Event Announcements

If you have a writing class, book-signing, competition, blog hop, library talk or any other exciting event coming up, please share it with us at cruisin@romanceaustralia.com.


Grand prize $10000 & publication with Quirk Books, full novel-length ms featuring fresh, fun, and strikingly unconventional love stories (no vampires, sorry). For official rules & full contest details see the downloadable entry form. Contest deadline October 1, 2013

Turn up the heat on your writing career. This contest is open to any unpublished/uncontracted romance manuscript by all authors.

GRAND PRIZE: The grand prize winner of the contest will have their entire manuscript reviewed by two professional editors at The Author’s Red Room. For More Information, entry form, and rules, see website at http://valleyofthesunrw.com/hot-prospects-contest/ . For questions please email Voshotprospects@yahoo.com

Keeping up Appearances

  • Writing Romance with Anne Gracie – Sunday August 4, September 8, October 6

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: 1:00pm – 5:00pm

Where: Writers VictoriaCost: M $325 NM $390

FMI + bookings: http://writersvictoria.org.au/what-s-on/event/writing-romance/

  • Celebrate National Bookshop Day

with The New Romantics. Join four exciting new romance authors for a lively panel discussion and afternoon tea hosted by Fotster’s Little Bookshop(South Gippsland). Margareta Osborne (rural romance), Kate Belle (erotic romance), Jennifer Scoullar (environmental romance), and Kathryn Ledson (romantic suspense) will take you on a light hearted and enjoyable exploration of all things romance.

When: Saturday 10 August

Time: 2.30 – 4pm

Where: Community Health Centre, Station Road, Foster

Cost: $20 includes romantic afternoon tea

Bookings essential – ph: 03 5682 2089 or email: flb@virtual.net.au

  • The Yearning Book Talk with Kate BelleThe Yearning

When: Thursday 29th August

Time: 7pm – 8.30pm

Where: Eltham Library, Panther Place, Eltham

Cost: Free

Bookings through Eltham Library,

03 9439 9266 or via their website.


New Releases August 2013

Looking for something to read? Check out these great NEW releases from our members

ARRA Book Signing Event

BSE3 I'll be signing 400

The Australian Romance Readers Association will be hosting a book-signing event in Fremantle, WA this August. It will be held in conjunction with the Romance Writers of Australia conference, and will run from 5.00–6.30 pm on Saturday 17 August at the Esplanade Hotel. The event will be open to the public, with an entry fee of just $7 ($5 for ARRA members). Entry will also include a ticket in our lucky door prize draw for the chance to win one of several prize baskets.

Registration for readers is now open – registration information is available here.

Claytons Conference 2013image

Registrations are now open for RWA’s 2013 The Claytons BE THE BOOK Online Conference!

This year’s amazing line-up includes:

  • Alexandra Sokoloff-Keynote Speaker on the 3 Act 8 Scene Story Structure
  • Sue Grimshaw-of Random House’s Loveswept & Flirt lines on The Quick Pitch
  • Mel Tescho-ARRA Nominee on Sensual Tension Regardless of Genre
  • Zana Bell-on the Grommet’s Guide to Publishing
  • And Australia’s own Queen of Romance Valerie Parv-on The Revision Maze

Don’t miss out! Register now at http://www.romanceaustralia.com/claytons_rego.html

Writer’s Classes, Groups and Library Events


August 2013

  • Sunday August 11 – Love and Landscapes: Writing Rural Romance

When: 10:30am-4:30pm

Where: QWC Offices, Level 2, State Library of QLD (QLD Writers Centre)

Cost: M $110 NM $160 C $144

FMI + bookings: http://www.qwc.asn.au/courses-and-events/courses/weekend-workshops/workshops/love-and-landscapes-writing-rural-romance/ OR call 07 3842 9922

  • Saturday August 17 –How to Wow them with Your Pitch

When: 10:30am – 1:30pm

Where: Auditorium 2, State Library of QLD

Cost: $65

FMI + bookings: http://www.qwc.asn.au/courses-and-events/courses/seminars/awm-author-iq-seminars/how-to-wow!-them-with-your-pitch/ OR call 07 3842 9922

