Hoot Hoot! Two OWLs!

Manuscript getting away from you? Characters confused about their Goals, Motivations & Conflicts? You need our February Owls! For GMC, see http://romanceaustralia.com/a-sparkling-guide-to-gripping-goal-motivation-conflict/ and Aeon Timeline, see http://romanceaustralia.com/quickly-learn-aeon-timeline-for-fiction-writers-authors/

Ripping Start results

Congratulations to our Ripping Start placegetters! As judged by Lucy Bell, Editor, Pantera Press:

1st: Miranda Morgan
2nd: Tamar Sloan
3rd: Tania Holland
4th: Bree Verity
5th: Bernice Greenham
6th: Elizabeth Squire

Thanks to Lucy Bell for providing such generous feedback for our finalists, and for inviting them to submit to Pantera Press. Thanks to Cat Whelan for her time and effort in running an efficient and timely contest. And well done to all who entered!

Thinking about 2017 – I can hear you yelling at me over the wrapping crinkle

Seriously – all the best writers are going to need January’s OWL. come take a look!

Author Branding: Why you need it before you sell

 

FINAL CALL – #RWAus17 Workshop Submissions Closing

rwaus17bne

LOVE GONE WILD WORKSHOP SUBMISSIONS CLOSING

Submission for #RWAus17 close on December 31, 2016.

We have been mustering a diverse herd of talented professionals for the 26th RWA Annual Conference – Love Gone Wild.

But are you the stray runaway we’re waiting on to join the pack?

We are cracking the whip one last time.

Our team is planning #RWAus17 to be the best conference ever and want to utilise our community of talented authors and professionals. Stop grazing out in the pastures, frolicking in the ocean or flitting about in the skies – get your workshop, panel or roundtable submissions to us now.

This is the final call for submissions before we dust off our boots, shut the gate and finalise our tremendous program.

Jump in – hooves, feathers, scales and all … Don’t miss out. Because come December 31st the opportunity to submit will be GOING, GOING, GONE!

Submit Now at  http://bit.ly/RWA17WSP

Submissions close on Dec 31st, 2016.

LoveGoneWild #RWAus17

conference2017@romanceaustralia.com

August 11-13, 2017

Brisbane

New releases December 2016

Sun, sand and blue water … summer has arrived in Australia along with the countdown to Christmas. There are several delightful seasonal offerings among our member new releases this month, and composing my book list for self to put under the tree. What about you? Are you planning more reading or more writing along with your Christmas feasting?

htdec-newreleases

 

 

Ruby update

As you may have seen in the December issue of Hearts Talk, some exciting developments are happening for the 2017 Ruby, our contest for books published in 2016.

New sections! This year, we’ll be reducing the number of sections to four. Entry numbers in the Short Sexy and Short Sweet sections have reduced enough for these to be combined, to make four roughly even sections.

The 2017 sections will be: Long Romance, Short Romance, Romance Novella and Romantic Elements.

If you’re unsure where your book should go, check the Ruby rules/conditions on the website for descriptions. If your book fits more than one section, it’s your choice where it goes.

New judging! For the first time, we’ll be presenting an overall Romantic Book of the Year award, judged by a panel of industry experts. Here’s how it’ll work:

  • First round judging will run as usual
  • Finalists and winners for each section will be decided and announced in the usual way
  • All finalists will be read by our industry panel, who will select one overall winner (in addition to the section winners).

Who are the industry judges? For 2017, our panel will comprise:

  • Kat Mayo, writer, reviewer and host of the romance podcast Heart to Heart
  • Danielle Binks, writer, reviewer and chair of LoveOzYA
  • Hayley Shephard, Marketing Assistant and Promotions Coordinator at Booktopia

Many thanks to these three outstanding romance advocates for their involvement.

New finalists! Our final judges are hardworking professionals who are donating their time and effort to RWA. They will read all the finalist books in their own time. In order to keep their workload manageable, and ensure the judging is fair and timely, we’re reducing the number of finalists per section to three.

More new judging! We’ll also be introducing writer judges to the Ruby.

Our reader judges do a wonderful job and keep the contest market-relevant, but we believe RWA members have a lot to offer as judges too—and we’re keen to keep judge demographics as diverse and inclusive as we can, to ensure all subgenres and styles are catered for.

To this end, every entrant will be judging one or two books, taken from a section they haven’t entered. Information about the judging procedure will be provided when you enter. It’s easy and fun, and you’ll be given plenty of time—you might discover a new favourite!

New entry formats! Digital entries make the contest process faster, more cost-effective and easier for judges, which results in better judging for us. So if your book has a DRM-free digital edition (.pdf, .epub or .mobi), you’ll be entering that.

