Cruisin’ with RWA

We love celebrating success. Our members are encouraged to send in their New Release news for publishing in Hearts Talk and the New Releases blog. Don’t miss the deadline! Send in your new releases by the 8th of every month to: Of course, the Cruisin’ Crew don’t want to miss out on the celebrations, so drop Clint and Enrico an email with your blogs, new contract, first sale, new cover or release news at Don’t forget to come back on Sunday for a list of exciting writing-related events delivered by our members.

Member News

is part of a Anthology, Tempted by His Touch, Limited Edition, a multi-author boxed set featuring ten full length historical romances from ten bestselling, award-winning authors. Fall in love with fabulous tales of intrigue, suspense, wit, and passion featuring dukes, rogues, alpha heroes…and the women who can’t resist them.

Has created a sprint room for authors who need to hit weekly or daily word counts. Join up, have a chat and hit that WIP!

The brand new trailer for Before Nightfall has just landed on YouTube

Received great feedback on her upcoming Medieval historical Warrior’s Surrender.

RWA Bloghigh res

August 24 - Event Announcements

August 27 – Author Spotlight on Alli Sinclair

August 28 – Cruisin’ with RWA

Clint’s Romance Rocks Hit List

Cruisin’ Member Blogs

Are you an RWA Member? Share a link and a short blurb here each week by emailing the details to us at:

What do I write about for my ENGAGING THE ENEMY blog tour? If you’re looking for ideas, Susanne Bellamy considers how to keep fresh content coming for a new release.
Hosts include the following wonderful writers: Noelle Clark, Lily Malone, Annie Seaton and SE Gilchrist between now and Sunday.

August 17 –  SE Gilchrist Who Are You?
August 24Sunday Smooch

Time for some serious flavour fun on Friday Feast thanks to food constructor extraordinaire and multiple award winning author Amy Andrews. Come enjoy her Raspberry, Chocolate Mousse and Brandy Snap Tartlets, plus share your cheats way to partying and you’ll go into the draw to win an ebook copy of Amy’s new urban-family romantic comedy, Risky Business. Happiness for your mouth and heart!

New blog post up today: What do your characters sound like and can Shamanism help?

August 3 – Guest Post with Stacey Nash with rafflecopter giveaway

August 16 – Blog Tour Guest Pippa Jay with rafflecopter giveaway

August 17 – Guest Post with Susanne Bellamy

August 23 – Guest Post /Character Interview with Heather Garside

August 14 – 75 Days Of Phobia: Fiona Marsden is Unlucky

August 15 – 75 Days Of Phobia: Cassandra Samuels wants to wear her Slippers

August 16 – 75 Days Of Phobia:Mel Scott‘s S-word

August 17 – 75 Days Of Phobia: The Head Phobia + A Sneaky Peek

August 18 – 75 Days Of Phobia: Nicole Murphy embraces Teflon

August 19 – 75 Days Of Phobia: Mo Mo Mo And Mo Driving in Neutral!

August 19 – Be an Angel Day: Giveaway for Fresh Beginnings

August 21 – May I introduce: Mae Archer Hollywood Dreams

August 24 – Sunday Snippet

Iris Blobel talks about her latest release, Fresh Beginnings.

July 31 – Review and Guest Post: Yes, Chef! by Lisa Joy (Destiny Romance)Red Dirt Duchess

August 14 – Review of Slush Pile by Ian Shadwell (Satire)

August 21 – Review and Guest Post: Red Dirt Duchess by Louise Reynolds

August 14 – Author Spotlight: Alli Sinclair

August 15 – Cover Reveal: A momentous Triple reveal!

August 18 – WIP Me Inspired: Louise Roberts

August 19 – Author Spotlight: Amy Rose Bennett

August 20 – At My Desk: Louise Reynolds


The summer is winding down (even if it’s hard to believe) and our thoughts are running to squeezing out the last bit of fun and preparing for return to school and normalcy for some of us, for others it’s the grand adventures autumn bring! Plus cooler weather!. So join us for the Fresh Fiction “Dog Days of August” we’ve got great contests and a chance to tell us what you’ve read this summer! Hurry it all ends August 19th.

 AusRomToday is proud to announce the inaugural AusRomToday Reader’s Choice Awards! With five fabulous categories, including Best New Author, Best Established Author, Cover of the Year, Author of the Year, and the coveted Book of the Year.

Public voting commences on November 1st, so to nominate yourself (go on, you know you deserve a pat on the back!) or your favourite author, click through to our online nomination form now. Don’t forget to get your mailing list and/or street teams involved in nominating and voting for you!

Enrico’s Pick Six

Submit your blog site link to to share with our readers. Enrico hand picks six blogs to showcase every week. Enrico’s Pick Six this week:Enrico

  1. Ann B Harrison
  2. Daniel deLorne
  3. Alicia Honsa
  4. Bronwen Evans
  5. Cassandra Cornell
  6. Denise Rossetti

Have a great week and happy writing!

Author Spotlight and Giveaway: Louise Reynolds…

Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Louise, and congratulations on the release of ‘Red Dirt Duchess’!  Can you give us the blurb, please?

Thanks, Sarah!

When English society playboy Jonathan Hartley-Huntley is sent to outback Australia after a disastrous affair with his editor, all he wants is to take a few pictures, do a quick interview and get back to his usual life of luxury as soon as possible. Until he meets his host, the irresistible Charlie Hughes, and suddenly the back of beyond is a lot more appealing.

Running the pub is a labour of love for Charlie and she has no desire to ever leave the tiny town of Bindundilly. That is, until Jon discovers an old painting that raises questions about both their lives. Charlie impulsively decides to follow him to London, and as the feelings between them begin to deepen, she starts to wonder if there’s more to life than the pub. But at Jon’s family home, the magnificent Hartley Hall, they become acutely aware of the differences between them, and it soon seems clear they have no future together – especially if Jon’s mother has her way.

Family and tradition threaten the course of true love in this warm and witty novel from the author of Outback Bride and Her Italian Aristocrat.

 Red Dirt Duchess

You write of independent heroines who are in control of their own HEA. How do you think romance heroines have changed over the years?

It’s no surprise that heroines are stronger these days. Like modern women they hold jobs that would have been unusual 20 or 30 years ago which gives the writer more scope to create interesting characters. They’re also more likely to express their opinions and initiate relationships. Having said that, it’s important to respect those well-loved heroines of the past. Good writers hold a mirror up and reflect what they see and heroines that we might view now as down-trodden were the norm back then. I also think the type of hero they are looking for has changed with the times.

When did you start writing with the intention of being published?

 About 2010.

Can you tell us about ‘The Call’ and your road to publication? What impact has being published made on you personally?

I received the call from Carol George at Destiny Romance in September 2012 after pitching ‘Her Italian Aristocrat’ a month earlier. I almost shot myself in the foot though, as I was thinking of pitching a newer, unfinished manuscript, something I would never have been able to complete in reasonable time. Luckily my partner gave me ‘the look’, advised me to pitch Aristocrat and they loved it.

Being published has focussed me a lot more. I now make a 12 month plan for the projects I have afoot. I’ve also had to come up to speed on social media and promotion and gained new skills along the way in website creation.

