Covers that we love!

As writers, we pour our hearts into choosing just the right words to tell our stories – but to put a finished book into the reader’s hands, we need to rely on others’ skills.  Chief among these others is the cover designer.  A good cover can entice a reader and add to the pleasure of the story – and the best ones thrill authors!  Each year, to celebrate the blessings of the cover fairies, our published members submit their favourite recent covers for fellow members to choose the ones they like most.

The contest is over for another year, so without further ado, here are our favourite covers for this year, as judged by our members in the following categories:

Contemporary Romance:

  • Title: Operation White Christmas
  • Author: Nicki Edwards
  • Cover Design: Unknown Artist

Operation White Christmas-Nicki Edwards


Erotic/Sexy Romance

  • Title: The Veiled Heart
  • Author: Elsa Holland
  • Cover Design: Hang Le

The Veiled Heart-Elsa Holland


Historical Romance

  • Title: The King’s Man
  • Author: Alison Stuart
  • Cover Design: Escape Publishing

The King's Man Alison Stuart


New Adult/Young Adult Romance

  • Title: The Finn Factor
  • Author: Rachel Bailey
  • Cover Design: Unknown Artist

The Finn Factor-Rachel Bailey


Paranormal Romance (includes Fantasy and Sci-fi)

  • Title: The Shattered Court
  • Author: M.J. Scott
  • Cover Design: Unknown Artist

The Shattered Court-M.J. Scott


Romantic Elements

  • Title: Pretty Famous
  • Author: Carla Caruso
  • Cover Design: Unknown Artist

Pretty Famous-Carla Caruso


Romantic Suspense

  • Title: Storm Clouds
  • Author: Bronwyn Parry
  • Cover Design: Hannah Janzen

Storm Clouds-Bronwyn Parry


Rural Romance

  • Title: Summer and the Groomsman
  • Author: Cathryn Hein
  • Cover Design: Kellie Dennis, Book Cover by Design

Summer and the Groomsman-Cathryn Hein

Thanks to everyone who entered and judged, to our co-ordinator and back-of-house organisers (Claire and Kerrie particularly) and to the cover fairies!


Have Fun Researching Your Novel – OWL this July!

Our online courses (OWLs) keep getting better and better.  We have such a depth of skills in our membership and the OWLs let you access their expertise at a fantastic price.  Our July OWL is with Carla Caruso, so without further ado, here she is to tell you about it.

Carla Caruso, author pic, HarperCollins

by Carla Caruso

Many writers have done extreme things in the name of research.

Bestselling Canadian-Australian author – and former model – Tara Moss has spent time in morgues and courtrooms, been set on fire and choked unconscious, earned a certificate as a private investigator, shot firearms, flown with the RAAF, and toured the FBI and LAPD headquarters.

Britain’s George Orwell lived in the slums to learn what it was like to be poor and unwashed, and American journo Hunter. S Thompson hung out with the Hells Angels for his non-fiction tale.

Bill Broyles, who wrote the Tom Hanks movie, Cast Away, also stranded himself on an isolated island for R.E.A.L. This experience inspired many of the film’s iconic scenes, such as Hanks’ character licking water droplets from leaves, making a spear out of a rock, and chowing down on raw fish. Even Wilson the Volleyball was inspired by a real ball that washed ashore! Unlike Hanks’ character, though, Broyles only lasted 10 days as a castaway before diarrhoea got the better of him…

Know of other writers and artists who have really hurled themselves into their research?

Of course, novel research doesn’t have to be this extreme. You’re free to take it as far as you want. But doing some research is essential if you want to add ‘layers’ of authenticity to a story and stretch yourself creatively.

Which brings me to the OWL– or online course – I’m teaching this July for the Romance Writers of Australia. It’s called ‘Have Fun Researching Your Novel’ and I’ll be using my background as a print journalist (and romance author with Penguin and HarperCollins) to get you out amongst it to add colour and depth to your work-in-progress.

Topics will include:

  • Interviewing techniques
  • Historical research
  • Travel research
  • Online research, and more.

Hope to see you over on Moodle!

You can do some more research on the OWL here 😉

Author Spotlight and Give away: Romantic Comedy novelist, Carla Caruso…

It’s a pleasure welcome  RWA Hearts Talk co-editor, and romantic comedy author Carla Caruso. Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Carla, and congratulations on the release of ‘A Pretty Mess ’! Can you give us the blurb, please?

Sure thing! Here goes… A neat-freak professional organiser – Celeste Pretty – gets caught up in a messy mystery with a sexy builder (Lenny Muscat)! It’s set in the ritzy side of town. Celeste has just started a business de-cluttering people’s homes and offices for a living and her first client is a health and fitness guru in the vein of Lorna Jane and Michelle Bridges, who isn’t quite as clean-living as she seems… It’s actually the first title in my ‘Astonvale’ rom-com mystery series.

A Pretty Mess by Carla Caruso

You write Romantic Comedy, where did your love of the Rom Com come from?