Print entries will be accepted only from those authors who don’t have access to a usable digital edition.

Usable means you need to be able to upload your ebook to our entry system, and we need to be able to email your ebook to judges. For instance, if your ebook edition has DRM—and hence can’t be shared—you’ll need to enter print.

Also, if your only ebook edition is unsatisfactory for some reason—for instance, it’s an advance copy that’s significantly different from the published book, or it has a watermark that makes it hard for judges to read—you can still enter print. That’s okay. We won’t insist on digital if there are real problems. We’re just trying to keep as many entries digital as we can.

As for last year, you’ll be entering online. There’s a limit of 3 entries per person (that’s per human being, not per pseudonym) and your entries can go in any section/s you like.

New dates! In order to accommodate the extra judging round, we’re opening and closing for entries earlier than before. Remember—if you’re entering print copies (see above) your books must be postmarked by the closing date.

Opening: 16 December 2016

Closing: 16 January 2017

Full rules/conditions will be available soon on the RWA website—please read them carefully—but as always, contact the contest managers with any queries regarding the contest rules or entry process. If you have special difficulties, we can make arrangements —don’t be afraid to ask!

Ripping Start finalists

Congratulations to our 2017 Ripping Start finalists:

Bernice Greenham
Tania Holland
Miranda Morgan
Tamar Sloan
Elizabeth Squire
Bree Verity

Finalist entries will be evaluated by our final judge: Lucy Bell, Editor, Pantera Press. A wonderful opportunity!

Well done to all who entered—with 79 entries, the competition was tough, and we hope you find your judging feedback valuable.

Thanks as always to all our hardworking volunteer judges, and a special shout-out to our new contest manager, Cat Whelan, who’s done a fantastic job with a big contest. Entrants will start receiving their scoresheets soon.

There’s time for one more OWL this year!

5 Reasons to Take Short Story Writing

With NaNo going in full swing, and end-of-the-year deadlines looming, it’s the perfect time to add in one more project, right?

  1. Learn how to write short!

It’s a given, right? Every time I teach a workshop, some students say they tend to write LONG, so they’re looking for tips to tighten their storylines.

  1. Potential for publication

The ultimate goal in the course is to complete a short story, and submit it for a call. If you need that added umpf to hit “send,” this class may be for you!

  1. Gain inspiration

You can either come to the class with an idea, or discover a new one. Many people are amazed at the variety of Calls for Submission out there. Need a story idea? You may find food for your muse.

  1. Take a writing “break”

Turning toward writing short stories or novellas between longer works acts as a way to take a mini-break. Write a bridge between stories or perhaps a shorter piece to kick off a new series.

  1. Make an end-of-the-year goal

Yes, it’s December, and 2017 is sprinting toward us. It’s also the last push before the end of the year. Make it a goal to finish a story this year.

Hope to see you there! For more information, visit:

http://romanceaustralia.com/owl-writing-the-short-story-for-submission/

Louisa Bacio

Contest News! Changes to the Emerald…

Emerald Award

The next big contest of the year for our Aspiring and Emerging members is the Emerald, which is open 31 October – 21 November. This special reader-judged contest offers the chance to have your full manuscript evaluated by your target audience.

Our judges are keen romance readers, found in libraries, bookstores, reader organisations like ARRA, trains, offices, couches and bedrooms all over the country—and we’d all love to know what they think of our books!

The first round of the Emerald is for the first 10,000 words (increased from 5,000 for last year) of your unpublished romantic manuscript (10K+). The top 15 entries will progress to the second round, where the full manuscript is judged by our readers.

Three well-deserving finalists will win a reading by our final judge: Rebecca Saunders, Fiction Publisher, Hachette Australia. So get your entries ready!

You’ll be able to enter via a link on the temporary RWA website.

FAQ: Does your manuscript need to be finished to enter the Emerald? Well, we recommend that it is finished, or very close to – because if you make the second round (which is typically announced early in the new year) you’ll be asked to submit the full with only a few days notice.

 

CHANGES TO THE EMERALD PRO for published authors

The Emerald Pro is also open 31 October – 21 November. This is our “Emerald for published authors”, available to our Emerging and Established members who already have works commercially available.

In response to feedback from members, we’re making a few changes for this year.