9781742538747 - Copy

Plotter or pantser?

In your opinion, what are the elements of a compelling contemporary romance story?

A great hero and heroine with very real conflicts to resolve. I want the conflict 1to be emotional and their problems not easily overcome.

Which authors or novels have influenced you most?

Nora Roberts’ “Born In” trilogy, “Chesapeake Bay” series, and the “Three Sisters” trilogy. Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ “Ain’t She Sweet”, Kristan Higgins, Marion Lennox, Anne Gracie, Shirley Jump and Sarah Mayberry.

Tell us something surprising about yourself that no one would guess.

I spent a lot of time in my early 30’s walking long distance footpaths in England. Alone. A wonderful experience but with a few freak-out moments.

9781743482643 - Copy

Complete this sentence… ‘When I’m not writing I can be found…

on a building site.

Could you give us a sneaky peek at one of your favourite parts of ‘Red Dirt Duchess’, please?

Sure. Here’s a scene from early in the book when my English hero, Jon, has arrived in the outback and the heroine, Charlie, is taking him on his first drive into the bush.

‘So I guess you’re my tour guide,’ he said. ‘The magazine will pay, of course.’

‘That’s okay. Actually, you’re doing me a favour. I like to get away occasionally.’

He glanced out the window. ‘And go where?’

She was ready with a retort until she remembered how it had been when she and Cliff had first come here. After inner-city Sydney with its street life, crowded pubs, bright lights and noise, those first few weeks had been terrifying. But gradually the peace had settled around them, cancelling out their chaotic existence in the city. With Cliff as her guide, she’d learned to appreciate the space, the vistas and the stunning, saturated colours. She’d gained strength and resilience. And happiness.

 ‘You’d be surprised. There’s quite a good social life around here.’ She shifted gear and took a fork in the track. The surface became rougher and as she swerved to miss a hole, he shifted in his seat and his shoulder bumped into hers. It reminded her of last night, of how he’d felt up close. Strong and sexy. Almost irresistible.

‘Anyway, you can keep your cocktail parties or whatever,’ she continued. ‘When the outback throws a party, everyone comes. The airstrip? There’ll be thirty, forty light planes out there. Race meetings, B & S balls —’

‘I’m almost too scared to ask, but what’s a B & S ball?’ He gripped the handle above the door as they swerved around more holes.

She gave him a pitying look. ‘Bachelors and spinsters, the great hook-up event for country singles. People come from all around, camp out overnight and get dressed up to the nines for the dance. It’s a chance to blow off a little steam.’

‘Sounds classy.’

She slid a look at him. ‘Yeah, well, you should try it sometime, hot shot.’

He grinned and looked out the window.

After ten minutes, he turned to her, a worried look on his face. ‘You do know where you’re going, right? There are so many tracks and they’re so random. I mean, why this one and not the one we passed just back there?’

‘Because most of them aren’t really tracks. They’re just detours made some time when there was water on the road, so they’ll take you away from the road for a while but eventually lead you back a little further on.’ She lowered her voice and made a serious face. ‘That is, if you don’t accidentally take another track that leads off the detour track. It’s easy to do.’

She shook her head. ‘One second of lost concentration and you’re heading down a track to nowhere. But it’s too late once you’ve realised, because when you turn around you can’t remember which track was the one you came off. You can drive around for days trying to find your way home. If you last that long.’

He looked mildly freaked out but she couldn’t help adding, ‘Of course they’re not even tracks, some of them. Most are just tyre marks made by vehicles gone bush. As I said before, a lot of very strange people live out here. No one really knows how many fugitives there are.’

He paled a little more and she was done. As sport went it was perfect.

Ten minutes later they turned off the track they’d been following onto a narrower one; a real track, Charlie informed him with a smirk. Here, by the river, coolabah trees grew, their low, spreading branches providing welcome shade. Charlie pulled into a clearing and shut off the engine.



Web links






Buy link

 Louise is kindly gifting one Kindle copy of Red Dirt Duchess to one lucky reader. To be in the running to win, all you need to do is leave a comment below for Louise.

This competition is open world wide and will be drawn one week from the date of this post. The winner will be notified by email so please ensure that we can contact you.




Event Announcements

Do you have an event or workshop you’d like to share? Email your event news to

In Person Events

  • Making it real: research for writers workshop ~ Jessica White
When: Saturday 23 August, 9:30am – 3:30pm
Where: Gold Coast, TBC
Cost: M Free, NM $30; NM C $27
  • Make Your Romance Writing Sizzle – Carla Caruso
When: Sunday 24 August 1:30pm – 4:00pm
Where: City of Salisbury Council, SA
Cost: Full fee $50, Concession $35 (afternoon tea provided)
  • Western Australia Tour
Fiona Palmer and Rachael Johns are having a RuRo tour through WA in September. You can find details and dates at
  • Romancing the Pagebeing_jade_COVER_HI_res small

Contrary to popular belief, a good romance is not as simple as falling in love. Writing good quality romance requires creativity, innovation, skill and well-formed characters embroiled in believable conflict.
Explore the diversity of the genre, get tips on convincing emotional connection and sex scenes, discover what readers and publishers want, develop a winning story synopsis and killer pitch, and learn about the earning opportunities the romance genre offers.
For beginners, early & emerging writers.

When: Saturdays 6, 13, 30 and 27 September, 10am–1pm
Where: Writers Victoria, 176 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne
Tutor: Kate Belle (author The Yearning & Being Jade)

For more information and bookings:

To send an Event for inclusion in RWA’s Hearts Talk monthly magazine, contact Kate at:

Aspire On Line

Seeking expressions of interest from established authors in the romance genre to assist with writing course material and tutoring student assessments.

Rebecca Timmis is the Creative Manager of a new online education business, ASPIRE Online Courses. We are seeking expressions of interest from established authors in the romance genre to assist with writing course material and tutoring student assessments.
This is real, paid work and a great opportunity to build a profile name and get exposure as an author. We are offering flat fee or royalty-based payments for course material, and a per-assessment fee for tutors.
Our online team is creating a dynamic website and we will be investing heavily in online and offline marketing strategies.
I am a writer for children and young adults and have seen so many aspiring writers try and take on the world of self-publishing without first learning the craft of writing. I am passionate about education and want to establish a team that will bring the best out of our students.
If you would like to apply or wish to share this opportunity with a qualified colleague, please visit ASPIRE online courses and complete an application form at

Book Expo Australia

Where Books Come Alive – Books for everyone and all genres.

When: 30 – 31 August 2014

Where: Exhibition Hall 5, Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park, NSW 2127


From 9:00am for Teachers and librarians
From 10:00am for General Public
Close at 5:30 pm Saturday and Sunday

Tickets are Now On Sale!

$5.00 – Teachers and Librarians (proof of employment may be requested)
$20 – Family ticket (2 adults and 2 YA)
$8.50 – Adult
$5.00 – Children(YA) over 12 to 18
Free – Children 12 and under (proof of age may be requested)

 Australian Writer’s Centre

The Australian Writer’s Centre offers a range of Writing Courses as well as informative Podcasts:

  • Podcast: Episode 24 - So You Want to be a WriterIn Episode 24, Valerie and Allison discuss how to contact your fave author, how to find time to write, and what it means to “show don’t tell”. They also try out an app to find names for your characters and blogging sensation Nikki Parkinson’s launches her new book, Unlock Your Style!