I think it’s because my parents liked pretty fluffy movies and sitcoms themselves (and the ABC). I never watched scary, dark movies at home – The Wizard of Oz was about the scariest! I remember going to see The Fugitive at the cinema with school friends once and I was terrified. I couldn’t believe that was the type of thing other people willingly watched. Yes, I was a little sheltered… From there, my love for rom-coms, starring Jennifer Lopez, Kate Hudson and co., just bloomed!

What are the elements of a strong Rom Com? How do the characters/plots differ from contemporary romances?

Humour! There’s got to be a good dose of the funnies in rom-coms. I think it’s also the style they’re written in – they’re a little lighter and less emotionally-heavy, but more like real-life in that way. The emotion is understated, but maybe even hits harder because of this. I guess the characters can still be the same as in contemporaries – a sassy female and an alpha male, but they don’t take themselves too seriously and have a certain amount of cheekiness to them.

Unlucky for Some by Carla Caruso

In your opinion, what is the difference between Romantic Comedy and Chick Lit?

I think rom-coms still centre around the romance and can include the points-of-view of both the hero and heroine. With chick-lit, career, family and a whole bunch of other stuff might come before the romance, and they’re usually only told from the woman’s point-of-view. And chick-lit doesn’t necessarily have to finish with a happy ending either, especially if it’s hipster-cool ha!

‘Cityglitter’ and ‘Second Chance’ have elements of fantasy/magic in them (Romagic!), from where do you get your inspiration to write these stories?

It’s funny because I don’t read or watch anything that is ‘high fantasy’, but in the early days I kept coming up with these chick-litty stories with a sprinkling of magic in them. (Cityglitter is about a glam city-slicker fairy who does the one thing she swore she’d never do: fall in love with a human. In Second Chance, the heroine accidentally time-travels back to the nineties and has a chance to correct her past.)

It wasn’t until I recently read about ‘romagic’ that I thought, ‘Aha! That’s where those books fit’, because I veered away from that kind of style as I didn’t really know how to find the right audience. They didn’t seem to fit a neat box. But I do love romagic films, like 17 Again and Big, and my favourite author, Sophie Kinsella, has dabbled in the style, and knowing ‘romagic’ is hot now, I feel ready to revisit it!

snd chance        city glittle

List your top 5 Rom Com movies or TV shows, and tell us why they are your favourites.

  • How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days with Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey – out in 2003, this was when rom-coms really surged in popularity and I was 24 (you do the maths haha!), so it was a prime time of my life.
  • Sweet Home Alabama with Reese Witherspoon and Josh Lucas – this is such a ‘comfort’ flick for me… the cityslicker going back to her hometown… and I love the theme song!
  • The Wedding Planner – love-love Jennifer Lopez!
  • Confessions of a Shopaholic – because I adore writer Sophie Kinsella (and Isla Fisher!)
  • Any Sex & the City movie or TV show – not technically a romcom, but they all have humour and romance, and SATC was really influential for me!

You are a busy mum to twin boys, co-editor of the RWA Hearts Talk and an author of 6 books. How do you manage to do everything?

A few things! My boys are currently 14 months old and now do a three-hour day nap. Simultaneously. It’s insane. So I’ve finally got a good chunk of time to write. And I’m starting to see the benefit of having twins, now they’re a wee bit older, because they’re happy to babble to each other and look at books in their cots for a while before yelling out for me.

Then I do a little more typing at night once they go down at 7pm. My hubby also works out of home as a freelance photographer, so we share the parenting, which helps my energy levels! Plus, I think because I only have limited time to write – i.e. when the boys sleep – it makes me more diligent about using the precious time I do have. (We’re not using childcare currently.) I wouldn’t want to work like this forever, though, because I miss watching trashy TV shows and socialising more at night!

Can you tell us about your WIP?

I’m actually writing the third book in the Astonvale series, involving Celeste Pretty and Lenny Muscat again. Book 3 also provides the points-of-view of Celeste’s nemesis, Imogen Karmel, and Imogen’s love interest! It’s called Pretty Famous and involves a prestigious high school, a mystery that harks back to the Golden Age of Hollywood, a Grace Kelly wannabe, and a possible secret prince!

Pretty Shore by Carla Caruso - out Dec

Are there any other genres you’d like to move into? What does the future hold for Carla Caruso?

I would actually like to try young-adult or middle-grade. I’ve been told I have a ‘young’ style of writing voice (immature some might say) and I’ve had a series idea that has been bouncing around in my head for a while, which I wouldn’t mind giving a crack once I meet my next few deadlines!

Thanks so much for joining us today, Carla. Before you go, could you give us a sneaky peek at one of your favourite parts of ‘A Pretty Mess’, please?

Okay, this is a little bit from the ‘meet-cute’. Right after Celeste Pretty – a neat-freak professional organiser – gags on a mouthful of dust from an industrial extraction fan on her way to meet her first client…

‘Power-walking anywhere in particular?’ a deep voice cut through the air. Through the banging and hammering.