  • Thursday 8 August –Introduction to Scrivener

When: 6:00pm – 9:00pm

Where: South Australian Writers Centre

Cost: M $55 NM $80

FMI + bookings: http://www.sawc.org.au/whats-on/workshops-and-seminars?view=category

  • Thursday August 1 –Nuts & Bolts: The Mechanics of Becoming a Writer & Establishing a Sustainable Career (Byron Bay Writers Festival)

When: 10:00am – 4:00pm

Where: SCU Room, Byron Community Centre

Cost: M $60 NM $75

FMI + bookings: http://www.byronbaywritersfestival.com.au

RWA Conference

Riding the waves: Writing romance in tempestuous times

Riding the Waves

Riding the Waves

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

For prices, conference details and the online registration form, please head to our web site: http://romanceaustralia.com/freo/

Featuring Julia Quinn, Kim Hudson, Nina Bruhns, Sarah Wendell, Laura Bradford and Abby Zidle – and an amazing workshop program – Riding the Waves promises to be an unmissable event.

Early Bird registration is now closed.

Want to keep up to date? Join our email list

Special Events

  • Brisbane Writers Festival: 4-8 September 2013

Brisbane Writers Festival brings a page-turning experience to Brisbane from 4-8 September.

  • Byron Bay Writers Festival:  2-4 August 2013

Indications are that 2013 will be the first year the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival sells  its entire quota of Early Bird discounted 3 Day Passes! If you haven’t already secured yours, move fast.

  • Melbourne Writers Festival 22 August – 1 September 2013

The Melbourne Writers Festival is the City of Literature’s annual, two-week celebration for writers, readers and thinkers. The Festival runs from Thursday 22 August 2013 to Sunday 1 September 2013. Our Schools’ Program takes place from Monday 26 August 2013 to Thursday 29 August 2013.

  • Random House Events May – July 2013

Foodies are in for a treat in May with Julie Goodwin and Curtis Stone on the menu, not to mention Kate Forsyth talking about her latest book THE WILD GIRL. Featured in June is Jaye Ford and her novel SCARED YET? And in July, Michael Pryor (The Extraordinaires 2: The Subterranean Stratagem) has a number of workshop activities to help ensure your characters, location and plotting can last the distance of a longer story.

  • Penguin House Events May – October 2013

Penguin have a list of author appearances up on their website – including Cathryn Hein and Kylie Griffin.

  • Literary Festivals and Events May 2013

For more festival and writing fun, Literary Festivals has a calender packed full of workshops and events.

Online Events

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: Announceonlinewritingclasses-subscribe@yahoogroups.com


Riding the Waves Conference Spotlight ~ Sarah Wendell

Welcome to a conference spotlight

from the

Riding the Waves conference!

Today we have Sarah Wendell who will be presenting the workshop CRASHING WAVES OF CLIMAX:

Romance Clichès & How To Avoid Them.



SarahWendellSarah Wendell is author of the book Everything I Know About Love, I Learned from Romance Novels, co-author of the book, Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels, and co-founder of Smart Bitches Trashy Books.com, one of the most popular blogs examining romance fiction. The site specializes in reviewing romance novels, pondering the history and future of the genre in digital form and in print, and bemoaning the enormous prevalence of bodacious pectorals adorning male cover models.

In her quest to celebrate the romance genre and the women who read and write it, Sarah has appeared on Good Morning AmericaThe Today Show, The Gayle King Show on The Oprah Winfrey Network, the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s Steven and Chris Show, NPR’s All Things Considered and on Too Many Books. She has been quoted in People Magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The New York Post, USA Today, New Jersey Monthly, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Los Angeles Times Book Blog, Redbook, Metro:New York, and Publishers Weekly.

Tell us about yourself in 10 words or less.

Happy and content, most notably when reading.

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

Yes, though they were organizations, with a Z, so I’m not sure that counts? Kidding! I’ve presented at RWA (US) National, regional RWA conferences and chapter events, and at technology conferences in New York City, such as Tools of Change in Publishing.


What will participants take away from this session? (OR what is the key outcome or take-home message?)

Clichés exist for a reason: overuse. They’re like writing shorthand, and after a while, there are some phrases and ideas within romance that become so common they might go unnoticed. Except by me. Because I dislike clichés. A lot. Original language is a good thing for both writers and readers!