You can listen to the podcast here or find it on iTunes here. If you don’t use iTunes you can get the feed here.

  • Courses starting soon

You’ll find a course starting soon to suit your writing goals:

Creative Writing Stage 1 (Online)

Your online course starts:

Monday 18 August 2014

Stories, ideas, fiction… where will your imagination take you? Book now
Advanced Fiction Writing Techniques (Online)

Your online course is on:

Monday 18 August 2014

Let your creativity soar! Book now
Blogging for Beginners (Sydney)

Your course is on:

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Because if you’re going to do it, do it right… Book now

The Great Aussie Book Prize

The inaugural Great Aussie Book Prize is being run by Barnardos Australia and as well as supporting children in need, also dangles one mighty fine carrot for novelists. In their words, they’re looking for “inspiring true-life stories from everyday Australians”, with the winner receiving agency representation from Australia’s most renowned literary agent Selwa Anthony, and print, ebook and audio book contracts from a well-known Australian publisher. A great prize! Submissions close 31 August, so check out their website for more details.

Online Events

RWA is looking to offer our members a series of online writers’ workshops in the second half of 2014 through its new Online Workshop List (OWL). OWL events will be hosted, facilitated and promoted by RWA on a 75:25 profit-share arrangement with the presenter (the greater amount being the presenter’s). We would like to invite interested RWA members and non-RWA members to apply to conduct a workshop online through RWA in the inaugural OWL calendar. Please download the proposal form, complete by May 1 2014 and email to

Classes are run from Margie Lawson’s website using on-line teaching software used by universities. Take a cyber tour before you start your class and introduce yourself.

Affordable forum-style writing classes

A double Golden Heart finalist in 2006, Julie Rowe has been writing for over ten years. Julie  teaches a variety of workshops and is the moderator of the Announce Online Classes email loop, which promotes online classes for writers. To subscribe to the Announce online Classes email loop, send an email to:

Writers Festivals 2014

Melbourne Writers Festival (MWF) is Melbourne’s annual, two-week celebration for writers, readers and thinkers. Each year in August, the Festival celebrates the talent and ideas of hundreds of writers from Australia and around the world, through a vibrant program of storytelling, conversation and discussion, intellectual debate, educational programs, live performance, music and art events. The Festival includes events for people of all ages and more than a quarter of the program is free. Their highly regarded Schools’ Program attracts more than 15,000 students.

When: August 21–31

Details to be provided as soon as they become available.

When: September 3–7

A Day in the Writing Life of JL Addicoat

Spirit of Love_300dpi (1)Let’s all welcome JL Addicoat to A Day in the Writing Life. JL’s debut novel Spirit of Love is out now! In one or two sentences, please tell us what genre you write in and what made you decide that particular one is your calling. I write in a few genres so it’s probably best to say I write Speculative Fiction. The best way I can describe why is my mind appears to have a few rooms, all with interconnecting doors. They all have one room in common they all lead to and that’s the Romance room. Where do you write? Do you have your own special place? Does the location vary? If we’re talking about writing as in computer, I have my work room, however, a lot of my writing and plotting goes on in my head as I’m driving during the day. JL Addicoat homeoffice What’s the first thing you do before you begin to write? I turn off Facebook. When I feel I’ve done a good amount of work or I’m stuck, I’ll open it back up, but not until then. Do you spend much time reading over the previous day’s work? Do you have a special system in place in order to begin writing or go with the flow? I don’t have any special tactics. I will re-read the last page to refresh the ideas in my mind. Then I go with the flow and hope my characters are going to take me the same way. Are you a plotter / planner or a pantser? Do you edit as you go or prefer to edit after completion of the ms? I suppose I stand with one foot in each camp. All stories will have a loose outline. I have plotted a 50K WIP out with what was to happen in each chapter. That worked until Chapter Six when the pantser took over. I will loosely edit as I go along.  Most of the editing however is done later in the first go over. Do you take time out to stretch, rest your eyes etc and if so do you do any exercises at your desk or between sessions? If I’ve been writing hard for more than three/four hours, I’ll go for a walk in the garden or take the neighbours dog for a walk. The fresh air relaxes me and when I return I am able to put my head down for another few hours. Thanks Jenny! You can find her website here and her blog here. Buy her book at these places: Amazon US Amazon AU Rogue Phoenix Press Barnes and Noble Smashwords

Cruisin’ with RWA

A rocking good time was had by all in Sydney at the 2014 RWA Conference. 320 plus delegates showed Olympic Park a whole new sporting event. Now we’re back, bursting at the seams with news.

We love celebrating success. Our members are encouraged to send in their New Release news for publishing in Hearts Talk and the New Releases blog. Don’t miss the deadline! Send in your new releases by the 8th of every month to: Of course, the Cruisin’ Crew don’t want to miss out on the celebrations, so drop Clint and Enrico an email with your blogs, new contract, first sale, new cover or release news at Don’t forget to come back on Sunday for a list of exciting writing-related events delivered by our members.

Member News

For a full list of the finalists, nominees and winners, click on the link above

Would like to announce some exciting news

I’ve signed my seventh contract with Decadent Publishing! SLUMBER, my take on Sleeping Beauty and part of Decadent Publishing’s brand new Beyond Fairytales line, will be available in ebook from all good retailers soon.

Two of my pre-published novels, NO BOUNDARIES and DECEMBER HEAT have been accepted by Books We Love. Books should be available soon.

DAMAGED DREAMS (Truly Yours Digital Editions Book 101) released this week.

is proud to announce the release of her book, THE BRIDE, THE GROOM AND ME. San Francisco sales clerk, Sassy Chance, has the worst luck ever. First she falls in love with her best friend’s fiancé, Ben. Then she loses the heirloom, one-of-a-kind wedding ring. Totally not her fault. She was mugged. Now Sassy has to find the ring before the wedding day. Just as well she has the help of marital arts expert and unofficial PI, Devlin Fox. He’s kind of cute in a tough, dark and mysterious way. Too bad Sassy is still in love with Ben.

Noelene’s latest pocket novel WHISPERS ON THE PLAINS came out in the UK last week. It’s the first in an outback duo, this one the brother’s story set in mid western WA, the next one the sister’s story set in Flinders Ranges SA.

is thrilled to announce she has signed a contract with Etopia Press for her medieval romantic adventure WARRIOR’S SURRENDERRed Dirt Duchess

Would like to announce her August 19 release, RED DIRT DUCHESS published by Destiny Romance, e-format only.

Claytons Report

By Lexi Bryant

Last Saturday, while most of the RWA was at the Conference at the weekend, some of us were attending The Claytons 2014.claytons14_sml

On Friday night instead of dressing up, many of us snuggled in (who was the frog onesy? ;)) grabbed a beverage of choice and got to know each other at a lively meet and greet that was enjoyed by one and all.

