RWA’s 18th National Conference

CAL logoThanks to the generosity of the Copyright Agency Ltd (who awarded me with a grant to fund my journey north), I had a full weekend of networking, chatting, learning, partying, books and writing.  We were in Brisbane, Queensland’s gorgeous capital city, with weather a warm 29C (around (84F)  It’s a great chance to dress up and wear pretty clothes, nice jewellery and have conversations that don’t revolve around chocolate, Lego and “I hate homework!”.

Many years ago, I recall a workshop speaker saying that when you start out writing, you’re like a sponge, soaking up all the knowledge, technique and nuts and bolts of writing you can.  And naturally, your own writing will slow as you absorb what works best for you and what doesn’t.  But after that initial ‘information overload’, your writing will once again pick up and you’ll find yourself whizzing along the publication path.  So I’ve found that I’m now at that stage – after a few years of publication, and many, many pre-pubbed years full of workshops, how-to books and tutorials, I pretty much know my process and what works for me.  So national conference is not really a time to learn new ‘writing stuff’ (although when it happens, I’m thrilled!).  It’s more a chance to reconnect with my writing friends and colleagues, get to know new ones and to also share the information I’ve gleaned from all those years past.  And of course, talk shop with editors, writers and publishers.

I had a brilliant time finally meeting my former senior editor and agent for The Knight Agency, Melissa Jeglinski (who, when I said, “I’ve got this super-sexy, futuristic/sci-fi/paranormal thing, about 50 pages done… can I send you the partial?”  replied with a smile, “sure!” weeee!)  She made the trip down with her mum, who was absolutely lovely, too.

I also talked shop with the Executive Editor for Silhouette, Mary-Theresa Hussey (who incidentally, bought my first book in 2006), drooled over her Kindle and decided to hold it to ransom when I discovered she was editing Rachel Vincent‘s latest Werecat book on it.

I delivered my “Get Organized, Get Writing!” workshop to over 90 eager writers, talked about my favorite topics – i.e. stationery and Document Map – and at the end, handed out some door prizes (notes available on my For Writers page of my website)

Linley's cool boots

Linley's cool boots

Shannon (left) and Jenny all prettied up

Shannon (left) and Jenny all prettied up

Saturday night was our  awards dinner, so it’s a huge congrats to all our winners (especially Marion Lennox, who after 21 nominations, finally WON her RBY!   And my cool roomie and writing buddy, Shannon Curtis, who not only won the Selling Synopsis, but scored a full manuscript request from Melissa Jeglinski too).  You can find a listing of all RWA’s contest winners here.

Leah posing as Saddam's concubine

Leah posing as Saddam's concubine

And of course, there was the fun side – dressing up for Harlequin’s traditional Friday Night Cocktail Party (that’s me as Saddam Hussein – which I can’t believe no one else thought of!), putting on the glad rags for our awards dinner, buying books (of which I didn’t do much of, I might add) and all the catching up on gossip, sales, new authors and falling in love with this crazy business all over again.

(L-R) me, Kelly Hunter and Linley as Jafar

(L-R) me, Kelly Hunter and Linley as Jafar

remakes that make me cry (with rage, not joy)

original cast of the ORIGINAL Melrose Place

original cast of the ORIGINAL Melrose Place

While surfing the ‘net today (yes, it was research for a book!) I stumbled across a screaming, flashing ad that declared “Melrose Place – premiers Sept 8”.

All I can say is W. T. F. ??? First, Beverly Hills 90210, now Melrose Place, for Gods’ sakes? Is nothing from the 90s sacred? Will TV people do anything to spin a dollar? People, please think of something ORIGINAL!!  I thought they’d learn their lesson with disembowling perfectly amazing UK shows just for the hell of it (Life on Mars, anyone?) but obviously not.

I can just about accept movie remakes – for every Planet of the Apes and Out of Towners, there will always be a Nutty Professor and The Birdcage to redeem it.  But TV shows?  Come on.  Do TPTB think that just because they were successful hits in their day they will be again?  Just because it works for music and (sometimes) movies, doesn’t mean that success will translate to TV.

aah, Will Smith - how you've grown!

aah, Will Smith - how you've grown!

The past is called the past for a reason.  RIP Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Friends, Party of Five.   Please, studio execs, do not give Ally McBeal, 3rd Rock From the Sun and Veronica’s Closet a trendy haircut, an unrealistic bod, a tarty new skirt and multiple bed partners.  I beg of you.