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!


ROMA finalists!

I’m delighted to announce the finalists for the 2015/16 ROMA Award (below). The ROMA (Romance Media Award) began in 2006 to recognise outstanding reportage of romance. It is open to Australian print/broadcast/online media for coverage focusing on some aspect of romance publishing or writing (or reading as we discovered last year!) The contest is judged independently by a panel with communications, journalism and/or media experience and final scores averaged to determine the winner (thank you judges!).

In no particular order, those finalists are:

Huge thanks to those RWA members who nominated a piece in the ROMA this year, please do keep them coming (accepting entries for 2016/17 NOW!)—without you guys we might easily miss a true romance reportage gem.  If you have a piece in the coming year that you believe will be competitive, please do send me a link or a scanned copy at or hardcopies can be forwarded to RWA via ROMA Award | PO Box H120 | Hurlstone Park  NSW   2193

See you all next month!

Nikki Logan

ROMA Award Coordinator

Holocaust Romance Fuels Fiery Debate in the US

As my critique partner says, ‘only eight more sleeps to conference’. All around Australia romance writers are dusting out suitcases, making last minute wardrobe adjustments and praying that Vistaprint deliver on time!

In the run up to our conference, the RITA awards shortlists at the Romance Writers of America conference has stirred up some hotly debated controversy in the book world. Influential blogger Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books criticised RWAmerica for short-listing Kate Breslin’s novel For Such a Time in two categories, best first book and best inspirational romance. The book is about a relationship between a Jewish prisoner and a Nazi officer in charge of a concentration camp. Although it didn’t win any awards, the book’s premise offended many for a number of reasons including the imbalance of power hanging over the relationship and the fact that the Jewish prisoner converts to Christianity by the end of the story.

To put it mildly, I don’t see this set-up as an imbalance of power that could possibly be redeemed in a romance narrative, nor do I think the setting and characterisation remotely romantic. But I think this issue is much broader than my individual opinion,’ wrote Wendell.

In response, RWAmerica’s board said that ‘Censoring entry content is not something the board supports … If a book is banned from the contest because of its content, there will be a move for more content to be banned. This is true, even especially true, when a book addresses subjects that are difficult, complex or offensive.’

The line between ethical behaviour and freedom of speech is a fragile one. I understand the outrage of my Jewish friends. However, I can also think of other topics aired in romance novels that certain conservative groups would like to see banned, such as issues of gender, sexual preference and sexual activity preference. Where does one draw the line? What do you think?


Romance Writers of America announced the finalists for this year’s RITA® awards yesterday and we were delighted to see four Australians on the awards shortlists. Congratulations to Beck Nicholas, Bec McMaster, Louisa George and Sarah Mayberry.   *Late correction*  Apparently, the lovely Louisa George is not actually Australian.  She’s English by origin and lives in NZ.  But since she IS a proud member of RWA, we will happily claim her as our own, for the purposes of congratulations!  Happily, they are all shortlisted in different categories. The winners will be announced at a black tie dinner on 25 July, so fingers crossed until then please everyone. (Oh, all right, if you have to edit or write your own book, you can use one hand!)

Here’s a quick look at the four fabulous finalists and their books:

Her Kind of Trouble Louisa George Enemies with Benefits 

Finalist: Contemporary Romance (Short)

Publisher: HMB Modern Tempted/ KISS

Poppy Spencer has discovered that there’s one thing worse than Christmas alone in her flat – and that’s spending it with Isaac Blair, her sworn-enemy-turned-reluctant-flatmate! And it is not just because he knows all her secrets – his sexy-as-sin smile and taut physique are making her all hot and flustered despite the icy cold outside!

Unless a casual hook-up is just the thing she needs…? It’ll certainly break the simmering tension between them. The trouble is, with their history, it will be anything but casual!