We were off to an early start with a presentation about the changes in the RWA and how to access all that the RWA can offer its members. The second presentation of the day was by Gwenna Sebastian and she hosted a lively discussion about e-publishing, niche markets and gays in the military. Jamie Meadows followed with a very informative session about marketing and self-publishing that I’m sure answered a lot of the questions we all have.

A break for lunch and we were back with Louise Carter, she gave us a rundown on how to operate in social media as well as sharing a few tips for how to keep our cyber security tight. Zana Bell was next with an amazingly informative session. She gave us a top down, bottom up view of how to create wonderful, living worlds for our characters to inhabit.

Last, but certainly not least was Shona Husk. She pulled out the Tarot cards to show us how to create multi-faceted characters with depth and feeling.

I had a wonderful time co-ordinating the day and I think that it went well for everyone who attended. I would like to thank everyone who attended and made it such a fun, informative day.

RWA Lonely Hearts

By Clare (Group Liaison)065_butterfly_14

If you’re looking for support to help progress your writing, joining a writing group is a great first step. To help, we’ve launched a Lonely Hearts page on the RWA website for members looking for writing groups, and groups looking for new members. It’s easy to add your own advertisement, so head to and give it a shot. If you’ve got any queries, please get in touch with we’ll do our best to help.

RWA Blog

August 8 - Author Spotlight: Juliet Madison, Sarah Belle, Jacquie Underdown and Robyn Neeley – Magical Realism Romance Novelists

August 12 – Blog Bites with Iris Blobel

August 13Author Spotlight and Giveaway: Rural Romance novelist, Lisa Ireland

August 15 – A Day in the Writing Life of JL Addicoat

August 17 – Event Announcements

Clint’s Romance Rocks Hit List

Cruisin’ Member Blogs

Are you an RWA Member? Share a link and a short blurb here each week by emailing the details to us at:

What do I write about for my ENGAGING THE ENEMY blog tour? If you’re looking for ideas, Susanne Bellamy considers how to keep fresh content coming for a new release.
Hosts include the following wonderful writers: Noelle Clark, Lily Malone, Annie Seaton and SE Gilchrist between now and Sunday.

July 26Alexa Bravo
July 29Kerrie Paterson Passions
July 29Sandra Antonelli
July 30JM Bray
August 31 – EE Carter – Purple Couch
August 2Isabella Hargreaves
August 4 – WIP Me Inspired – J’aimee Brooker
August 5Helene Young
August 12Noelle Clark
August 13Lily Malone 
August 14 – Annie Seaton
August 17 –  SE Gilchrist Who Are You?
August 24Sunday Smooch

Please take your seats. The journey to happiness may involve some turbulence…

Put some zing in your mouth and mind with this week’s Friday Feast. Author Melanie Scott will not only tease your tastebuds with her zesty lemon and coconut brownie recipe, she’ll thrill your heart with her sporty new contemporary romance THE DEVIL IN DENIM. Plus share your preference for sweet, salty or sour treats and you could win a signed copy of this sexy page-turner. Don’t miss out. Zip on over now!

August 3 – Guest Post with Stacey Nash with rafflecopter giveaway
August 13 – Guest Post with Iris Blobel
August 16 – Blog Tour Guest Pippa Jay with rafflecopter giveaway
August 17 – Guest Post with Susanne Bellamy

August 7 – Seventy-five Days of Phobias Day 50: Elsa Winckler’s Rain Drops

August 8 – Seventy-five Days of Phobias Day 51: Alexa Bravo Sees The Light

August 9 – Seventy-five days of Phobias Day 52: Anna Cleary Comes Clean

August 10 – Seventy-Five Days of Phobias Day 53: Rachel Amphlett Stops Clowning Around

August 11 – Seventy-five Days of Phobias, Day 54: The Aisle Seat With Lily Malone

August 12 – Seventy-five Days of Phobias Day 55: Ros Baxter is a Faker

August 13 – Seventy-five Days of Phobias Day 56: TM Clark Backs Away

August 5 – The idea behind FRESH BEGINNINGS
August 6 – Release Day for FRESH BEGINNINGS
August 7 – May I introduce: Rachel Amphlett BEFORE NIGHTFALL
August 14 – May I introduce: Elizabeth M Darcy HER NORMAN CONQUEST
August 17 – Stop by to read another little “Snippet Sunday” from my current WIP

August 11 – WIP me Inspired on AusRomToday with J’aimee Brooker

Is writing work or just a hobby?

What makes our ‘book boyfriends’ irresistible? Perhaps it is because romance authors have tapped into some elementary qualities and those primal struggles that we find so fascinating in men.

Settle yourself down with a lovely glass of claret – Amy Rose Bennett and I talk Regency Noir on Tuesday Book Club.

Recently did her first interview about AusRom Today. The article went live over at the Books+Publishing news website. Come on over and visit

Book Expo Australia

Needs Aussie Authors to help them reach their goals

  • Support reading
  • Support Indigenous Literacy Foundation – who support Aussie Authors
  • Support Aussie Authors

Do we have 22,000 authors who can help? Do we have 22,000 authors who can doodle?


The summer is winding down (even if it’s hard to believe) and our thoughts are running to squeezing out the last bit of fun and preparing for return to school and normalcy for some of us, for others it’s the grand adventures autumn bring! Plus cooler weather!. So join us for the Fresh Fiction “Dog Days of August” we’ve got great contests and a chance to tell us what you’ve read this summer! Hurry it all ends August 19th.

 AusRomToday is proud to announce the inaugural AusRomToday Reader’s Choice Awards! With five fabulous categories, including Best New Author, Best Established Author, Cover of the Year, Author of the Year, and the coveted Book of the Year.

Public voting commences on November 1st, so to nominate yourself (go on, you know you deserve a pat on the back!) or your favourite author, click through to our online nomination form now. Don’t forget to get your mailing list and/or street teams involved in nominating and voting for you!

Enrico’s Pick Six

Submit your blog site link to to share with our readers. Enrico hand picks six blogs to showcase every week. Enrico’s Pick Six this week:Enrico
1. Nicole Hurley-Moore
2. Cecilia Clark
3. Barbara DeLeo
4. Narelle Harris
5. Naughty Ninjas
6. Antoinette Turner

Have a great week and happy writing!

Author Spotlight and Giveaway: Rural Romance novelist, Lisa Ireland…

Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Lisa and congratulations on the release of ‘Breaking the Drought ’!  Can you tell us a little about it, please?

The original idea for Breaking the Drought came about from a newspaper article I read about a tiny rural town. The town’s population was dwindling so a matchmaking ball was organised to attract people to the area. I started to wonder how all those city girls would fare if they actually fell in love with a farmer and decided to move to the town.

In Breaking The Drought my heroine, Jenna, is a reluctant guest at the Barlow Bush Blokes’ Ball. She’s well aware that rural life is not for her. However, when she unexpectedly ends up stuck in the town for longer than she’d planned she finds herself not only falling for hunky sheep grazier, Luke, but also beginning to love the town itself. Unfortunately for her, Luke isn’t interested in any sort of relationship. A tragedy from his past is overshadowing his life and there’s simply no room in his heart for love.

I really loved writing this book. Barlow feels very real to me and while I was writing the book the characters took on lives of their own – sometimes doing things that took me by surprise! The story includes a number of secondary characters and I particularly enjoyed writing Maggie, Luke’s sister-in-law, who’s a strong and resilient woman.

