Romance Rocks 2014 Presents…


Ebony McKenna brings a touch of the South to the track on Sunday Track C, Session 5.

The Staircase of Turning Points

The Staircase of Turning points is a practical, visual guide that shows you how to create maximum impact in key scenes in your story. We’ll use cracking examples from the all-time classic Gone With The Wind to help you take your writing to the next level. Writers who have one or more completed manuscripts will get the most out of this workshop.

Your Presenter – Ebony McKenna

“Oh yeah, she’s the writer who loves ferrets.”

Have you presented sessions at previous conferences, for RWA or other organisations?Ondine # 3 The Winter of Magic
I sure have, and I am always so impressed with what I learn from the delegates.

What prompted you to put together this workshop for “Romance Rocks”?
I wanted to share this method with as many writers as I could. It’s been a breakthrough for me, so I figure it could be a great tool for other writers as well. It’s such a practical workshop where you can apply what you learn from this into your own manuscript, whether you’re plotting out the next book or neck-deep in revisions.

What will participants take away from this session? (OR what is the key outcome or take-home message?)
You’ll develop the tools for strengthening the tension in your story and keeping the story moving so that each scene works as hard as it can.

Do you use examples (from your own books, other books, movies etc)?
Gone With The Wind is always a favourite, because it’s a masterclass in turning points and it’s a fabulous story.

Which members will benefit most from this session?1476366_10151911089644865_1353633515_n
Writers with a couple of manuscripts in the drawer will gain the most, because they’ll be able to apply what they gain from the workshop directly into their revisions.

What is your latest/current/upcoming book release and where can members find out more about you?
The Winter of Magic (the Ondine trequel) is out now. You can find out all about me at




Cruisin’ with RWA

Welcome back for another edition of Cruisin with RWA. We’ve had a Ripping Start to the week! Congratulations to the finalists in the Romance Writers of Australia 2014 Ripping Start Contest:

  • Sarma Burdeu
  • Jennifer Ensor
  • Jo McAlister
  • Elvina Payet
  • Cassandra Pennington
  • Kerrie Ptolemy
  • Victoria Steele


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

is celebrating the release of her Emmy Award winning book BREATHLESS from Samhain Publishing.

has a novella CHRISTMAS AT THE GINGERBREAD CAFE due out from Carina Press in time for the festive season.

Christmas is the season the Gingerbread Café was made for…but owner Lily couldn’t be feeling less merry if she tried. She’s spent another year dreaming of being whisked away on a sleigh-ride for two, but she’s facing festive season alone – again. And, just to give her another reason to feel anything other than candy-cane perky, a new shop across the road has opened… Not only is it selling baked goods, but the owner, with his seriously charming smile, has every girl in town swooning.

is thrilled to announce the sale of her novella to Escape Publishing.

achieved her dream and signed a contract with Simon & Schuster for another two books in her Seasons Collection planned for release in 2014 and 2015.

has sold her 5th book to Escape Publishing, a small town coastal romance titled FEBRUARY OR FOREVER. It will be released February 1, 2014.

has a brand new coastal romance out called SEDUCING PHOEBE

is very excited to announce her fourth contract with Escape Publishing for a single title sci fi romance, STAR PIRATE’S JUSTICE. Due for release on February 1, 2014.

On October 30, S E will indie publish an Australian, contemporary, rural romance novella, DANCE IN THE OUTBACK.

Three of our members shone brightly like the stars they are in the Book Junkie’s Choice Awards! Congratulations to Rachael Johns (2013 Winner: Best Women’s Fiction), Sasha Cottman and Ebony McKenna.


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:

November 12 – Rhyll Biest

November 19 – Iris Blobel

November 26 – Kim Cleary

From Breathless Moment to HEA. This weekend–What moves and inspires those HEAs. Drop by and share your favourite breathless moment.

Ever wanted a peek behind the scenes of an Italian restaurant? Then come join award-winning writer and renowned freelance racing journalist Jessica Owers on Friday Feast as she guides you through the workings of her husband’s beloved La Spiaggia in Sydney’s Coogee Beach. Amazing food, colourful diners, cheffy energy, and most of all the Passion. Plus Jessica shares a few lessons she’s learned from her Italians. Buon appetito indeed!

October 26 – ENCHANTED ORB with Eleni Konstantine

October 29 – GOOD NEWS DAY with Kylie Griffin

October 31 – MAGIC THURSDAY – Scaringly good HALLOWEEN giveaway!!

November 1 – REAL LIFE PARANORMAL with Mel Teshco and special guest.

October 30 – Writerly Wednesday: The Body in the Garden Writers Festival

A&U author Josephine Moon has a tea-riffic giveaway when she drops into Calingarry Crossing pub for a bar yarn and a beer nut.

November 2 – Signs & Symptoms You Could Be An Author

November 5 – DARK SIDE DOWNUNDER: S.E.Gilchrist – come meet our Aussie & New Zealander Dark Siders!

