The second Australian Romance Readers Convention is right around the corner and if you haven’t been to the first one, you probably have no idea what a treat this is going to be.
The program has something for everyone: paranormal, erotic, contemporary, category, historical, urban fantasy, rural romance … whatever your taste, there’s bound to be a session that interests you. A panel that proved very popular at the last convention was This One Time, where the authors talked about the weird and funny stuff that go on behind the scenes when publishing a book or crazy fan stories. This time, the topic will have two panels. Aspiring writers are sure to find Publishing Ins and Outs useful.
I’m really looking forward to hearing the keynote speakers, Cindy Gerard, Anna Campbell and Nalini Singh. I’ve met Nalini a few times and she is awesome in person. She was an entertaining speaker at the ARRA Awards dinner last year where she revealed the title of her third angels book for the first time. At ARRA events, you get the scoop first. In February 2009, keynote speaker MaryJanice Davidson told us about a book idea she had about an FBI agent with multiple personalities that became Me, Myself and Why? published in September 2010. You just never know what’s going to happen.
ARRA awards and bling off
ARRA also gives Australian romance readers the opportunity to nominate and vote for their favourite reads of the year, which is something no one else has really done. We get to pick the books we truly enjoy instead of hearing about what wins in other countries.
At the last few awards dinners, some of us readers and authors have thrown down in a #blingoff. I’m going to this year’s dinner as the defending champion and am expecting some fierce competition with a lot of new competitors joining in. Come along and blind us with your sparkle. The tweets and jewels are going to fly!
Silent auction for the Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal
Authors from all around the world have donated almost 200 book bundles, ARCs, jewellery, canvas prints, critiques and so many more items to the silent auction supporting the Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal. You have to be there to bid and even if you only go to the book signing, you can still support this worthy cause.
One of the things I enjoyed most at ARRC09 wasn’t even on the program. It was the atmosphere. The people were really friendly and everyone was ready to talk about the books they enjoyed. Most of my friends outside of Twitter don’t read much and certainly don’t read romance, so my reading was something I’ve had to keep to myself. ARRC09 really was an oasis for me, just as much an escape as a good book, only it was happening to me first-hand.
There was also an impromptu pyjama party after the reception on Friday where a bunch of readers (and a few authors as well) got together and went around the circle listing our favourite books and authors and conversation flowed from there until after the chocolate ran out. It was a great icebreaker and made it easier to approach that person holding a copy of my favourite book while waiting in line for the signing session.
It was all about the small, unplanned stuff like, ‘OMG, I just ran into Stephanie Laurens in the ladies’!’ or when I told MaryJanice Davidson where to go. I mean, gave her directions to her next session when she looked confused by the map.
Freebies and fun stuff
Book bundles were given away at many of the sessions and the goodies room was a real treasure chest for those of us who, like me, collect bookmarks and postcards and excerpt booklets and all kinds of things. And everyone got a few free books in their registration satchel.
I cannot express enough that it was a weekend out of reality for me. Romance is this whole aspect of my life that I don’t get to talk about with the people I know who don’t read it. ARRC09 was a jam-packed romance extravaganza that I wish could have gone on for more than a weekend.
It’s not too late to register for ARRC 2011 and I’d like to recommend that all Australian romance readers come to Sydney, even if it’s just for the book signing or the awards dinner. Meet other readers, get recommendations and be part of the fun. New members are saying that they heard about how much fun we all had at ARRC09 and don’t want to miss out again for another two years.
And yes, we will torture you with tweets about how much fun we’re having.
Decadence is in the organising committee for ARRC 2011.
We will be tweeting the event using the hashtag #arrc2011. You can join us via Twitter or WTH, which will archive the tweets. Photos will be uploaded to Flickr. Click here for a round-up of Book Thingo posts on ARRC 2011.