Her-Kind-Of-TroubleSarah Mayberry Her Kind of Trouble

Finalist: Contemporary Romance (mid-length)

Publisher: Harlequin Superromance

It takes one to know one … the moment Vivian Walker spies Seth Anderson she knows they are a match made in hedonistic pleasure. And they both agree their one night together is all about fun, not forever. Now, years later, Seth remains a favourite memory. Surely the sizzling chemistry has faded, though, right? Apparently not. Because he’s still sinfully attractive, and she likes the man he is. When he suddenly becomes a full-time dad to his newborn daughter, Vivian falls hard. Yet despite the responsibilities, he’s not a good bet for commitment. And she needs to guard her heart before she gets into trouble!

ForgedByDesireBec McMaster Forged by Desire

Finalist: Paranormal Romance

Publishers: Sourcebooks, Casablanca

Captain Garrett Reed of the Nighthawk guard has a deadly mission: capture a steel-jawed monster preying on women. He hates to put his partner Perry in jeopardy, but she’s the best bait he has. Little does he realize, he’s about to be caught in his own trap.

Perry has been half in love with Garrett for years, but this is not exactly the best time to start a relationship—especially when their investigation leads them directly into the clutches of the madman she thought she’d escaped…

FakeBec Nicholas Fake 

Finalist: Best First Book

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Seventeen-year-old Kath McKenny has a date to the end-of-term party with her since-forever crush. He publicly messaged her to confirm, but there’s been a recent status update: he’s taking the new girl — giggly, pretty, well-developed Lana Elliot — instead.

After being thoroughly humiliated in front of half the school, best friend Chay talks Kath into revenge: a scheme to create the perfect — and very fake — online guy for Lana. Once she falls for him, they’ll show her what it’s like to get brutally dumped.

Everything is going to plan until Kath starts spending more-than-just-friends time with the other new kid in town — Lana’s dreamy older brother, Sebastian. Kath finds herself getting in deep — in love and drowning in guilt, she tries to put an end to her prank, but it’s taken on an unstoppable momentum of its own, with very real consequences.

You can read the full list of finalists here – it makes a great reading list.


I love giving books I love as presents because it is so exciting to be able to share the magic. Two sets of awards were recently announced, so if you’re stuck for ideas, take a look at these:

ausromtoday-winner-badgeAusRomToday 2014 Awards (they’re also running a fabulous Christmas extravaganza, so it’s worth popping in and signing up to J’aimee’s newsletter, especially as it will help keep you up to date with the hot ‘n happening Australian romance scene).

  • Alli Sinclair won Book of the Year for Luna Tango*
  • JL Perry was awarded Best New Author (My Destiny)
  • Amy Andrews won Best Established Author (Holding Out For A Hero)
  • Annie Seaton won Author of the Year (Seductive Secrets)

GoodReads just announced the results of their poll for the best books of 2014. Over three million readers responded! No prizes awarded for guessing that Diana Gabaldon took out top spot for Written in My Own Heart’s Blood. Nalini Singh took out 8th place for Shield of Winter with 11, 162 votes (yay!) and Kylie Scott comes in at number 16 for Play, one of her Stage Diva romances, Play (yay again!!). I was also pleased to see one of my personal favourites, Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare make the list at #11.

Her Favourite RivalEarlier this year, of course, RWA announced our very own winners at the annual conference in Sydney. Sarah Mayberry took home both the RUBY (Romantic Book of the Year for Her Favourite Rival and the ELLA (Romanic Novella of the Year) for Worth the Risk.

Do you have any recommendations about romances to give to others? We’d love to hear about your favourites.

Below is a visual of the GoodReads Top 20 Romance Reads for 2014

GoodReads Best Romance 2014

*All books mentioned are available in paperback or ebook from Booktopia, Amazon, iTunes and other good retailers.

What do these three ANZ writers have in common?

ANZ international book prize award winners 2013/2014

They’ve all won huge international awards in the last 12 months, of course!

The RWA congratulates Tasmanian Richard Flanagan on becoming the third Australian to win the prestigious Mann Booker prize for his book The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Sadly, there’s no HEA in his story, but you can’t have everything, and we’re just pleased to see Richard flying the flag for Australian writers. Besides, we know all romance writers and readers have eclectic tastes and read widely across all sorts of genres.