November 9 – DARK SIDE DOWNUNDER: Christina Phillips – come meet our Aussie & New Zealander Dark Siders!

October 29 – SARA News with Eleni Konstantine

October 30 – WHAT A CHARACTER – Eleni Konstantine’s Daniel from Gateway to Hell

November 3 – Spotlight on Writers – Sandie Hudson writing as Sandie James

A peek at the characters from Paradise Beach in my current work in progress

Meet Escape Author J M Bray – this is a story you won’t want to miss!

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. Susanne Bellamy
  2. Tracey O’Hara
  3. Trish Morey
  4. Write on Track – Diane Curran
  5. The Other Side
  6. Carla Caruso


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.

Riding the Waves Conference Spotlight ~ Ebony McKenna

Welcome to a conference spotlight from the

Riding the Waves conference!

Today we have Ebony McKenna who will be presenting the workshop NAVIGATING THE MARKERS ~ Turning Points in Story.



Ebony McKenna was a journalist on many leading Melbourne newspapers before embracing romance novels. She is the author of Young Adult/Teen books including the Ondine series. She is a fantastically imaginative author whose scope and story-telling encompasses the bizarre, the mysterious and the romantic.

For more information about her books, and how to find her on Facebook and Twitter go to:

Tell us about yourself in 10 words or less.

I embrace the crazy.

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

The RWA Tasmania Roadshow last year and also at the Melbourne Romance Writers’ Guild.


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

You’ll develop practical ways to keep the tension tight and the story moving forward. Step by step, conflict by conflict, effort and obstruction and compromise. It will all be there on the page, which adds up to a satisfied reader. As a bonus, the major emotional turning points will help you craft that dreaded synopsis.


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

Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind is front and centre. If you’ve read the book or seen the movie, perfect. If not, and you’re pressed for time, read or watch the scene where Scarlett visits Rhett in jail. It’s a master class of turning points.

Any advice for conference first-timers?

Pace yourself. It’s a big conference and there is so much to take in. Take some time to read through the notes provided prior to conference. You’ll find a wealth of information in there.  Also, stay hydrated.


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

The third Ondine novel (the trequel) is finally coming out! December 2013, Ondine: The Winter of Magic will be available worldwide.

You can find me (far too often) on twitter @EbonyMcKenna or on the webernets at


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’ll be on the lookout for the perfect curry pie.


Thank you, Ebony!

Our next conference spotlight will be featured on Monday 25th February.

Bookshelf Saturday ~ March New Releases

Well to our March 2011 New releases







 Anne Cleary – DO NOT DISTURB HM&B Sexy





 Anna Hackett – ONE NIGHT WITH THE WOLF Nocturne Bites





 Anna Jacobs – DESTINY’S PATH Hodder & Stoughton UK





 Bronwen Evans – INVITATION TO RUIN Kensington Brava










 Cathleen Ross – LOVE, LUST AND LIES My Passion in Print





 Charlie Kramer – DON’T QUOTE ME Smashwords





 Ebony McKenna – ONDINE: THE AUTUMN PALACE Egmont Press UK & Hardie Grant Egmont Australia





 Helene Young – SHATTERED SKY Hachette Australia





 Jaye Ford – BEYOND FEAR Random House Australia










 Kerri Williams – TAKING BACK HIS WIDOW Eternal Press






 Liia Ann White – ELORA’S MATCH: THE DIFFERENT SAGA BOOK 1 Silver Publishing






 Liz Fielding – BECOME THE TYCOON’S BRIDE Harlequin Romance





 Margaret Way – OLIVIA’S AWAKENING HM&B Specials A-format






 Melanie Milburne – THE WEDDING CHARADE HM&B Sexy





 Natalie Anderson – WALK ON THE WILD SIDE HM&B Sexy





 Nicola E. Sheridan – MAGICAL GAINS Eternal Press





 Nikki Logan – FRIENDS TO FOREVER HM&B Sweet











 Shona Husk – KISSING PHOENIX Ellora’s Cave







What aother great month of reading. Enjoy.


September Hearts Talk

The latest edition of Hearts Talk is here. This is available only to members, but here is a little peek….

Bronwyn Jameson chats to Susan Mallery

This month, Hearts Talk is delighted to welcome Susan Mallery as our featured author interview. Susan is the author of over one hundred romances and women’s fiction novels, which consistently appear on the USA Today bestseller list and have landed as high as #5 on the New York Times list. Her books have been named in the Top 10 Romance Novels lists of 2007, 2008, and 2009 by Booklist, a publication of the American Library Association, and she was the only author on the list all three years.

Susan, thank you for taking the time to chat with us. Can I start by offering our congratulations on two accounts: Firstly, you received a Borders Award for the Bestselling Contemporary Romance of 2009. Secondly, for the publication of your 100th book, Sweet Talk. Did you do anything special to celebrate?

