Book # 6 – Finished!

I spent a looonnngggg time thinking about it, talking about it, procrastinating over it, writing it, but now my superhero cheerleaders from outerspace book is finished! It’s my sixth book (and fifth YA). I don’t think writing gets any easier, do you? The cheerleaders will spend some time recuperating and then I’ll tackle the interesting part—revision.

In other news, I’m very excited about my friend and agency sistah Sharon Fisher‘s transformation into a published author! As part of a two-book deal, Tor Books (Macmillan) will publish her GHOST PLANET, a romantic sci-fi novel. The book was a finalist in the 2009 and 2010 Golden Heart and it’s fabulous to see it win the ultimate prize. Congratulations, Sharon!!!!!

This Thursday, March 17 (Friday afternoon Aus time), I’ll be blogging at the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood about that old manuscript you have lurking under your bed. I’ve got some ideas about what you can do with it besides using it as a dust-bunny trap.

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We’re All Gonna Die

Sad but true. I am actually referring to a song title by my hubby’s band, the Model School, though. The song has been selected as the opening credits track for an upcoming indie Aussie movie called ‘LBF‘ (which is an abbreviation for something more profane). The film is based on Cry Bloxsome‘s 2006 novel of the same name.

I wish I could embed the trailer here, but there seems to be a communication breakdown between WordPress and Vimeo. (Or, more likely, maybe I’m a bigger gumby at techno things than first thought!) Go to this link to see and hear the teaser.

Surf, Sun, Sizzle…and now zzzzz!

A day after returning from the US, I trotted off to the RWAustralia conference in Coogee, Sydney, for a couple of days, where I held a workshop with Tracey O’Hara on Saturday, then presented my AV show for the awards festivities that night. The tag line for the conference was ‘Surf, Sun and Sizzle’, and let me tell you they should’ve added ‘sensational’, because it was just that. Now I need lots of sleep! Congrats to Cathleen Ross, Kandy Shepherd and their hardworking committee for putting on a brilliant conference.

Spare a thought for the very gracious NZ author Nalini Singh, who is now heading off to her fourth (?) writers conference since July. I somehow missed bumping into Nalini in Orlando, but I was so glad to meet her in Sydney. Anna Campbell hand-sold Nalini’s books to at least four unsuspecting conference-goers, and I’m sure they’ll be very happy with their purchases!

One of my YA books, ‘Ghost-Ridden’, was lucky enough to nab third place in the Emerald Award, which is the Aussie equiv to the Golden Heart. Historical author Alli Withers, who is not only the sweetest person ever but a fantastic writer, won first prize. Yay, Alli! Also big winners were my dear, dear friend Sharon Archer and my workshop buddy Tracey in the Ruby Award. The full list of RWAus contest placings for 2010 can be found here.

Editorial director for Harlequin Enterprises Dianne Moggy presented Sharon with her Ruby Award. Before she left the stage, Dianne whispered to me that she liked my shoes! That’s almost as good as hearing an editor say she liked my book! Dianne, if you’re reading, here are the shoes. I know you’ll thank me for not including my feet in the picture.

It was fantastic to finally meet some of my online pals in person, including author Eleni Konstantine, who did a tremendous job volunteering at the conf, and Christina Phillips, whose first book for Berkeley Heat comes out next month. Several people travelled from far and wide, including two of my fave NZ residents, Sara Hantz and Amanda Ashby. They conducted a fun and enlightening workshop on YA fiction, and also gave me serious private pep talks and hugs! Thanks, you guys!

From left, Sara, Amanda, and Christina's hair.

At the awards night, I sat with Vicki Lewis Thompson and her daughter/assistant Audrey. It turns out we’d arrived in Australia on the same plane a day earlier. Both Vicki and Audrey were so gracious, and being cat people, we got along famously. I’m so glad they came all the way out here for our conference. I just have to show you the cover of one of Vicki’s books–it features a black cat that looks remarkably like my Pinklepurr.

'Blonde with a Wand' - Vicki Lewis Thompson

Vicki and Audrey, in case you’re reading, here’s that cute piccy of my other cat:

To those who kindly attended my workshop, thanks for coming along! We had an awful tech prob and also ran out of time, so I’m grateful to all of you for persevering with us. The workshop notes are now on my website and I may post my demo book trailer here soon.

Now, after being away from home for nearly four weeks, I’m off to sort out my life! I will post more photos of the Orlando conference a little later…

Happy Monday, all!

Last Day in L.A.

I have had an enchanting time in the US, first hobnobbing with the literati in Florida and then hanging out with my dad in California. But tonight I head back to Australia, where my hunky hubby and two cats await, and the renovation has progressed from this…

The sorry scene a month or so ago...