Richard’s win follows on from that by Kiwi Eleanor Catton’s last year for The Luminaries. If you combine those two wins with our very own Leah Ashton’s RITA for Why Resist a Rebel, then it is safe to say that ANZ writers are super-overachievers punching well above their weight – you’ll have to forgive any mixed metaphors; I’ve got (Southern Cross) stars in my eyes from all the excitement!

Book prizes are important for getting the word out about books to a wide general audience. Aside from the reward of prestige and prize money, short-listed authors see a spike in sales of their books, which climb even higher for the winning title. Organisers of the Mann Booker prize reported at this year’s function that The Luminaries has sold 800,000 copies worldwide (300,000 in the UK and 500,000 in the rest of the world) – and I’m pretty sure they’re talking about printed books which means eBook sales are the icing on the cake. Yum. Here’s hoping that Leah got a little career boost from her win as well.

Do you know of any other ANZs who’ve won international book awards in the last couple of years? If so, please comment and remind us.


Event Announcements

Writer’s Classes, Groups, Library Events & Workshops

September 2013

  • Meet the Agent ~ Sophie Hamley from Cameron Creswell Literary Agency

When: Saturday September 14

Time: 10:00am – 4:00pm

Where: Northern Rivers Writers Centre

Cost: M $50 (members only)

FMI + bookings: OR call (02) 6685 5115

  • Working with an Editor ~ Editors Victoria

When: Monday September 116

Time: 6:30pm – 7:30pm

Where: Writers Victoria

Cost: $15

FMI + bookings: OR call 03 9094 7855

WORKSHOP EVENTOpen Access: Selling Your Book in the Digital Age

with Jenn J McLeod & others incl. Kate Cuthbert – Escape Publishing. A one-day symposium focusing on how writers promote themselves and their work in the constantly changing world of publishing.

When: September 21

Time: 10am – 4pm

Where: NSW Writers’ Centre

Cost: Full Price: $90; Member (NSW WC): $65; Conc Member: $55

For writers and publishers, the challenge is always how to get a book into the hands of readers. Whether you self-publish or go with a mainstream publisher, whether it’s an ebook, print or both, the challenge of promoting yourself and launching your book into the world remains. Open Access will bring together authors, publishers, a bookseller, digital expert, and industry professionals to talk about how they do this – their hits and their misses.

FMI + Bookings:

In September, and again in November, CAE is running Beverly Eikli’s Short Course, Write Romance and Sell it:

Do you want to write a romance novel? Do you have a manuscript or two gathering dust? Multi-published and award-winning romance author Beverley Eikli will help you develop that kernel of an idea that sells a romance. Learn practical devices to improve plot, pacing and presentation, as well as how to pitch to traditional publishers, e-publishers, independents and small press. Beverley will also discuss self-publishing, changing markets and what editors are looking for.

When: September 7 – 28

Time: 10.00am-1.00pm

Cost: 4 sessions Full Fee: $320.00 | Concession: $310.00 Find out more on their website.

October 2013

If you live in or near Melbourne, Anne Gracie is taking a short course in romance writing, to be held over 4 months — a full day workshop on the first Sunday of each month. The course is being run by Writers Victoria at the Wheeler Centre in the heart of Melbourne.

When: Sunday October 6

Time: 1:00pm – 5:00pm

Where: Writers Victoria

Cost: M $325 NM $390

FMI + bookings:

Mary Hawkins loves to share with other romance writers. She is presenting a workshop at this year’s CALEB Conference. The CALEB is the yearly conference for Christians who write for the general or Christian Bookshop markets. Her workshop is called Masterclass – Romance and she will be sharing what romance readers – and editors – expect and look for in sweet and inspirational romance books, and hints how the writer can give romance readers page-turning, satisfying reads.

When: October 11-12, 2013

Where: Riverglenn, Indooroopilly

FMI: and or contact Mary via her website:

Fiction Fundamentals – a one-day writing intensive workshop. Inform. Excite. Ignite. Register for Fiction Fundamentals

Are you committed to writing, but not sure how to get started? You have a story idea, and are overwhelmed by the complexity of the header narrowtask? Or you’ve started, maybe even published, and you want to explore and improve your craft? Perhaps you’re considering the path of self-publishing?

