rate doesn’t include drinks.

Have you registered yet? Which events and speakers are you most excited about?

September 5, 2012

Today is Indigenous Literacy Day, an initiative by the Indigenous Literacy Foundation to help raise funds and awareness for literacy in Indigenous communities.

You can participate by making a donation, supporting an Great Book Swap event in your local community or buying a book from a bookshop that supports ILD and will donate a percentage of sales today to the ILF.

I’ve listed a few below, but if your event isn’t listed, please feel free to add their details in the comments.

Ashfield Library, NSW — Aboriginal Dreaming stories

Cockburn Library, Perth WA — Parent forum with Mem Fox (6/9) with proceeds donated to ILF

Fisher Library (University of Sydney), Camperdown NSW — Great Book Swap

Health Sciences Library (University of Sydney), Lidcombe NSW — Great Book Swap

Mosman Library, NSW — Family story time

Museum of Contemporary Art, The Rocks NSW — Great Book Swap and talks

National Library of Australia, Canberra ACT — Great Book Swap and special events (15/9)

One Word, One Day, Ultimo NSW or online – Art auction by illustrators, organised by the Australian Society of Authors

Pages and Pages, Mosman NSW — Book busking

If you can’t make it to any of these, you can check out for other ILF events in your local area throughout the year.

Posted by Kat in Events (Leave a comment)
Keywords: literacy events