Celeste looked up and into the coal-black eyes of an Adonis. An Adonis in a dirt-stained grey tee, cargo shorts and steel-capped boots. The coal-black eyes — which matched the healthy head of mid-length, wavy hair and faint stubble — were shielded by clear safety glasses. He was pushing a wheelbarrow of bricks, flaunting biceps like Rafael Nadal and sturdy, muscular legs like, well, Serena Williams — in an entirely good way. The mouthful of dust lodged in Celeste’s throat. She couldn’t decide whether she wanted to scrub the guy or jump him, even though clean-cut men were her usual type…

Author Bio

Carla Caruso was born in Adelaide, Australia, and only ‘escaped’ for three years to work as a magazine journalist and stylist in Sydney. Previously, she was a gossip columnist and fashion editor at Adelaide’s daily newspaper, The Advertiser. She has since freelanced for titles including Woman’s Day and Shop Til You Drop. These days, she plays mum to twin boys Alessio and Sebastian with hubby James. A Pretty Mess is her fifth novel.

Carla Caruso - author pic

Web links





Buy link

Carla is kindly providing a give away of one ebook copy of ‘A Pretty Mess’: An Astonvale Novel #1 (an ITunes voucher)

To be in the running, all you need to do is answer the question below:

 What area of your house do you find most difficult to keep clutter-free? And how do you hide it from guests?

This competition is open world wide and will be drawn one week from posting date. The winner will be notified via email so please ensure that we can contact you!


Event Announcements

Do you have an event or workshop you’d like to share? Email your event news to

Claytons Conference 2014

We’re looking for a team to run the 2014 Claytons Conference (the digital conference that runs on the same weekend as the face-to-face conference for those who can’t attend Sydney). There are various positions to be filled but the primary one is the Claytons Coordinator who will lead a small team of committee volunteers to do specific tasks each. Organisation begins around May/June and the event happens August 9/10. Therefore this role is steady for about 10 weeks of the year only. Claytons is a valuable and enjoyable annual RWA event but we need people to make it happen. It’s a great way to make some new friends and industry contacts while having lots of fun. If you would like to find out more about any of the roles, please email or contact me (Events Liaison) at

RWA Conference 2014 – Romance Rocks!rwa14logoedit-light-300

Professional Development Day Speakers

  • Jim Azevedo, Smashwords
  • Marie Force, Author
  • Jennifer St. George, Author
  • Helene Young, Author
  • Sarah Wendell, Author, Reviewer, Blogger
  • Julian Hewitt, Media Arts Lawyers
  • Susan Donovan, Corporate Facilitator
  • Maya Hall, Maya Hall Pty Ltd (Accountant)
  • Gemma Ruddick, Personal Trainer

Workshop Presenters – please click here

Conference MC – Amy Andrews

Award Dinner MC – Kaz Delaney

Express Year of the NovelAnnaCampbell_Rake

Make 2014 the year you finish your novel in Express Year of the Novel! Over six masterclasses, you will explore the elements of novel writing, including character and setting, theme, voice and narrative structure. With the support and feedback of your peers and acclaimed author, Anna Campbell, you’ll be equipped with the tools to complete the first draft of your manuscript by December.

Anna Campbell’s award-winning historical romances are published internationally, including in Australia and North America. For the last four years, the Australian Romance Readers Association have voted Anna favourite romance writer. Her latest release is A RAKES’ MIDNIGHT KISS (HarperCollins). Web:

Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me!

When: Monday July 7, 6.30-7.30pm
Where: Tea Tree Gully Library, 571 Montague Road, Modbury SA

FMI and Bookings: 08 83977333

The first day of our Readers Festival will feature a special author panel at 6.30pm on Monday July 7. Come see authors Carla Caruso, Eleni Konstantine, Maggie Mundy, Heather Taylor Johnson and guest MC Bronwyn Stuart as they talk about writing in the romance genre with a South Aussie flavour.

Romancing the Pagebeing_jade_COVER_HI_res small

Contrary to popular belief, a good romance is not as simple as falling in love. Writing good quality romance requires creativity, innovation, skill and well-formed characters embroiled in believable conflict.
Explore the diversity of the genre, get tips on convincing emotional connection and sex scenes, discover what readers and publishers want, develop a winning story synopsis and killer pitch, and learn about the earning opportunities the romance genre offers.
For beginners, early & emerging writers.

When: Saturdays 6, 13, 30 and 27 September, 10am–1pm
Where: Writers Victoria, 176 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne
Tutor: Kate Belle (author The Yearning & Being Jade)

For more information and bookings:

Online Events

RWA is looking to offer our members a series of online writers’ workshops in the second half of 2014 through its new Online Workshop List (OWL). OWL events will be hosted, facilitated and promoted by RWA on a 75:25 profit-share arrangement with the presenter (the greater amount being the presenter’s). We would like to invite interested RWA members and non-RWA members to apply to conduct a workshop online through RWA in the inaugural OWL calendar. Please download the proposal form, complete by May 1 2014 and email to

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:

Writers Festivals 2014

The Mildura Writers’ Festival brings together some of Australia’s best writers in an intimate, winter program of workshops, lectures and discussion forums.

