The Report From Down Under (Part I) or…
How I Spent My Summer Vacation
I have always found it hard to recap my escapades because its difficult to relate those adventures in a cool way. Some folks are great at that, I have to work at it. Part 1 is a brief overview of what I was up to. Part 2 will be specific anecdotes.
So here goes…
The Oz Trip in Numbers:
1 New Continent
4 Australian Cities
8 Meet & Greets
$10 AUD for a pint of beer (!!)
24,354 miles traveled **
Countless priceless memories
Let’s start with the SupaNova conventions. I have attended well over 80 conventions/conferences over the 12 years years I’ve been out and about as an author. Some have been good, some have been not-so-good. There are a few US conventions who go above and beyond the “here’s your schedule and your badge now kindly go away” and for those I am very grateful. But for World Class Experience, SupaNova stands on its own. From the assistance of their literary liaison (Ineke Prochazka) to the hotels, the transportation and the green room experience, everything was top notch. Besides ample food and drink, their “green” room was stocked with con survival supplies (headache remedies, throat lozenges, eye drops, immune support, cold remedies) available for all. I swear the Codral (an immune support drink) kept me from catching a cold or flu for the entire time I was in Oz. Given it’s WINTER over there and folks are sick, that’s a miracle.
For those days not involved in a convention, since these two cons were back-to-back on opposite sides of the Australia, various tours were arranged so the guests could see Oz at its very best. Because of my travel schedule I didn’t get to do as much sightseeing, though Ineke and her friend Harmony were very sweet to give me a tour of Sydney the day after I arrived. I did partake in two of the tours around the Perth con, a winery trip (I LOVE Aussie wine!), a wildlife park and a boat trip to Fremantle. All that those were handled beautifully. It was also a great way to hang with my fellow guests and just talk.
So I offer my *heartfelt* thanks to Daniel Zachariou, the head honcho of SupaNova, and to Missy and Felicity, who served as his seconds-in-command during the two shows and to Ineke the author wrangler. Also, my thanks the various personal assistants and volunteers who helped out over the two weekends. All of you folks make this trip so very memorable. And some of those memories are:
Being met by a driver at the Sydney airport and escorted to a silver Jaguar for the drive to the hotel. Ditto on the way back to the airport. Just. Wow. O-O
Meeting so many of my Australian readers, a few of whom were so overcome they could hardly speak. It really meant so very much to me to see you and talk to you. Special shout outs to Carla Aparo who stoked me up on chocolate and took me to the Melbourne Zoo and to all the folks who came to see me at the Meet & Greets. Suzi in Melbourne brought me prezzies and Michelle (Novels on the Run) and her hubby and daughter who made a four hour round trip journey into Brisbane to see me at a pub packed with Origin rugby enthusiasts. And many others as well.
Having the joy of making new author friends, sharing war stories and signing for readers half a world away. Those folks included: Raymond E. Feist, Kylie Chan, Trudi Canavan (and her lovely hubby Paul), Juliet Marillier, Traci Harding, Kate Forsyth, Colin Taber and Jay Kristoff.
I also hung with some of the media and artist types, who are just as real and fun as the authors. In particular I give a shout out to Eoin Macken (MERLIN) and his delightful girlfriend Charlotte Atkinson. We shared wine and a laugh, talked screenwriting and movie directing and then Eoin tried to talk me into retiring to Ireland. I also spent quality time with George Perez and his wife Phoenicia, as well as Alex Saviuk and his lovely spouse.
My thanks to Rupert Young (MERLIN) who bought me a lemonade after I razzed him about his need to find *one particular coffee shop* in Fremantle (apparently the font used in the store’s signage is a clue to the quality). This involved a lengthy walk, a bit of a “lost” but the shop was found and proved to be worth the hunt. He was a good sport about my whinging.
So that’s Part 1 of my trip to Oz. Part 2 will occur after the Romance Writers Conference. I feel very blessed to have made the trip and to have met so very many wonderful people.
** Which is a few hundred miles short of the earth’s circumference at the equator.