The Write Chicks are multi-published romance fiction authors, Shannon Curtis and Paula Roe. Together, they have over 12 years’ writing experience. They will be joined by Jennifer Brassel, published author and creative writing instructor and for one day these professional authors will share their experience and techniques for writing and publishing in an intensive seminar designed to boost your own skills and knowledge.

Whether you’re looking to learn something new, or wanting to hone your craft, this writing boot camp will deliver value for money. Three authors. Intense, comprehensive sessions. One event.

When: Saturday October 19

Time: 9:00am – 4:00pm

Where: Novotel Parramatta, 350 Church St, Parramatta.

Cost: $120

  • Rhythm and Pace ~ Toni Jordan

When: Sunday October 20

Time: 1:00pm – 4:00pm

Where: The Melbourne Romance Writers Guild, Fitzroy Library, Moor Street, Fitzroy (please book early).

Cost: No charge (RWA approved grant workshop)

Contact: Elvina Payet via

November 2013

In September, and again in November, CAE is running Beverly Eikli’s Short Course, Write Romance and Sell it:

Do you want to write a romance novel? Do you have a manuscript or two gathering dust? Multi-published and award-winning romance author Beverley Eikli will help you develop that kernel of an idea that sells a romance. Learn practical devices to improve plot, pacing and presentation, as well as how to pitch to traditional publishers, e-publishers, independents and small press. Beverley will also discuss self-publishing, changing markets and what editors are looking for.

When: November 02 – 23

Time: 10.00am-1.00pm

Cost: 4 sessions Full Fee: $320.00 | Concession: $310.00 Find out more on their website.

Online Events

Do you need help in the bedroom? If you do, Cathleen Ross is here to save you with her How To Write Erotic Romance Course. Sign up. You’ll be surprised about what you learn.

When: September 30 to October 4

Cost: BDRWA Member $25.00 BDRWA Non-Member $30.00

To Register: Black Diamond Registration Form

Classes are run from Margie Lawson’s website using on-line teaching software used by universities. Take a cyber tour before you start your class and introduce yourself.

Affordable forum-style writing classes

A double Golden Heart finalist in 2006, Julie Rowe has been writing for over ten years. Julie  teaches a variety of workshops and is the moderator of the Announce Online Classes email loop, which promotes online classes for writers.

To subscribe to the Announce online Classes email loop, send an email to:

RWA Conference 2014

Romance Rocks!

4 days. 30+ workshops. Over 300 writers, editors, agents and publishing industry professionals. One epic conference.  Join us in Sydney with guest speakers; thriller writer and writing craft author, James Scott Bell, along with award-winning, best-selling romantic adventure author, Cherry Adair.

When: August 7-10 2014
Where: Novotel Sydney Olympic Park, Homebush

Keep an eye out for updates on the blog and website for more information.


RWAus contest season is now open. Closing dates for the 2013-14 contest season:

Ripping Start 6 September 2013
Selling Synopsis 22 November 2013
Emerald Award 22 November 2013
Little Gems 31 January 2014
First Kiss 14 February 2014
Valerie Parv Award TBA April 2014


The EllaPrint

RWA is excited to launch a new contest for published novellas. To be known as The Ella, the romantic novella of the year award will be a reader-judged contest, and the winner will be announced at RWA’s national conference in August.

The RUBYPrint

The Romantic Book of the Year Award, affectionately known as The Ruby, is our premier award and the only one of its kind in Australia. Voted on by Australian readers, this contest is open each year to any Australian or New Zealand romance author who has published a long or short romance novel.

September’s Hearts Talk Hot off the Presses Now

Spring into post conference content

Selling 75

Laurann Doher (Cyborg Seduction) has been a published writer for only three years but has a 75 book deal – she takes time to tell Mel Teshco about her writing life with Ellora’s Cave.

Laurann wrote 54 books before she ever sought publication.  She hates shoes.  Maybe that’s her secret?