Will there be hands-on exercises or audience participation?

I envision a great deal of interpretive dance regarding man titty and the question of how many abdominal muscles are too many! We may also discuss mullets. 


Which members will benefit most from this session?

The parties really sound like fun.  I am looking forward to meeting all the people who have been introducing them selves to me on facebook and my blog – and the other presenters!  They sound interesting.

What is the best part/aspect of conference for you?

It’s in Australia, which is the other side of the planet. And really, if you’re in Sydney thinking it’s too far, I’m coming from New Jersey. I’m going to be on that plane so long, I’ll have to pay property taxes! So come on over! 

Anything you’re particularly looking forward to at the 2013 Riding The Waves conference in Fremantle?

The whole of it! I am excited to be returning to Australia. SO excited. Also I will buy all your TimTams so hide a few before I get there. It’ll be like the New Zealand Marmite shortage when I’m done with the grocery store. 


Thank you, Sarah!

Sarah is also presenting the workshop GETTING YOUR FEET WET: BLOGGING 101.

You can find Sarah at

Smart Bitch Sarah Wendell | Smart Bitches Trashy Books | To Be Read

Twitter: @smartbitches  


Riding the Waves Conference Spotlight ~ Ken Milling

Welcome to a conference spotlight

from the

Riding the Waves conference!

Today we have Nikki Logan talking about Ken Milling‘s workshop CONFESSIONS OF A PSYCHOPATH: What Writers Get Wrong.


How I met Ken Milling
A few years ago my employer sought the assistance of a specialist to help manage an unhealthy workplace and I was thrilled when I discovered it was Ken Milling. Ken and I had worked together a few years earlier in a mentored staff development program and he’d single-handedly shown me the path back to life/work balance. It turned out Ken specialised in antisocial personalities and he had no trouble at all recognising the toxic dynamic in my workplace and giving me effective advice on how to manage my infestation of narcissists.

How to reverse play them.

How to control them.

And of course, because I’m an author, I had more than your average curiosity about the subject and I grilled him at length about the range of dysfunctional personalities he sees.

KenMAbout Ken
Ken is a mass of contradictions. Gently spoken, unassuming, average height. He’s into flamenco dancing and has mini-poodles. But he is also a 4th Dan Black Belt (Yon Dan) martial arts Master and he delves deep into some dark, damaged and even broken personalities for a living.

Ken introduced me to the basics of how an anti-social personality (and there are many of them) functions. He taught me that with a psychopath you have just moments to mark yourself as predator or prey in terms of how you respond but that you won’t even recognise that moment when it comes. It’ll be disguised as a simple request for the time, or a light, or directions. And he talked about how to function socially in a world where that can happen; because you can’t tell every person that asks you for directions to ‘_ _ _ _ off’.  Some of them just want directions.

He invited me deep into the uncomfortable place that is the chronic narcissistic mind and talked about the kind of backstory that creates that particular personality disorder. He showed me all the ways my dysfunctional employees fit the profile. And he planted strategy seeds that eventually led to all three imploding, leaving their jobs or towing the line.
He taught me how to channel aggression for small, manageable bursts at strategic moments, and in a later session he kitted up in full martial arts gear and let me pummel the hell out of him. I’m sure from his POV it was like the battering of butterfly wings but I came away energised, empowered and so vitally aware of my own inherent power against the kinds of personalities that were making life a misery for the rest of my team.

‘Confessions of a Psychopath
At Riding the Waves I’ll be leading a conversation with Ken designed to bring us in with him into the inner workings of a damaged mind. We’ll be doing a little mythbusting about personality disorders, looking at some of the personalities that are done to death in fiction and some that don’t get a lot of airtime, unravelling some clichéd fictional disorders (PTSD, the controlling mother, the brilliant sociopath). Is it possible to outsmart a psychopath? Can you change yourself from prey to predator? How strong does a trigger need to be to warp a perfectly good mind into a dysfunctional one?

And the ever important— Who had the more dysfunctional personality: Roadrunner or Coyote?

It will be a fast, furious one-hour conversation and we’ll be covering a lot of ground, so be sure to get in and get a seat early.