Thank you so much! Winning the Borders Award was a real thrill for me. Sue Grimshaw of Borders presents the award, which is really gorgeous. Sue is delightful and warm and so supportive of the romance genre. Does working count as a celebration? When my 100th book was released, I was working on Sunset Bay, my first women’s fiction novel. I think that’s how I reached 100 and counting. Through the years, I just kept moving forward because the next book is always the most exciting.

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

RWA news!

Three things are big news in RWA this month, and you can read more about them in this issue of Hearts Talk.

Firstly, there’s a new Judge Training Program. Have you ever thought about volunteering as a judge for one of RWA’s great contests but been put off because you weren’t sure about the judging process? Are you already a judge but would like a bit of a refresher? See p15 of this month’s Hearts Talk for more info.

Also, we’re having a great big Volunteer Drive. If you caught the fabulous vibe of the RWA volunteers at the Coogee conference or Clayton’s Conference and want to join in, have a look at p11 of Hearts Talk for more details.

Finally, we’re now taking applications for the position of RWA Webmistress. This role will now come with a small stipend because we believe it’s pivotal to our organisation. See p15 of Hearts Talk for the information.

The  Heart of the Matter:  Elements of a Lasting Love by Bronwyn Parry

Romance writers’ magazines and blogs have many excellent and useful articles about aspects of writing; character arcs, structure and plotting, deep POV, writing sensual scenes. But if you’ve ever finished a romance novel wondering whether the happily-in-lust couple will last beyond the first few months together, you’ll know that there’s one issue that we don’t explore enough, one that should be at the heart of every romance novel: love itself.

My favourite photo is of my aunt and uncle; after forty years of marriage, still gazing at each other with such joy, love and delight that they are both beautiful. And they really were like that, everyday – so much in love, and joyous with it.

How can we write our characters so that our readers are able to imagine them gazing at each other with that same joy and love, forty, fifty, sixty years after the last page of the book?

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

Our RWA – Sydney Conference Awards Dinner

Our Awards Night was a sizzling affair! Here’s the run down of the awards that were announced on the night. Look out for more conference highlights in October’s Hearts Talk. (Note: certificates for contests whose winners previously announced in Hearts Talk were also handed out.)

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

A Touch of the Fairytale by Anna Campbell

I often tell people who ask me about my writing that I write adult fairytales. Sometimes VERY adult (snickering!).

There’s something inherently satisfying about the shape of a fairytale story. We generally have a heroine and/or a hero who face adversity with courage and intelligence and then after numerous trials and tribulations, they get their happy ending.

This is the story arc of so many world myths and legends that I can’t help thinking this pattern appeals to our basic human selves. The happy ending is sometimes derided as a particular failing of romance fiction, but I think most readers love the idea that once the characters have proved themselves worthy, they get their reward, which in a romance novel happens to be everlasting love.

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

A Writer’s Life as she Harnesses the Inner Teen (Ebony McKenna)

As some of you know, I’ve written in many genres— science fiction & contemporary romance—but it wasn’t until I wrote a teen novel that it all came together for me. Although my teen years are well behind me, they remain always close to the surface.

Writing for young adults means channelling my inner teen at regular intervals, no matter how embarrassing or traumatic. If I flick through a photo album, I’ll laugh at my clothes and think about the people in the picture and ‘bang’ I’m an angst-ridden fifteen-year-old again. All hormones and homework and horrible hair.

Of course don’t forget our regular columns:

  • From the Prez with Alison Ahearn
  • Market Watch with Pam Collings
  • Contest Page with Deb Bennetto
  • The Last Word with Christina Phillips
  • Member News & Releases with Rachel Blair
  • Member Spotlights with Suzanne Brandyn

> This month featuring our fabulous Senior Vice President Louise Reynolds

  • Events Calendar with Doreen Sullivan
  • The Writer’s Life with Marion Lennox

>This month featuring Ebony McKenna (as above)

  • Practicalities, Technicalities with Michelle Wood

>This month featuring  Tips of the Traveling Writer by Emily Gee

I’m a travel junkie. Fortunately for me, writing is a portable job. For those of you who share my love of travel—and who’d like to combine writing and travelling—here are some of the things that worked for me during the year I spent travelling and writing in North America. Note, this isn’t an article about travel writing, but about writing while travelling.

  • Ask Auntie Fi with Fiona Lowe

Dear Auntie Fi, Are there restrictions to using pseudonyms, i.e. what would stop a writer from using another’s pen name, & cashing in on his/her success with the readership? Is there a register of pseudonyms, or are there controls in the publishing industry that handle these types of issues? ~ ‘Anxious in Atherton’

Dear Auntie Fi, I’ve just realised with my current WIP, that my heroine and hero don’t meet as soon as possible on the page. It’s a suspense, with romantic elements, and the so-called hero is there with the heroine in chapter two, but the real hero doesn’t come along until later. Do you think this is going to be a problem?? Have I broken the golden rule? It is targeted to the Australian Market. ~ ‘Wit’s End’

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


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