How to bake a book

Jaunita Kees swaps her hammer for a spatula and shows us how to bake a perfect book.  Don’t worry there is actual writing and editing involved as well.

It’s not about the vanity – it’s about the choice

Maree Anderson talks about becoming a self-published author in this month’s, “How do I…”

Winners and Grinners

Celebrate our contest winners and the teams that made the Diamond and Claytons conferences possible.  And they did it for love!

It’s Destiny with Penguin

Read about Destiny Romance the new line being introduced by Penguin.

Escape to Harlequin

Harlequin adds a new digital first imprint to its range.  Read about their So You Think You can Write resources and contest too.

A Writer’s Life

Sarah Mayberry talks about the perils of wanting to be liked and when to use the politican’s standby – “No comment.”

Dear Joan

In this edition Dear Joan gets some help to explore the world of e-publishing with Sarah Mayberry and Nicola Marsh and answers the eternal question, should be become a contest judge.

The Writer’s Journey

Ingrid Riskersey talks to Julie-Anne Carter about marauding Vikings, pantsing and her favourite authors.

Contest Update

See the dates and preliminary details for this year’s contest season, including a Valerie Parv Award report.  Allergy medicine not required.

And our regular features:

  • From Rachel’s desk
  • Market Watch
  • Member News with Bronwyn Stuart
  • In-person events with Doreen Sullivan
  • New Releases

For full articles and regular columns, go to our website.


  • Not a member? Please view our sample issue from January 2011.
  • To receive our wonderful monthly newsletter, we invite you to Join RWA for all the details.

