Awards Night Results 2016

Once again, our conference organisers hosted a wonderful conference dinner and glorious award presentation.

Thank you to our conference committee for organising and managing such a great event.  We must also thank our lovely president, Leisl Leighton, who MC’d the evening for us.

We started by congratulating the winners of the Cover Contest, the Ripping Start, Selling Synopsis, First Kiss, Little Gems and Little Gems Cover Awards, all of which were decided and announced during the year.  (If you would like to revisit the winners and finalists, there are links at the end of this post.)  Thank you to Michael Hauge, Erica Hayes, Joanne Grant, Pauline Johnston, Sarah E Younger, Tricia Sargant and Lis Hoorweg for presenting those awards.

Then we moved onto the awards that are saved for the big reveal at the conference, which this year included the ROMA, The Valerie Parv Award, The Emerald, The Emerald Pro, The Ruby (in all its various categories), the Lynne Wilding Meritorious Service Award and a Life Member Award. We also announced the covers from our members’ books that we voted as our favourites in several categories.  Thank you to Leisl Leighton, Valerie Parv, Jo McAllister, Esi Sogah, Erica Hayes, Kerri Lane, Michael Hauge, Annie Lynch, Nikoo McGoldrick, Jim McGoldrick, Amy Andrews and Anita Joy for presenting these awards.  Thanks too, to Anne Gracie for the famous and much-loved ‘stand ups’!

I must also take this opportunity to thank Erica Hayes and all the volunteer members of the contest team of RWA, without whom, our contest season could not happen.

And now, for the results, drumroll please…

The Cover Contest competition, judged by our members.  As authors, we often have very little control over our covers, so we are always grateful when the cover fairies (otherwise known as the artists and publishers who create the art) bless us.  This year, our most blessed books, as judged by our members, were: (if you’d like to see the covers in question, you can find them here.

Favourite Contemporary Romance Cover:

Operation White Christmas – Nicki Edwards – Pan MacMillan

Favourite Erotic/Sexy Romance Cover:

The Veiled Heart – Elsa Holland – Self Published: Artist, Hang Le

Favourite Historical Romance Cover:

The King’s Man – Alison Stuart – Escape Publishing

Favourite NA/YA Romance Cover:

The Finn Factor – Rachel Bailey – Entangled Embrace

Favourite Paranormal Romance Cover:

The Shattered Court – M J Scott – Penguin/ROC

Favourite Romantic Elements Cover:

Pretty Famous – Carla Caruso – Harper Impulse

Favourite Romantic Suspense Cover:

Storm Clouds – Bronwyn Parry – Hachette Australia

Favourite Rural Romance Cover:

Summer and the Groomsman – Cathryn Hein – Self-published. Artist Kellie Dennis, Book Cover by Design.

Congratulations to all these members for having great luck with the cover fairies and to the publishers who commissioned and artists who created these gorgeous covers.


The Roma Award for Media

The finalists for the ROMA Award 2016 were:

Danielle Binks; 

It takes a village to write a romance: the surprising rise of collaborative fiction.”


By any other name: the secret lives of romance authors.

 The Wheeler Centre

“The F word: A live podcast, featuring Kate Bell, Kat Mayo and Beth Driscoll”

The ROMA is an award to recognise professional, positive media coverage of the romance industry. It was launched by Romance Writers of Australia (Inc) (RWA) to help recognise and acknowledge those members of the media who reach beyond the cliché in their reporting on romance writers, releases or industry. In determining the winner, the award selection panel look at the angle of the article, the quality of research, the representation of romance and the ‘reach’ of the piece.  Any RWA member can nominate a media piece that they feel stands out as particularly worthy.

And the ROMA was awarded to:

Danielle Binks, for BOTH her pieces – they tied!



The Valerie Parv Award (VPA) 

Highly Commended:

Bloodlines – Jess Langhorne

By Love Undone – Samara Kelly

His Bargained-for Bride – Jodie Morphett

3rd Place: Starborn – Samantha Wicks

2nd Place: Demon Curse – Raewyn Bright

And the winner and the new minion is…

1st Place, VPA – Fighting Spirit – Chris Weston



The Emerald Award

3rd Place: The Shooting Star – Frances Dall’Alba

2nd Place: Alpine Kisses – Laura Boon

1st Place: Island Redemption – Suzanne Cass



Emerald Pro

1st Place: A Suitcase, a Smile and a Lie – Katy Scott



The Lyn Wilding Meritorious Service Award.

The LWA is named in honour of RWA’s first president, Lyn Wilding, and honours our wonderful volunteers.  In this sense, it is not won, but awarded, as all our volunteers and all the nominees are winners in our eyes.  This year, those nominated included Linda Brown, Daniel DeLorne, Imelda Evans, Erica Hayes, Delwyn Jenkins, Jillian Jones and Vicki Vuat.  We would like to thank all of them for their service, and the members who took to the trouble to nominate them.  We appreciate all your efforts.  But the award can only go to one and this year the recipient is:

Daniel DeLorne



New Life Member

In honour of her long history of sharing her expertise and experience with RWA, we are delighted to announce our newest Life Member:

Valerie Parv



Ruby Award for Romantic Book of the Year

Ruby Novella Finalists:

Misletoe Maverick – Shannon Curtis – self-published

Silk and Scars – Cassandra Dean – Decadent Publishing

What a Bachelor Needs – Kelly Hunter – Tule Publishing

Pursued by a Rogue – Kelly Hunter – Tule Publishing

And the Ruby goes to:

What a Bachelor Needs – Kelly Hunter – Tule Publishing



Ruby Short Sweet Finalists:

The Secret Son (Retitled as The Montana Son) – Joan Kilby – Tule Publishing

You for Christmas – Madeline Ash – Tule Publishing

Still Married to her Ex – Lucy Clark – HM&B Medical

Home to Bindara Creek – Juanita Kees – Self Published

Reach for the Stars – Kerrie Patterson – Self Published

And the Ruby goes to:

The Secret Son (Retitled as The Montana Son) – Joan Kilby – Tule Publishing



Ruby Short Sexy finalists:

Tribal Law – Shannon Curtis – Australian Romance Readers Association

The Wedding Bargain – Yvonne Lindsay – Harlequin Desire

Pretend It’s Love – Stephanie London – Entangled Lovestruck

Never Surrender – Rosie Miles – Entangled Ignite

Seducing His Enemy’s Daughter – Annie West – HM&B Sexy

And the Ruby goes to:

Never Surrender – Rosie Miles – Entangled Ignite



Ruby Long Romance finalists:

Rise – Karina Bliss – Self Published

The Spring Bride – Anne Gracie – Berkley/Penguin Random House

Kakadu Sunset – Annie Seaton – Pan MacMillan Australia

Lethal in Love – Michelle Somers – Random House Australia

And the Ruby goes to:

Lethal in Love – Michelle Somers – Random House Australia



Ruby Romantic Elements finalists:

A Dangerous Arrangement – Lee Christine – Escape Publishing

The Patterson Girls – Rachel Johns – Harlequin MIRA

Pay the Piper – Mary Brock Jones – Self Published

Between the Vines – Tricia Stringer – Harlequin MIRA

And the Ruby goes to:

The Patterson Girls – Rachel Johns – Harlequin MIRA



Finally, here are the links for the previously announced competitions:

Ripping Start Results 2016

Selling Synopsis Results 2016

First Kiss Results 2016

Little Gems and Little Gems Cover Results 2016


And then we all boogied our celebrations at the Escape after-party till they kicked us out!

Congratulations to all the winners and recipients and to all those admiring them from afar, make sure you enter next year.  You have to be in it to win it!




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

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