Thank you, Nikki and Ken!

Riding the Waves Conference Spotlight ~ Panel: Self Publishing

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

Today we have Rachel Johns who will be moderating Nina Bruhns, Cathleen Ross and Kandy Shepherd on the panel





NinaBruhnsBestselling author Nina Bruhns describes herself as a woman with a varied and checkered past. In the best possible way! Three time winner of the Overall Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, five time winner of the Dorothy Parker Award, two-time nominee for a RITA Award, and winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award, Nina’s books have also topped bestseller lists in the US and Europe, and been named book of the year by Romantic Times Magazine. Nina writes bold, sensual romantic thrillers for Berkley as well as erotic thrillers as Nikita Black, and has a long backlist of titles from Silhouette (now Harlequin) Romantic Suspense and Nocturne (paranormal). She is also one of the original indie authors, having blazed the trail with her independently published releases for over ten years.




cathleenCathleen Ross, a two time ARRA finalist has been published by Virgin Publishing/Random House, Harlequin and several other publishers. Along with her traditional publishing she is currently working on her indie erotic Forbidden Fantasy series. Highlander and Take Me became best sellers on Apple. She is a member of Romance Writers of Australia and Romance Writers of America. She also teaches and lectures on writing for conferences and private clients.




kandy smallKandy Shepherd writes fun, feel-good fiction. She is published in contemporary romance by Berkley Sensation, a division of Penguin USA, and is the author of the self-published Amazon bestseller The Castaway Bride. This contemporary romance was one of the top ten best-selling self-published books for December 2011, as reported in the IndieReader USA; and chosen by The Wall Street Journal as one of three romances in “A Reader’s Guide to Self-Published Big Sellers”.

Her novels Love is a Four-Legged Word and Home Is Where the Bark Is have both won the Australian Romance Readers Association award for Favorite Contemporary Romance. Kandy also has a successful career as a magazine editor in both Australia and Britain and was Editorial Director at Pacific Publications. Her most recent role was as editor of the Coles Magazine, Australia’s highest circulation magazine. Kandy has also taught feature writing at university level. Kandy intends to self-publish more novels.



What will participants take away from this session?

Self-publishing is fast becoming the most popular way to get your books in front of readers but, already, the market is bursting at the seams with product of varying quality. Find out from three authors who have cut through the crowds why and when they chose self-publishing, how they manage the mechanics of content and covers, and how they ensure the professional quality of their titles.


Will there be hands-on exercises or audience participation?

This session will operate as a panel, therefore it will be very interactive Q&A. Delegates are encouraged to bring their own questions for the panelists and also their own experiences with self-publishing. This is not a debate about the benefits of self-publishing, but more an information opportunity to pick the brains of three successful self-publishers. Topics covered will include: editing, self-promotion, uploading books to various selling platforms, covers, etc.


Which members will benefit most from this session?

Writers who are considering self-publishing or whom are already self-published and interested in hearing other writers’ experiences.

SomethingaboutJoe TemptingTrouble whitehot


Thank you ladies!


Riding the Waves Conference Spotlight ~ Julia Quinn

Welcome to a conference spotlight

from the

Riding the Waves conference!

Today we have Julia Quinn who will be presenting the workshop EVOKING THE SCENE: Effective Dialogue for Writers.



julie-home#1 New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn loves to dispel the myth that smart women don’t read (or write) romance, and in 2001 she did so in grand fashion, appearing on the game show The Weakest Link and walking away with the $79,000 jackpot. She displayed a decided lack of knowledge about baseball, country music, and plush toys, but she is proud to say that she aced all things British and literary, answered all of her history and geography questions correctly, and knew that there was a Da Vinci long before there was a code. Ms. Quinn is the youngest member of Romance Writers of America’s Hall of Fame, her books have been translated into 24 languages, and she currently lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.


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

I have presented this workshop many times at the annual Romance Writers of America conference (as well as it many smaller regional conferences), but this will be the first time in Australia.


What will participants take away from this session? (OR what is the key outcome or take-home message?)

I hope participants will realize that good dialogue is so much more than just what is found “between the quotation marks.”  And that dialogue impacts almost every aspect of a novel, from plot to pacing, characterization to voice.