Conference ~ Awards Dinner Results


with the results of the

Awards Dinner

The Previously Announced Awards


3rd: Bernice Greenham ~ Bachelor: Baited, Hooked and Bedded

2nd: Melissa Smith ~ Secret Benefactor

1st: Cornelia Kamp ~ Protecting the Black Widow


3rd:  Natalie Moress ~ A Shot at Love

2nd:Angela Bissell ~ The Italian’s Return

1st: Marilyn Forsyth ~ Farmer Wants a Life


3rd: Marilyn Forsyth ~ The Farmer Wants a Life

2nd: Cara Gabriel ~ The Bloody Ruby

1st: Eloise Shannon ~ The Billionaire’s Secret Bride


3rd: Clare Boston – The Assassin’s Gift

2nd: Imelda Evans – The Trouble with Men

1st: Diane Hester – Believe in Me


Cover Contest Winner: Frank Honsa

3rd:  Donna Woodhouse – Otherwise Engaged

2nd: Catherine Evans – Diamond Shield

1st:  Shayne Sands – Bali Sunset


The Major Awards



Alison Ahearn

Catherine Evans

Fiona Gregory

Bronwyn Jameson

Helen Katsinis

And the award goes to: Helen Katsinis


Highly Commended: Madeline Ash – What He Couldn’t Tell Her

Highly Commended: Anita Joy – Opposites Attract

Highly Commended: Cornelia Camp – Protecting The Black Widow

3rd: Bridget Gray – No Strings Attached

2nd: Cassandra Pennington w/a Cassandra Samuels – The Wager

1st: Bronwyn McEvoy – Fighting Fire



Lust For Words ~Marie Christine Sourris ~The Courier Mail

Raging Romance ~Emily MacDonald ~Townsville Eye

The Romance Queens ~ Susan Horsburgh ~The Australian Women’s Weekly

Feel the Love  ~ Neil McMahon ~ The Age

And the award goes to: Susan Horsburgh ~The Australian Women’s Weekly



3rd: C.T. Green – Halo: Even Angels Will Fall

2nd: Christine Taylor – The Profiler

1st: Michelle de Rooy – Breathless


3rd: Jennifer St George – Seducing the Secret Heiress

2nd: Jennifer St George – The Convenient Bride

1st: Carolyn de Ridder – The Hostage


Joanne Robertson – The Easton Gang Rides Again




Barbara Hannay ~ Molly Cooper’s Dream Date

Leonie Knight ~ How to Save a Marriage in a Million

Marion Lennox ~ Abby and the Bachelor Cop

Fiona Lowe ~ Single Dad’s Triple Trouble

And the R*BY goes to Barbara Hannay



Robyn Grady ~ The Fearless Maverick

Kelly Hunter ~ The Man She Loves to Hate

Melanie Milburne ~ The Wedding Charade

Anne Oliver ~ Her Not-So-Secret Diary

And the R*BY goes to Robyn Grady



Anna Campbell ~ Midnight’s Wild Passion

Fiona Lowe ~ Boomerang Bride

Sarah Mayberry ~ The Best Laid Plans

Mardi McConnochie: The Voyagers

And the R*BY goes to Fiona Lowe



Anna Jacobs ~The Trader’s Wife

June Loves ~ The Shelley Beach Writers’ Group

Nicola Marsh ~ Busted in Bollywood

Helene Young ~ Shattered Sky

And the R*BY goes to Helene Young



September Hearts Talk Wrap Up

The latest edition of Hearts Talk is out now.

Our monthly member-only magazine has the latest news and information for writers.

Here is a little peek….

Conference Wrap Up

From Here to Eternity – The Best 20 years

The 20th annual RWA conference was held at Hilton on the Park in Melbourne from Thursday 11th August through to Sunday 14th August, and was a resounding success. Various RWA members and regular HeartsTalk contributors took photos flamboyantly, eavesdropped unabashedly, interviewed brazenly and reported back with candour and panache…

The 2011 conference kicked off on Thursday with the A-Day for published authors, “Staying published in a changing world”. Thursday afternoon saw the first of the bonus workshops, an innovative new addition to the conference program: “Taking the terror out of pitching” with Jaye Ford & Christine Stinson, and “Panic-free pitching” with Anna Sugden.

The Friday workshop this year was Bob Mayer’s “Write it Forward” (formerly known as “Warrior Writer”) followed by more bonus workshops, “An agent reads the slush-pile” with Kristin Nelson, & ‘Now we’re talking” chats with a stellar line-up of authors.

The Friday night cocktail party, sponsored by Harlequin, was themed “Roaring Twenties” and was a spectacular icebreaker.

Saturday and Sunday Conference featured a jam-packed program of workshops, panels and sufficient breaks to grab a coffee and get networking…

Behind the Scenes with Cath Evans (& conference team)

Bronwyn Jameson and Louise Reynolds were appointed in March 2010 and began conference preparations – 18 months before the conference! First job was choosing a venue. Through a series of proposals, quotes and visits, a long-list of nine hotels was whittled to four, then three, before Hilton on the Park was contracted. Then to find Speakers. They drew up a (long) wish-list and 18 invitations were sent to build their “dream-team”. And what a dream team!

For 18 months, Bron and Lou lived and breathed the conference – some days more than others. It was a pleasure to work with such professional people. They had a vision and everything was linked to this vision.

A-Day in Brief

Some points from Stephanie Laurens, Marion Lennox, Susan Wiggs, Bob Mayer, Kelly Armstrong

Friday Workshop with Bob Mayer

“Most bad writing is based on fear” ~Stephen King

This quote from one of the most famous writers on the planet appeared early in Bob Mayer’s Friday workshop, Write it Forward (formerly known as Warrior Writer), and it was a theme Bob returned to often.

Conference Newbies

Bec Sampson talked to first time conference goers Carla Caruso, Raewyn Bright, Rowena Holloway and Heather Davis about their experience.

Tweet About it

#RWAus11 was this year’s hashtag for twitter, and the tweets were flying. As of 19 August, 2739 tweets had been sent using the hashtag. Top tweeters (apart from the official RWA accounts) were @ReadNikkiLogan, @RachaelJohns, @sarazon, @HeleneYoung, @Bookthingo, @kikilon, @NicolaMarsh and @KeziahHill. The second top hashtag was #Mayer.

For full features, go to our website. For members only.

