MRWG members with heart sculpture

Ain’t Love Grand – Romance Australia 2016 conference highlights

For the last four days, I was lucky enough to attend the Romance Australia 2016 conference, Ain’t Love Grand. It was my third conference and probably the most fun!

Below is a Storify wrap-up of my Twitter feed from the weekend, filled with notable quotes, and as someone else told me, lots of impressive cleavage! My writing group pals in the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild (MRWG) were all brilliant as usual, and also looking particularly fabulous…

Super-dooper highlights

On Friday, the Michael Hague Story Mastery workshop was gold, right from the start. Michael is a Hollywood screenwriting consultant, having worked with the likes of Will Smith on finessing a script. His focus on romantic comedies was right up my alley, and I think I’ll gain a lot of inspiration from that session into the future.

Friday night was the cabaret-themed cocktail party. It was a hoot, and of course it was special to me, as I received my First Sale ribbon, acknowledging that 2016 was the year my first novel was published. My debut novel, Girl on a Plane, was only released about a month ago by Avon Maze/HarperCollins UK, so it’s still exciting and new to be an official author. I found time to chat with other authors and fangirl like a boss!

The morning after the night before was all a bit hard…but once I found real coffee and got going, I enjoyed some fab workshops and also brainstormed some new story ideas with some friends.

Then Saturday night was the big gala awards dinner in the Stamford Grand ballroom. I still can’t quite express how excited I was for my writing group friends who were up for big awards. Samara Parish and Jess Devine were Highly Commended in the Valerie Parv Award, and Chris Weston from the MRWG won! Also Stefanie London was Skyping from Canada, watching the announcement of the short, sexy romance category in which she was a finalist. Well done to all!

The biggest news from the awards was the WIN by MRWG’s own Michelle Somers, in the RuBY Award (Romantic Book of the Year) for her romantic suspense novel, Lethal In Love. Our table erupted into hooting and hollering, even from the ladies phoning it in via Skype. Super-dooper mega congratulations Michelle!

Later we danced the night away, busting out some 80s moves and even a shimmy-shake like my own flight attendant heroine, Sinead. This was on special request from Vanessa Carnevale, otherwise I wouldn’t have done it, because I’m such a shrinking violet on the dance floor… 😉

Sunday was more relaxed, but I have to mention the fantasticly funny and inspirational keynote speech from Fiona McIntosh. She challenged us all to work hard, write like it’s a job (it is), bum in seat and come and get her on the bestseller lists. It’s on!

Now the Ain’t Love Grand conference is over, I feel inspired to finish my manuscript (dubbed the Neverending Story) and get onto something new and fresh. Happy writing everyone!

Posted in romance.


  1. Wow, didn’t we do a heap this weekend!
    Was probably one of my favourite conferences too. Had a blast hanging out with friends, making more friends, and talking writing (my fave topic!)
    Was so glad to share the gala dinner with you! What an amazing evening.
    Feels strange to be back in the real world again…
    Happy writing, Cass!

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