In Praise of ARRC09

As I’ve told you often enough, or in case you’ve forgotten, the Australian Romance Readers Convention (aka ARRC09) will run from February 20-22 here in my own Melbourne. Thanks to all attendees, sponsors, attendees-at-a-distance, organisation committee, and everyone who’s pitched in to make this event happen, and who’ve helped publicise it.

I’m looking forward to this more than I can tell you. I do get rather jealous when my North American and European peeps talk of attending cons, meeting authors, hanging out with writer/reader pals in facetime… Don’t get me wrong – I’m happy that you have all this. I just wish I had it, too πŸ˜‰

Maybe it’s the whole location thing, but even though I follow book news on the Internet as closely as I can (without forking out for a Publisher’s Marketplace membership), I still feel so separated from the book world and the various writing cliques.

So to have a special gathering such as this, in my own country, in my own state…it’s really brilliant. I don’t even have to pay for accommodation, though I will have to use public transport for better or worse πŸ˜‰ And since the con’s on a weekend (I won’t be there for Friday’s events), the train will only cost me $2.50 for each day. Weekend Saver tickets, y’all.

MaryJanice Davidson, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Stephanie Laurens may pull the crowds, and I’ll be the embarrassed one in the crowd because I haven’t read their work, and aren’t sure that their books will suit my tastes. Nevertheless, it’s wonderful they all will be attending, and MJD will even be bringing her kids. You’re never too young to start learning about the world at large, and not just your little corner. Here’s hoping you enjoy your time here and take home some nice memories, kids πŸ™‚

But really the other major headliners are why I’ll be attending: Liz Maverick and Susan Grant. I’ve been keeping an eye on Liz since the launch of Dorchester’s SHOMI imprint. And though I’ve only read three of the books so far (Michele Lang’s Netherwood, Eve Kenin’s Hidden and Michelle Maddox’s Countdown), I’ve bought the others, and they’re all waiting patiently on my shelf to be read.

Last year I looked up Liz’s backlist, to see what other books of hers I might like to try. And I found that perfect one: The Shadow Runners. It’s a futuristic – SET IN AUSTRALIA. This was at the time I was realising how awesome futuristic fiction is, and I’ll admit it: when I learned of this book’s existence, I started thinking about writing my own futuristic Australia novel. I’ve never had a muse, or whatnot, but in this case Liz unintentionally provided inspiration. So even though I haven’t read the book yet (though I own it), it’s very special to me. Now I just need Liz to sign it (and personalise it, let’s not forget) to cement its awesomeness. I WILL TRACK HER DOWN! πŸ˜‰

The Shadow Runners is actually the third novel in a 5-book miniseries…created by Susan Grant. She also wrote the first and last stories: The Legend of Banzai Maguire and The Scarlet Empress. The series is set in the year 2176, and since it’s Susan’s brainchild…it makes her awesome. If she wasn’t already awesome, but she already was πŸ˜‰

I own signed and personalised copies of these two books, but since she created the whole series, Susan will hopefully deign to sign the other three as well. Such is the responsibility of the author – if you’re in my city, you may as well be useful πŸ˜‰

Then there’s Keri Arthur, of course. It’s no secret that not every urban fantasy series is to my liking. But I’ve stuck with the Riley Jenson series because it works for me. It’s set in my Melbourne. The investigations often deal with things I haven’t come across in fiction before, so Keri has fab originality. I have a scene each from Embraced by Darkness and The Darkest Kiss still in my mind, even though I read them last year – and believe me, my memory’s terribly shoddy, so this is a marvellous achievement.

And then there’s the matter of the Wolfsbane and Mistletoe anthology I’m currently reading. So far Keri’s contribution has been the only story to properly hold my attention. I quickly gave up on the preceding stories after a few pages each, because they just didn’t work for me. This one is. So this proves that not only can Keri write a cracking novel, but she’s far and above other short story writers, too. Well, in this anthology at least. Much applause. Anthologies on a whole are often disappointing, but stories like Keri’s are the reason I at least try to give anthologies a chance.

And Tracey O’hara will be there πŸ™‚ I only learned of her recently – she’s a Canberra-based urban fantasy author whose first novel, Night’s Cold Kiss, will be released in September 2009 by Harper Eos. So she’s sharing a publisher with the likes of Kim Harrison, Vicki Pettersson and Jocelynn Drake – and she shares an agent with Jocelynn, too. Tracey clearly has great credentials, and she’s a nifty person too – she’s replied to my emails and blog comments πŸ˜‰ Seriously. Often I’m too intimidated or whatever to comment or email an author, so when I do, that’s when I’m comfortable.

I’ll be travelling to the con alone, and won’t know anyone (in person) there, so to anyone who’s attending: say hi πŸ™‚ I think we’ll all be wearing name tags, so I’ll be the Tez with frizzy brown hair and no make-up. And a deer-in-headlights facial expression. And if it’s skirt weather, bruised knees πŸ˜‰ (Keep banging them on the table I work at. Dude, I so need an ergonomic desk-and-chair combo. And a hard drive and working monitor in the same machine, as opposed to the laptop system and computer monitor I currently use.)

Respect, admiration and love to ARRC09, and have a lovely day! πŸ™‚

4 responses to “In Praise of ARRC09

  1. Haha Tez at your description of what you will be looking like.

    I hope you have a blast. I can’t wait to hear how it all went (=

  2. Yea! You are going to have so much fun. And don’t worry about going alone. I went to NY Comic Con alone and had a blast. I’m a big fan of Keri Arthur too. I so hope you get to meet her. And though I agree that Sherrilyn Kenyon’s books probably aren’t your cup of tea, you may want to meet her anyway. Just cuz she’s an amazing person. Have fun. Post pictures. Wish I was there! Krystn

  3. Yeah, I was very disappointed in that anthology. My review of it’s here: http://calico-reaction.livejournal.com/91361.html but I agree that Keri Arthur’s was the best. The Carrie Vaughn one, while enjoyable, may not hold up if you’re not already invested in the character, and it was written from the third person instead of Kitty’s usual first.

  4. I’ll be on the lookout for you Tez!

    At this moment in time I am trying to decide if I am going to stay in a hotel in the city or if I am going to come home. There are advantages both ways.

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