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

Leave a comment


  1. Congratulations to ALL !!!!!!!! 🙂

  2. Thanks for inspiring us all

  3. Super congratulations to all the recipients, nominees, finalists and winners. Thanks to our members and volunteers, we did rock the socks off Olympic Park. During Emma Darcy’s speech, I noticed the hotel manager in the room, laughing along with us, and I was delighted to see him wipe away a tear too. I don’t think they’ll forget us in a hurry 😉

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