Face-2-Face with…LoveCatsDownunder

At the RWA we like to embrace and support all our members in whatever way we can and with technology being such an integeral part of the way we all operate in today’s modern world we thought it was high time we started to get Face-2-Face with some of the RWA’s online groups.

Yes, there’s not doubt about it. Find a group of like-minded  romance writers and they’ll find a way to meet, share, learn and grow together even when distance seperates them. If you haven’t already then perhaps our latest series of F2F posts (look out for them on the first Wednesday of the moth) will inspire you to become part of an online group yourself.

Group Name: LoveCats Downunder

Area/Region: We’re Australian and New Zealand authors, hailing from places including Canberra to Perth, Christchurch, Mahau and the Sunshine Coast.

Members:  Natalie Anderson, Sharon Archer, Leah Ashton, Rachel Bailey, Zana Bell, Robyn Grady, Anna Hackett, Soraya Lane, Sue Mackay, Emily May, Tracie Sommers, Mel Teshco, Nikki Logan.

Genre: We write category romance in a broad range of lines and genres including Medical, Desire, Historicals, Romance/Sweet, Nocturne Bites, Riva, Sexy, Super Romance and Spice Briefs.

How did we start?

Sharon: “How about… we start a blog for new Harlequin category authors?” I picture Rachel Bailey and Nikki Logan nurturing this idea over a fancy cocktail at the Langham Hotel but the truth is they did it in a brainstorming session on instant messaging on opposite coasts of Australia.

They floated the concept to Tracie Sommers, Mel Teshco, Emily May, Zana Bell and me, Sharon Archer – we were all for it. We were on a roll, setting up a loop to make our discussions easier.

Title ideas got batted around. We wanted something fun – an umbrella for all of us

with our variety of lines. We wanted “cats” since we’re “category” writers and all those delicious “cat” words and puns begged to be used! And we wanted something that located us.

LoveCatsDownUnder! We launched ourselves into the blogosphere in mid-January 2010 with a week-long party. Since then we’ve added more wonderful Cats:  Anna Hackett, Michelle Douglas, Sue Mackay, Natalie Anderson, Soraya Lane and Robyn Grady, and Leah Ashton.

How do we work?

Emily: We share the jobs on the LoveCats blog. Sharon Archer is in charge of our calendar (we call her Roster Cat) and Mel Teshco is our promo cat, posting our weekly schedule on the Romaus loop and to the RWA Cruisin’ the Blogs coordinator. Nikki Logan uploads our new covers and designed the original blog. Tracie Sommers put together our Facebook page. Rachel Bailey started the Sunday Smooches — where we showcase a kiss from a recent release and have a giveaway — and Robyn Grady and I (Emily May) now run the smooches between us. We’re lucky to have a programmer (Tracie Sommers) and a web designer (Leah Ashton) on the team, and they’re currently discussing our new look.

The more technologically savvy people have been great hand-holders for those of us who find it more challenging. I am forever indebted to Sharon for the wonderful step-by-step guide she wrote on how to post a blog and upload photos!

Why I joined?

Sue: I joined the Lovecats as they’re a lively, professional and fun group of authors determined to get known out in the wider world of books. Everyone has something to offer and a variety of romance subgenres is represented. For me having minimal computer knowledge belonging to a group is a distinct advantage too.

Why we like it?

Zana: The best thing about being a LoveCat is always having like-minded women with whom to celebrate and commiserate.  We’ve been together through floods, earthquakes, births, marriages, sickness and, of course the writing of books! In the uncertain world of publishing, it’s wonderful to have a group where we can seek help and ask questions. We’ve pooled knowledge, shared experiences and brainstormed solutions for a myriad of situations and there’s nothing like a bit of cyber support when you don’t know where else to turn.

Extra Curricular Activities?

Tracie: LoveCats love pressies. Apart from having prizes and giveaways on the blog, the LoveCat members have donated prize packs to several charity fundraisers including the Silent Auctions held at the annual RWA conferences and additional fundraisers such as the Australian Romance Reader’s Convention fundraiser for flood and cyclone affected Queenslander’s earlier this year. The other thing the LoveCats love to do is cheer each other on. Last year we had three Ruby finalists Cats: Sharon, Tracie and Robyn, and this year we have a different three we’ll be cheering on at the Awards Night: Emily, Michelle and Natalie.

What have you learned that others might be interested in?

Robyn: Writing can be a lonely occupation. Joining with other like-minded people creates positives all over the place! You share good news, as well as those not-so-happy moments I call ‘thunks’. When you’re stuck, there’s always someone to bounce off and, of course, you reap satisfaction returning the favour. Valuable information is circulated, appreciated, and hopefully passed on further afield. Best of all, friendships are made…bonds that will serve you well on so many levels, in so many ways.