Will there be hands-on exercises or audience participation?

Nothing hands-on, but I do actively encourage questions during the workshop. I much prefer taking questions as we go along to saving them all for the end. It makes the session much more lively and interactive.


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

I do. About half the examples are from my own books, and half from other romance novels. I’ve been giving this workshop for at least a dozen years, and every now and then I try to update the examples to include more recent titles, but I have to say—it’s actually quite difficult to find exactly what you need to demonstrate a particular point. I’ve ended up re-reading entire books (well, almost) just to find a certain grammatical construct.

Anything you’re particularly looking forward to at the 2013 Riding The Waves conference in Fremantle?

I’ll be honest—I’m mostly just looking forward to being in Australia! This will be my first trip, and I’m beyond excited.

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

bridgertons_350My most recent release is The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After, which is a collection of “2nd Epilogues” for the eight novels in my Bridgerton series (plus a bonus novella about Violet Bridgerton, the matriarch of the clan.) My next novel is The Sum of All Kisses, which goes on sale in the United States at the end of November.

I have a very extensive website at www.juliaquinn.com, and I also try to visit my Facebook page daily: www.facebook.com/authorjuliaquinn.



Thank you, Julia!

Julia will also be participating in the workshop ‘Hanging Ten with Julia Quinn’

Riding the Waves Conference Spotlight ~ Rachel Bailey

Welcome to a conference spotlight

from the

Riding the Waves conference!

Today we have Rachel Bailey who will be presenting the workshop SEXUAL TENSION: The Undertow of Romance.



RachelBaileyAfter selling to Harlequin Desire in 2008, Rachel Bailey’s first three books were released in 2010, and all three became USA Today bestsellers, with one winning a Cataromance Reviewer’s Choice Award. Rachel is a past president of Romance Writers of Australia, and has run writing workshops and been on various author panels. She lives on the Sunshine Coast with four dogs and her hero, and is always trying to scam more time to sit on the verandah and read. You can visit her at www.rachelbailey.com


Tell us about yourself in 10 words or less.

An ex-social worker who writes for Harlequin Desire.


What will participants take away from this session?

The session will be about creating the sexual tension between your main characters. Not just attraction, but the tension that exists between the attraction and the conflicts. We’ll talk about what that is, and strategies to bring that to life in your work.


Will there be hands-on exercises or audience participation?

There will be several hands-on exercises and it would be great if people brought along one of their scenes that might need a little more sexual tension. I might ask for a couple of brave volunteers to share their work with the group, but I promise not to call on anyone without their hand up. *grin* There will be heaps of examples from my work and other published books, so even if you don’t bring something along, there will be lots of of opportunities to see the principles in action.


Which members will benefit most from this session?

This session will be useful for anyone who would like to increase the sexual tension in their writing, no matter what level they feel they’re at. Concepts will be explained in ways that beginning writers will be able to access, but more advanced concepts will be explored as well.


What is the best part/aspect of conference for you?

I love catching up in person with friends – all those little snatched conversations, the mingling at social events, and meeting new friends. I always come away from an RWA conference with new friends. I also love learning new things about writing – a new technique or perspective can totally reinvigorate my writing.

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

NoStrangerScandalAustSmallMy book, No Stranger To Scandal was originally out in Australia in April, but will be rereleased in June along with the other books in the Daughters of Power series. The blurb:

She might be the stepdaughter of one of the most powerful media moguls in Washington, but Lucy Royall is no pampered princess—she’s making her own way as a junior reporter. But when congressional investigator Hayden Black accuses her stepfather of criminal wrongdoing, she shows her family loyalty and takes Hayden on. Then, as things heat up, the sexy single dad takes her to bed! Talk about a conflict of interest. Will their illicit passion turn into something more lasting, even in the face of controversy so huge it rocks a nation?

Information about my books and other random things are at my website: www.rachelbailey.com

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? 

After the conference, I’ll be going on a W.A. writing retreat with a group of friends. I’ve never been to W.A. before, so I can’t wait to see the sights while I’m there!



Thank you, Rachel!

Riding the Waves Conference Spotlight ~ Laura Bradford

Welcome to a conference spotlight

from the

Riding the Waves conference!

