Tag Archives: events

A Tale of Two Conferences

Narrelle with a snake at Australia Zoo
‘Australia Zoo / Ben Beaden’

I spent the middle of August in Queensland. Respite from Melbourne’s very chilly winter was a bonus but not the purpose.

Instead, I was attending my first ever Romance Writers of Australia conference, and then loitering a little longer so I could join Tim on the Sunshine Coast for his conference with the Australian Society of Travel Writers.

And then I got to cuddle a snake.

Love Gone Wild

The RWA conference – Love Gone Wild – was a big financial commitment, but it was definitely worth the time and the money to attend. Apart from getting to meet with hundreds of fellow writers of romance, I was able to attend the conference sessions. I learned something new at every single panel, even ones where I felt fairly sure I knew the material being covered.

I was able to hear from established writers, publishers and agents about how the industry is changing, how people are responding to the changes, the opportunities that are out there and how writers can look for new ways to engage readers. The conference was what finally made me work out how to import my blog, which used to live on a separate site, into my main website here!

I’ve learned a lot about marketing and more than a few things about how to approach submissions and agent queries.

I even won a raffle prize where I get to consult with a swordsman about writing fight scenes!

My new novel, Ravenfall, made its first appearance at Love Gone Wild – and it was the first time I got to lay hands on the trade paperback of this little beauty!

The ebook is coming later, but for now the paperback is due out officially on 1 September and is up for pre-order on:

The fancy dress evening was a delight too – a flock of flamingos were there!

In all, if you’re a budding or established romance writer, I can highly recommend both membership of the RWA and attendance at their annual August conference. Not only are the sessions of enormous value, there are opportunities to pitch books to a range of publishers and agents. It’s being held at the Sofitel Wentworth in Sydney next year, so you can start preparing now!


ASTW

I’m not myself a travel writer but in my other life as a freelance writer, I’ve written for universities, hotel chains and entertainers. With Tim attending a conference only the weekend following Love Gone Wild, it made sense to hang about (and spend some time with my fabulous brother Stephen, who lives in Brisbane) and join Tim for some of the events that partners were invited to.

So it was that I found myself learning to paint watercolours in the Sunshine Coast hinterland with artist James McKay and later making pottery chickens at Fried Mudd.

Not to mention seeing critters being cared for at the wildlife rescue centre and cuddling snakes at the Australia Zoo. This place is huge and witnessing two blokes feed a crocodile while attempting not to be eaten by one gives me even greater respect for crocodiles.

My favourite part of the croc show was actually the birds – watching the bright parrots and macaws, the beautiful whistling kite and the massive Andean condor. I was fortunate later to meet a macaw up close.

It’s important just as a person to be curious about the world and to seek out new experiences. As a writer, your curiosity is one of your best writing tools – to go forth and try things out. You never know if you’ll need to write about them. More to the point, I often write about things soon after experiencing them.

Now. How soon can I get a character to muck about with a snake?

Romance Writers conference, bookmarks and Ravenfall

This morning I picked up a large (and surprisingly slippery) pile of bookmarks ahead of my attendance at the Romance Writers of Australia conference, Love Gone Wild,  being held this weekend in Brisbane.

This will be my first RWA conference, and I’m looking forward to learning more about my fellow members and about the world of writing romance (and how best to get word out to readers old and new about what I’m doing).

One of the things I’m looking forward to, of course, is that my new book – paranormal romance thriller Ravenfall – is being launched at the conference!

Ravenfall is the story of James Sharpe and Gabriel Dare and a monstrous plot that threatens all Great Britain! The paperback is available for pre-order now, becoming officially available later this month, and the ebook due for release later in September.

For those on GoodReads, you can mark Ravenfall  as to-read now!

If you’re going to be at the RWA conference, please come up and say hello (and grab a bookmark!).

You can read more about Ravenfall here, or pre-order the paperback at one of these online stores:

Book Launch 30 March 2016: The Adventure of the Colonial Boy

ACB launchImprobable Press and I are very pleased to announce that The Adventure of the Colonial Boy is having an official launch!

The Adventure of the Colonial Boy is a Holmes/Watson romance set in Australia in 1893. Murder! Dangerous sea voyages! Deductions! Snakes! Honour, angst, and chases! Unrequited love, requited!