If you have any questions about LoveCatsDownunder or are interested in becoming a member then please contact Rachel, Nikki and the other wonderful Cats ladies via their blog http://lovecatsdownunder.blogspot.com/

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18 Comments

  1. I love cats and so remember when the LoveCats were launched and being very excited. Have enjoyed many of your blog posts and look forward to many many more!

    Reply
  2. Ooh, how exciting to see our names here! Hi Rachael! *waves*

    Reply
  3. Thanks for having us visit, Jane!

    Rach, thanks for the sweet words. 🙂

    Reply
  4. Tracie Sommers

     /  August 8, 2011

    Thanks for having us visit. The lovecats is a lot of fun. And I love the women involved. We have all grown up together as published authors- some more than others (tee hee- I mean me here)

    Reply
  5. How exciting to be on the RWA blog! Thanks for hosting us, Jane!

    (waving to Rachael and Mel and Rachel and Tracie!)

    Belonging to the LoveCats has been a fantastic way for me to leap into the blogosphere with my lovely fellow Cats for company and support! We learn from each other and it’s great having the energy of the others to keep the momentum!

    We love our visitors and try to make sure that we respond to everyone who comments. And we have giveaways – especially books – at every opportunity! But definitely every Sunday for our Sunday Smooch!

    Reply
  6. Hi, Jane. Thanks for showcasing the lovely LoveCats! It’s a such a fun, warm and cat-friendly place to hang out, and a great example of a group blog that works. Sharon’s gadget series was a hoot!

    Reply
  7. Hi everyone!

    Don’t forget Michelle Douglas — one of our current RuBY nominated LoveCats and one of the longest serving members. (She fell off the list).

    My favourite parts of the LoveCats are Sunday Smooch and those blogs about people’s travelling adventures.

    Plus I’m a bit partial to the ‘Simon’s Cat’ video (which reminds me, must look to see if there’s a new one…)

    Reply
  8. Hi LoveCats,

    Just wanted to say how much I enjoy your blogs, and especially the Sunday Smooches. Hm, hmmmm! A definite end of the week treat.

    Looking forward to seeing you in Melbourne.

    Annie

    Reply
  9. I love visiting LoveCats and “meeting” all my favourite authors. I try to visit daily, by the way, and have their link on the sidebar of my blog so all my blog visitors can visit them as well!

    Congratulations to all LoveCat nominees this year!

    Reply
  10. Ooh, it’s lovely to be visiting on the RWA blog — thanks for having us here, Jane.

    And sending cyber hugs to Rach, Vanessa, Annie and Nas for their kind words and for hanging out with us over at the LoveCats.

    While I love the Sunday Smooch, not sure I have a particular fave day — love the variety of them all. 🙂 Though, that said, I do love Nikki’s “Simon’s Cat” videos. That man knows how to capture a cat’s mannerism to perfection!

    Reply
  11. Waving to Vanessa and Annie and Nas! Thanks for popping in to say hello!

    And Nikki, you’re so right about our clever RuBY nominee! We’ll be cheering for you on Saturday Night, Michelle!

    Aren’t the Simon’s Cat videos fab!

    Reply
  12. I love cats, I love romance and I’m so proud of our Aussie and NZ writers–no wonder I enjoy visiting the LoveCats blog! Very interesting to see how you actually operate the multi-author blog as it seems to run so smoothly.

    I look forward to further visits!

    Reply
  13. I’m a regular reader of lovecatsdownunder!

    Reply
  14. Hey, Kandy and Cody! Lovely of you to swing by to say hello! We look forward to seeing you over at the Cats!
    🙂
    Sharon

    Reply
  15. I love the Sunday Smooch! A very good blog site, well done. Great blog too, Jane 🙂 Really enjoyed reading it.

    Regards, Juanita

    Reply
  16. We’re so glad you love our Sunday Smooch and the Cats blog, Juanita!
    Thanks for visiting here today – isn’t it lovely of Jane to host us!
    🙂
    Sharon

    Reply
  17. Hey, girls, how great to see you all here! I love the Love Cats. One of my favourite regular posts is the Sunday smooch when you post a kiss from a recent romance novel. It’s a VERY nice way to start a Sunday every week. It’s interesting – on the ARRA loop they were asking for blogs people like and the first blog I thought of (other than my own beloved Romance Bandits, obviously!) was the Love Cats. Long may you reign. I think you’re just purr-fection!

    Reply
  18. LOL, Anna! “Purrrrfect” is exactly the sort of fun “Cat” thing we’ve loved playing with for the LoveCats blog!

    YES! Romance Bandits is an awesome blog – you girls rock!
    🙂
    Sharon

    Reply

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