When: July 17–20

Early Bird Tickets for Byron Bay Writers Festival are on sale. Workshops commencing on 28 July. The Early Bird tickets are only on sale until the full program is announced on 6 June, so now is the time to pick up a discounted Festival pass. For more Festival information or to purchase Early Bird tickets visit or call 1300 368 552.

When: August 1–3

Melbourne Writers Festival (MWF) is Melbourne’s annual, two-week celebration for writers, readers and thinkers. Each year in August, the Festival celebrates the talent and ideas of hundreds of writers from Australia and around the world, through a vibrant program of storytelling, conversation and discussion, intellectual debate, educational programs, live performance, music and art events. The Festival includes events for people of all ages and more than a quarter of the program is free. Their highly regarded Schools’ Program attracts more than 15,000 students.

When: August 21–31

Details to be provided as soon as they become available.

When: September 3–7

Visible Ink

Visible Ink is accepting submissions of short stories, non-fiction, poetry and visual art for its 26th annual anthology. This year’s theme is ‘Encounters’. Entry $6. Published work receives payment. Submissions close 6 July. Visit for more info.

Cruisin’ with RWA

Welcome back for another edition of Cruisin with RWA. More good news and great blogs for you again this week.


Cruisin’ the News

We love celebrating success. Our members are encouraged to send in their New Release news for publishing in Hearts Talk and the New Releases blog. Don’t miss the deadline! Send in your new releases by the 8th of every month to:

Of course, the Cruisin’ Crew don’t want to miss out on the celebrations, so drop Clint and Enrico an email with your blogs, new contract, first sale, new cover or release news at Don’t forget to come back on Sunday for a list of exciting writing-related events delivered by our members.

Good News

Has set up an author page on Facebook. The new page will have all sorts of information about her books and activities.

Annie had a great new cover for her new release OUTBACK AFFAIR

Has a new release, THE LADY’S CHOICE, out on the October 14.

CATCH OF THE DAY is Carla’s new release coming out in December in paperback with Destiny Romance. It’s a little inspired by her first stint as a journalist in the South Australian lobster fishing capital of Kingston SE.

When up-and-coming fashion editor Winnie Cherry is ‘banished’ to coastal South Australia to set up a beach lifestyle magazine, she doesn’t count on being drawn into the close-knit community – or for sparks to fly with the freelance photographer!

ROSAMANTI out on December 6 is a Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense published by Etopia Press.  

Fate draws her to a faraway villa – her heart makes her stay.

Out on November 1, ALL FIRED UP is an Erotic Romance novella published by Etopia Press

Cindy rocks the male-dominated boat when she arrives at Hillwood Fire Station as their first female firefighter. Surrounded by men, she has to earn their respect as a brave and capable professional.

A Romagic comedy with a touch of time travel, a few laughs and a lot of love, HINDSIGHT by Sarah Belle is available now.

Entangled is arranging a double cover reveal later in the week for IN THE BLOOD and WILL THE REAL ABI SAUNDERS PLEASE STAND UP. There’s a gift card giveaway to be won.


Cruisin’ Member Blogs

Clint fueled up the limo and went cruisin’ the Blogging Highway for great blogs to keep you entertained. Are you an RWA Member? Share a link and a short blurb here each week by emailing the details to us at:

October 13 – Debut author, E E Carter calls in to chat about MOONSTONE OBSESSION, releasing on October 17. Historical figures play quite a role in her first novel and–well, in history! Please drop by and make her welcome!

October 20 – A little different this week. How to tell when you’re missing someone. Think it’s self-explanatory? How many of these signs would you have named?

Read more about Bernadette’s upcoming new release THE LADY’S CHOICE and the excitement that goes with the ‘birth’ of a new book.

Looking to add to your bucket list? Then Friday Feast has the place for you! Come join Karly Lane as she reveals all the foodie adventures from her recent trip to the US. And while you’re there, take your heart on an emotional journey with her new release BURNT. Travel, food and romance. You can’t go wrong!

And this blog post has been gathering a bit of attention: Fiona Palmer, Rachael Johns, Karly Lane, Mandy Magro and I discuss heat levels and how we how we write about sex in our rural romances.

October 10 – MAGIC THURSDAY – Jenny Schwartz on reviewing.

October 12 – DARKLIGHT ON… Maggie Mundy

October 15 – GOOD NEWS DAY with Kylie Griffin

October 17 – MAGIC THURSDAY with Astrid Cooper

October 3 – fantabulous Friday : Musa publishing turns two!

October – 5 – Super Sunday : free cookbook with every Musa purchase in October

October 8 – Tuesday Tales – This week’s prompt: EVERGREEN

October 10 – May I introduce: Aussie Author Rachael Johns OUTBACK DREAMS (And don’t miss out on Rachael telling us about how she got to meet Grant Denyer)

October 17 – This Week’s Book Choice: Charlene Wilson THE TRANSFORMATION OF ANNA

Calingarry Crossing pub is open and Jenn J McLeod is having a bar yarn with Gracie Macgregor and giving away a copy of HEARTS ON HOLD.