…to this…

Ta-da! Okay, there's still a bit to do, but it won't be long before it's all done. The benchtops will be fitted next week, and hunky hubby has been waiting for me to come home and put together the kitchen drawers. We've become masters of interpreting abridged IKEA instructions, so this is actually going to be fun!

The day after I get home, I’m going to the RWAus conference, where Tracey O’Hara and I are presenting a workshop about self-promo on a writer’s budget, plus I’m doing the AV presentation for our awards night. I’m biting my new fake L.A.-style nails.

Lovely two-time RITA nominee Tina Ferraro caused pandemonium when she sent me this link to Meg Cabot’s blog, which features Tina, moi, and my 2010 GH finalists, aka the Margaritas!

A photo of a bestselling author (Meg) taken by another bestselling author (Kelley Armstrong)! That's me on the left, looking numb in the presence of greatness (Meg) and a great dress (Meg's), with the talented Shea Berkley on the other side.

My MargaRita gal Kim MacCarron and me just before the awards ceremony. Kim's pearls tried to make an escape later on but I think we recaptured them all.

I will post more random photos when I get home. I’ve gotta continue packing now. I have stacks of books, so let’s keep our fingers crossed that my bags are each within the 23kg limit.

More Golden Pics!

I’m still decompressing from the Orlando trip. I’ve surfaced briefly in L.A., and as promised, here are a few more pictures from the RWA conference.

The lovely writer and blogger Keira Soleore with Anna Campbell just prior to melting on their Animal Kingdom adventure.

Three Ruby-Slippered Sisters in a row at the Literacy Signing charity event. Shea Berkley, Harlequin author Liz Talley and me.

Shea with Rita Henuber, one of the funniest, warmest people I've ever met and a fellow Ruby Sister.

Katrina Snow on the left and Heather Snow on the right. They're not related by blood but they are my 2010 Unsinkable sistahs. Heather was hunted down by several agents at the conference. One was so taken by her, she offered representation in public!

Nora Roberts! Here she is giving the keynote speech at a luncheon. I got in late and somehow found a table in the front row along with my buddy Beth Langston. For some reason, every photo I took of Nora was blurry. Sorry, Nora!

Canadian author Jacqui Nelson and me showing off our Golden Heart certificates the day before the awards.

That’s all I can squeeze in for today! I’m heading off to the wilderness for a couple of days and won’t have internet access. Even my iPhone will be blacked out! See you on the other side, with more pictures to come.

I’m Not Dead! (but I am dead-tired)

Yes, it has been a while since I last posted. I’ve been busy with house reno stuff and prep for my trip to Orlando for the Golden Heart Awards. The awards were run last night and I’m uber happy to report one of my new BFFs, Erica O’Rourke, took out the best YA manuscript award. On top of that, Erica signed a three-book deal with Alicia Condon at Kensington!!!! Congrats! We 2010 YA finalists formed a close bond before heading to Orlando and we had a ball together all week. We missed double-finalist Shelley Coriell, though, as she was at SCBWI in L.A.

Also a winner was my lovely Aussie buddy Kylie Griffin. Kylie’s been blitzing contests in Aus and NZ, and it was only a matter of time before she conquered the US too! Congrats, Kylie!

Click here to see the full list of GH winners.

The awards are known as the Oscars of romance writing, so of course I have to post pictures of everyone in their finery. I’ll have more conference photos and gossip in the next few days.

Kim MacCarron, Shea Berkley, Erica O'Rourke (winner!), me, Jen McAndrews, Carey Corp - aka the 2010 GH YA finalists, aka the MargaRitas

Part of the Aussie contingent - me, Erica Hayes (top centre), Kylie Griffin (winner!), my date Anna Campbell in front.

Meg Cabot (!!!!) and me. Little does she know I'm hyperventilating in this shot.

Losers! From left, paranormal romance finalist Katrina Snow, Shea, me, Kim and Jen.

Me and Rosemary Clement-Moore, out-going prez of the YARWA chapter, former RITA winner and all-round fab person.

Our Kylie accepting her award in the paranormal category.

Jen and her roomie, Linda Gerber, author of the 'Death By...' series.

Winners! Jacqui Nelson (Historical category) and CJ Chase (Inspirational category).

Watch this blog for more photos to come!

Sowing the Seeds of Success

(Corny title, I know… )

My uber talented colleague Kate Mulvany won the 2004 Philip Parsons Young Playwright’s Award with The Seed, and tonight the play opens at Sydney’s Belvoir Street Theatre. She also stars in this drama about the effects of war, based on her family history. If you’re in town, please go along and check it out. I’m so excited for Kate. She was with me when my agent offered representation. As a writer, she knew just how much the offer meant to me. We jumped around and screamed for ages (after we double-checked the email to make sure I read it right the first time).

Congrats, Kate! Thanks for your support. Break a leg.