Renee Conoulty: #RWAus16 Highlights - Ain't Love Grand


Monday, 22 August 2016

#RWAus16 Highlights - Ain't Love Grand

Hey Everyone!

On the weekend, I attended the 25th Anniversary Romance Writers of Australia conference in Adelaide, South Australia. What an awesome weekend, so many highlights! Hello to all my new friends **waves**

Those of you who follow my Facebook author page will already know that I felt like the heroine in a chick lit novel by the time I made it to the conference. On Thursday night, I made myself beautiful. First impressions count and I was about to meet so many of my online friends for the first time. I epilated my legs (even though nobody saw them all weekend, Adelaide is much colder than Darwin) and polished my toenails (nobody saw them either). To finish off my beauty regime, I relaxed with a cleansing clay mask on my face. My face tightened, it must be dry and ready to wash off, I didn't remember it being that warm last time... Yep. Chemically burnt my face! I don't want to post the photo here, but you can see it on Facebook if you want a giggle. Cortizone, aloe vera sorbolene and a full night's sleep later and the colour went back to normal. Phew!

Friday morning I arrived at the airport with what I thought was over an hour to spare, only to hear an announcement as I walked through the doors that checking in for my flight was now closed. I raced to the counter and begged to be let on the plane. Luckily this wasn't the black moment in my real life story and they let me on. I ran to the security area. Beeped on the way through the metal detector. Damn bangle. Made it through there, flushed and sweating. Yep, security guy thought I looked dodgy and decided to test me for drugs and explosives. Argh! Got to the gate as everyone was boarding. Phew again.

My roomie Michelle Skidmore and I on our way to the
Love is a Cabaret cocktail party
Of course, then I was bracing myself for the third thing. It always comes in threes. As I walked to my room along the carpeted hall of the hotel, ready to meet my roomie for the first time, I stumbled. I caught my balance and when I looked to see what I'd tripped on, there was nothing there. I took a few more steps and it happened again. One foot felt heavier than the other, like I wasn't picking it up properly as I walked. the combination of the fact that I'd studied gait (walking) and how it could be affected by neurological conditions when I was at uni and the book I'd been reading on the plane where a character had tripped over something non-existant had me concerned for myself as much as I was concerned for the fictional character in that book. Two more steps and it felt even worse. OMG, am I dying? I lifted my foot a little higher from the floor to discover the sole of my shoe was dangling. Thank god my third thing was a dodgy shoe and not a dodgy roomie! My roomie was so awesome that we immediately embarked on an emergency shoe shopping trip together. Thanks Michelle, you rock!

I met up with Monique McDonnell for lunch
Brand new shoes on and I click clacked down the road, a sound I rarely hear since I practically live in thongs in Darwin. We found the conference venue, registered and then went our separate ways to meet up with friends. I was excited to meet  so many of my online friends for the fist time and meet new friends (who I can now social media stalk too).

On Friday afternoon I had the opportunity to pitch my book to a couple of publishers.Friday night was the cocktail party with the theme Love is a Cabaret. Much fun (wine) and chatting left me with a sexy husky voice for the rest of the weekend.

Saturday I attended writing workshops and panels on the themes of Building your heroine's inner strength, Romantic elements and The Black Moment. Saturday evening was the gala dinner and awards night. I was proud to cheer on so many friends who were highly commended or won awards, including my roomie, my critique partner and the two ladies I'd actually met in person before this weekend. More wine, more chatting and lots of dancing followed by some catching of Pokemon on the way back to my hotel.

Tess Woods, me, and Vanessa Carnevale 

Oh, so much dancing!

Sunday morning I slept in a little... I skipped the early session to catch up with Tess and Sarah for breakfast, then snuck into the back of the workshop about structuring story, great dialogue and murdering cliches. The next session I chose was about tricks and traps of publishing contracts. So much interesting information to take in over the weekend. The last part of the day was an insight into collaborative writing, the reveal of the plans fo next year's conference (I'm saving all my change in my piggy bank - it looks awesome) and a final address from Fiona McIntosh that had me in stitches.What a fabulous weekend, I can't wait until next year.

Ain't Love Grand


  1. So, how did your pitch go Renee?

    1. They both said they'd like to read it and to send it through one I've finished polishing. Very exciting :)