The Australian Romance Readers Conference

This past weekend in Canberra was my first attendance at ARRA’s biennial conference. I was starry-eyed with the joy of being amidst romance readers and writers – ALMOST as starry-eyed as I was attending my first RWA conference in Sydney last August! Congratulations to all the winners, including Kylie Scott who was voted Australia’s favourite romance author. Click here for the complete list of winners.

Event highlights for me included:

  • Listening to the keynote addresses by Helene Young, Victoria Dahl, Sylivia Day and Kerry Armstrong.
  • Attending all the historical romance panels featuring Anne Gracie, Anna Campbell, Christina Brooke, Beverley Eikli, Ann Stuart, Suzi Love and Alyssa James (I confess to an ongoing love affair with all romances historical, but the panels on contemporary romance and rural romance were just as amazing).
  • Viewing the beautiful dresses and bling on display as the Roaring Twenties took over the Awards dinner (as well as those paraded earlier in the day).
  • Discovering and meeting new authors including the opportunity to spend the Gala Awards dinner in the company of Jennie Jones, Alissa Callen and Alison Butler.
  • Catching up with RWA member Eleni Konstantine who held the fort at the RWA stand with grace all weekend, with help from fellow committee members Diane Curran, Leisl Leighton and Imelda Evans.
  • Witnessing the generosity of RWA members including Nikki Logan (who sponsored the real coffee kiosk) and Imogene Nix (who sponsored the Romantic Suspense Award).
  • Hearing Tony Nash, CEO of Booktopia, say that they three sold three million books last year, of which 400,00 were romance titles. Doesn’t that make your heart sing?

However, the play of the weekend goes to Rachael Johns. At the awards dinner, Janette Radevski stabbed the chocolate biscuit casing of her desert with her fork, only to watch in horror as it flew up and off her plate at great speed. No worries if your dining companions include Rachael. She shot out a hand, caught the pudding deftly and placed it gently back down on Janette’s plate. Where, oh where, is a video camera when you need one?! It would seem the winning awards (Sexiest Hero) and saving deserts are all in a night’s work for this multi-tasker 🙂

Photo Gallery

Fashion Parade

Panellistsgala dinner

RWA stand and Nikki Logan coffee kiosk

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Romance Rocks Presents…

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On Saturday 9th August on Track E, Session 1, Jenn J McLeod shares Small Town Twists and Secrets.

We’ve heard it said: “There are no new plots, just twists on well-loved tropes.” So, what can a writer do to put their own twist on a tried and true plot to make their small town secrets story a standout? With this in mind, I set out to study what makes the marriage of small towns and secrets so popular with readers (and therefore publishers). In 2010 I built a brand around small towns and finished my first novel about small towns keeping big secrets.

Your Presenter – Jenn J McLeod

Extraordinarily ordinary #countrypubdweller who (somehow) secured a four-book contract with Simon & Schuster!

Have you presented sessions at previous conferences, for RWA or other organisations? jennjmcleod_fence_web
I delivered a small version of Small Town Secrets at the 2013 Bellingen Writers Festival.
I love sharing what I’ve learned with others and this topic is very close to my heart. For me, stories about small towns and secrets are like wine and crackers – they go down so well together! Add a book and it’s happy hour heaven for me. Like wine, there are ways to infuse your story with secrets and, like your favourite mixer, adding a twist can make the experience just perfect. Developing my “small town secrets” platform was integral to securing my contract.

What will participants take away from this session?
Learn the secret to a good secret, the ways to use secrets in fiction, and what a writer can do to put their own twist on a tried and true plot by exploring:
• What makes small town stories thrive and what makes them die.
• The importance of authenticity.
• The secret to a good secret and ways to use secrets in fiction.

Which members will benefit most from this session?
Primarily focused on aspiring authors who want to avoid small town traps and clichés when plotting/writing, the information will be relevant to other writers. IMPORTANTLY: my use of the term ‘Small town’ is not solely for the remote and dusty setting. This session will be just as relevant for any fictional group dynamic (eg the small community on the coast, the sleepy out of the way town that sits quietly on a lazy river, a city suburb, or a crammed cul-de-sac. Think Wisteria Lane!)

What is the best part/aspect of conference for you?
The hugs, the buzz, the chaos of catch-ups with old and new online friends (and realising none of us look like our profile pictures!) But this year? Being a ridgy-didge author and attending the book signing alongside my peers.

Any advice for conference first-timers? Simmering-Season-Jenn-J-McLeod-lge-195x300
I know most people are busy preparing for their ‘elevator pitch’. Well, one must also be prepared for the ‘elevator hug’. (That moment you step inside the lift and discover the person you are sharing the space with is someone you’ve been dying to meet.) My first conference, first elevator hug experience, was Melbourne 2011. Right, Helene Young? *wink*

What is your latest/current/upcoming book release and where can members find out more about you?
Simmering Season – The prefect storm is heading Maggie Lindeman’s way and it will blow the lid off a lifetime of secrets. Visit www.jennjmcleod.com to find out more about my Seasons Collection of four books, to be released by Simon & Schuster.

