I had such a great time in Italy. I kept a journal while I was travelling and I'm glad I did as there are so many good memories attached to the photos I've taken I need the entries to keep them clear!
Here's some of the shots I took while in crowded Roma!
The first is affectionately dubbed the Wedding Cake! Can you see why?
The Trevi Fountain - it's situated in a small piazza and the place was packed with people. A little disappointing with the huge crowd as you found yourself doing more pushing through bodies than actually seeing the marvellous carvings in the fountain.
The Vatican - and I here I thought the crowd at the Trevi was big. Yes, this is the line waiting to buy tickets to go into the Vatican. It curves in front and then off screen and through those columns I call "the cattleyards" and through the pillars you can see. You had a 3-4 hour wait to buy tickets and then another couple to get audio-guides (if you wanted to understand what you saw when you got inside).
The Forum - situated on the Palantine hill, the first of seven that Rome is built on. The legendary hill where Romulus and Remus established Rome.
The Spanish Steps - again the crowds tended to kill the awe you felt being at such a famous site but I did traverse them (the steps and the people) from top to bottom and checked out the incredible artists who had their work on display on the footpaths.
Another Aussie author I found on a bookstand - this time it was HMB medical author Marion Lennox!
The Colosseum - this was the place I've always wanted to see since studying the Roman Empire in Ancient History in high school. It's huge and could fit 75 000 people inside!
Here I am at the Colosseum!
The sheer size of the place is intimidating. Standing on the second tier, I wondered how the gladiators and others felt being on the sandy floor looking up at a screaming-for-blood crowd back in the days of the games.
A common sight around Italy - older men sitting on benches watching the world go by, talking about who knows what.
Is there any particular subject you'd like to see posted on my blog? Do you have a burning need for information about a topic? Want to start a discussion about an issue? Are the guest author visits of value to you? Feel the need for a book review or two?
I'm open to suggestions and would value your ideas if you'd take the time to comment. Let's see what we can come up with! And I'll do my best to oblige. ;-)
I'm spending a little time on my birthday doing things I really want to do - one of them is catching up with the blog.
Here are some more photos from my trip around Italy!
The Leaning Tower of Pisa - it sure felt weird climbing the stairs inside.
This is a view from the top of Pisa overlooking the field of Miracles and the Duomo.
Piligliano - one of the medieval villages in the Toscana countryside that I visited. I really loved walking the twisted cobblestoned streets. This picture is taken from the window of the albergo (hotel) that I stayed in. It was built right on the edge of the cliff!
Sorana - another of the medieval villages I explored. Lots of friendly cats in these places!
Look what I spotted in one of the many street stalls in Pisa! Our own Aussie author - Kelly Hunter!
Bikes, bikes and more bikes - Italians ride them all over the place!
A light-hearted post today with lists of my favourite things.
Favourite Romance Authors/Book Nalini Singh - Caressed By Ice
Lora Leigh - Forbidden Pleasure
JRWard - Lover Awakened
Lori Foster - Too Much Temptation
Sherrilyn Kenyon - Night Play
Angela Knight - Jane's Warlord
Christine Feehan - Shadow Game
Marjorie M.Lui - Shadow Touch
Larissa Ione - Pleasure Unbound
Sydney Croft - Unleashing the Storm
Eve Kenin - Driven
Favourite SF/F Authors/Series
Cory Daniells - The Last T'en series
Anne McCaffrey - The Dragons of Pern + The Ship Who Sang series (couldn't split them)
Andre Norton - Witch World series
Mercedes Lackey - The Heralds of Valdemar series
David Eddings - The Belgariad series
The Lord of the Rings trilogy
Star Trek - all of them
Star Wars - all of them
The Chronicles of Riddick
The Matrix trilogy
The X-Men series
A Knights Tale
Dances With Wolves
Favourite Ways to Relax
Play computer roleplaying games
Sitting beside a river
Watching a storm
Vege out on the lounge with a good movie
Favourite TV shows
Law and Order:SVU
America's/Australia's/NZ's Top Model
North & South
Cats - all sorts but particularly domestic cats, panthers, jaguars
Have you decided whether you're going to attend this year's Romance Writers of Australia conference? Or how about the RWNew Zealand or RWAmerica conferences?
For me going to at least one is a given - my annual holiday retreat. Two, if I can afford it (and I put every penny away that I can) so I can indulge in two weekends of incredible friendship, networking and professional development. Nothing beats mixing and meeting with like-minded individuals who travel or have travelled the path you're taking.
The highlights of these conferences have to be the awards dinners. Don't get me wrong, the workshops, guest speakers, author chats, fancy dress cocktail parties, raffles, the food, the bookstalls are all awesome, but these nights are a chance for each organisation to showcase their members achievements and hard earned success. Published and unpublished.
If you've never been to a conference before and are undecided, or nervous about being among virtual strangers, could I encourage you to pluck up your courage and go? Honestly, we don't bite :-) and conferences are sooooo much fun!
My dad has always told me - you get more out of something whatever you're willing to put into it. This applies to conferences. If you stand on the sidelines, hug the wall, hide in your room rather than attend a function, then you probably won't enjoy the conference.
I can remember attending my first RWAustralia cocktail party - actually my first cocktail party period! - I was so intimidated by all the people and "published authors" that I barely said boo. I didn't enjoy it much. The next year I went again and that time I forced myself to mingle and talk to people (mostly about writing) and surprise, surprise, I met a few familiar faces and enjoyed myself.
After that second year I made an effort during morning tea's and afternoon tea's to talk with anyone who looked like they were hugging the wall, or had the cute little chicken/baby bear symbols on their name tags (they meant you're a first timer to a conference). The two or three days at conference goes too fast to waste time worry about not knowing anyone.
Last year I had a friend from NZ come over to attend the RWAustralia conference. The first day we chose our table to sit at for the opening of the conference and we were both chatting when another lady came by, looking a little bewildered and lost. I noticed she had a little chicken symbol on her name-tag, so I greeted her and asked if she'd like to join us at our table. She did and after three days of talking, sharing a table and the odd workshop, she and I are now good friends, and we're coming back to conference this year. In fact, we're going to both RWAustralia and RWNZ conferences!
So, put in what you're willing to get out of it. And if you see me at conference grab me and say hi. I'd love to talk with you.
Top photo - at the 2009 RWAustralia Arabian Night's Cocktail Party. Middle photo - some of the great raffles prizes at the conferences. Bottom photo (r to l) - The "first-timer" friend from last year's conference, my NZ friend & myself at the cocktail party.