Little Gems 2012 Author: Shayne Sands reflects on ‘Bali Sunset’

This week we meet Shayne Collier, writing as Shayne Sands, and her winning story: Bali Sunset.

Congratulations Shayne. Tell us…

What challenges you most in writing a short story? Do you have any tip/s for writing a short story?

The challenge is squeezing everything in so it doesn’t look like it’s squashed. I guess the tip is to think ‘small’. You can’t afford to plonk in a heap of back story, so you have to write economically and efficiently. You have to remain in the present as much as possible in order to bring your characters to life and together in the moment.

Do you have a favourite line/short piece from your story?

I’ve looked at it so many times I’m a bit over it. I still like the start because although it’s in the past (yikes, backstory!) it is evocative and terrifying:

The ocean was in a fury the day Jake Pearson died.

Although an elite big-wave surfer, he was no match for the might of a massive break that engulfed him and his board, holding him under until all the fight was gone and his lungs filled like water bombs.    

What was the inspiration for your story?

I love the ocean. I find big wave surfing fascinating. Growing up, I was a wanna-be surfer chick who dreamt of making out with a surfer boy (never happened – and when it almost did I was well into my wanna-be rock chick phase and rejected the offer).  I visited Bali in 2010 and went to Uluwatu, which has a reputation as a surfing paradise.  I tried to imagine what it was like in the ‘70s, before greedy developers got their hands on it. The photo I took there inspired me.

What are you working on now and goals for the future?

I’m working on a story I started more than two years ago. I’m thinking of too many other story ideas, including one for a book for ‘tweens. My goal is to finish my current wip before I turn 100.

How can people find out more about you/your writing? Do you have a website or blog?

I have an ocean swimming blog, which might not interest anyone but it is often funny and charming. I also have a writing blog I intend to use more as I intend to write more often… than not. My swimming blog is and my writing blog is

Will we be able to catch up with you in person at the RWA Conference in August?

Yes. As usual, it was a last-minute decision but it’s locked in. I can’t wait to catch up with the wonderful people I last saw in Sydney in 2010 and to forge new friendships.

Anthology Orders Now Open

Would you like to order the anthology for yourself, as a special gift or a Christmas (yes I said Christmas) stocking filler?

Orders are now open and we are taking pre-release orders until the end of June, so plenty of time. Use the order form on our RWA website.

NOTE: Pre-release ordering means you are ordering and paying but the anthology will not be available until August (launched at the national conference).
Leave a comment


  1. Carmen

     /  June 12, 2012

    Congratulations on winning, Shayne. I’m looking forward to reading the story. Your goal made me laugh – it’s the same as mine 😀

  2. Great post, Shayne and congratulations! The opening of your story is gripping & I am looking forward to reading it. I love your swimming blog & often pop over tho I rarely comment. I was in Bali in the 70’s & loved it. Will be great to catch up in August.

  3. Nope. You aren’t allowed to start another one until this one is finished!

    And Jenn, wash your mouth out for mentioning the ‘C’ word.

    • Hi Carmen,
      I’m glad I’m not alone! What I’ve done lately, though, is to keep my eye on the prize. Define ‘prize’ any way you want. But when I finish this wip, I plan to party like it’s 1999!

      Hi Suz and Anita, Thanks for dropping by. Hey Suz, I went to Bali in the ’70s, too. It’s changed a lot, as you can imagine.

      Now I’m in, I can’t wait until August. Woo hoo!

  4. Carol H

     /  June 13, 2012

    Goodonya for topping the Little Gems, Shayne! Can’t wait to read your story. So what’s your WIP about – you know, the one you plan to finish before you’re in a nursing home. Does the sea star in that one too?

  5. kezp

     /  June 13, 2012

    Can’t wait to read your story Shayne!

  6. Hi Carol and Kez,
    Thanks for commenting. To answer your question, Carol, the wip is about a couple forced into a pretend marriage. It involves a trip to LA, which results in a night of steamy lurv making at the Beverly Wilshire (hotel where Pretty Woman was filmed). What happens next? Dunno. But I’m about to find out because I’m up to the morning after the night before and I need answers from my hero and heroine asap (so they’re not hanging around hassling me to get a move on for weeks on end).

  7. Cath Evans

     /  June 13, 2012

    Hi Shayne,
    Congrats on your winning story. I love big waves and big wave surfing. I’d never be brave enough to try it but wow, it looks like a huge rush. I can’t wait to read your story. Hope it won’t make me cry though.


  8. Congratulations Shayne,
    It’s no wonder you are in this editon of Little Gems. I loved the entire story. 🙂 Truly remarkable.

  9. Thanks Suzanne. That’s very kind of you. I look forward to meeting you at the conference.

  10. Hi Cath,
    Imagine it. I watch surfers streaking through barrels of solid ocean and wonder what it would be like to be enveloped by a wall of blue. You’re right – what a rush. I’d love to catch up at the conference and have a good old chin wag! See you there.

  11. Can’t wait to read your story, Shayne, and see you again at the conference!

  12. See you there gorgeous girl!


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