Australian Romance Readers' Convention
by Maggie Nash
Keynote speakers MaryJanice Davidson, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Stephanie Laurens were joined by many other bestselling authors Susan Grant, Liz Maverick, Dianna Love, Keri Arthur, Denise Rossetti, Amy Andrews, Paula Roe and many many more. The consensus was that we have started something special here. Never before have Australian readers had a chance to meet with their favourite authors, or discuss romance fiction and its subgenres in such a public forum. Even the academics panel agreed. People who denigrate romance fiction haven't read it!
A highlight of the weekend was the Gala Awards Dinner on the Saturday evening. Registered delegates all voted for five different awards and the winners were presented with a beautiful trophy on the night. Each category was generously sponsored by publishers and bookstores. The categories and winners were: Favourite Category/series romance for 2008: Winner THE MARCIANO LOVE-CHILD by Melanie Milburne, Favourite Paranormal Romance for 2008: ACHERON by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Favourite Historical Romance for 2008: UNTOUCHED by Anna Campbell, Favourite Australian Romance Author for 2008: Stephanie Laurens, and the award that was generously sponsored by Total-E-Bound – Favourite Erotic Romance (eBook): LORDS of THE WERE by Bianca D'Arc.
TEB author Maggie Nash (who is also the Chair of the Australian Romance Readers Association and one of the organisers of the event) presented the award to Samhain Author Jess Dee who accepted on behalf of her colleague Bianca D'Arc.
TEB also sponsored one of the TEA/COFFEE breaks where hundreds of yummy freshly baked muffins were enjoyed and posters of TEB books were displayed prominently.
The general feeling taken away from this event was one of empowerment. Romance readers can now stand tall and shout from the rooftops — We are Romance Readers, and proud of it!