October 12 – CAT-URDAY! – Grumpy Cat 2 – More favourite one liners from GC!

October 15 – DARK SIDE DOWNUNDER SERIES: Shona Husk – come meet our Aussie & New Zealander Dark Siders!

October 19 – SATURDAY SEVEN (Lick) – Seven paragraphs from a favourite book from my shelves.

Some of our members are sharing their favourite first lines with M A Grant.

October 1 – Jane Godman

October 2 – Elsa Winckler

October 3 – Juanita Kees

October 4 – Magen McMinimy

October 5 – Susanne Matthews

October 6 – Ros Baxter

October 7 – Sarah Daltry

October 8 – Melinda Lane

October 9 – Sofia Gabel

October 10 – Stefanie London

October 11 – J.M. Bray

October 11 – Jenny Brigalow talking about her latest release from Escape Publishing on Romance Reader

October 13 – Jenny Brigalow on her YA Paranormal on Fresh Fiction

Come on over and comment on my blog – share your best beach memory – for a chance to win a copy of NOBODY BUT HIM by the fab Victoria Purman!!

October 7 – SARA news with Emmeline Lock

October 11 – UP CLOSE with Victoria Purman

October 13 – Spotlight on Writers with Carly Drake

Joanna Lloyd visiting my blog on October 7 continuing the celebration of her latest release, SHADOW BENEATH THE SEA. I’m having a rafflecopter giveaway where guests just need to like her FB page or tweet her release to win a copy of her book. SHADOW BENEATH THE SEA is an historical romance published by Crimson Romance.

Enrico’s Pick Six

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

Enrico’s Pick Six this week:

  1. Monique McDonnell
  2. Sarah Belle
  3. The Journeyman Writer
  4. Wendy Leslie
  5. Eleni’s Tavern
  6. Sue Moorcroft


RWA Competitions

Selling Synopsis 2014

Opens: 1 November 2013
Closes: 22 November 2013, midnight Sydney time
 (entries sent outside these dates cannot be accepted)

Enter – via email only
Short manuscript (10K to 65K): maximum 2 pages single spaced
Long manuscript (65K and over): maximum 3 pages single spaced
Check the formatting guidelines on the entry form

Entry fee – per entry
$22 (entries within Australia. GST incl.)
$20 (entries outside Australia)

Two entries per member are permitted. RWAustralia members only.

Final judge – Joel Naoum, Publisher, Momentum, Pan Macmillan Australia

Prizes – 1st – $200, 2nd – $100 , 3rd – $ 75 (plus certificates)

Entry form/conditions
Sample scoresheet
Formatting sample

Queries – Selling Synopsis Contest Manager, Leisl Leighton

The Emerald Award 2014

The Emerald Award has two major points of difference from the other RWA contests.

Firstly, it is judged by keen romance readers, not writers. This gives an indication of the marketability of your story but won’t necessarily provide the sort of feedback that helps improve your writing technique.

Secondly, you must have a completed manuscript should your story make it to round 2. The turnaround time between rounds 1 and 2 is one week (5 working days) so there is no time to finish your book then.

Opens: 1 November 2013
Closes: Midnight Sydney time, 22 November 2013

Enter: The first 10,000 words of your unpublished romance or romantic elements manuscript (10K+). Entries are by email. Entrants who reach the second round will need to submit their full manuscript.

Entry fee: $38.50 incl GST per entry.

Final judges
 Joanne Grant, Executive Editor, Harlequin UK
Long: Charlotte Ledger, Editor and Content Developer, Harper Impulse

Prizes: 1st prize in each section – $500, 2nd – $250 3rd prize – $150.

Entry criteria: unpublished RWA members only.

Questions? Contact the applicable contest manager:
Long: Gemma McBride
Short: Marnie McLane

Formatting sample

Sample score sheets:
First round (short – long)
Second round (short – long)

Have a great week from the Cruisin’ Chauffeurs.

Cruisin’ with RWA

We hope you enjoy our line up this week. Have you got a new release, cover, contract, website or blog to share? Send us the link to

Riding the Waves: Writing Romance in Tempestuous Times

Riding the Waves

Things are heating up here in the west with the 22nd annual RWA  conference approaching fast. So do keep an eye out for blogs and information here on the blog, on Facebook and on the Romance Writers of Australia website. If you’re planning on Riding the Waves in Freo this year, why not keep up to date and subscribe to the newsletter via email.

August 16 – 18 2013 –The Esplanade Hotel, Fremantle, Western Australia

In August 2013, for the first time, our annual national conference is heading to Western Australia. With a gorgeous heritage hotel, sunshine, sea-breezes, alfresco dining and history – Fremantle has it all. And now it has romance!


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

New Releases

  •  GALACTIC FLAME by Mel Teshco (Ellora’s Cave)new galactic flame cover

Book 3 in the Alien Hunger series.