More Session Info:

  • Beverly Eikli and Bronwyn Parry – A Lady’s Wardrobe Unlocked: Cloth and clothing in Georgian Times

Follow a day in the life of a Lady, exploring the cloth she uses for sleeping, bathing, dining and furnishings, and the layers of clothing and dressing procedures at different stages of her day. Take your historical detail to the next level with authors Beverley Eikli and Bronwyn Parry – also costume and textile historians – as they uncover some little known facts about cloth and clothing in the Georgian era. Dressed in costumes of the period, they’ll explore the Lady’s Wardrobe to reveal the many layers of clothing required by the fashionable lady, and also discuss the Linen Room and other textiles of the townhouse and castle.

  • Rachel Bailey – Conflict: The Key To Your Romance NovelRachelBailey_CounteringHisClaim

The workshop will focus on the creation of strong, believable internal and external conflict between romance heroes and heroines, maintaining that conflict through layering, reinforcing and deepening, then resolving the conflict believably without either character losing or being anti-climactic. Examples will be analyzed from both books and movies and broken down into elements that will be easy to apply in participants’ own work.Create, maintain and resolve the internal and external conflict in your romance novel.

  • Maisey Yates and Jackie Ashenden: It’s Not Just About Ripping Bodices

Learn to write loves scenes that readers just can’t skim. A good love scene should be about more than Tab A into Slot B, or there purely for titillation’s sake. It should be integral to the romance, changing the way the characters interact with each other, complicating the plot and deepening the conflict. It should be a scene that you can’t remove from the book without losing the character’s emotional arc, just as you can’t interchange it with another. Like a support beam in a house, it should hold up the structure and if removed would cause the whole thing to fall down.

  • Christina Brooke – All About Character

Make your characters memorable using techniques every writer should know. Romance novels are all about character and how the hero and heroine interact, grow and change through falling in love. Create wonderful characters and you’re more than half way to writing a fantastic romance that editors and readers want to buy. Join Christina Brooke as she analyzes what makes great romance characters and provides practical exercises to make your characters stronger and more memorable.

  • Professor Karl Roberts – Psychological Warfare

Stalking, psychopathy, domestic violence – learn about the traits and quirks of the darker personalities, and how they can be caught.

Missed any Conference info? Check the RWA Website for more:

http://www.romanceaustralia.com/p/183

 

 

Riding the Waves Conference Spotlight ~ Panel: The Shark in Your Story

Welcome to a conference spotlight from the Riding the Waves conference!

Today we have Shannon Curtis, Sandy Curtis, Bronwyn Parry and Helene Young who will be presenting their panel

THE SHARK IN YOUR STORY.

 BiosShannon Curtis (681x1024)

Shannon Curtis has worked in diverse roles such as office admin manager, customer service rep, logistics supervisor, distribution coordinator, dangerous goods handler,  event planner, switch bitch and betting agent, and decided to try writing a story like those she loves to read when she found herself at home after the birth of her first child. Now she spends entirely too much time daydreaming about hunky heroes and malicious murders – for her books, of course! She loves reading, loves writing, and loves hearing from her readers, so visit her at www.shannoncurtis.com and say hi!

Sandy CurtisSandy Curtis lives on Queensland’s Central Coast, not far from the beach where she loves to walk and think about the complex plots, hunky heroes and gutsy heroines in her novels. Her novels have been nominees in the Ned Kelly Crime Awards and two were finalists in the mainstream section of the Romantic Book of the Year Award. Her latest book, Fatal Flaw, is published by Clan Destine Press, and all her novels are available as ebooks from Amazon Kindle and Clan Destine Press. Sandy also organises WriteFest, the Bundaberg writers festival. You can find out more about Sandy’s books at http://sandycurtis.com/blog/

Bronwyn-Parry-small-3

Bronwyn Parry writes gritty romantic suspense inspired by the dramatic landscapes and resilient people of rural and outback Australia. A Golden Heart and ARRA winner and RITA and R*BY finalist, Bronwyn’s fourth novel will be published in September 2013. Despite writing about murder and crime, Bronwyn lives peacefully on 100 acres of beautiful bushland with her husband and two energetic border collies and loves to travel in Australia’s wild places.

Helene Young 2012 Author photo by Charlotte Rose (LR)Helene Young, grew up reading Enid Blyton Mysteries. While she’s moved on from the Five Find-Outers and Dog she hasn’t lost her love of suspense and intrigue. Twenty-two years later she’s a Captain with Australia’s largest regional airline, juggling flying and writing.  Her first book, Wings of Fear, won the prestigious R*BY award in 2011, and Favourite Romantic Suspense Novel, 2010. Shattered Sky, her second book, won Favourite Romantic Suspense Novel, 2011 and recently won the 2012 R*BY.

Burning Lies, the third and final book in her Border Watch series and set on the Atherton Tablelands, is out now.

Tell us about yourself in 10 words or less.

We’re Australian Romantic Suspense authors passionate about writing memorable villains!

Have you presented sessions at previous conferences, for RWA or other organisations? 

We’ve all presented sessions at previous conferences and all run workshops for writing organisations around Australia. We love writing and sharing that knowledge with other writers, both emerging and established. RWA conferences are a wonderful way to give back to the organization and help other writers on their creative journey.

What prompted you to put together this workshop for “Riding The Waves”?

Compelling villains make for another layer of depth in a story. If you can make your readers care about your villains, or at the very least empathize with their motivation, then you’ve created a memorable antagonist. We believe a great villain is the key to not only riveting Romantic Suspense but to any good story. We also believe that strong villains demand strong heroes and heroines for an epic good vs evil battle, and make readers care, so that by creating a great villain you feed the quality of your protagonists, as well as your overall plot.

