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Monday, July 30, 2012

Last Post from Anaheim

"There's no place like home...There's no place like home..."'s time to leave the "Happiest Place on Earth" and return to the dull, drear Melbourne winter so this will be the last report from #RWA12. The first challenge will be packing - all those lovely books and the consequences of Tuesday's shopping spree have to be squeezed into a small baggage allowance.

Saturday promised another full day of workshops.

SESSION 1:  EMOTION - Brenda Novak

Brenda Novak is one of the (many) NY Times bestsellers one passes in the corridor at this conference so I attended the first part of her presentation on Emotion with some excitement.
Layering a story with emotion is about active writing and techniques for adding that all important emotion to your stories included

  • Use of internal thought (sparing)
  • Dialogue
  • Deep POV
  • Action
  • Metaphor

Unfortunately I couldn't stay for the second part of her session because I wanted to hear Michael Hauge.  I'm a bit of Hauge fan girl, having heard his Story Mastery workshop at home and I own the DVDs...and the books, but I wanted to hear how he contextualised his theories for romance writing.


Yes, I'd heard it all before, but Hauge is a charismatic presenter and his exposition of the Hero's Journey is worth hearing over again. He makes it sound so easy...

On my recent Writing Retreat with the Saturday Ladies Bridge Club, we watched his DVD on the HJ and then sat down to watch Prince of Persia...with the timer on and lo...the Prince of Persia followed Hauge's Three Act Journey to the second. How does this translate into romance...I think, particularly in category romance, that first 10% (the hero in ordinary life) does not necessarily apply but in all other respects seems to follow the theory.

RITA Award winner Fiona Lowe and her "date"
Grabbed a quick, unsatisfactory lunch with Fiona Lowe and went up to my room with the idea of watching a little bit of the Olympics.  Next thing I knew it was 3.00 pm and with a booking for dinner at 5.30pm, togged out in the glad rags, that was the end of my conference! I sat outside in the warmth and read a book for a little while.

The highlight of the conference has to be the RITA Awards. As I may have mentioned I was extremely touched to be asked by Fiona Lowe to be her "date" for the Awards. Fiona's editor at Carina Press, Angela James and senior Harlequin staff had invited us out for dinner. Because we had to be back at the Marriott and seated ready for the awards by 7.30, we met at a local restaurant for dinner at 5.30.  Angela had organised a special celebratory dessert for Fiona.

Fiona and her editor, Angela James with good luck dessert
Like everything about the conference, the Awards were incredibly well organised. Golden Heart and RITA finalists had spent 2 hours in rehearsal that afternoon and we were all seated at tables at the front of the room. The MC was the delightful Victoria Alexander and was interspersed with little pastiches of our favourite romantic moments on film. Golden Hearts (for unpublished MS) went first and then the RITAs.  Other Aussie nominees Christina Brooks and Trish Morey missed out and then came the Single Title Contemporary Romance category.  Fiona had no expectations of winning and when her name was called out she sat there in complete disbelief. I was no help...jumping to my feet and screaming like a teenager at a Bieber concert. 
As I may have mentioned Boomerang Bride was one of my favourite summer reads and thoroughly deserving of its win. The other big positive for this win is that it is a "digital first" ie it came out solely as an ebook. It is now in print.

So there we are...your Anaheim correspondent is now signing off and returning to Oz to gather her energy for the Australian Romance Writers Conference in two weeks! Thanks for bearing with me.

Hey, a girl can dream....