I Can Has Another Holiday?

I’m back from New York City and L.A., just in time for the launch of I Can Has Cheezburger’s 2012 daily calendar. My two cats feature in this most “awsum” publication. I’m a tad miffed that my cats got published with almost zero effort. All they had to do was look kewt. You can purchase the calendar through Amazon. Learn LOLcat-speak with this translator. (No purchase necessary for that.)

So…New York and the Romance Writers of America conference were nothing short of amazing. Thank you to the lovely people who showed up at our Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood workshop, The Road to Novel Completion. I hope you had as much fun as we did. For conference highlights, check out the RSS’s daily recaps:

  • Arrival Day with Anne Barton (who not only WON a Golden Heart, but also landed a book deal during conference!!!)
  • Day 1 with me (who had a fashion faux pas involving blue cake icing)
  • Day 2 with Hope Ramsay (fabulous Grand Central Publishing author who became a grandmother during conference)
  • Day 3 with Sara Ramsey (who was also a GH nominee this year and is probably having a very cool time in Germany right now)

Post-conference, I celebrated Fourth of July in true American style with NY native Jen McAndrews and my Brazilian friend Gabriela Lessa. Fireworks and fine diner food. Perfect. I stayed in a beautiful boutique hotel on West 44th Street. I’m convinced it’s haunted, but then I do have a very fertile imagination. On my way downtown to Greenwich Village, I spent a shamefully long time shopping at discount chainstores Marshall’s and TJ Maxx. (Actually, I’m not that ashamed — I came home with some amazing bargains and one not-so-cheap Italian leather handbag, but a heavily discounted one nonetheless.) I spotted Aussie designer Wayne Cooper’s clothes on some of the racks.

I officially became addicted to Broadway. I saw four shows, forsaking meals in order to do so. Wicked – wonderful. (Thank you to Kim MacCarron for making that possible.) How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying – Daniel Radcliffe; joyous. Catch Me If You CanAaron Tveit as Frank Abagnale Jr — great voice, great costumes and set design. Memphis – I’ll be honest and say it was my least favourite show, but I *adored* the ’50s dresses. The music was written by Bon Jovi’s David Bryan. The beginning of one song, to my ears, was slightly Bon Jovi-esque but otherwise faithful to the era.

A trip to the States would not be complete without some form of star-spotting. We bumped into Jim Parsons of Big Bang Theory fame as he exited the John Golden Theatre. My sister is gonna be sooooo jealous when I show her the video I took…of the back of Jim’s head. Earlier on my trip, my dear friend Tina Ferraro and I had a close encounter with Topher Grace in West Hollywood. He dined next to us at a chi-chi cafe on the Sunset Strip wearing mirrored aviator glasses and a sunburnt face.

I left with a few regrets — not stopping for a salty caramel ice-cream in Greenwich Village, not visiting the Guggenheim, not getting better close-up shots of the Chrysler Building’s foyer (I was kind of chased away by a vagrant), not having quite enough hot dogs.

Times Square -- obviously not for those who want some peace and quiet

Kim MacCarron and a conveniently placed Empire State Building

The Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood workshop. L-R: Liz Talley, me, Jennifer Bray-Weber, Tamara Hogan, Autumn Jordon, Anne Marie Becker

Harlequin SuperRomance author Liz Talley. Isn't she SuperGorgeous? She kept us in line moderating the workshop.

The Pond - Central Park

Macarons at a chocolate shop opposite the Simon and Schuster building. (I will return for you, macarons!!!)

The view from the Metropolitan Museum's rooftop garden. Jen McAndrews very kindly treated me to the extraordinary Alexander McQueen exhibit.

Grand Central Station, where Jen and I experienced the miracle of the whispering gallery. We each stood in corners diagonally opposite each other, about five metres apart, and whispered to the wall. Remarkably, we could hear each other say, "Can you hear me???"

Jen, Gabi, and the Empire State Building

The Chrysler Building - as I mentioned ad nauseam to Kim, my favourite Art Deco building.

Bah humbug to the rude man who mocked me as I snapped this photo of "the pointy building."

Erica O'Rourke (whose excellent book TORN is out now, just a year after winning the Golden Heart!), me and Kim.

Bryant Park -- moments before I was chased away by a gardener with a leaf blower.

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Bits

Lit agent Michelle Humphrey of uber talent agency ICM, who represents my wonderful 2010 Golden Heart sister Jen McAndrews, is offering the chance to win a 10-page critique at the Class of 2k10 blog! (Gosh, what a long sentence!) You’ve got until Sept 14 to enter, so…RUN!

If you’re in Brisbane, the writers festival is happening right now. My girls Anna Campbell and Christine Wells, both historical romance authors, are running a workshop. Those two are a great double act, so go along and see them if you can.

I’m not in Brisbane, so among other things, I’m going to attempt something rather ambitious–making macarons. I had a salty caramel macaron at a Sydney cafe recently and the memory of this sweet morsel continues to linger! Culinary goddess Not Quite Nigella learned how to make them at Baroque Bistro. Check out her experiences here. It looks like a long and drawn-out process, and if I fail, I’ll probably go out and buy some instead. Either way, I shall have my way with macarons this weekend!

Mmmmacarons!

More mmmmacarons!

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!