Will there be hands-on exercises or audience participation?

We like to see our audiences work for the session *grin*

So, while it may be a panel, there’ll be plenty of interaction, loads of examples, some exercises, and opportunity to ask questions.

 

Which members will benefit most from this session?

Anyone who is writing a character in their stories who is an antihero, villain or antagonist will benefit from this discussion on how to bring out the best or worst in a character.

 

Any advice for conference first-timers?

 Jump right in and enjoy yourselves! Ask questions, chat to people next to you in the queue at breakfast, lunch and dinner, enjoy every minute of the weekend.

Make sure you go along to the session for new members at the start of conference as you’ll meet other writers who will become life long friends and it’s great to have some familiar faces at other sessions.

 

BurningLiesFrontCoverLR-201x300 Shannon Curtis - Guarding Jess                                                                                Fatal Flaw front cover Dead Heat

What is your latest/current/upcoming book release and where can members find out more about you?

We’re all working on new novels for release later this year.

 

Half Moon Bay’ by Helene Young will be released in June 2013

Grevious Harm’, by Sandy Curtis is due out later in 2013

Shannon Curtis has several new projects in the pipe-line for 2013

‘Darkening Skies’ by Bronwyn Parry will be released early in 2014

 

Finally, we are so delighted you’re visiting us in Western Australia. Is there anything in particular you’re looking forward to seeing or doing while you’re here?

 Drinking some of those fantastic Margaret River wines!  And checking out the beautiful beaches, lapping up the wonderful WA ambience, and diving into Freo’s fascinating history!

 

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Thank you ladies!

Our next conference spotlight will be featured Saturday 16th March.

RWA and the ARRA Awards

Yesterday the wonderful Australian Romance Readers Association published the list of finalists in their 2012 awards.

We are thrilled to see so many Romance Writers of Australia members among the finalists.  In some categories it’s ALL RWA members!  There are many well-loved authors here and quite a few appearing for the first time with their first book.  We’d like to congratulate all of them.

We’d also like to offer a big fat thank you to ARRA for supporting our Australian writers and readers of Romance.  Long may you flourish!

The list of finalists is below, but if you want to see the full post, including closing dates for voting and the covers in the cover competition, the post is HERE.

Here are the finalists. Congratulations everyone!

Favourite Paranormal Romance – proudly sponsored by Galaxy Bookshop

  • Archangel of Mercy – Christina Ashcroft
  • Archangel’s Storm – Nalini Singh
  • Blind Lust – Annie Seaton
  • Dead, Actually – Kaz Delaney
  • Kiss of the Goblin Prince – Shona Husk
  • Lothaire – Kresley Cole
  • Lover Reborn – JR Ward
  • Tangle of Need – Nalini Singh
  • The Danger with Sinners – Charity Parkerson
  • The Final Wish – Tracey O’Hara

Favourite Sci Fi, Fantasy or Futuristic Romance – proudly sponsored by Choc Lit

  • Alliance Forged – Kylie Griffin
  • Blood Kin – MJ Scott
  • Chaos Born – Rebekah Turner
  • Dragonfly – Erica Hayes
  • Fair Game – Patricia Briggs
  • Gunmetal Magic – Ilona Andrews
  • Lord’s Fall – Thea Harrison
  • Night Forbidden – Joss Ware
  • Shadow Bound – Rachel Vincent
  • Sin’s Dark Caress – Tracey O’Hara

Favourite Short Category Romance – proudly sponsored by Harlequin Australia

  • A Precious Inheritance – Paula Roe
  • Bed of Lies – Paula Roe
  • Cracking the Dating Code – Kelly Hunter
  • Defying Her Desert Duty – Annie West
  • Deserving of Her Diamonds – Melanie Milburne
  • Her Best Worst Mistake – Sarah Mayberry
  • Innocent Til Proven Otherwise – Amy Andrews
  • Suddenly You – Sarah Mayberry
  • The Cattleman’s Special Delivery – Barbara Hannay
  • Undone By His Touch – Annie West

Favourite Historical Romance – proudly sponsored by Carina Press

  • A Duchess to Remember – Christine Brooke
  • A Rogue By Any Other Name – Sarah MacLean
  • Bride By Mistake – Anne Gracie
  • Deadly Affair – Lucinda Brant
  • Gather the Bones – Alison Stuart
  • Keeper of the King’s Secrets – Michelle Diener
  • Mad About the Earl – Christina Brooke
  • Rake’s Honour – Beverley Oakley
  • Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed – Anna Campbell
  • The Ugly Duchess – Eloisa James

Favourite Contemporary Romance

  • Bella’s Run – Margareta Osborn
  • Heart of the Valley – Cathryn Hein
  • Hot for Fireman – Jennifer Bernard
  • Jilted – Rachael Johns
  • Rules are for Breaking – Imelda Evans
  • Sister Pact – Ali Ahearn and Ros Baxter
  • Somebody to Love – Kristan Higgins
  • Taming the Outback- Ann B Harrison
  • The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots – Loretta Hill
  • Zoe’s Muster – Barbara Hannay