Award Dinner Winners

R*BY Winners

  • Winner of the RBY – Short Sexy
  • Lindsay Armstrong for The Socialite and the Cattle King
  • Winner of the RBY – Short Sweet
  • Melanie Milburne for The Doctor’s Rebel Knight
  • Winner of the RBY – Long Romance
  • Sophia James for One Unashamed Night
  • Winner of the RBY – Romantic Elements
  • Helene Young for Wings of Fear (formerly Border Watch)

For lists of the following awards, see Hearts Talk.

The Emerald Category, The Emerald Single Title, Valerie Parv Award, First Kiss, STALI, High Five, Little Gems, Selling Synopsis

Lynne Wilding Award
Louise Reynolds

20 Years of Covers contests

  • Category – Bronwyn Jameson
  • Contemporary – Christine Stinson
  • Paranormal – Ebony McKenna
  • Historical – (tie) – Christina Phillips & Tamara Gill
  • Most Popular Overall: Ondine by Ebony McKenna

ROMA Award

Winner: ABC South Australia – Simon Royal reporter

The Changing Face of Romance – August 28th 2010


A Special Award for 20 years of support to romance and romance authors was awarded to Julie Redlich, former Fiction Editor of Woman’s Day.

A 20th Anniversary Appreciation Award was presented to Harlequin.

Honorary Life Membership was awarded to Anne Gracie.

From the Coordinators

Our 20th Anniversary Conference is over and, according to the feedback survey and the many emails from happy delegates, it appears to have been a success. For this we must offer effusive thanks and praise for our fabulous conference team, the larger team of volunteers who pitched in to help when conference week looked overwhelming, the session moderators and MCs, our brilliant presenters, and the sponsors whose contribution allowed us to create many memorable additions.

Thank you to everyone who made “From Here to Eternity” a conference to remember.

The final numbers: A total of 360 writers and industry professionals attended this year’s conference. An additional 54 partners, friends and readers attended the evening events. ADay attracted 71 authors. 176 writers attended Bob Mayer’s Friday workshop and a record 266 at the Awards Dinner.

RWA Noticeboard

Hearts Talk Editor – Job Vacancy

We’re looking for a new editor for our monthly newsletter. If you’re organised, have an eye for detail, can manage a team and have a desire to  lead Hearts Talk forward, then we want to hear from you!

Group Grants Scheme

Congratulations to Writers not Waiters and the Marlborough Romance Writers Group on the success of their grant applications.

Little Gems 2011 Garnet Anthology: Second Print Run

Due to overwhelming demand we have done a second printing of the Little Gems 2011 Garnet Anthology. Don’t miss out on your copy. Go to the Little Gems page on the RWA website for the order form and payment details.

For full notices, go to our website. For members only.

Slam-Dunk that Synopsis by Erica Hayes 

What’s a synopsis, and why do I need one?

A synopsis is a short written summary of your story, and its sole purpose is to convince an editor to buy (or an agent to represent) your work, or at least to request the full manuscript. They can gauge the saleability of your writing from a partial – but they need a full synopsis to gauge the saleability of your story. And make no mistake – it’s saleability, not necessarily quality or talent, that will get you that elusive contract.

So it’s not the same as a pitch or a query letter, then?

No. That’s more like a back cover blurb: a short teaser to hook the reader. The synopsis must contain your full plot, including the ending. The editor wants to know how the romance resolves.

For full article, go to our website. For members only.

Of course don’t forget our regular columns

  • From the Prez with Alison Ahearn. >Alison says bye as president
  • Events with Doreen Sullivan
  • Contest Page with Lis Hoorweg> Info on the The High Five, The Selling Synopsis, and The Single (Title) & Loving it contests. 2010 Valerie Parv Award Report by Erica Hayes
  • Market Watch with Sami Lee
  • Ask Auntie Fi with Fiona Lowe

Dear Auntie Fi, During one of the conference sessions an editor said any of us at the conference workshop could submit to her. Does she really mean this and if yes, how do I know my stuff would be suitable? And how should I send it? ~ Confused from Kew.

For full columns, go to our website. For members only.


Not a member? Please view our sample issue from January 2011.

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