Eden isn’t meant to be the alien prince’s intended lifemate, it’s her sister who is the one promised to him. But when Genesis comes to Earth and mistakenly believes Eden is his mate, she knows it’s the perfect opportunity to play the role her sister never wanted.

  • FALLING INTO PARADISE by Kamy Chetty (Red Sage Publishing)

    A woman too afraid to commit. A man too hurt to love again. A passion that refuses to be denied. Can Damon put the past behind him and choose to love again?

  • FIREWORKS by Khloe Wren (Amazon)Fireworks cover 400x600

Louise is down at her beach, going through her annual New Year’s Eve ritual. Cleansing herself from the previous year’s hurt. Once she’s finished, she steps back into the arms of Kosta, her friend and long-time crush. What ensues is a New Year’s Eve neither of them will ever forget.

  • FAITH IN THE GREAT SOUTH LAND by Mary Hawkins (Barbour’s Truly Yours)

Elizabeth Waverly never dreamed that taking a convict transport back to her home in Australia would change her life. But from the moment she lays eyes on John Martin, she cannot resist her growing attraction to him. Yet once the transport ship lands in Australia, their paths are bound to head in very different directions. Is their love destined to become a bittersweet memory of what might have been, or will faith show them another way?

Hot, wealthy, powerful Luciano is determined to hurt his wife Jasmine as badly as she has hurt him–except she doesn’t remember him. The only thing she knows about her marriage since waking up from a devastating car accident is the powerful feelings associated with the rings on her hand.

As the most feared military officer in the Faery Realm, Randor only got out by striking a deal with the late King to become an assassin for hire. Adora was fearless, powerful and intensely unhappy. Until she was kidnapped by a mysterious stranger.


Cruisin’ Member Blogs

Clint had another busy week cruisin’ the web and inbox. Hope you enjoy his scoop. Share a link and a short blurb here each week by emailing the details to us at:

  • RWA Blog

February 2 – The most romantic read of the year:  February Hearts Talk with Ainslie Paton

February 3 – Event Announcements with Juanita Kees

February 5 – Riding the Waves Conference Spotlight on Maisey Yates with Eleni Konstantine

February 7 – Cruisin’ with RWA  and Juanita Kees

February 3 – This Sunday Susanne welcomes Juanita Kees to tread the boards with us. She’ll share the secret of Under the Hood (formerly Taming the Tiger)

February 1o – Imelda Evans will be in the spotlight

If you missed last Sunday with Ann B Harrison (I had infrequent internet access during the storms in Queensland too), you can still drop by and say hi. Come on over and discover things you never knew about this Red Hot author!

talks “Back to the 90’s” in the Next Big Thing and adds a little CITYGLITTER

Friday Feast is baaack! And what a sweet start to the year we’re having. Man Drought author and Booktopia’s 10th favourite Aussie novelist Rachael Johns is not only revealing her latest great pub find, she’s hitting us with her knickerbocker glory. Pubs and knickerbockers? It’s bound to be fun!

January 31 – MAGIC THURSDAY – with Eleanor Maine

February 1 – REAL LIFE PARANORMAL compiled by Mel Teshco

February 2 – ENCHANTED ORB – Adina West

February 3 – Weekly Overview

February 5 – GOOD NEWS DAY compiled by Kylie Griffin

February 7 – MAGIC THURSDAY – with Erica Hayes

Musa Monday – Arley Cole/Leigh Daley – Why she writes sex

Love Musa!

Writing Buddy Wednesday – SARA Carla Caruso

You may already be aware of the Aust Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop this weekend. If not, Jenn is taking part and giving away a copy of HOUSE FOR ALL SEASONS. Here is Jenn’s link to her Aust Day post and on the bottom you will find a link to Book’d Out’s list of about 52 giveaways/offer.

is kicking off her blog tour with a peek UNDER THE HOOD! Here is the line up for next week:

February 2Fresh Fiction: Who can resist a Paperback Hero?

February 5Serena Tatti: Talking about character building

February 6Romance Book Haven: Romance with FLY AWAY PETA

FAST FORWARD launch & blog tour – Win a $50 Amazon gift card, February 1st to February 28th

February 2 – Cat-urday: Toilet Humour – more madcap mayhem with LOL  cats.
February 5 – INDUSTRY: Interview with…My Bookish Ways – come meet Kristin!
February 9 – SATURDAY SEVEN: Seven paragraphs of a favourite book off my shelves – SHADOW KIN M.J.Scott

A romantic comedy, women’s fiction group blog started by Carla Caruso

Talks about going through the process of revisions

Susanne is guest on the following blogs this week:

February 8 – Kez Delaney – Blog Bytes

February 9 – Jess Anastasi’s Saturday Sojourn where she’ll be talking about her road less travelled in Italy (not the usual tourist route).

A little Pillow Talk with Kate Belle

Michelle Skidmore is reviewing romance novels across the subgenres. A few entries are already up.


