This Writing Life: The Australian Romance Readers Convention 2017

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Ooh, I do love a good get-together and the recent Australian Romance Readers Convention in Melbourne didn’t disappoint. It was a weekend packed with panels, gala events, keynote speakers and socialising. Everyone had a ball, from authors to readers to industry.

Hanging with your tribe… honestly, there’s nothing quite so affirming and though I came home absolutely stuffed I’m still on a high. ARRA events are loaded with positivity and warmth, but that should come as no surprise. We’re romance fans!

I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to the organising committee: Debbie Phillips, Heather Kopp, Diane Robson, Pamela Diaz and Juliette Arthur. You created an amazing event that I hope you’re very proud of.

The ARRC 2017 organising committee.

My heartfelt thanks to the ARRC organising committee. Three cheers, huge applause and a big champagne toast to you all.

My sincere thanks also to the ARRA committee and to all the volunteers involved in the running of ARRC 2017.

I have so many highlights I don’t know where to start but I enjoyed the screening of the Love Between the Covers documentary about the billion dollar romance fiction industry hugely. I think I’m going to have to buy a copy so I can watch it again.

Keynote speakers Courtney Milan, Kylie Scott and Kristen Callihan were also wonderful to listen to. I love hearing about other writers’ lives and journeys, and how they approach their books. It’s endlessly fascinating.

Hot Choc Mark IIThe booksigning was a hoot, as always, and it was great to chat to so many readers, some of whom were new to me and some who now feel like old friends. Everyone laughed at the new, improved Hot Chocolate and he didn’t break down once. I think we might be on a winner with this little-but-loud horsey mascot.

The Australian Romance Reader Awards dinner was a wonderful night, and I was so thrilled for Anne Gracie who pretty much swept the pool. The Summer Bride and the Chance Sisters series were truly gorgeous and her wins were well deserved. You can find a full list of the finalists here and all the winners here.

I was even more thrilled when Wayward Heart won favourite cover. That was so cool! I love that cover to bits and it was such a rush to find others love it too. Thanks to everyone who voted for it. Enormous thanks also to editor Rachael Donovan for going with the idea and the Harlequin designers for their outstanding layout. If you missed the blog post where Wayward Heart’s cover model Kate Swan reveals all about the shoot and her sexy partner Jack, you’ll find it here. It’s great fun.

I was a bit slack on the photo taking front this time – too busy talking! But I managed to snap a few on my phone. Not the best of quality (sorry) but one thing all the photos show is what a brilliant event this was and the terrific time everyone had.

Enjoy!

Melbourne put on a lovely sunny welcome for us!

Melbourne put on a lovely sunny welcome for us!

Keynote Speakers

Courtney Milan's keynote address at ARRC was excellent.

Courtney Milan’s keynote address at ARRC was excellent. I particularly enjoyed her comments about issues such as cultural appropriation and diversity in romance.

Keynote speaker at ARRC17 Kylie Scott

Kylie Scott knows what kind of images turn romance readers on!

Keynote speaker Kristen Callihan entertained us all on the final afternoon.

Keynote speaker Kristen Callihan entertained us all on the final afternoon.

Booksigning

Amy Andrews and Keri Arthur at ARRC 17

Amy Andrews and Keri Arthur

Ebony McKenna and Bec McMaster at ARRC17

Ebony McKenna and Bec McMaster

Emily Madden at ARRC17

Emily Madden

Fiona Lowe at ARRC17

Fiona Lowe

Kandy Shepherd and Alli Sinclair at ARRC17

Kandy Shepherd and Alli Sinclair

Kylie Scott at ARRC17

Kylie Scott

Lisa Ireland at ARRC17

Lisa Ireland

Sandy Curtis, Anne Gracie and Donna Maree Hanson at ARRC17

Sandy Curtis, Anne Gracie and Donna Maree Hanson

Sarah Barrie and Amy Rose Bennet at ARRC17

Sarah Barrie and Amy Rose Bennet

Tea Cooper and Sandy Curtis at ARRC17

Tea Cooper and Sandy Curtis

TM Clark at ARRC17

TM Clark

Victoria Purman and MJ Scott/Melanie Scott at ARRC17

Victoria Purman and MJ Scott/Melanie Scott

Harlequin Author Drinks

Me, Rachael Johns and Alison Stuart at the Harlequin author welcome drinks.

Me, Rachael Johns and Alison Stuart at the Harlequin author welcome drinks.

Australian Romance Reader Awards Dinner

The ARR Awards dinner crowd.

The ARR Awards dinner crowd.

Rachael Johns did an excellent job as MC for the night.

Rachael Johns did an excellent job as MC for the night.

Anne Gracie collecting one of her many awards. ARRC17

Anne Gracie collecting one of her many awards. Love those cowboy boots!

Meeting reader Deb Bray at the ARR Awards dinner.

I was delighted to meet fan Deb Bray at the ARR Awards dinner. That was a great moment.