Today we have Laura Bradford who will be presenting the workshop AGENTS EXPOSED.



laura_webLaura Bradford established the Bradford Literary Agency in 2001. She considers herself an editorial-focused agent and takes a hands-on approach to developing proposals and manuscripts with her authors for the most appropriate markets. During her own misadventures as a writer, Laura came to understand the importance of having a friendly but critical eye on your side, a career strategist in your corner and a guide who can lead you through the travails of publication.

Her recent sales include books placed with Berkley, Grand Central, Harlequin, Kensington, Simon and Schuster, HarperCollins, Sourcebooks, Hyperion, Flux, Macmillan, Adams Media, Egmont USA, John Wiley and Sons and Mira Books. She continues to actively build her client list and is currently seeking work in the following genres: Romance (historical, romantic suspense, paranormal, category, contemporary, erotic), urban fantasy, women’s fiction, mystery, thrillers and young adult as well as some select non-fiction.

She is a member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives (AAR) and Romance Writers of America, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and she is an RWA-recognized agent.

Laura has a very impressive client list, including New York Times bestselling authors Megan Hart, Erin McCarthy, Beth Kery and Lauren Dane – so start polishing those pitches!

Tell us about yourself in 10 words or less.

I’m an agent. I have the coolest job EVER.

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

Yes, I usually do a handful of workshops every year for the conferences I attend.  It depends on the needs/requirements of the organization that has invited me to attend.  The 1st time I ever did a workshop was at RWA National and it was interrupted halfway through by a fire alarm and evacuation.  I had to deliver the second half of the workshop out on the loading dock of the hotel next to the dumpsters. All the workshops I have given since have been tame by comparison *grin*.

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

I try to give workshops where I can really give someone some real insight into the business, to deliver information that someone can’t find just by Googling. Since you can find nearly anything on Google, it is a real challenge to find compelling topics.  I decided that I wanted to do a workshop that kind of pulled back the curtain on an agent’s work life, to try to explain how an agent thinks and why we make the business decisions we do.  I want to discuss both good and bad days in the life of an agent, business motivations and the difficulties and pleasures of the agent-author relationship.

Will there be hands-on exercises or audience participation?

There won’t be any hands-on exercises but time permitting, I always like to do some Q&A.

Which members will benefit most from this session?

Anybody who works with an agent or who wants to work with an agent would benefit, I think.  I try to be as honest as possible and I don’t speak for every agent, of course.  Another agent may have a different subjective perspective but I do my best to explain how we work, in general.


Any advice for conference first-timers?

Conferences are great fun and I think that most everyone is there to get the most bang for their buck and maximize the experience.  In my opinion, that means taking the opportunity to meet your fellow attendees, your peers.  I know many writers can be rather introverted and putting themselves out there and meeting new people can be an intimidating prospect.  But I am here to tell you that we all want to meet you, so don’t be shy. Go ahead and say hello.


Thank you, Laura!

Laura is also presenting a workshop for the Published Author stream,  How to Catch Flies.

Riding the Waves Conference Spotlight ~ Alison Stuart & Sasha Cottman

Welcome to a conference spotlight

from the

Riding the Waves conference!

Today we have Alison Stuart and Sasha Cottman who will be presenting the workshop STAY ON COURSE: Using Scrivener as a Writer’s Tool.



Alison-web smallAlison Stuart is an award winning Australian writer of historicals with heart. Whether duelling with dashing cavaliers or waywards ghosts, her books provide a reader with a meaty plot and characters who have to strive against adversity, always with the promise of happiness together. Alison is a long time member and past President of RWA. She describes herself as a “lapsed lawyer” who has worked in the military and fire service, which may explain a predisposition to soldier heroes. She lives with her own personal hero and two needy cats and likes nothing more than a stiff gin and tonic and a walk along the sea front of her home town. Her latest book, GATHER THE BONES, is a “Downton Abbeyesque” haunting love story set in 1923.