High Res Cover BTD

You were born and bred in Melbourne yet you write rural romance. Where does this inspiration come from?

I might have been born in the city but I’m a country girl at heart!

I was a horse-mad child. I got my first pony when I was about twelve years old, but because we lived in the suburbs I couldn’t keep her at home and had to rely on my parents to drive me out to the farm where she was agisted.  I grew up dreaming of owning a farm where I could keep as many horses as I liked!

As a graduate teacher I was posted to a small rural school and I got my first real taste of country living.  I was a total fish-out-of water for the first few months, but I grew to love the small community and was desperately sad when I was eventually redeployed to a Melbourne school.  When I’m writing a rural romance I often use my experience as a newcomer to the bush as my inspiration.

I currently live in a small town in regional Victoria so I also have my everyday experiences to draw on. (The girls who work in my local café are always telling me I can put them in one of my books. I keep telling them to be careful what they wish for!)

‘Breaking the Drought’ is your debut novel. Can you tell us about ‘The Call’? Has being published changed your life in any way?

‘The Call’ came in the form of an email from Kate Cuthbert. I was in London at the time, holidaying with my family for the Australian summer break. For the first time ever I travelled without my laptop and so I was relying on my tablet to download mail from the Internet. This turned out not to work so well. To make matters worse the wifi in our hotel was pretty dodgy so I was only checking mail intermittently. When I logged on and found the email from Kate in my inbox, I was stunned. It was the last thing I was expecting to see. At first I was reluctant to open it, not wanting to spoil my holiday with news of a rejection. Luckily curiosity got the better of me! I was thrilled to find that Escape wanted to buy my manuscript.

By coincidence my beta reader was also holidaying in London and I’d made plans to meet her that very same night. We had a lovely champagne fuelled celebration!

Being published hasn’t really changed my day-to-day life. I write full time and have been doing so for almost two years so my routine hasn’t really changed. I guess I’m a little surprised at the amount of time taken up by non-writing parts of the business – website maintenance, writing blog posts, having a presence on social media and so on. Luckily I enjoy all of those things!

How long have you been writing and did you always write with the intention of one day being published?

Like many writers I have been writing for as long as I can remember. When I was little I used to produce my own weekly magazine, Witches Brew, which I still have copies of! So I’ve always written for pleasure (and was an early self-publisher!), but for many years I believed third party publication was a pipe dream.

After my youngest child was born I found myself at home full time. I took an online creative writing course and from there progressed to a Professional Writing and Editing course. That was in 2005—the same year I joined RWAus—so my journey’s been a long one.

What would we find on your book shelf / e reader?

I’m an eclectic reader. I love all sorts of different things. I write contemporary fiction and I guess I’m drawn to reading contemporary works primarily, but having said that one of my all time favourite books is Geraldine Brooks’ The Year of Wonders, which is set in the 1600s. Other favourite books include, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding, The Household Guide to Dying by Debra Adelaide and my go to comfort read, Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery.

On my e-reader right now I have Georgina Penney’s Unforgettable You, which I’m really enjoying. I’ve pre-ordered Outback Ghost by Rachael Johns and I’m looking forward to reading that as it’s the third of her Bunyip Bay Series and I’ve loved the other two.


What was the most helpful piece of advice you’ve ever received in regards to writing?

Just write. It sounds so simple, but carving out the time to write can be difficult, especially for unpublished writers. It can be hard to prioritise writing when you’re not being paid and when other people don’t necessarily take your writing seriously.

The only way to improve as a writer is to write. Of course attending classes and reading craft books can be helpful but you can’t improve words that are not written. I make sure I write something every day, even if it’s just a sentence.

Are you a plotter or pantster or a bit of both?

Both! I tend to start with the characters’ GMC and work from there. I usually write a rough outline and divide that into three acts, making sure I know what the black moment will be. Once that’s done I pants my way through the book. Often my characters take me places that I’m not expecting to go. In my current WIP the black moment turned out to be something I hadn’t originally envisaged.

What would we find you doing in your spare time?

I’d love to able to say I knit or crochet or run marathons, but sadly none of these things are in my repertoire. I love reading and I love writing! When I’m not doing those things you can probably find me talking to someone –my husband, my kids, my friends or even my dog. I do like a chat and my husband reckons if talking ever becomes a sport I’ll be an Olympic gold medal contender. I often combine talking with my other loves – eating and drinking coffee.

Can you tell us about your works in progress?

Right now I’m working on a book tentatively titled Homecoming Queen. It’s about a woman, Jo, who comes home to a small town to be bridesmaid for her best friend. She’s running away from her complicated life in New York, which includes a movie star ex-fiancé and a successful career that has become unsatisfying. Jo’s hoping to find respite amongst her family and friends, but when she arrives she’s shocked to find her high school sweetheart and love of her life, Ryan, has moved back to the town.  Ryan’s life took a turn for the worse after his relationship with Jo ended and he’s still bitter about their break up. Jo fears the town is not big enough for the two of them.

What does the future hold for Lisa Ireland?

Hopefully lots more published books!

Could you give us a sneaky peek at one of your favourite parts of ‘Breaking the Drought’, please?

Sure!  This is the moment Jenna first realises she’s attracted to Luke. It takes place during a shearing competition.

‘All right shearers, take your positions. Ladies, please join me in counting them down.’ Mal held up three fingers. ‘Three, two, one, go!’

All three men grabbed hold of the metal clippers hanging above them and got to work on removing the wool from their sheep’s belly.

Despite not being professionals they seemed to know what they were doing, expertly holding the sheep still between their feet as they manoeuvred the clippers over the animals’ bodies.

Jenna couldn’t take her eyes off Luke as he firmly but gently went about removing the wool from the sheep’s back. Before starting he had stripped off his shirt and now a close-fitting navy singlet rode up to reveal glimpses of his washboard stomach as he worked. His tanned body glistened with sweat as his quick, strong hands moved over the sheep. Jenna’s pulse quickened as an image of those hands caressing her body flashed through her mind.

Brooke was caught up in the excitement of the competition, clapping and cheering beside Jenna. ‘Go Luke,’ she yelled.

Suddenly Luke stopped and stood upright. The ewe was bare. He nudged the fleece forward with his foot and a young teenaged boy stepped forward to collect it. The boy shook the fleece out and laid it on a round metal table. Luke let go of the clippers and threw a fist in the air.

Jenna held her breath as Mal examined the fleece.

‘Ladies,’ he shouted above the noise. ‘We have our winner!’

Matt and Cameron were both now finished. The shearers released their sheep into a small pen while the young rouseabout took their fleeces. The losing competitors were quick to shake Luke’s hand and slap him on the back.

‘Luke, time to get your prize. Which of these lovely ladies will you choose to get a kiss from?’

Luke laughed and shook his head. ‘It’s too hard to choose, Mal.’

‘A deal’s a deal, son. Let’s not disappoint the ladies now.’

Luke nodded as his eyes scanned the crowd. ‘Alright then.’ He stood still for a moment, seeming to consider his options as the girls all called out to him, hoping to sway him their way.