Favourite Erotic Romance – proudly sponsored by eXtasy Books

  • A Touch of Confidence – Jess Dee
  • Ample Attraction – Melissa Craig
  • Bared to You – Sylvia Day
  • Chains of Revenge – Keziah Hill
  • Galactic Inferno – Mel Teshco
  • Love’s Rhythm – Lexxie Couper
  • Office Affair – Jess Dee
  • Red Hot – Ann B Harrison
  • The Dark Rose – Denise Rossetti
  • The Siren – Tiffany Reisz

Favourite Romantic Suspense – proudly sponsored by Love Books

  • Burning Lies – Helene Young
  • Celebrity in Death – JD Robb
  • Dead Heat – Bronwyn Parry
  • Delusion in Death – JD Robb
  • Drive Me to Distraction – Caitlyn Nicholas
  • Guarding Jess – Shannon Curtis
  • Hell on Wheels – Julie Ann Walker
  • Suspicious Ways – Lexxie Couper
  • The Witness – Nora Roberts
  • Wild Encounter – Nikki Logan

Favourite Continuing Romance Series – proudly sponsored by Harlequin Australia

  • Affair series – Annie Seaton
  • Black Knights Inc – Julie Ann Walker
  • Guild Hunters – Nalini Singh
  • In Death series – JD Robb
  • London Steampunk – Bec McMaster
  • McCormack Security series – Shannon Curtis
  • Ministry of Marriage – Christina Brooke
  • Party Games – Lexxie Couper and Rhian Cahill
  • Psy-Changelings – Nalini Singh
  • Speed series – Jess Dee

Favourite Australian Romance Author 2012 – proudly sponsored by Booktopia

  • Anna Campbell
  • Anne Gracie
  • Bec McMaster
  • Christina Brooke
  • Fiona Lowe
  • Kelly Hunter
  • Lexxi Couper
  • Margaret Osborn
  • Sarah Mayberry
  • Shona Husk

And for the Members’ Choice categories …

Best First Meeting Between Couple in a romance published in 2012

  • Bear Meets Girl – Shelly Laurenston
  • Crazy Love – Nicola Marsh
  • Defying Her Desert Duty – Annie West
  • Kiss of Steel – Bec McMaster
  • Portrait of A Scandal – Danielle Lisle
  • Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed – Anna Campbell
  • Taming the Tycoon – Amy Andrews
  • Undone by His Touch – Annie West

Best Love Scene from a romance published in 2012

  • A Touch of Confidence – Jess Dee
  • Bride by Mistake – Anne Gracie
  • Defying Her Desert Duty – Annie West
  • Kiss of Steel – Bec McMaster
  • Portrait of a Scandal – Danielle Lisle
  • Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed – Anna Campbell
  • Suddenly You – Sarah Mayberry

Favourite Cover from a romance published in 2012

  • Blood Kin – MJ Scott
  • Firelight – Kristen Callihan
  • Kiss of Steel – Bec McMaster
  • Lusting the Enemy by Mel Teshco
  • Office Affair – Jess Dee
  • Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed – Anna Campbell

Cruisin’ with RWA

Have you got a new website or blog to share? Send us the link to cruisin@romanceaustralia.com.

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Cruisin’ the News

Share your good news with us each week and we’ll join you in your happy dance. Congratulations to all our members this week. Share your new release, new cover, contest win, new contract, new website and more good news with us at cruisin@romanceaustralia.com

Keeping up Appearances

Date: Saturday, 8 September 2012

Time: 5:30pm – 6:30pm

Venue: The Studio, State Library of Queensland

Topic/s: Fiction   Romance

Panellist/s: Toni Jordan, Deborah Robertson, Bronwyn Parry

Chair: Tina Marie Clark

Price: Free

Description: Toni Jordan, Deborah Robertson and Bronwyn Parry write about the most popular topics in fiction: romance, love and sex. They let us in on the secret to keeping ideas fresh and readers interested.

Anna Campbell has written six historical romances and her work is published internationally, including in the United States, Germany and Japan. The Australian Romance Readers Association voted Anna their favourite Australian romance author of 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Date: Friday, 7 September 2012

Time: 9:45am – 10:45am

Venue: Level 2 Lounge (adjacent to QWC), State Library of Queensland

Topic/s: Awards/Industry  Fiction  Romance

Panellist/s: Anna Campbell

Price: Free

Description: Sometimes a cosy chat is just the thing. Join an intimate group for an hour of casual conversation (a confab no less!) with Queensland author Anna Campbell. (Presented by Brisbane Writers Festival in collaboration with Queensland Writers Centre)

Upcoming Contests

  • The RWA West Houston Chapter’s contest ‘The Emily’ is open for submissions from Saturday, September 1st, 2012 and closes at midnight, September 30, 2012.For more information and to enter: http://whrwa.com/emily/
    * All Electronic ~ Fee: $30 (WHRWA members $20)
    * No synopsis ~ maximum of 7,000 words
    * Three first-round judges ~ lowest score dropped
    * Open to published authors (not published in category for three years)
    * Multiple entries allowed
    * Entries capped at the first 240 entries received

RWA Contests

  • New Logo Contest

RWA has launched a contest to find a new logo. Opens: September 1st 2012, Closes: Midnight Sydney time September 30th 2012

  • Closing dates for the 2012-13 contest season
HM&B High Five 14 September 2012
STALI 5 October 2012
Selling Synopsis 23 November 2012
Emerald Award 23 November 2012
Little Gems 1 February 2013
First Kiss 15 February 2013
Valerie Parv Award TBA April 2013

Contest Finalists

  • Bronwen Evans is a TOP-5 FINALIST in the Kindle Book Review 2012 Best Indie Romance Book Contest  for her self-published novella, TO DARE THE DUKE OF DANGERFIELD. The winner will be announced on October 1.

