Conference Spotlight ~ Diamonds Are Forever conference team (part 1)

Welcome to another of our Conference Spotlights from the


Welcome to the first spotlight on the conference team, ‘Team Diamond’. We have our fearless, amazing leader, Fiona Gregory, and our registrar extraordinaire, Jenn J McLeod.

Fiona Gregory

Fiona Gregory’s first love is speculative fiction and she’s busy exploring the universe, one romance at a time. Fiona has had stories published in RWA Little Gems Anthologies and is currently editing her second novel.

Describe yourself in 10 words.
Writer, reader and part-time farmer who loves a challenge.

What role(s) are you doing for the DAF conference?
My role is to oversee the conference preparations and the volunteer team, who are working like trojans to bring you a jam-packed conference in a really funky location. I’m working closely with the hotel as hotel liaison, and celebrating that we chose a hotel with an in-house pastry chef – the macaroons are heavenly.

What are you most looking forward to at the DAF conference-  as an organiser? – as yourself?
As an organiser – seeing what started as chicken scratchings of ideas in my notebook come to fruition as an event.
For myself – I’m really looking forward to seeing our speakers – we’ve got a fabulous line up of Australian and International speakers.

Can you give us a hint of your costume for the Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend Cocktail party?
Who knew you could buy 1950’s vintage dress patterns on eBay?

What’s the most memorable conference moment for you?
Sitting on a sunny hotel terrace at the Gold Coast Conference in 2006 (my first conference) and plotting out a novel with a group of strangers after hearing a forensics expert talk about DNA.

What advice can you give first timers?
Welcome, don’t be shy. Everyone is really friendly. There’ll be plenty of opportunities for you to meet other writers, to talk shop and to connect with future friends, all of whom will support you as you follow your dream towards publication. Enjoy! (Oh, and make sure you leave extra room in your luggage, you never know what you might find at the bookstore!)

Jenn J McLeod 

Small town stories. Discover them. Love them

Author and self-proclaimed tree-change expert, Jenn J McLeod (a city girl by birth) discovered an affinity with the country in her early twenties, exploring Australia’s heart while living out of a converted Ford F100 van. For three years she worked where ever she could, doing whatever she could; a can-do approach that kick-started a diverse range of work experiences once back in Sydney. In 2004 she gave up her communications management role, swapping Sydney’s corporate chaos for a little café culture and buying a small café, in a small town, but with big plans to focus on her writing.

It was like coming home.

Hoping to inspire others to embrace country life, Jenn now spends her days writing and running a unique B&B from which she draws inspiration from life’s everyday disruptions while romancing the possibilities of life, love and second chances.

Her debut novel, A House For All Seasons, is due for release in time for Mothers’ Day 2013. Simon and Schuster Australia.
Find Jenn at her website.

Describe yourself in 10 words.
You mean as Conference Registrar? From start to end? Easy.
Eager. Confused. Overwhelmed. Dazed. Nervous. Hysterical. Exhausted. Drinking. Drunk. Asleep.

What role(s) are you doing for the DAF conference? 
 As Conference Registrar my role covers all of the above. I call it my character arc!

What are you most looking forward to at the DAF conference- as an  organiser? – as yourself?
Besides the drinking and the sleeping? The hugs 🙂

Can you give us a hint of your costume for the Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend Cocktail party?
Vintage/Recycled (a.k.a that outfit I haven’t had the heart to throw away, thinking I might actually be able to wear a blingy blue number and still fit into it. (Don’t believe it’s vintage. Check this out.)

 What’s the most memorable conference moment for you?
2011 – every second! But if I have to pick one: Jane Porter. Her closing speech whipped up all the emotion of the conference, turned me into a pathetic blubbering mess, cemented RWA Conference as an addiction, and made me want to be part of bringing the magic to others.

What advice can you give first timers?
Don’t act like one. In other words: Circulate at meal breaks, sit at different tables in sessions, say hello to everyone and anyone and, most importantly, know the answer to this one question: ‘And what do you write?’


Thanks, ladies.

Look out for the next conference spotlight on the 18th June.

Leave a comment


  1. Yay, Fiona and Jenn! What a team!
    Can’t wait to catch up with you both at the conference! As a matter of fact, we’re on our way now via The Black Stump and the Back of Bourke… have the timing down to hit the GC for all the fun in August!
    You girls and you conference committee rock!

  2. maryde

     /  June 11, 2012

    Morning Fiona and Jenn,
    and All of you guys who do so much work, to put these Conferences together for us. You are AMAZING!
    Fiona, I am so glad you are on to the important stuff. The in-house pastry chef. LOL

    Jenn, love your character arc, and I want one of those letter-boxes.
    Hope to meet you at the Conference 🙂

  3. Hats off to you, Fi. It’s an enormous job and your brilliance at pulling it together will shine in August.

    And Jenn, I take it this means in your handover to any future Registras there’ll be a nice bottle of red? Saving a hug for you…

  4. You are two awesome ladies with incredible skilz. What a great program you’ve put together. Looking forward to seeing you both in August :-))

  5. Love working with both of you ladies. Can’t wait to see you both on the GC!

  6. maryde

     /  June 11, 2012

    Jenn, Now you’ll have us all looking at Bron’s feet LOL 🙂 🙂
    Just kidding Bron 🙂

  7. kezp

     /  June 11, 2012

    You ladies are doing an unbelievable job (along with the rest of your team). Cannot wait until conference!!

  8. Yay, Fiona & Jenn,. what an awesome team. Your hard work is greatly appreciated & I hope that your writing time has not suffered as a consequence. will be great to see you guys again. Thank you and all of your team for doing such a fab job.

  9. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU you wonderful lovely ladies! Can’t wait to raise a glass (or three) to you at conf. x Rach!


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