Alison uses Scrivener for Mac.

sasha cottman author picBorn in England, but living most of her life in Australia, Sasha Cottman writes Regency romance as a creative escape from her full time career as a finance executive. Several years ago, she decided to undertake a creative writing course unaware that it was full of budding romance writers. Having never read a romance book in her life, she was challenged by the course lecturer. “If you haven’t read it then how are you to write it?” In 2009 she joined Romance Writers of Australia and at her first conference was stunned to discover the amazingly creative and supportive group of people who comprise the RWA membership.

Sasha uses Scrivener for Windows.


Tell us about yourself in 10 words or less.

Sasha:  Hyperactive overachiever aiming to have more twitter followers than Ellen.

Alison:  Fangirl of men in uniform, always a lady.


What will participants take away from this session? (OR what is the key outcome or take-home message?)

Alison:  This workshop is intended for Scrivener novices.  At the end of our session workshop participants will walk out with a basic understanding of how to set up and work with a document in Scrivener through to how to compile the finished manuscript in manuscript format all ready to send off to a publisher.


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

Alison:  Sasha and I are passionate Scrivener users and yet we are completely different writers– I’m a pantser and she’s a plotter; I’m a Mac and she’s a PC—and yet Scrivener is perfect for both our writing styles. Unfortunately Scrivener is a victim of its own cleverness and although we have talked plenty of our fellow writers into giving it a go, the feedback we have been getting is the visual  complexity of the program, compounded by a highly technical interactive tutorial  was  enough to put people off.

Sasha:  Participants should be aware that Scrivener was originally developed for Mac and there are subtle differences in features between the Mac and PC versions.


Will there be hands-on exercises or audience participation?

Alison:  Important! We are requesting that participants in our workshop come with a computer preloaded with Scrivener (it is available in a trial version from http://www.literatureandlatte.com  or email Alison for details on a special offer for conference attendees- see end of article ).  As we are stepping people through the program using data projection,  you will need to have it there to work with us. If you don’t have a computer you can certainly look on with someone with a computer but I don’t think you’ll get as much out of it.


Any advice for conference first-timers?

Sasha:  Do not be caught without a pen and notebook.

Alison:  Don’t be nervous about talking to “published authors”.  You will find everyone is approachable and friendly.


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

secretsintime emailAlison:  I’ve had two books out in the last 6 months. GATHER THE BONES is my “Downton Abbey” with ghosts story and My latest novel, a historical time travel, SECRETS IN TIME came out on 1 April. To find out more about me and my books, visit my website at www.alisonstuart.com

Sasha:  I have recently sold my debut novel, a Regency Historical to Destiny Romance and it is scheduled for a 2013 release. Visit my website at www.sashacottman.com

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? 


  • Networking and catching up with RWA members who I only get to see once a year.
  • Taking some quiet time to listen and absorb new writing/marketing skills during the Friday workshop and weekend breakout session.
  • Stealing away and visiting the historical ships in Fremantle harbour.
  • Converting more writers to Scrivener.


Alison: I lived in Perth for a short while when we first emigrated to Australia from Kenya in …umm…quite a long time ago… and I have only been back for a fleeting visit once since we left. My husband and  I are coming over a few days early and taking some time to explore.  Open to suggestions  *grin*


One final thing…if you are interested in coming to our workshop and would like to purchase a full copy of Scrivener before the workshop, please email Alison alison@alisonstuart.com for details of a special offer on the product which will be available to conference attendees.

We also have some great door prizes for our session!



Thank you, ladies!

Riding the Waves Conference Spotlight ~ Kim Hudson

Welcome to a conference spotlight

from the

Riding the Waves conference!

Today we have Kim Hudson who will be presenting the workshop THE VOYAGE OF A WRITER.



I grew up in the Yukon, a Hero’s daughter with a Cinderella Complex. Basically life taught me many things I would need to write this book. I spent the first half of my career exploring my masculine side, first as a field geologist and later as a federal land claims negotiator. Exploring my feminine side became important as I raised my two daughters. This lead me to study Writing for Film and Television at Vancouver Film School, and take courses on mythology, feminism and psychology including a Jungian Odyssey in Switzerland. This theory was developed by closely observing the archetypal expressions that are all around us in movies, music, television, advertisements and stories of personal growth, including my own. The Virgin’s Promise is my first book.

Tell us about yourself in 10 words or less.

If there was a Practical Philosopher position I would sign up!!

