Coming into Winter

With a week of freezing weather before WriteFest I thought we’d be rugging up and having our workshop presenters huddled around heaters instead of enjoying beautiful Bargara Beach where they were staying. But the cold eased, and except for the odd shower the sun shone, so coats and umbrellas stayed in the cupboards. It was a great day, and attendees were very appreciative of the workshops by presenters author and psychologist Dr Leah Giarratano, games writer Leanne C Taylor, writer and QWC Program and Marketing Office Aimee Lindorff, author Anne Gracie and blunt and sharp-edged weapons expert Ray Floro (watch him in action on YouTube). We had to supply Ray with a full leg of lamb for each workshop so he could demonstrate the damage that knives, big and small, can inflict on human flesh and bone.  This resulted in lots of gasps and shudders from the audience. He also recounted incidents from his many years teaching defence force personnel and police officers – very enlightening. And the well-carved legs of lamb went to the RSPCA for their animals. 🙂

Just a few pics from the Meet-and-Greet Dinner on the Friday night and from the WriteFest day on the Saturday:

Authors Helen Lacey and Louise Cusack
Authors Helen Lacey and Louise Cusack atWriteFest 2011
Author Anne Gracie and weapons instructor Ray Floro
Presenters, editors, and the WriteFest committee

Now the excitement is over and the final details almost wrapped up I can get back to writing Conceptions and Misconceptions.

Off to Mackay

Only a couple of days to go before I fly to Mackay in central Queensland to present three workshops at the Mackay Writers Silver Jubilee Weekend festival.

I’ve been to Mackay several times, and always enjoyed it. The Mackay writers are a great bunch, very warm and friendly, and it will be great to meet up with them again. They chose the topics of my workshops, and I had to smile as one of them came from when I was on a panel entitled “The Science of Lust” at the Science Writers Festival some years ago. So this workshop is called “Getting it on – the Science of Lust”. It sure is going to be interesting 🙂

My other two workshops are on crime writing and short stories, and the whole program offers something for every writer. Other presenters are authors Peter Watt and Simon Higgins and CEO of the Queensland Writers Centre, Kate Eltham.

When I organise WriteFest, the Bundaberg writers festival, I try to get presenters who can offer a diversity of topics so the program will appeal to as many writers as possible, but I really appreciate it when writers let me know what they want to learn about. All suggestions gratefully accepted.

What a wonderful day!

If the happy faces and comments in the Questionnaire were an indication, WriteFest was a great success. Approximately 100 attendees crowded Building 5 of the CQUniversity to attend the workshops and masterclass and take advantage of the day to learn and network.

The editors from Harper Collins interviewed 10 writers and asked eight of them for their full manuscripts. There were some very happy faces coming out of the interview rooms.

Editor Ali Lavau, authors Richard Harland, JJ Cooper and Frances Watts and dramaturg Peter Matheson revealed the secrets of their success while editor Deonie Fiford up-skilled ten writers in her masterclass. CEO of the Queensland Writers Centre presented a very informative workshop on the latest in digital strategies for writers.

It was a great day and worth all the effort. But now it’s back to what I absolutely love – writing! So watch out MM&M, I have the end in my sights and will work like mad to achieve this. But I will also be working on the workshops I will be presenting at the Mackay Writers Silver Jubilee Festival at the end of the month. And thinking about next year’s WriteFest. So if you have any suggestions as to what topics you think would be great covered in a workshop, just let me know.