New Releases – September 2012

  • September 4 is Release Day for Alison Stuart and GATHER THE BONES.
  • Erica Hayes has a new short story out on Kindle. HUNTER’S BLOOD is a hot and tasty vampire romance.
  • Elizabeth Rose is happy to announce that EVE’S PASSION is now Available at Amazon or The Whiskey Creek Press website for download. Visit her website for more information.
  • Janet Woods is celebrating the release of the audiobook version of TALL POPPIES, narrated by Patricia Gallimore by Soundings.
  • SAVING TIM by Janelle Lee is now available at Amazon, B&N, All Romance ebooks & Bookstrand. Her HEAT WAVE (anthology) is now available at Amazon and coming soon THE LIE SHE TOLD.

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Cruisin’ Member Blogs

Share a link and a short blurb here each week by emailing the details to us at: cruisin@romanceaustralia.com

 This week on Friday Feast:

My guest this week on Friday Feast is GATHER THE BONES author Alison Stuart. Not only is Alison sharing a great curry recipe, she’s delighting us with tales from her days growing up in Africa, including snippets from THE KENYA SETTLERS COOKERY BOOK AND HOUSEHOLD GUIDE. All guaranteed to make you smile, or your toes curl!

Plus leave a comment about your favourite childhood food memory and you’ll go into the draw to win a GATHER THE BONES notebook and pen.

Is back this week with another great line-up.

September 10 – Come on over to see which castle we stop at next on our Scottish adventure.

August 28 – MISSION ROMANCE: What’s the Buzz? What a writer’s conference can do for you. Name the Bee on the Homepage to win a copy of the LITTLE GEMS 2012 DIAMONDS edition. Winner drawn September 7.

September 3 – BETWEEN THE COVERS: A review of Circle of Silence by Carol M Tanzman (Harlequin Teen)

September and October – Calling all Historical Authors:

Would you like to do a craft type post or interview? Craft-wise, I’m looking for anything with a little history to it that adds to the story, even if it’s about where you do your research. The blog category title is “In the Armchair with…” so pick your favourite reading or writing chair and attach a photo of yourself with the blog. Contact me for more information if you’d like to be a guest.

  • Lily Malone is celebrating finishing her first novel HIS BRAND OF BEAUTIFUL in time for the deadline for the Choc-Lit competition, Search For An Australian Star. She’s posted the opening scene on her blog.

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Enrico’s Pick Six

Submit your blog site link to cruisin@romanceaustralia.com to share with our readers. Enrico hand picks six blogs to showcase every week.

Enrico’s Pick Six this week:

  1. Write on Track – Diane Curran
  2. Coleen Kwan
  3. Jenna Anastasi
  4. Juliet Madison
  5. Mission: Romance
  6. Suzi Love

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Enrico’s quote of the week

We are more inclined to regret our virtues than our vices; but only the very honest will admit this.  ~Holbrook Jackson

Have a great week!

Regards Juanita

Conference Spotlight ~ Romantic Suspense panel

Welcome to another of our Conference Spotlights from the DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER conference.


At Diamonds Are Forever,  Helene Young is moderating a panel aimed at ALL writers (especially those targeting the romantic suspense market) called

 LOVE IN THE FACE OF DANGER: ROMANTIC SUSPENSE


WORKSHOP BLURB:

Find out how far these writers have gone in pursuit of their stories, their tips on finding unusual sources and methods of research, and what publishing avenues exist in Australia for Romantic Suspense stories. Learn what makes Romantic Suspense different to Crime novels with love stories, and how to balance romance with suspense. Uncover which careers work best for the heroes and heroines and if there’s room for ordinary people doing extraordinary things.



Love In The Face of Danger panelists


Helene Young started reading mysteries and adventure stories as a child.  Her favourites were Enid Blyton novels. She has moved on from the Five Find-Outers and Dog, but hasn’t lost her love of suspense and intrigue. Twenty two years later she’s a Captain with Australia’s largest regional airline and writes action-packed Australian romantic suspense stories.

Her first book, Wings of Fear, won the prestigious 2011 R*BY award, and Favourite Romantic Suspense Novel, 2010. Shattered Sky, the second book in her Border Watch Series, won Favourite Romantic Suspense Novel, 2011.

Her third book, Burning Lies, will be released in July, 2012.


 Bronwyn Parry writes gritty romantic suspense inspired by the dramatic landscapes and resilient people of rural and outback Australia. Bronwyn grew up surrounded by books, with a fascination for places, people and their stories, and she’s now an occasional academic, passionate about the richness, diversity, and value of popular fiction. Despite writing about murder and crime and putting her characters through daunting experiences, she lives peacefully on 100 acres of beautiful bushland with her husband and two energetic border collies and loves to travel in Australia’s wild places.