Enrico’s Pick Six

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

Enrico’s Pick Six this week:

  1. Alissa CallenEnrico
  2. Cathryn Hein
  3. Dy Loveday
  4. Eva Scott
  5. Historical Belles and Beaus
  6. Imelda Evans


RWA Contests

Closing dates for the 2012-13 RWA contest season

Little Gems 1 February 2013
First Kiss 15 February 2013
Valerie Parv Award TBA April 2013

The Ellasub_head_ella

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.

An entry must be a romance and have a word count of between 10,000 and 40,000 words. To be considered for the 2013 award, the original version of the novella, whether digital, hardback or paperback, must have been first published between 1 January 2012 and the 31 December 2012.

Entries close on 4th February 2013.

The R*BY 2013sub_head_rby

The R*BY 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.For Books Published 1 January 2012 and the 31 December 2012.

Opens on the 7th January and closes on the 8th February 2013.


Regards Juanita

Blog Bites with Carla Caruso

 Introducing the lovely Carla Caruso.

I write: Romantic comedy (and yes, I’m a sucker for a Jennifer Aniston movie, too)

I’m from: Adelaide (recently returning from a three-year stint in Sydney)

Three words to describe me: Creative, easy-going, humour-loving

At home I cook: …Actually, I burn! My hubby’s the household chef. (Who knew you could burn couscous? I found out I could the other day…)

My worst habit is: Being easily distracted from knuckling down and writing

It’s a bit daggy but I love: Retro music like ‘90s R&B, ‘80s pop and easy-listening (my parents always had the radio on at home). Oh, and I treat my cat, Luca, like my baby…

My first job was: as a check-out chick (a pretty hopeless one, too)

My day job is: a freelance journalist

Saving for: a house extension – we’re doing up an old bungalow, which could do with a nice, airy, open-plan extension out back

Three things people might not know about me are: I have a super scent, a salty tooth (as opposed to a sweet one) and I’m a dunce at speaking Italian despite my name

Favourite author: Sophie Kinsella hands down

Favourite movie: The Vow (Channing Tatum’s doing it for me at the moment!)

Plotter or pantser: Plotter, but not a hard-core one – I keep the plot points brief and write copious notes as I go along

I would most like to meet: Ex-magazine queen-turned-novelist Maggie Alderson – another author crush. I think she’d be cool!

Why I write: Because it makes me happy – and it’s the only thing I’m good at (as opposed to check-out operating and cooking)

Latest project:
Cityglitter (Destiny Romance) – it’s a fun romance about a gorgeous fairy living a glam life in the big city, who does the one thing she promised herself she’d never do: fall in love with a human, Oh, and I have my first short story coming out with called The Grass is Greener on November 18

Thank you Carla for sharing a bite.

If you would like to learn more about Carla and her novels, go to her site


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


Beyond the Literal – New Publishers Light the Flame

The heat is on for Australian authors

Ainslie Paton

The local scene for romance writers is heating up and set to sizzle this summer with the launch of three new direct-to–digital publishers, each acquiring local writers.

First with the factor fifteen was Destiny Romance which launched in August with four titles and is adding two per month.

Destiny authors include:  Jennifer St George, Kelly Hunter, Elsie K Ackers, Peta Crake, Charmaine Ross, Carla Caruso, Bernadette Rowley and Imelda Evans (and coming soon, Louise Reynolds and L.J. Young).

In mid November, Harlequin turns up the heat with the launch of their electronic first line, Escape, also with a line-up of newly discovered and established writers.  More on the Escape launch will follow in a Publisher Interview by Juliet Madison.

But currently upping the burn quotient to scorching is Pan McMillan’s, Momentum with the release of its Hot Down Under series.

Hot Down Under is a series of fourteen erotic short stories by new and established Australian authors being released over a three-month period beginning in November.

According to Momentum it aims to propel Australian erotic romance writing to the top of the bestseller charts.

The series includes straight and gay erotica, plus scenes involving multiple partners and fantasy elements.  Each of the stories has an Australian setting and a ‘flame’ rating out of five on the cover, which indicates how explicit the story is.  None of the stories is lower than a three-flame rating.

Hot Down Under authors include:  Rhyll Biest, Rhian Cahill, Kasey Channing, Cate Ellink, C.T. Green, S.E. Gilchrist, Keziah Hill, Shona Husk, Beverley Oakley, Kylie Scott, Tracey O’Hara, Mel Teshco and Marianne Theresa.

Five of the authors are previously unpublished and were mentored by the established authors during the writing process. The resulting stories combine a fresh approach with years of experience.

Announced just ahead of the RWA Conference in August, the project was the brainchild of Tracey O’Hara.

“The Hot Down Under project originally started out as a way to help mentor new writers and soon became much more. We were all extremely thrilled when Momentum came on board,”  said Tracey.

“Erotic fiction has been huge long before Fifty Shades of Grey came along.  It has been selling like hotcakes in the US for many years now. It is great to see an Australian publishing company supporting great genre fiction,” she said.”

‘We always planned to publish extensively in genres like romance and erotic romance when we first launched Momentum. However, we weren’t expecting such a gifted collection of new and established authors to approach us with such an accomplished project,” said Joel Naoum, publisher at Momentum.

