I was at GenreCon in Brisbane on the weekend, just for a day on account of my young child, and sadly missed out on the cocktails and karaoke, which were responsible for a number of red eyes on the Saturday. I was in a bit of a state myself, actually, having just lost my beloved Golden Retriever, Goldie, and I had several vague conversations with people, where words simply would not make their way from my brain to my mouth. Apologies if you were on the receiving end of one of these uncomfortable conversations.
Here are the highlights from that day, during the moments I was actually engaged with life.
- Chuck Wendig was a special guest at a session on planning and prioritising writing around the complications of life and gave a hilarious account of what it’s like to have multiple book contracts and a toddler running around while trying to work, something I can empathise with wholeheartedly. Gracie Macgregor was also a guest there and equally funny in her accounts of writing and motherhood.
- It is always delightful to chat to the lovely and funny, Anna Campbell, who managed to cheer me up for a few minutes. Thanks, Anna.
- I caught up with a former work colleague, a fellow editor where I worked at John Wiley & Sons, Victoria Steele, and her friend, romance writer, Christina Brooke.
- The food. Can I just say how amazing the food was at GenreCon? Seriously. Great job.
- I sat in on a workshop with Damon Cavalchini on preparing for reading from my book, The Tea Chest (out in April 2014). I picked up some great tips, including thinking about what I would do if it suddenly began to rain on me in the middle of my reading (has anyone created an Iddy-Biddy-Book-Umbrella?), and also, the benefit of having my own source of light, such as a book light.
- And it’s always a delight to hear Kimberley Freeman (Dr Kim Wilkins) speak on all topics related to writing.
Well done to Meg Vann and Peter M Ball for organising such a great event. I look forward to staying for the festivities next year too.
The lovely Anna Campbell recently guest blogged at ALOHA and was asked to name her top 7 romance films. And don’t we all love a good list making? I’m the sort of person who makes lists all the time and, yes, I have been known to add something I’ve already done just so I can tick it off. Totally inspired by Anna’s list, I decided to write my own.
I like a good dash of comedy in with my romance, so I’ll be focusing those, but I do
Ever After, my favourite romantic comedy of all time.
have an occasional favourite romance and have allowed those too, almost entirely so I can include Dirty Dancing, which I would estimate I have seen no less than thirty times. “Nobody puts Baby in the corner!” (By the way, did you see the extras on the DVD that was released after Patrick died? Did you see the love scene that didn’t make it into the film? Holy cats!!!!!!!!!)
In no particular order:
- Dirty Dancing. Really, no explanation needed there. This film is as near to a perfect film as you can get.
- Love Actually. But I really only love the romance storyline between Colin Firth’s character and his cleaner, who can’t speak English. Such wonderful, captivating tension between them. I was working on my manuscript on the verandah just yesterday and a gust of wind blew the papers all across the yard and I thought of that delightfully funny scene where they both end up in the water chasing his manuscript. Gorgeous.
- Sense and Sensibility. Starring Emma Thompson as Elinor Dashwood. You can’t go past Jane Austen for great romance and this is a visual feast as well. Emma Thompson is such a star.
- Never Been Kissed. I think I might just have a bit of a girl crush on Drew Barrymore and will watch anything she is in. I just love her. This is one of the many, many Drew romantic comedies I love, and it’s a good one.
- The Holiday. An incredibly under-rated film starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Jack Black. A wonderful combination of actors, a funny and engaging script, gorgeous locations, charming. Another gorgeous film I could watch again and again.
- My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I saw this film on the plane on the last leg of my return journey from the UK, so maybe I was delirious with fatigue, but I laughed and laughed and laughed in this film. You know, the kind of laughing that becomes embarrassing when you’re only one of a few people awake and the rest of the plane is quiet. (“What do you mean he don’t eat no meat? Oh, it’s okay, I make lamb.”) And what a clever, clever woman Nia Vardalos is to write and star in the movie! An inspiration to all us writers.
- Father of the Bride. What a beautiful and funny film this is, with romance on all levels, starring the wonderful Diane Keaton and Steve Martin.
- Something’s Gotta Give. Also starring Diane Keaton, this is a highly amusing and entertaining love story involving (shock, horror!) people over 50.
- The Princess Bride. Wonderful fairy tale about love that simply will not die. (“As you wish…”)
- Ever After. Although I put this list in no particular order, I might just have to say that this is my favourite romantic comedy of all time. And… gasp!…. it stars Drew Barrymore as a Cinderella but one that gets a good dose of feminist power and humour and gets to save her prince as much as he gets to save her. Funny, funny, funny. Fairy wings. A guest appearance from Leonardo da Vinci. And Anjelica Huston bringing home the evil stepmother. A rollicking good film.
Gosh, it’s hard to end there… I really also want to sneak in Titanic because it has such a powerful love story alongside the visual wonder, humour and historical interest.
What would you add to this list?
Let’s face it, there isn’t much that’s either romantic or sexy about motherhood. If it’s not the pervasive stains (and odour) of regurgitated formula, or the endless repetition of This Old Man playing knick-knack-paddywhack (what on earth is that anyway?), or the continual sense of chaos in the house, or that you ran out of facial scrub a month ago and keep forgetting to get more, it’s the fact that through sheer exhaustion and the fact that you have five minutes before your baby needs you again that you can’t even manage to wash your hair.
How then does a girl live the writer’s dream and conjure up images of romance and sexiness when the only fantasy she harbours is for four hours (let’s not be greedy) of uninterrupted, deep sleep?
I plan to take my bedraggled self to the Queensland Writers Centre this Sunday for a Masterclass in romance writing with prolific romance author, Anna Campbell. I’m hoping Anna’s expertise can help me contact my inner romantic woman, who is currently helping my characters, Leila and Lucas, strengthen their compelling storyline.
The littlest man romance
Anna, your timing couldn’t be more perfect. But please know that if I yawn the whole way through your masterclass it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the littlest man in my life with whom I’m having a romance of an entirely different kind.