Sandy Curtis lives on Queensland’s Central Coast, close to the beach where she loves walking and thinking about the complex plots, hunky heroes and gutsy heroines in her novels. Her novels have been nominees in the Ned Kelly Crime Awards and two were finalists in the mainstream section of the Romantic Book of the Year Award. Her latest book, Fatal Flaw, is published by Clan Destine Press, and all her novels are available as ebooks from Amazon Kindle and Clan Destine Press. Sandy also organises WriteFest, the Bundaberg writers festival. You can find out more about Sandy’s books at http://sandycurtis.com/blog/


Karlene Blakemore-Mowle writes romantic suspense for American publishers, Whiskey Creek Press, and Eternal Press, with three titles released this year.

Having lived in Mt Isa, Townsville and central NSW, Karlene now calls a small town on the mid-north coast, home. In between cleaning up after her husband and children, wishing she had a housekeeper, and stupidly volunteering for tuckshop duties, she’s happiest when left to think up exciting stories with a distinctive Australian flavour but set in locations around the world.

Karlene has an ongoing rivalry with alter ego Karly Lane who writes rural fiction for Allen & Unwin.


Shannon Curtis has worked in diverse roles such as office admin manager, customer service rep, logistics supervisor, distribution coordinator, dangerous goods handler, event planner, switch bitch and betting agent, and decided to try writing a story like those she loves to read when she found herself at home after the birth of her first child. Now she spends entirely too much time daydreaming about hunky heroes and malicious murders – for her books, of course! She loves reading, loves writing, and loves hearing from her readers, so visit her at www.shannoncurtis.com and say hi!



Tell us about yourself in 10 words or less.

We’re writers who love pushing our characters off the edge!



Have you presented sessions at previous conferences, for RWA or other organisations?

We’ve all been panelists before and four of the five of us regularly run workshops for writers. Sandy even runs her own festival in Bundaberg called WriteFest! Bronwyn and Helene are both presenting workshops at “Diamonds Are Forever.”  There’s something very special about being part of an RWA conference and sharing experiences with new and established writers alike.


What prompted you to put together this workshop for “Diamonds are Forever”?

Helene is certain Romantic Suspense is finally gathering momentum in Australia. Hachette Australia, Clandestine Press, and now Penguin Australia have all recognized the appeal of local settings. It’s important to spread the word and grow the genre even further by making new writers aware of the opportunities. Rural romances with suspense elements are topping bestseller lists so attending the session will be a great way to learn more about the genre and sub-genres.

 

Will there be hands-on exercises or audience participation?

We definitely want an interactive panel. Feel free to ask us anything about the genre and our writing journeys. While we’ll have some topics we want to talk about there will be plenty of question time. And Bronwyn Parry always has wonderful pearls of wisdom.


Which members will benefit most from this session?

The panel is for anyone who wants to know more about romantic suspense, but we’ll also be talking about our writing styles and habits and they are relevant to writers of all levels.  And we may be biased, but have you seen Shannon Curtis on a panel before?? Don’t miss it, the lady should be doing stand up comedy. *grin*


Any advice for conference first-timers?

Karlene’s advice for first timer is chat to everyone and anyone. We all have one thing in common – the love of stories  – so that makes it easy to start a conversation. And we’d also recommend taking advantage of all the wonderful opportunities RWA provides for new members. It gives you an instant team!


What is your latest/current/upcoming book release and where can members find out more about you?

More details on Bronwyn Parry’s DEAD HEAT, can be found at bronwynparry.com

Find Sandy Curtis and FATAL FLAW at www.sandycurtis.com

Shannon Curtis will knock your socks off at http://www.shannoncurtis.com/index.html where you’ll find links to VIPER’S KISS.

Find more about Karlene Blakemore-Mowle and OPERATION WILLO QUEST at http://karlybm.blogspot.com.au/ or http://www.karlylane.com/books.html

Helene Young’s latest release is BURNING LIES and details can be found at http://www.heleneyoung.com