“More than anything, this proves that there is a vibrant and talented community of genre writers in this country who are looking for support from their local publishers.”

Due to the nature of digital publishing, Momentum was able to publish the stories within a few months of first receiving the pitch – an amazing turnaround time in today’s publishing environment.

‘Digital publishers are more able to take risks.  It would be impossible to print these short stories individually, the costs would be prohibitive and shelf space in bookshops is extremely competitive,” said Joel.

For more information:

Destiny Romance

Momentum Books

Escape Publishing

Post Conference Spotlight ~ Penguin Group (Australia)

Welcome to another of our Conference Spotlights from the


During their Penguin Special Event on Thursday night, our Silver conference sponsor had an exciting announcement.

Now here to to tell us all about it is  – Penguin Group (Australia).

Tell us all about the new Destiny Romance venture?

Destiny Romance is a new digital first, romance imprint – hugely entertaining love stories at the touch of a button. We will publish stories across all the genres – contemporary, historical, paranormal, fantasy, suspense and yes, erotica. They will be compelling reads that will capture hearts and imaginations and provide a great escape from bad TV and the juggle of family, work, pets and (for some, but not all of us), the gym.  Reading Destiny Romance novels will be like enjoying a box of chocolates in front of your favourite DVD – pure and simple pleasure. We will publish two delicious romances every month and have a terrific website that you won’t be able to leave alone. There’ll be lots of conversations with our authors, gossip from the world of romance and writing tips for aspiring romance writers. Destiny Romance will be on Facebook and Twitter – you will be able to follow us everywhere!

Who are your Destiny Authors and tell us a bit about them?

We have signed up a fabulous group of authors, who are all skilled storytellers with wonderful imaginations – all with diverse backgrounds and occupations. Our launch titles and authors are:
The Convenient Bride, a fabulous contemporary romance and debut novel by Jennifer St George of NSW;
Small Town Storm, a thrilling romantic suspence by Elise Ackers of Victoria; Harbinger, a sexy paranormal romance and debut novel by Peta Crake of WA; Wish, a moving rural romance by Kelly Hunter of NSW.
As well as these four, we have signed up Imelda Evans of Victoria for her contemporary romance, Rules Are For Breaking; Carla Caruso of SA for her paranormal romance, Cityglitter; Bernadette Rowley for her fantasy romance, Princess Avenger; and Laird’s Vow, a fabulous Scottish love story, by the brilliant Anne Gracie.

What are your plans for going forward and your vision (e.g. will Destiny remain an e-only venture?)

We have lots of exciting plans for Destiny. Among them is that many of our titles will eventually be turned into physical books as well as ebooks.  Our plans for global domination include turning our authors into stars. We hope to become one of the most popular romance imprints – and one of the biggest. We can see ‘DESTINY ROMANCE’ up on a billboard one day (tee hee).

Are you looking for new authors?  If so, what is the submission process?

We most definitely are! We need lots and lots of new books and authors. We want gorgeous, compelling, romantic stories – page turners with two central characters who are flawed but loveable – with vivid settings, a bit of wickedness and of course, a happy ending. We love humour, we love mystery and we love our heroines to be real women that we can relate to. We love handsome and masculine men. We love unexpected plot developments. We love intense emotions, warmth and charm. So, if you think you’ve got what it takes to become a Destiny author, go to and see submission guidelines.  Easy-peasy.

 What does Destiny Romance offer that is different to what is already available in the romance marketplace?

Australian voices and some of the best romance writing you’ll find anywhere.  Destiny Romance novels will be fresh and original and have an energy and sense of humour that is unique. The locations will be limited only by the imagination – from red dust/blue sky country, to the glitter of the big city and exotic international locations, like Venice. (Always wanted to go there? Then we recommend you read The Convenient Bride).

Why has Destiny started? What prompted this venture?

It was an idea that was prompted by a mutual interest in romance novels and a friendship between two colleagues at Penguin Books Australia, Carol George and Sarah Fairhall. It grew out of long conversations about movies, books, love affairs, life, writing – and work – over many coffees (and the occasional cocktail). Romance has always been popular and Australian romance writers have always punched well above their weight. We think it’s the right time for an Australian publisher to embrace the romance community and launch an ebook romance imprint entirely devoted to the genre.

How does Destiny tie-in with “mainstream” Penguin?

Destiny Romance is a new digital romance imprint of Penguin Books Australia, which means we’re lucky enough to be an exciting new off-shoot with all the backing and resources of a great publishing company.

Are you looking to work with RWA?

Absolutely. RWA is an exceptional organisation – highly professional, well resourced and very nurturing of emerging writers. Members are passionate about their writing and we are impressed by the fact that while they are looking for individual success, they never fail to celebrate each other’s achievements. We like that.


Thank you Penguin Group (Australia) and Jennifer St. George.

This was our final conference spotlight. Thank you for staying tuned.  We hope you had a wonderful conference – we know we did.

See you next year at Fremantle!!


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