Butterflies of nervous anticipation swirled in Jenna’s stomach, which was ridiculous. As if he would pick her. Luke Tanner had made it quite clear he thought she was a pain in the butt so she was probably last on his list. Nevertheless, he was striding towards her purposefully it seemed. His gaze was fixed on her, and with each step it seemed more and more likely that she was his chosen target. Her pulse thudded in her ears as Luke came to a halt almost directly in front of her.

‘Made your choice have you, Luke?’

Jenna held her breath as he answered.

Author Bio:

Lisa Ireland lives in a small coastal town with her husband, their three sons, and a crazy Labrador named Millie. When she’s not writing or reading she spends her time walking Millie along the beach, drinking copious amounts of coffee at a local café, and cheering on the Mighty Cats at Simonds Stadium.

Web links






Buy link

Lisa is kindly gifting one e-copy of ‘Breaking the Drought’ to one  lucky reader. To be in the running, all you need to do is leave a comment below for Lisa.

This competition is open world wide and will be drawn one week after posting.  





Blog Bites with Iris Blobel

Iris Blobel

It’s a pleasure to introduce Iris Blobel today.

I write: Contemporary Romance

I’m from: Ballarat, but was born in Germany :-)

Three words to describe me: Curious, lazy, daydreamer

At home I cook:   …as best as I can

My worst habit is: I’m a very impatient driver!

It’s a bit daggy but I love: “me old track pants”

My day job is: Finance Assistant

Saving for: Another trip “home”

I procrastinate by: Checking Facebook :-)

Favourite author: Jill Shalvis & Lee Child

Favourite book as a child: Mallory Towers by Enid Blyton

Favourite movie: Tangled & Frozen

Current reading: Carolyn Wren’s “Diplomat’s Daughter”

When I was young I wanted to be: A Nurse

Plotter or Panster: Panster

Why I write: Too many stories in my head that need to be put on paper

I would most like to meet: James Bond

Latest project: Fresh Beginnings which is book 3 in the Beginnings series.


Learn more about Iris Blobel via the following links:




Twitter: @_iris_b


Thank you Iris for having fun with us today.

RWA members can take a bite. Contact Thea George to schedule your Blog Bite feature on

RWA Conference Awards Report

I am pleased to report that romance is well and truly rocking at the RWA 2014 Romance Rocks conference in Sydney.

On Saturday, before the AGM, we had the official launch of this year’s Little Gems anthology and celebrated a fine crop of ‘first sale’ ribbons. Then, after a short break to attend the mega ARRA book signing, there was dinner. We had the chance to congratulate the winners of the Little Gems, First Kiss, Selling Synopsis and Ripping Start Awards, all of which were decided and announced during the year.  (If you would like to revisit the winners and finalists, they are listed at the end of this post.)

Then we moved onto the awards that are saved for the big reveal at the conference each year; The Valerie Parv Award, The Emerald, the ROMA, The Ella, The Ruby and the Lynne Wilding Meritorious Service Award. This year, we also had the bonus of our second induction into the RWA Hall of Fame.

If you are on Twitter, you probably heard the results as they happened, but if you aren’t, or if you chose an early night over satisfying your curiosity, let us put you out of your misery right now. Drumroll please…


The Lynne Wilding Meritorious Service Award


Jennifer Brassel
Diane Curran
Catherine Evans
Marilyn Forsyth
Lis Hoorweg
Anita Joy
Juanita Kees
Margaret Midwood
Bec Sampson



ROMA Award (The Romance Media Award)

The ROMA honours intelligent and positive coverage of romance in the media. This year we were pleased to received fifteen nominations. These were whittled down to three finalists, who, in alphabetical order, are:


Anthony Funnell, of ABC Radio National for his moderation of the panel session “Learning From Romance,” featuring Helene Young, Amy Andrews and Sarah Wendell on the Weekend Arts program.

Anthony Funnell of ABC Radio National again, for his piece titled “Smart Bitches, Trashy Books: the women rewriting the rules around love and sex” on the Weekend Arts program.

Kat Mayo of Bookthingo on The Drum, on ABC Online, for her piece, titled “Dear columnists, romance fiction is not your bitch.”

And the ROMA for 2014 goes to: Kat Mayo



This is our second induction to the RWA Hall of Fame, which honours an outstanding lifetime achievement in romance writing.  We are delighted to welcome Emma Darcy to the Hall of Fame.

Emma Darcy is the author of more than 110 category romance novels, with unit sales over 60 million since her 1983 debut.  She was a driving force in creating and funding the Emma Darcy Award in 1993, which encouraged unpublished authors to finish their manuscripts.  The contest ran until 2004, was the precursor to the Emerald awards and helped to launch the successful careers of several of our members.

Emma Darcy has been a keynote or featured speaker at no less than five RWA conferences, including the very first one.  She has always been a strong supporter of RWA, aspiring romance authors and the genre we all love.  We are honoured to have her in our Hall of Fame and delighted she could be with us to accept the award.



Seventh Place:     Anne Prince                Outback Heart

Sixth Place:          Audrey Ford               The Secret Prince

Fifth Place:          Enisa Haines              When Darkness Calls

Fourth Place:      Rowena Candlish      The Baby Bargain

Third Place:        Tricia Sargant             The Trouble with Love Is…

Second Place:     Anne Merrick             When This Eclipse is Done

FIRST PLACE:  Karina Coldrick         Slippage


Thanks to Valerie for judging and the mentorship that is the prize




Third Place:             Nina Gudiksen         Permission to Love

Second Place:          Sue Knight                Images of the Heart

FIRST PLACE:   Audrey Ford         The Reluctant Princess


Thanks to final judge Joanne Grant, of Harlequin Mills and Boon UK.



Third Place:              Euphrasia Holmes       My Dark Duke

Second Place:           Amy Rose Bennett       Capturing the Master of Strathburn

FIRST PLACE:     Erin Moira O’Hara      The Kalista Diamond


Thanks to Charlotte Ledger at Harper Impulse, who was our final judge this year.


The ELLA Award (Best Published Novella)


Elise Ackers                Ask Me To Stay             Destiny Romance

Sarah Mayberry         Worth the Risk            HMB Blush

Rebecca Raisin           Christmas at the Gingerbread Café      Carina UK

Elizabeth Rolls           Christmas Cinderella (in ‘A Sprinkling of Christmas Magic’ HMB anthology)

WINNER:          Sarah Mayberry        


The RUBY Award (Romantic Book of the Year)

The Ruby for Short Sexy Romance:


Kelly Hunter              What the Bride Didn’t Know   HMB Kiss

Yvonne Lindsay         One Secret Night                       HMB Desire

Melanie Milburne     Never Say No to a Caffarelli    HMB Sexy

Trish Morey               A Price Worth Paying                HMB Sexy

WINNER:   Kelly Hunter          


The Ruby for Short Sweet Romance:


Lucy Clark            One Life-Changing Moment                         HMB Medical

Fiona Lowe          Gold Coast Angels: A Bundle of Trouble    HMB Medical

Julie Mac              A Father at Last                                              Escape Publishing

Carol Marinelli   Secrets of a Career Girl                                  HMB Medical