DETAILS

When: Wednesday 30 March 2016.  6.30 for a 7pm start.

Where: Penny Blue Bar, Drivers Lane (off Little Bourke Street, near Elizabeth St) Melbourne VIC 3000

The Adventure of the Colonial Boy is already available as an ebook, and it comes out as a paperback on 31 March. I have a limited number of copies ahead of time, so come to the book launch and get an early copy, at the special price of AU$15.

There’ll be a wee speech, a reading, a little food, lots of good company and the fabulous service at Penny Blue (which is accessible – let us know in advance if you need a ramp for your chair!)

Because Improbable Press is a small press based in the UK and this event is being run on the scent of an oily rag that Sherlock Holmes has deduced was recently in John Watson’s vicinity, we’d like to thank Penny Blue for providing the space for the launch free of charge.

Please support Penny Blue by buying a drink or two, and support Improbable Press by buying a book!

REVIEWS

Here are some of the reviewer comments on The Adventure of the Colonial Boy so far!

I admit to being wary about whether [Harris] could really, truly pull off a romance for Holmes and Watson. I am convinced. She more than pulled it off. She nailed it. And now I’m swept headlong into a vision of Holmes and Watson, forever changed. I’ll eagerly be re-reading ACD canon with a brand new understanding. I’ve no doubt that ACD’s stories will be utterly consistent with a Holmes and Watson in love – whether pre-consummation or post.  – CoachJanette, Amazon.com

I bought the ebook because I couldn’t wait – and ended up reading it in one day.– Denise, Goodreads.

The biggest problem with this story is my inability to put the darn thing down. Needless to say it was read in one sitting. – cemm, Amazon.com

This was a romping good read, and absolute page turner that I couldn’t put down. – Sally Koetsveld, Goodreads.

Spot on capture of the time-tested Holmes and Watson chemistry: razor-sharp wit, breath-taking revelations, shared victory in defeating clever criminals, and the deepest friendship and love. – ckm, Amazon.com

I particularly loved the author’s take on the original stories and characters, the adventerous plot, and the exploration of the relationship between Holmes and Watson. – HJS, Amazon.com

 

And Then… : Support a new anthology from Clan Destine Press

and then...Clan Destine Press is putting together a new two-volume anthology of adventure stories! And Then… the Great Big Book of Awesome Adventure Tales is exactly what it says on the tin. A big book full of tales of derring do, swash and buckle, rockets and railroads, guns and swords, action and heroics and ALL THE EXCITING ADVENTUROUS THINGS!

My story, Virgin Soil – set in Melbourne in 1851 and full of dark magic, strange family, gold fever and a shapeshifter who can’t remember if he started as a man or a rat – has been accepted to the anthology!

I’m there in excellent company. Other great Australian writers appearing include Kerry Greenwood, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Alan Baxter, Mary Borsellino, Jason Franks, Jason Nahrung, Jack Dann, Amanda Pillar, Sophie Masson, Lindy Cameron, Jane Clifton, and Peter M Ball – for starters!

All the stories have some kind of Australian/New Zealand connection, and it promises to be two volumes of a rollicking good time. The stories will be illustrated by Vicky Pratt, whose art for one of the stories appears above.

Clan Destine Press is running an Indiegogo campaign to fund costs for author fees and illustrations – and it would be so wonderful if you could be part of that.

You can support the project for as little as $2, and there are a few stages (including rewards of 50% off the books) before the first where you are guaranteed an e-copy of the book at $20.

Of course there are higher levels of pledges too, which include choosing other Clan Destine titles, getting the And Then... volumes in paperback, getting And Then... merchandise, and for the highest levels – And Then… in hardcover, and special writing tutorials from writers like Alan Baxter, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Jason Nahrung, Kelly Gardiner and me!

Please support this great project – and the writers and artist included in it – with your love but also, if you can, your dollars. You’ll get something amazing in return. I promise.

You can find out more about the writers for the anthology, how funds raised will be used and all the different levels at which you can support the project at Indiegogo – just follow the link.

Support And Then… at Indiegogo

And thank you in advance for supporting Australian writers, artists and publishers (or at least thinking about it!