A couple of weeks ago I attended my first online conference. I wasn't able to make it to the Romance Writers of Australia conference in Melbourne -- and so, missed meeting Angela James. Yeah, not happy about that -- but did get a chance to spend the weekend chatting and writing with other authors at our Claytons Conference. [As well as obsessively following the real life conference via twitter. Thanks to all twittering conference attendees!]
It was a wonderful experience. It reminded me of the value of support networks. Just being able to laugh and let off steam with people who understand the joys and frustrations of writing was amazingly powerful. Everyone ended the weekend energised and that little bit more confident because we'd been reminded we aren't alone.
And because writers' brains aren't normal -- or is it only me? -- that got me thinking about the appeal of shapeshifters in the paranormal romance genre, and more specifically, the role of packs.
Do you remember that old quotation from Robert Frost, "Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in"? I think pack magic captures that sense of belonging. And I think it's that sense of belonging, with all its frustrations and love, that is so appealing.
Everyone needs a place to belong. There is a strong tradition of authors as lone wolves, but we're not. We're sociable, if sometimes shy, communicators. We need our author pack -- and as I look around Here Be Magic and all the other social media where we hang out and support one another, I'm incredibly grateful for the warm welcome of the author community.
Now, I'm not going to insist on a group hug, but perhaps we could howl at the moon together?