Thank you, ladies.


~~~

Our next Conference Spotlight is with Rochelle Manners on 14th April.


Conference Spotlight ~ Bronwyn Parry

Welcome to another of our Conference Spotlights from the DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER conference.

 


 

Bronwyn Parry writes gritty romantic suspense inspired by the dramatic landscapes and resilient people of rural and outback Australia. Bronwyn grew up surrounded by books, with a fascination for places, people and their stories, and she’s now an occasional academic, passionate about the richness, diversity, and value of popular fiction. Despite writing about murder and crime and putting her characters through daunting experiences, she lives peacefully on 100 acres of beautiful bushland with her husband and two energetic border collies and loves to travel in Australia’s wild places.


At Diamonds Are Forever, Bronwyn is presenting a workshop aimed at ALL writers called THE MOST PERFECT CLOTH: DRESS FABRICS FOR GEORGIAN & REGENCY CHARACTERS.


WORKSHOP BLURB:

On the eve of the Industrial Revolution and colonial expansion, wools, linens, and cottons had their place with silks as highly desirable fabrics, many of them still made entirely by hand, and finer than the fabrics we know today. We’ll discuss some of the lesser-known fabrics – including dress fabrics, linen, bed-hangings and other everyday and decorative textiles. Bronwyn will bring a few small samples, and photographs. We’ll also discuss women’s roles in the production of textiles, including a demonstration of spindle-spinning.


Tell us about yourself in 10 words or less.

Romance writer, textile crafter, social historian, occasional (eclectic!) academic.

 


What prompted you to put together this workshop for “Diamonds are Forever”?

Museums and galleries have fine collections of beautiful evening dresses and fashionable gowns of the aristocracy, but less decorative costumes and textiles aren’t as highly valued and have usually not survived. Yet you can be sure that Mrs Darcy didn’t wander the draughty halls of Pemberley in winter in a delicate muslin gown!

I’m a historian by training, with a particular interest in everyday people and experiences, and in 2000-2001 I wrote my Honours thesis on late 18th century British worsted textiles, having spent a few weeks in British archives offices and museums discovering an impressive but forgotten range of beautiful and practical textiles. However, all that research and knowledge has been sitting doing nothing since then – calamanco and kersey rarely coming up in conversation! As many of our members write historical romances, and I read a lot of them, I figured my esoteric knowledge about an incredible period of British textile production might be useful… so, after thinking about it for a couple of years, I finally submitted a workshop proposal.

What will participants take away from this session?  

Participants will take away a more detailed understanding of the types of everyday textiles available for clothing and household fabrics in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century such as callamancos, kerseys, shalloons, lastings, amens – beautiful handspun, woven and dyed fabrics that simply have no modern equivalents, and which couldn’t be replicated by the machines of the Industrial Revolution. Many of these textiles survive only as small samples in Clothiers’ Sample Books in British archives offices, the garments originally made from them not as highly valued as formal silk dresses, and therefore rarely kept.

We’ll also talk a little about the role of women in textile production during the period prior to extensive industrialization in the first decades of the nineteenth century – especially relevant for heroines down on their luck! I’ll show a video of spinning on a Great Wheel, a ubiquitous item in rural cottages, and demonstrate spinning on a spindle, a skill most working class women would have learned as a child.

 

Do you use examples (from your own books, other books, movies etc)?

I will be passing around photographs and also some small samples of recreated textiles for participants to examine and feel, and will also provide some examples from account books and other historical sources regarding prices, dress orders and fabric usage to provide some context for the imagining of romance characters’ costume and furnishings and how they acquired them.



Which members will benefit most from this session?

Members who write historical romance set in Georgian or Regency times, particularly in the British Isles. Even aristocratic people weren’t always at balls or paying social calls in their silk or muslin finery, and their wardrobes and households included a large range of textiles.

Any advice for conference first-timers?

Conference is a great experience, and everyone is friendly and supportive. Don’t be a wallflower – meet and talk with people. If you’re shy – and I was at my first conference – then the easiest way to strike up a conversation is to introduce yourself and ask, ‘What do you write?’


What is your latest/current/upcoming book release and where can members find out more about you?

My latest book release has nothing to do with historic textiles! My third contemporary romantic suspense novel, Dead Heat, is an April release. It’s set in a rugged national park in north-west NSW, where ranger Jo Lockwood discovers a body in a camping ground one morning. Nick Matheson, the detective who’s called in to investigate the brutal murder, is new to the area, and trying to adjust to normal life after years of undercover work. Instead of quiet rural policing, he’s suddenly right in the middle of violent crime again, with aspects of his past invading and complicating his investigation, and a woman to protect who is rapidly cracking through his emotional armour. Readers can find out more, and read the first chapter, at my website: bronwynparry.com

 

Thank you, Bronwyn.


~~~

Our next Conference Spotlight is with Kylie Griffin on 12th March.


Blog Bite…Bronwyn Parry

I’d like to introduce multi award winner and one of our own Australian Authors, Bronwyn Parry who writes some of the very best Romantic Suspense I have ever had the privilege to read.

Three words to describe me: I asked my DH – he said dreamy, daggy, cuddly J

 At home I cook:  Sourdough bread, chocolate muffins, chocolate fudge. I’d add ‘nice healthy salads’ but I’d have to add ‘sometimes.’

My worst habit is: Procrastination. I am a champion.

It’s a bit daggy but I love: Elsie J Oxenham’s Abbey Girls books (published 1919-1960ish)

My first job was: YMCA Vacation Care assistant

My day job is:  Occasional University teaching in media and communications – I’m currently teaching a unit on Science Fiction cinema, so re-watching Terminator, Blade Runner, Alien, and Serenity is legitimate work!

Saving for: A new laptop. Please. Soon. This one is almost 5 years old and I’ve worn out half the keys!

I procrastinate by: Walking the dogs. Eating. Baking. (Cleaning the bathroom is way down the list.)

Three things people might not know about me are:

  • I was an extra in the film My Brilliant Career – the beginning and end of my film acting career.
  • I wrote my Honours thesis on 18th century British worsted textiles. I actually know what type of fabric calamanco is and how it is made… not that it comes up in conversation very often!
  • My great-great-great grandfather was a bushranger – a wild lad, with a heart of gold. He might just become a romance hero one day….

My secret skill that is no longer a secret: I can spin fine yarn on a drop spindle.

Favourite author: Just one? Ursula Le Guin, for her imagination, her craft, her world-building.

Current reading: Karly Lane’s North Star.

Plotter or panster: Um… organic? I start with the a character and a crime, and it kind of grows from there. Usually.

I would most like to meet: Nora Roberts. Although I’d probably gape and stammer and make a total fool of myself.

If I was stranded I would take:  Chocolate.

Why I write: Because the voices in my head tell me to.

Thank you Bronwyn for joining us today and sharing a small bite of your life with us.

To find out more on Bronwyn Parry and her books pop on over to her web.

