ROSACon2016

 

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Mary Jo Putney sharing her wonderful wealth of knowledge in her keynote address.

 

What a glorious weekend!

I popped my writing cherry on so many fronts.

  • My first time attending a conference – writing or otherwise.
  • My first time pitching a book.
  • My first time meeting a literary powerhouse such as the incredible Mary Jo Putney. What an absolutely delightful woman she is. So humble, entertaining and chock-a-block full of valuable insight and information. I could sit and listen to her all day.
  • First time attending associated workshops

The ROSA (Romance Writers of South Africa) committee did an outstanding job of pulling ROSACON2016 together. They thought of everything right down to the last detail and everything ran like clockwork. Melrose Place Guest Lodge and Conference Center was the venue this past weekend and managed to be both quaint and slick at the same time.

Workshops were run by witty, knowledgeable speakers that kept you engaged from start to finish. I came away with my brain stuffed full of things to think about. Everything from self-publishing to traditional publishing and what it means to be a hybrid author was covered. Heroes (Elsa Winckler), tropes (Joss Wood), scene construction (Anthony Ehlers), overcoming fear as an author (Rae Rivers), writing exercises (Mandy Verbaan), building your brand (Carlyle Labuschagne), creating great characters (Rebecca Crowley) and many, many more whose workshops I was unfortunately, unable to attend.

Rita award nominee Romy Sommer inspired us all with her account on having attended the very prestigious RWA Rita awards ceremony in San Diego this year. What an outstanding achievement that was!

The swag was indulgent – I feel so spoiled – and included copies of books from our wonderful published members as well as Mary Jo Putney. I managed to get most of them signed save for the written delights of Joss Wood. By hook or by crook, I intend to somehow rectify that.

ROSA’s very first Imbali award for Excellence in Romance Writing was presented at our gala dinner on Saturday evening and went to the lovely Suzanne Jefferies for her book, The Joy of Comfort Eating.

Pitch opportunities were incredible and conducted over Skype. I personally got to pitch to the lovely Charlotte Ledger of HarperImpulse, the fantastic Elaine Spencer of the Knight Agency and our own homegrown export, the wonderful Louise Fury of the Bent Agency. Each of them was kind, engaging and so down to earth that within seconds they had put me at ease and erased my nerves.

The weekend is over now and already I miss my new tribe. I’m counting the sleeps to our next monthly ROSA meeting. In the meantime, I’m going to take everything that I have learned and apply it everywhere that I can. And, in between, daydream and replay all the happy memories.

Thank you ROSA for an outstanding experience!

 

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