Originally the Pro was designed to give entrants reader feedback without the stress and risk of publishing – but members also want publishing pathways, as well as prize money, along with the kudos of winning a hard-fought contest. So for this year:

  •  We’re having a third round of judging, by an editor/agent final judge, just like the ‘unpublished’ Emerald. So in addition to getting valuable anonymous feedback from readers, our three finalists will have their full manuscript read by our final judge – Esi Sogah, Senior Editor, Kensington Books.
  • To that end, we’ve removed the requirement that your entry be in a subgenre that you’re not published in. We know you’ll want to put your best work in front of the final judge. So enter whatever subgenre you like – as long as your entry remains unpublished and uncontracted for the duration of the contest.
  • Prize money! We’ve included prize money for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, the same as for the ‘unpublished’ Emerald.

Your first round entry is the first 10,000 words of your unpublished/uncontracted manuscript. The top 15 who make the second round will submit their full manuscript.

As for the Emerald, you’ll be able to enter the Pro via a link on the temporary RWA website.

A Writer’s Life: Plotting, with Helen Bianchin

This fabulous (italics mine because I think it’s fabulous – Ed.) article first appeared in the September 2016 edition of Hearts Talk, the journal of the Romance Writers of Australia.  For more info on the column, and on RWA membership, see the end of this post!  But for now, over to Helen…

helen-bianchin-portrait

Plotting with Helen Bianchin

I spent the first year of my writing career convinced a book had to be written from page one through to the end. I stalled so many times, eventually threw my hands in the air, muttered something pithy in Italian, then vowed out loud: where does it say there’s a rule a book has to be written consecutively from start to finish?

Remember, in the early 1970s, there were few ‘how-to write’ books around, and the only other M&B authors I knew were Essie Summers and Gloria Bevan. That was until one day Robyn Donald and her husband were in Auckland, discovered there was only one Bianchin in the phonebook and rang me. They visited that very day, and a friendship was forged, which has lasted until the present. Not long after that, Daphne Clair began her Ring o’ Roses newsletter and there was contact!

I tried the pantser route way back when, and ended up with sentences, paragraphs, pages all over the place. Soon I discovered it was a method that didn’t work for me.

What did work was to choose a premise (or it would choose me) and I’d make notes, choose names, setting, get it all handwritten into a notebook, think about it (including procrastination), compose a supposedly perfect scene on the edge of sleep, positive I’d remember it in glorious detail on waking the next morning. Yes, well, we know how that goes…

Through trial and error, I discovered I think in scenes—usually out of sequence. I have to say curling up in a comfy chair with pen and notepad works. The ideas happen and I scribble them down. Then I key them into the computer while the ideas are fresh and there’s hope I can decipher my scribble—or at least get the gist of it, editing as I go along, expanding, enhancing, numbering each draft scene before printing it out. It’s a weird method, and you wouldn’t believe how many times I vow to discard it and write in a professional manner (whatever that is!)

However, I have tried other methods. I know Joy Dingwell used to hand-write on the right side of a lined notebook—mainly all dialogue—then she’d go back and handwrite on the left side of the lined notebook the emotional bits, the scenery, etc. and balloon each bit into where it should fit. When the handwritten notebook was complete, she’d edit, add, then type it all out on an old typewriter in what passed for MS format at that time.

I know of authors who have adapted a similar methodology with handwriting on the right side of a lined notebook (or unlined) and use different-coloured sticky-pad sheets containing handwritten emotion, scenery etc, high and low points, and stick them onto the left side of the notebook. At least with the latter, the sticky-pad sheets can be easily moved and switched around. When the current long-languishing MS is finally finished, I think I’ll give this method a try.

Others use a whiteboard—I think if I tried that, I’d end up erasing something deep and meaningful to be lost forevermore.

Then there’s Scrivener. Some authors swear by it. Others try it and decide it’s not for them. I bought the program with the intention of trialling it when the long-languishing MS finally travels through the ether to London. I even upgraded to the latest version. I’ll let you know how I go (just don’t hold your breath!).

I must admit I witness the published output of varying authors and wonder if they sleep. Writing must occupy every waking minute of their lives…or they have glorious brainpower whereby they key in the right words with the speed of light.

In conclusion, there is no right way. There’s only your way. Even so experimenting with different ways may work really well.

– Helen Bianchin

 

A long-time bestseller for Harlequin Mills & Boon, Helen Bianchin’s books are sold in 26 languages in more than 109 countries. Helen is much beloved in the romance writing community, and was RWA’s first-ever Hall of Fame author. She’s always been a huge supporter of new writers as well as established authors and still participates on the RWA email loops.

Anne Gracie’s A Writer’s Life is a regular column featured in Romance Writers of Australia’s monthly journal, Hearts Talk. Packed full of articles on craft, the publishing industry and interviews with romance authors, Hearts Talk is a valued and much-loved benefit to your RWA membership. If you’re not already an RWA member, join up here [http://www.romanceaustralia.com/p/99/Join-RWA].

 

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