Sunday, March 3, 2013

At the Australian Romance Readers Conference

I'm up in Brisbane, capital city of Queensland, at ARRC— that's the Australian Romance readers Conference, which is held every two years.

Friday night was just the kick off. We started with Lady Jane's Salon, which is an event that usually takes place in New York. It's a salon where romance writers read from their books, while the audience — a mixture of readers and writers and interesting blow-ins, sip wine and listen. Fun and very civilized.

I attended a New York one a few years back, taken there by Andrea Pickens/Penrose/Cara Elliot, along with Mary Jo Putney, Joanna Bourne, and Kelly Hunter. We descended into this dimly lit cellar-type room, filled with eclectic furniture and paintings and people -- masses of people. It was extra crowded because so many people were in for the RWA conference. We found seats and wine and settled in for a fun night. . .

So it was lovely to have Lady Jane's Salon held in Brisbane, and though there was no cellar, and the walls weren't red and covered with interesting artwork, there were authors reading excerpts from their books to a very appreciative audience. Here's a not-very-good photo of the participants — from left, Hope Tarr (who organized it), Amy Andrews, Keri Arthur, Anna Campbell and Cathy Maxwell.

After that came the ARRC welcome reception with drinks and nibbles, and the big surprise for me were these particular three options in the drinks menu — cocktails named in honor of the three keynote speakers, of which I was one.

So it was very cool to be drinking an "Anne Gracie" with my friends — it was a margarita, really, which happens to be one of my favorite cocktails. The "Rachel Vincent" was a mojito and it looked fabulous, stuffed with mint leaves, and the "Kristan Higgins" was an apple martini. Lots of fun!

I'll report on the rest of the conference in a few days.