Whilst Melbourne was exciting and new and large, there was something comforting about being in Auckland, in my own backyard with writing friends I've 'grown-up' with (ie who have followed my wobbly steps from dipping my toe in right through to contracting with M&B).
Both conferences attracted some fabulous speakers, both international and homegrown, and both conferences were warm welcoming events.
Sadly we lost one of our own during the RWNZ conference. The lovely Sandra Hyatt (Harlequin author) was taken ill on the Friday night and died on Sunday. She was a gorgeous talented author, and dedicated mother and wife. Her passing has left a hole in the lives of those who knew her that will never be filled.
So we tackled our conference with a mixture of excitement, vigour and, later, fortitude and grace. There was a real feeling that Sandra would not have wanted us to cancel, that the show very definitely should go on. But even though the room was full of wordsmiths, there didn't seem adequate words to express our sorrow.
This doesn't seem an appropriate time to talk of the amazing speakers and the wonderful lightbulb moments, so I'll pop back in a day or two to tell you my highlights!
In the meantime, don't waste a precious second of your life, hold your loved ones closer and don't be afraid to say how much you love them.
In the over-used but very apt words of William W Purkey:
You've got to dance like nobody's watching
Love like you'll never be hurt
Sing like there's nobody listening
And live like it's heaven on earth,
until next time,