Wayward Heart's Favourite Cover Award.

Wayward Heart’s Favourite Cover Award. Wheee!

Panels and Other Miscellany

The Rise of Rural Romance panel featuring Pamela Cook, Charlotte Nash, Sarah Barrie and Nicole Hurley-Moore, with Victoria Purman moderating.

The Rise of Rural Romance panel featuring Pamela Cook, Charlotte Nash, Sarah Barrie and Nicole Hurley-Moore, with Victoria Purman moderating. I enjoyed this a lot. Everyone had insightful comments and I was fascinated by Pamela’s mention of the controversy around her Hendra virus themed book Close To Home. I was also lucky enough to win a copy of Charlotte’s The Horseman. Rah!

Amy Andrews, Christine Wells and me in the bar. Surprise, surprise!

Amy Andrews, Christine Wells and me in the bar. Surprise, surprise!

Loved this sculpture in the nearby Southern Cross Tower.

Loved this sculpture in the nearby Southern Cross Tower by husband and wife team Gillie and Marc. They also created the pit pony at Collinsville, some of the sculptures at Finger Wharf that I also featured on the blog, and the wonderful buried rhino at last year’s Sculpture by the Sea.

Lunch at Thai food guru David Thompson's new restaurant Long Chim at Crown.

The leftovers of lunch at Thai food guru David Thompson’s new restaurant Long Chim at Crown. Amaaaaazing. The Sydney version in Angel Place is now in my sights cos as we all know, a girl can never indulge in enough lunches!

I hope you enjoyed this look at the weekend. If you’d like to join the Australian Romance Readers Association and have opportunities like this to hang with friendly, like-minded people then please check out the ARRA website.

 

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8 thoughts on “This Writing Life: The Australian Romance Readers Convention 2017

  1. AvatarJanine Kimberley

    It was so good to finally meet you Cathryn, feel like I’ve ‘known’ you for ages on Facebook and Rocking Horse Hill was the very first rural romance that I ever read. Us readers welcome the connection with authors and appreciate the time you take to reply to a comment and have a chat in person.

    1. AvatarMrs Deb Bray

      I am truly honoured Cathryn to be included in your photograph’s from Melbourne’s recent ARRA Award’s Dinner, my 15 minutes of fame for sure. Such a thrill to finally meet you and our other wonderful Aussie Author’s, best wishes always xx Deb Bray

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        And I was thrilled to meet you too, Deb! Thank you so much for coming up and saying hello. That was lovely. I hope you’re well on the mend now after your mishap. That looked painful!

    2. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      I was so chuffed when you told me that Rocking Horse Hill was your first ru-ro, Janine. I take that as a great honour!
      I was a delight to meet in person too. It’s funny how social media makes you “know” someone without having met but there is NOTHING like that actual contact.

  2. AvatarSue Gerhardt Griffiths

    Wonderful photos, Cathryn! Looks like you had the most awesome time. I’m still sad I was unable to attend and I’ve heard there will be no more conventions. I just hope there’ll be other similar events where I’m able to meet a bunch of authors in the one place! And I also missed out on buying books that aren’t available in shops 🙁 but we did have a great time in Cootamundra and house hunting in Junee for April. The House we made an offer on thank goodness we took another peek at it. I happened to see a wasp fly in and out of a small hole in the hardy plank. I did a bit of research and these wasps can leave gigantic nests in the wall cavities and that’s like a big thank you but NO thank you. And plus I told April you can’t live in a better place than Wollongong – surrounded by beaches, mountains, cafes and restaurants galore. Best walking tracks/paths as well.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Sorry for the belated reply, Sue! As you know we spent last week trundling around central Queensland and there wasn’t a lot of internet access.
      It was a shame you couldn’t make it but you had more important things to do out at Cootamundra. Lovely part of the world, wasps or not. As is Wollongong but I’ve learned from moving around a lot that happiness can come from the funniest places. It all depends on what you make of it.
      I’m sure there’ll be plenty of upcoming events where you’ll be able to chat with authors. They’re becoming more and more popular. I wish I could go to them all but it gets a bit expensive and I need to write, write, write or I won’t have any books to show off!
      Hope Steven is planning a nice outback trek for you. We had a BALL. I’ll be sharing photos on a blog post soon. Not sure when as I have a lot to catch up on first.

      1. AvatarSue Gerhardt Griffiths

        No worries Cathryn, exploring takes priority, hee hee. Haha, not Steven, I’m always the one planning the coolest outback treks for us. It certainly would be lovely to see that part of Queensland and I think wherever you go Cathryn you always have a ball. It’s in your nature. Looking forward to your blog post.

        Totally agree with you, Cathryn, that happiness is wherever you are/or live and what you make of it.

        1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

          I was hoping to have a blog post about the trip up this Friday, Sue, but that’s not going to happen. I have edits for my next book as well as another to finish, and books must come first!

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