WINNER:     Lucy Clark


The Ruby for Stories with Romantic Elements:


Juanita Kees                Under the Hood           Escape Publishing

Victoria Purman          Nobody But Him         Harlequin Australia

Jennifer Scoullar         Currawong Creek        Penguin Australia

Kendall Talbot            Lost in Kakadu             Escape Publishing

WINNER:     Kendall Talbot


The Ruby for Long Romance


Amy Andrews            Holding Out for a Hero     Momentum Publishing

Karina Bliss                A Prior Engagement          HMB Essence

Sasha Cottman          Letter from a Rake             Destiny Romance

Sophia James            The Dissolute Duke            HMB Historical

Sophia James            Mistress at Midnight          HMB Historical

Sarah Mayberry        Her Favourite Rival            HMB Super Romance

WINNER:     Sarah Mayberry


Also presented on the night were certificates from our previously decided competitions, including:



1.  Margaret Swan

2.  Nicole Grant

3.  Enisa Haines



  1. Victoria Steele
  2. Kerrie Ptolemy
  3. Jo McAlister
  4. Elvina Payet
  5. Cassandra Pennington
  6. Sarma Burdeu
  7. Jennifer Ensor



1.  Katharina Colmer

2.  Andra Ashe

3.  Amy Rose Bennett




1. Rowena Candlish: Minnie’s year Of Living

2. Josephine Brown: The Minstrel’s Trial

3. Michelle Skidmore: Moonstruck


Also selected for the anthology:

Rowena Candlish: Jake’s Best Friend

Heidi Catherine: My Moonstone Love

N.F. David: Luna and the Moonstone

Fiona Greene: The Moonstone Legacy

Jennifer Hoff: The Farewell Letter

Fiona Kekic: The Heart Surgeon

Linda Knightley: Moonlight On Water

D.D. Line: Moonstone Hill

Patricia Poppenbeek: Catch Of the Day

Anne Prince: The Real Thing

P.J. Vye: The Girl Who Refused To Marry


Thanks, as always, to all the volunteers who made Little Gems, with especial thanks to Lis Hoorweg and to Joan Wright, who edited the anthology again this year.



Winner:     Sheridan Kent

Author Spotlight: Juliet Madison, Sarah Belle, Jacquie Underdown and Robyn Neeley – Magical Realism Romance Novelists…


Today on the Author Spotlight, we have four authors who have previously been categorised as multi cross -genre, but now, due to readership interest and a proactive publishing team, finally have a subgenre to call home. The genre formerly known as Fantasy-Magical Elements- Paranormal twist-Contemporary-Time Travelling-Dream Casting, please welcome, Magical Realism Romance and the authors who live it!

magic book 2

 Firstly, what is Magical Realism Romance?

Not quite paranormal, not quite fantasy, this genre believes that magic is a part of the every day, and that there’s more to our lives than can be explained. If you’re looking for a little mystical, a little miraculous, a little more, this is the romance for you.

As an author, how important is it to fit within a defined sub-genre?

Jacquie- In terms of being able to brand myself as a romance author and explain to readers succinctly what my books are about, I think having a defined sub-genre is incredibly important. It also provides readers with a quick reference that they will fit with my books. However, the fact that I’ve not been able to fit within a defined sub-genre, until now, also has its benefits in that I know I’m creating a new breed of romance, one that will be original and fresh for readers. And that’s the main reason I’ve persevered with the magical realism romance genre.

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Juliet – I think it helps readers the most, letting them know what there going to be getting from a book.


Sarah- Like everyone has said, it helps readers to identify what particular elements are in a story and will allow them to seek out other authors in the same genre.

Robyn- It’s definitely important to me. When readers pick up one of my books they are in for fast and funny dialogue, a sweet story, and a heart-warming ending. Magical realism fits in nicely with my brand, and I was more than eager to give it a try with Batter Up, my first book that includes one spell-binding approach to finding true love.

What were the main issues with being ‘subgenre-less’ prior to this new branding? 

Jacquie – Being subgenre-less hasn’t limited by ability to become published (that I know of). But I do think it has had a direct impact on how my books can be marketed and to whom they are marketed to. My books are normally slotted into the fantasy romance or sci-fi romance categories, which, as mentioned earlier, give readers the wrong expectations as magical realism romance is far removed from fantasy or science fiction. Having a sub-genre now, with a name that conjures images and ideas that reflect what my books are about, will make it a lot easier going forward.

Juliet – I didn’t feel so much that I was subgenre-less, but multi-genred! When you story crosses into several different genres it can be tricky to know how to pitch it to publishers, or which types of readers to target. Having a more defined sub-genre to categorise the overall type of story is better than saying ‘my book is a futuristic-romantic comedy-chicklit-fantasy-time travel-romance-scifi-adventure’! ;)


JM fast forward


Sarah- It was very difficult to explain what I actually wrote. ‘It’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that’…it was confusing to people and difficult to pitch to publishers and readers. Thankfully there are some amazing authors out there who have paved the way: Marian Keyes, Cecelia Ahearn, Sophie Kinsella and Melanie Rose. For a person who struggles with marketing anyway, being across too many genres meant that my target market wasn’t clearly identified and pitched at.

Robyn- Putting a touch of magic in Batter Up, I wasn’t quite sure where it would fit. A fellow romance author recommended I submit it to Escape, knowing that they had recently acquired romantic comedies with magical elements. I was beyond thrilled to find Batter Up a home among other awesome magical realism books including Fast Forward by Juliet Madison and Hindsight by Sarah Belle.

Why do you write Magical Realism Romance ?

Jacquie – I’m someone who wants more from life than flesh and bone, and I believe there is more to this existence than what can examined under a microscope — phenomena that isn’t always explainable and is somewhat magical. Because I expect more out of everyday existence, I expect the same from the books I read and write. As an author, and as a reader, I want to be transported away, not so far as to lose sight of reality altogether, but enough to make it leave me questioning if the little magical occurrences could in fact be real.

Also, magical realism romance gives me so much more scope with my imagination and the stories I can weave.

Juliet – Because it allows the ordinary to become extraordinary and explores the possibility that there might be more to our world than we know. Plus, it’s great for interesting plot ideas – anything goes, with magical realism!

Sarah-  I read it, so I write it! A touch of magic can take a story anywhere so it’s always fresh and exciting to write. When we suspend our disbelief, we expand our imaginations in much the same way as children do. It’s nice to be a kid again for a while and to believe in magical things.

Sarah Belle9780857991836

Robyn- Faith, hope and destiny themes tend to influence my books so magical realism became a new tool for me to continue to explore these themes in an entertaining way. Also, the research on creating spells was a lot of fun. I now have a nice collection of spell books and am always tempted to try casting one!


What is it about MRR that will attract new readers? 

Jacquie – I sometimes think fantasy and science fiction is too far removed for some readers who like reality-set romances. Magical realism romance is a wonderful happy medium, where a reader can escape the mundane everydayness but still be given something MORE, something the reader wouldn’t encounter, something new, exciting, and magical.

Juliet – It is the perfect combination of realistic storylines and paranormal elements. It’s not completely realistic and not completely paranormal, it puts those magical elements into a world we’re familiar with so readers can more easily immerse themselves in the story and connect with the characters.