RWA members can take a bite. Contact Kerri Williams to schedule your Blog Bite feature

Authors for Queensland auction – RWA members give generously

While the floods in Australia have been devastating, it has been absolutely heart-warming to hear stories of people teaming together to help out their fellow Aussies.

Romance Writers of Australia has already launched the Flooded Communities Book Appeal, and the Australian Romance Readers Association has put out a call for items for a silent auction.

Meanwhile the Authors For Queensland Auction has already kicked off, and many of our RWA members are offering signed books, mentorships, manuscripts assessments and more.

Here I will link to as many of the RWA members that I can identify.  If I’ve missed your item, please let us know in the comments.

One of the already hotly contested items is a 6 month mentorship with the gorgeous Robyn Grady.  6 months? No wonder the mentorship is a hot auction item (and if you’re going to the Melbourne conference you can meet your mentor in person).  Get bidding,  romance writers!

Next up is a signed novel twin-pack from Helene Young –  Wings of Fear and Shattered Sky. Good to see Helene is putting her day-job experience to good use in her novels.

The multi-published Anna Jacobs is offering a critique of a historical or modern novel.

Tamara Gill has a Regency package up for auction: this includes two e-books To Sin with Scandal (short story) and a novella A Captain’s Order – A Duke’s Command, along with two bookmarks.  Mmm, wonder if she’ll throw in the Lord as well?

Erin Grace has a 2-ebook package on offer of Historical Romance and a handmade bobbin lace bookmark. Now if I know Erin, she will probably throw in a Duke or a Lord or at least a picture of one of her hunky muses.

Fiona Palmer has donated a signed copy of The Family Farm, or double your reading with a set of The Family Farm and Heart of Gold.

Fleur McDonald is willing to read 3 X 3 chapters and a synopsis and give feedback, so you can bid here, or here, or here but don’t win on all 3 unless you’ve got 3 different manuscripts! The lovely Fleur has also donated 2 sets of signed novels Red Dust and Blue Skies:  Bid here and here.

Lisa Heidke also plans to be busy as a result of this auction.  You can bid on 2 X 2 -hour mentoring workshops here and here or if you just want to read the results of Lisa’s hard work, you can bid on one of 3 sets of her novels, Lucy Springer gets Even, What Kate did Next, and Claudia’s Big Break.  (all 3 signed in every set).

Or perhaps you’ve always wanted to see your name in a romance novel, and not just on the front cover.  Here’s your chance to be a hero or a heroine in a Nikki Logan novel. Wonder if I could make a bid for my late furry friend Dorkus?

What a fantastic contribution from these authors! Well done and may you raise lots of dollars for the cause.

There is loads more on offer: young adult books, young adult manuscript assessments, non-fiction, children’s books – it’s well worth checking out.

Bidding ends next Monday 24th January at 11pm.

And stay tuned to this blog, as we bring you more news on our Flooded Communities Book Appeal, and other  fund-raising initiatives of other writers’ organisations.

 

Updated:

A couple more that missed the original blog post.

The fabulous Anna Campbell has donated a MS assessment (three chapters and a synopsis) to the cause along with a signed 5 book pack!

Jess Anastasi, the hard-working organiser of our own Book Appeal, has donated a pack of 3 signed books: Dead Reality, Sanctuary and Severance.

Bronwyn Parry has donated a signed set of  her 2 romantic suspense novels As Darkness Falls and Dark Country.

Thank you to all our wonderful members, both donating and bidding! Good luck.

F2F with NSW…’4 Points Author Network’

GROUP NAME: 4 Points Author Network

AREA/REGION: NSW Mid-North Coast

MEMBERS: A mix of pubbed and unpubbed writers of women’s fiction/romance (see below)

GENRE: Women’s fiction / romance

ABOUT 4PAN

Our logo says a lot about us as a face-to-face RWA group, most notably the large geographical spread we cover that can mean a four-hour round trip for some members. Our meetings are monthly at a half way location (the quaint, eclectic and culturally significant Bellingen village usually). There is always food involved (we like our food) sometimes coffee, sometimes wine, and always lots of laughs and information sharing.

Our logo also says that as a new group (formed in March 2010) we are starting on a journey together, finding our way and charting a course for that elusive place called ‘success’.

Key to us reaching that destination and achieving our highest potential as authors is helping each other navigate the perilous world of publishing without getting wrecked along the way! Given that, the Smokey Cape Lighthouse B&B at South-West Rocks  is an obvious place for our writers’ retreat, which we are planning next March with the help of a RWA grant. This venue is such a romantic place, conveniently located for our geographically challenged group, and perfect inspiration for romance writers and happy ever afters.

It is a rare thing to have all of us come together. Under the guidance of the Smokey Cape Lighthouse our structured weekend retreat is bound to have a few light bulb moments!!!

 

Our group comprises a mix of long-standing and newer RWA members, each at various stages of writing/success (both published and oh-so-close-to-published):

Karly Blakemore-Mowle

Diane Curran

Fiona McArthur

Bronwyn Parry

Suzanne Brandyn

Jenn J McLeod

Kerri Williams

4PAN is a registered face-to-face RWA group. An online Yahoo group account supports our critiquing and information sharing. We are open to new members. Please email Karly karlybm@gmail.com for information about our meetings.

Additional information about F2F groups is available to RWA members only. Members contact RWA  groupliaison@gmail.com  for information about F2F groups. Non-members – Join!

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