Romance Writers Conference Gold Coast 2012

What a glorious conference! This was my first time at a Romance Writers of Australia Conference, and I had the good fortune to attend with my good friend and fellow writer, Charlotte Nash.

Can I just say, it was magnificent. Everyone I met was super supportive and genuinely interested in hearing about projects (Yes, I couldn’t but help mention Bikie Werewolves in Tasmania). Published authors were friendly and approachable, the RWA volunteers were easy to find and super helpful. And the hotel. Well, let’s just say those beds were like sleeping on freaking AIR.

Tell you more about this awesome conference, you say? Alright then…

How not to Pitch to a publisher
I was lined up to pitch my polished manuscript, Blackgoat Watch to one publisher and then another the next day. Can I just say…curse my nerves! Curse them to the pits of HELL. My first pitch went something like this:

(Rebekah finishes her pitch, realising too late it was too long.)

PUBLISHER: Nice, nice. (pause) So…is there romance in it?

ME: Oh. Yeah. Well, there’s that guy I mentioned. And they have sex.

PUBLISHER: I see. And where did you say this story was set?

ME: Oh, you know, a place I’ve called The Weald. A realm, like, if Narnia smoked methamphetamine and forgot birth control.


Cue internal scream of noooooooooo! That is NOT better than what I was supposed to say, which was: “A pre-industrial fantasy world”. Publisher asked for a couple of chapters though, so a nice outcome, though I suspect he was taking pity on me, I was pretty shaky. Not the greatest moment in pitching history. Fortunately, I learnt from my errors, trimmed my pitch to a neat 30 seconds and made sure I mentioned the romantic angle. The next day I pitched and it went great. What can you do? DON’T DWELL REBEKAH, DON’T DWELL.  MOVE ON. NOTHING TO SEE HERE.

Standout Sessions
A stand out session for me was the “Putting Sizzle into Every Scene” with amazing and hilarious Fiona Lowe. She talked about vital elements for a brilliant love scene and how unresolved sexual tension is a powerful tool. She also showed some wonderful examples of body language in kissing scene. See here…meeeeoooow Does anyone recognise the first kiss? Is that Daniel Day-Lewis? How could I miss this movie? And another kissy-kissy clip she showed us… (Now, what is this North and South business? Who is the guy in the train? Who is the woman? Stuff them…WHO IS THAT GUY KISSING HER? I shall be hunting down this BBC series to watch, my bosoms all aquiver in anticipation.)

Of course, in my opinion, one of the best kiss scenes is the one from Drive. Oh yes. Oh noice. Very noice.

The panel of erotic writers talking about their craft was interesting. I’m still wondering about the story one author told us she wrote, about a women who bakes a gingerbread man who then comes alive and they have erotic sex (Don’t visualise it, Bek, just don’t…aaahhhh! My eyes! My eyes! All that gingerbread!)

Alexandra Sokoloff had some great things to say about techniques on the four act story structure. I’ve bought her books online and am looking forward to utilising what I’ve learnt in my structural edits for Bikie Werewolves and Griorwolf.

Cocktail Party
The cocktail party was a blast, though I think I had just as much fun getting ready as I did at the party, as there was knarly-pants 90’s music on the telly (When Bobbi Brown and Vanilla Ice were hot). I swear it felt like I was getting ready for my senior ball. Cue montage of Charlotte and I, getting ready…

Meeting people
The variety of people was outstanding and everyone was keen to chat about writing. Some of the interesting people I met were fellow writer Karyn Brinkley and her rather interesting handmade brooches. I also met the talented up-and-coming writer, Whitney Keevers-Eastman.

In Conclusion
So, now I am charged up to edit and polish Bikie Werewolves (I really need to think of a better name…like…His Dangerous Passion Stick…or something) and book 2 of my dark fantasy series, Griorwolf. I am super psyched to beef up my romance subplots and create those dark and dangerous hero’s Rebekah everyone adores. Yeeess. Just like Michael Fassbender. We’ll even forgive his rather unattractive skinny gymnastic hips. Oh, Mr Fassy Pants….how you shall inspire me!

Posted on August 20, 2012, in Rebekah Turner. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. sallyamberantler

    God you’re great, Bek!!!! I spluttered my toothpaste reading the bit about Narnia on meth!!!!
    And what’s Griorwolf? Is this ANOTHER project? You are getting as prolific as Ms Char!
    And I am so with ya re’ Fassbender. He is uber-hot.

  2. Hey there. It was my first time too. I pitched and really I hadn’t really even thought of my book being fantasy until 12 hours before the pitch. I’d never pitched before. It went okay but I hadn’t got the emotional transition stuff for the romance angle right. I’m revved up and ready to go. The conference was awesome.

    • Hi Donna, it was pretty invigorating, wasn’t it! I’m so glad my second pitch restored my faith in me not being mental. I woke up this morning and remembered my opening line to first Publisher. It went like this:

      Publisher: “How are you finding the conference?”

      ME: “Great, though it’s been a long time since anyone called me a virgin.”


  3. I’m not a fan of the Fassbender, as you well know … but god, that scene in Drive… There’s nothing like a man who can kiss like that and then bludgeon someone to death in an elevator. You can so see it in him …. I’ll kiss her now because then I’ll have to show my true face and it will never happen again. That’s why Drive is not a romance, I guess. Pity.

    • If you squint hard enough…it could be a romance…maybe…there’s a subplot in it…sort of…not really…

      • Yeah, it’s that lovely early second act when you get to indulgently show the characters in their world … all that moody music and driving and hand-holding. Then we get to that middle pivot, the Tarantino moment where it all goes to shit, and you know the romance is caput … the only question is whether the Driver gets out alive or not. But it’s Ryan Gosling. I say yes, yes. 😉 Awesome, awesome film.

  4. Woah! There’s me! Hi Rebekah!
    It’s been a little while since we met. 🙂
    And here I am, procrastinating after an exam and I find myself on your blog.
    Hope the writing has been going well.
    Awesome meeting you at the conference,

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