Sarah- Magical Realism is fun, engaging and has enough twists and turns in it to keep the plot moving along. There’s never a dull moment with the magical and unexplained! It’s also a break from the every day- nice escapism.

Robyn – These books are a unique and refreshing addition to the contemporary romance genre, offering a unique twist on popular romance tropes.


050813-RN  BatterUp_RobynNeeley

 Magical Realism Romance is quite a niche genre. What are your hopes for the future in regards to expanding this genre?

Jacquie – Magical realism romance is a niche genre, but then so was sparkly vampire romance, BDSM erotica and rural romance. But just like those other genres, it is limitless in scope for storylines. Even on the shelves of my publisher, the variations between my novels and the other authors’ novels (who write MRR) are immense. My hope is that readers pick up a couple of books in this genre and fall in love with magical realism romance, just as much as I love to write it. Then it will bring more authors and readers out of the woodwork and we will be able to see just where this genre can go.

Juliet- I hope that more readers will discover the fun that can be had by mixing magical elements into real life storylines. I would love to see more movies made with these types of stories too, those with just a touch of the magical. Maybe an increase in books like this will help boost that.

Sarah- I would love to see this genre become more mainstream. It’s such a fresh and exciting genre, and covers from romantic comedy to true romance so there’s something for everyone. If you’ve loved Freaky Friday, Drop Dead Diva, Suddenly 30, Big, then chances are that Magical Realism Romance will make you laugh, cry and everything in between.

Robyn – Magical Realism Romance is exciting because of its potential to reach many readers of romance, chick lit, and women’s fiction. I’ve received some wonderful feedback from chick lit readers who say that they enjoyed the romance element of Batter Up and are excited to read more romances that include magical elements. That’s exciting!


If you’d like to explore the world of Magical Realism Romance, you can find a great collection at Escape Publishing.

 Escape Publishing is kindly giving away one copy of any one Magical Realism Romance novel to one lucky reader. All you have to do to be in the running is leave a comment below.

This competition will be drawn on the 15th of August, 2014. The winner will be notified by email, so please be sure we can contact you!


Romance Rocks Presents…


On Saturday 9th August on Track E, Session 1, Jenn J McLeod shares Small Town Twists and Secrets.

We’ve heard it said: “There are no new plots, just twists on well-loved tropes.” So, what can a writer do to put their own twist on a tried and true plot to make their small town secrets story a standout? With this in mind, I set out to study what makes the marriage of small towns and secrets so popular with readers (and therefore publishers). In 2010 I built a brand around small towns and finished my first novel about small towns keeping big secrets.

Your Presenter – Jenn J McLeod

Extraordinarily ordinary #countrypubdweller who (somehow) secured a four-book contract with Simon & Schuster!

Have you presented sessions at previous conferences, for RWA or other organisations? jennjmcleod_fence_web
I delivered a small version of Small Town Secrets at the 2013 Bellingen Writers Festival.
I love sharing what I’ve learned with others and this topic is very close to my heart. For me, stories about small towns and secrets are like wine and crackers – they go down so well together! Add a book and it’s happy hour heaven for me. Like wine, there are ways to infuse your story with secrets and, like your favourite mixer, adding a twist can make the experience just perfect. Developing my “small town secrets” platform was integral to securing my contract.

What will participants take away from this session?
Learn the secret to a good secret, the ways to use secrets in fiction, and what a writer can do to put their own twist on a tried and true plot by exploring:
• What makes small town stories thrive and what makes them die.
• The importance of authenticity.
• The secret to a good secret and ways to use secrets in fiction.

Which members will benefit most from this session?
Primarily focused on aspiring authors who want to avoid small town traps and clichés when plotting/writing, the information will be relevant to other writers. IMPORTANTLY: my use of the term ‘Small town’ is not solely for the remote and dusty setting. This session will be just as relevant for any fictional group dynamic (eg the small community on the coast, the sleepy out of the way town that sits quietly on a lazy river, a city suburb, or a crammed cul-de-sac. Think Wisteria Lane!)

What is the best part/aspect of conference for you?
The hugs, the buzz, the chaos of catch-ups with old and new online friends (and realising none of us look like our profile pictures!) But this year? Being a ridgy-didge author and attending the book signing alongside my peers.

Any advice for conference first-timers? Simmering-Season-Jenn-J-McLeod-lge-195x300
I know most people are busy preparing for their ‘elevator pitch’. Well, one must also be prepared for the ‘elevator hug’. (That moment you step inside the lift and discover the person you are sharing the space with is someone you’ve been dying to meet.) My first conference, first elevator hug experience, was Melbourne 2011. Right, Helene Young? *wink*

What is your latest/current/upcoming book release and where can members find out more about you?
Simmering Season – The prefect storm is heading Maggie Lindeman’s way and it will blow the lid off a lifetime of secrets. Visit to find out more about my Seasons Collection of four books, to be released by Simon & Schuster.

More Session Info:

  • Beverly Eikli and Bronwyn Parry – A Lady’s Wardrobe Unlocked: Cloth and clothing in Georgian Times

Follow a day in the life of a Lady, exploring the cloth she uses for sleeping, bathing, dining and furnishings, and the layers of clothing and dressing procedures at different stages of her day. Take your historical detail to the next level with authors Beverley Eikli and Bronwyn Parry – also costume and textile historians – as they uncover some little known facts about cloth and clothing in the Georgian era. Dressed in costumes of the period, they’ll explore the Lady’s Wardrobe to reveal the many layers of clothing required by the fashionable lady, and also discuss the Linen Room and other textiles of the townhouse and castle.

  • Rachel Bailey – Conflict: The Key To Your Romance NovelRachelBailey_CounteringHisClaim

The workshop will focus on the creation of strong, believable internal and external conflict between romance heroes and heroines, maintaining that conflict through layering, reinforcing and deepening, then resolving the conflict believably without either character losing or being anti-climactic. Examples will be analyzed from both books and movies and broken down into elements that will be easy to apply in participants’ own work.Create, maintain and resolve the internal and external conflict in your romance novel.

  • Maisey Yates and Jackie Ashenden: It’s Not Just About Ripping Bodices

Learn to write loves scenes that readers just can’t skim. A good love scene should be about more than Tab A into Slot B, or there purely for titillation’s sake. It should be integral to the romance, changing the way the characters interact with each other, complicating the plot and deepening the conflict. It should be a scene that you can’t remove from the book without losing the character’s emotional arc, just as you can’t interchange it with another. Like a support beam in a house, it should hold up the structure and if removed would cause the whole thing to fall down.

  • Christina Brooke – All About Character

Make your characters memorable using techniques every writer should know. Romance novels are all about character and how the hero and heroine interact, grow and change through falling in love. Create wonderful characters and you’re more than half way to writing a fantastic romance that editors and readers want to buy. Join Christina Brooke as she analyzes what makes great romance characters and provides practical exercises to make your characters stronger and more memorable.

  • Professor Karl Roberts – Psychological Warfare

Stalking, psychopathy, domestic violence – learn about the traits and quirks of the darker personalities, and how they can be caught.

Missed any Conference info? Check the RWA Website for more:




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