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

One of the things I most enjoy about my work in archetypes is that people invariably say, love the structure – it’s the story of my life!  I started to wonder if this is more than co-incidence.  Maybe story is a way we learn about our potential and how to navigate the ups and downs of human existence?  This is the inspiration for my talk on The Voyage of the Writer.  It is a combination of translating the structure into real life situations and real life experience.


Will there be hands-on exercises or audience participation?

I like my audiences to have lots of opportunity to engage with the ideas.  Have a pencil and paper to do little exercises and bring your thoughts.

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

Definitely, we’ll be looking at The Virgin and the Hero journeys and figuring out where we are at on our personal journeys – will a little inspiration from great movie moments.


Anything you’re particularly looking forward to at the 2013 Riding The Waves conference in Fremantle?

The parties really sound like fun.  I am looking forward to meeting all the people who have been introducing them selves to me on facebook and my blog – and the other presenters!  They sound interesting.

Any advice for conference first-timers?

This will be my first time at a Romance Writers Association gathering as well.  Already they have been warm, fun, and organized.  Looks like we are in for a great event.

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? 

I want to hike and see the wild flowers.  Soaking up a little beach culture would be great too, although I am too afraid of sharks to go in the water (in my defense I am fine with grizzly bears).  Australia is so different than where I live in northern Canada.



Thank you, Kim!

Kim is also presenting our Friday Workshop VENUS ON THE HALF SHELL.

For more information on this workshop, click here.

Remember, Early Bird Registration  ends today – Don’t miss out!

Riding the Waves Conference Spotlight ~ Anne Gracie

Welcome to a conference spotlight

from the

Riding the Waves conference!

Today we have Anne Gracie who will be presenting the workshop ROCK POOLS ~ The Power of Detail



anneMugshotSmallAnne Gracie spent her childhood on the move when her father’s job took them around the world. The gypsy life taught her that humor & love are universal languages and that favorite books can take you home, wherever you are.  Anne started her first novel backpacking solo around the world. She’s now on her 16th published book.

Anne is published by Berkley Books, USA and Penguin, Australia. She’s a former teacher, a former president of RWA, a three time RITA finalist, has twice won the Romantic Book of the Year (Australia) and the National Reader’s Choice Award (USA) and has been listed in Library Journal (USA) best books of the year.


Tell us about yourself in 10 words or less.

Dog lover, romance writer, prolific reader & a creative procrastinator.

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

Yes, I’ve presented at many RWA conferences, as well as a number of short courses for the state Writers Centres in Victoria, NSW and Queensland. I’m a former teacher and I really enjoy presenting workshops. I also like attending workshops. Even when I think I know the topic well, sitting there, applying the workshop to the book I’m currently writing always gives me fresh insights and writing energy.

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

When I first joined RWA we used to have a lot of craft-of-writing discussion and workshops, and I wanted to get back to that. The aim in the workshop is to get people to enrich their own stories, but understanding and using the power of detail. It’s suited (I hope) to all levels.



What is the best part/aspect of conference for you?


I love it all — catching up with old friends, making new ones. I enjoy workshops,  I love the Friday night cocktail party, and the awards night is wonderful with so much positive energy in the air.


Any advice for conference first-timers?

It can be daunting, rocking up to a large conference and not knowing anyone there, but truly, we’re known for very friendly conferences. We usually organize some introductory events for first-timers, but even without them, it’s very easy to fit in — all you have to do is ask the person next to you what they’re writing at the moment, or what kind of books they love to read. Once you realize everyone there is a passionate writer and reader,  you’re never short of something to talk about.

And if I can be cheeky and speak on behalf of the published authors at the conference, every single one of us can remember when we were aspiring authors,  and newbies at the conference, so there’s no need to be shy just because someone is published.

AutumnBride64kWhat is your latest/current/upcoming book release and where can members find out more about you?

My most recent book is The Autumn Bride and people can visit my website at www.annegracie.com


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?

 I’m really thrilled to be coming to WA, too. I’d love to get down south to see the jarrah and karri forests. They’ve always been a source of fascination to me. There are other parts of the west I’d love to explore, too, but it’s such a huge state, I can only visit it in chunks.


Thank you, Anne!

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