The Australian Romance Readers Conference

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

Event highlights for me included:

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

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

Photo Gallery

Fashion Parade

Panellistsgala dinner

RWA stand and Nikki Logan coffee kiosk

Romance Rocks Presents…


Sarah Wendell, Jennifer St George and Helene Young will give you a workout in the pre-conference warm-ups on Professional Development Day, Thursday August 7.

Media Bootcamp Part 1 & 2 – Session PDD1 & 2, Track B

Love to see your name and books in the media but don’t know where to start? Does the idea of a journalist calling you for an interview make you shake? Let author, international speaker and the Founder of romance blog Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, Sarah Wendell; multi-award winning author, Helene Young and romance author and marketing specialist, Jennifer St George teach you the tricks to get your name up in lights! Learn how to develop a media strategy and handle interviews in a fun and interactive workshop. You’ll leave with the tools you need to make an impact in the media.

*Please note, this session is limited to 15 delegates only, and places will be awarded on a first in, first served basis*

Your Presenters – Sarah Wendell, Jennifer St George and Helene Young

We’re on a mission to raise the profile of ROMANCE!

Sarah, what prompted you to put together this workshop for “Romance Rocks”?110310_SarahWendell_17-slice

Jennifer St. George asked me! But more importantly, there is increased media interest in romance authors over the past few years, and my experiences with print and television media have been widely varied – from incredibly fun conversations that I wished could have gone on for hours to being asked about my sex life live in front of at least 250,000 people or more. I learned the harder way – and I think the three of us can help authors deal with any kind of media interest, from the positive to the prurient.

Asked about your sex life? Now that’s just plain rude… We know you had fun at the last conference, Sarah, so what’s the best part/aspect of conference for you?
What kind of silly question is this?! It is in Australia. Where there are Tim Tams. Enough said.

Seriously: RWAus is one of the best conferences I’ve ever been to, and I am so excited I can come back.

And we’re excited to have you visiting again!!
Helene, Media Bootcamp sounds like we’ll be pumping weights and sprinting. Will there be hands-on exercises with this workshop?Helene Young 2012 Author photo by Charlotte Rose (LR)
Oh yes indeed! But you can rest easy on the weights 🙂
We’ll have you presenting an interview like a true media star, prepared to tackle the best and worst questions. We’ll help you fine-tune your key messages and show you how to turn the interview to your advantage. Come ready to write, to be interviewed, and to learn, but you can leave those lycra running shorts at home!

In the middle of winter in Sydney there will definitely be no lycra…So which members will benefit most from this session?

Everyone will benefit from this session. I learnt so much from Jennifer at her last bootcamp and I think Sarah’s going to add another dimension to the workshop. No matter where you are on your writing journey learning to be media savvy is important. Radio interviews, festival appearances, TV interviews and Google Hangouts are all part of an author’s life. It’s never too soon to learn nor too late to do a refresher.

So, Jen, what will participants take away from this session?031b

Confidence. It’s our experience that authors can be quite nervous of interviews of any type. This session provides a safe environment to practice your skills, learn some fabulous tips on how to handle those tricky questions and how to achieve what you want from an interview. After this session, you’ll want to race home a write a media plan.

Do you use examples?

All three of us have extensive experience with media interviews. Sarah has been an interviewee (from small town newspapers to national US TV networks to writing festivals and much more!!) and interviewer (she’s conducted hundreds of author interviews) so will provide insights from both perspectives. With four books, numerous national book tours and being involved in all types of interviews, Helene has answered every question a journalist can throw. Learn from her extensive experience. I’ve spent many years in public relations and has media trained top executives to handle all kinds interviews. During my time with Guinness I was a global spokesperson for the company, quoted from the Irish Times to the Wall Street Journal. So we have real world examples galore – what to do and what not to do!

Thanks ladies for dropping by. Look forward to Media Bootcamp in Sydney!

Find more about Sarah at:
Jennifer St George at:
Helene Young at:

1402254490.01.LZZZZZZZSafeHarbour_cover-1 low resThe Billionaire's Pursuit of Love cover


Ruby Finalists

It’s that time of year again! Time to announce the finalists in RWA’s Romantic Book of the Year (Ruby) competition for published novels.  We have four sections, each with four finalists and the winners will be announced at our annual conference, this year to be held in Fremantle, WA.

This year’s batch is a wonderful microcosm of our membership, including some of our most established and loved author members and some who have entered the finalist list with their first book.  Obviously, if you are a romance writer, RWA is the place to be!

So, without further ado, congratulations and best of luck to:


Long Romance
Anne Gracie Bride by Mistake
Helen Lacey Marriage Under The Mistletoe
Sarah Mayberry More Than One Night
Stephanie Laurens The Lady Risks All
Romantic Elements
Elise K Ackers Small Town Storm
Fiona McCallum Wattle Creek
Helene Young Burning Lies
Tricia Stringer Queen of the Road
Short Sexy
Anne Oliver The Morning After The Wedding Before
Melanie Milburne Enemies at the Altar
Nicola Marsh Marrying the Enemy
Yvonne Lindsay A Forbidden Affair
Short Sweet
Alison Roberts Sydney Harbour Hospital: Zoe’s Baby
Emily Forbes Sydney Harbour Hospital: Bella’s Wishlist
Fiona Lowe Newborn Baby For Christmas
Madeline Ash Uncovered by Love


Thanks go to our new Ruby co-ordinator, Dorothy Bramich and to Louise Reynolds, our erstwhile Ruby co-ordinator, for mentoring her through her first year in this role.  We would be helpless without our stalwart volunteers!  Thanks too, to our wonderful reader judges.

Cruisin’ with RWA

It’s a little over three months to go before we ride the waves of romance at this year’s Romance Writers of Australia Conference in Fremantle WA. While the Couple on beach.early bird may have flown, there is still time to register. So don’t miss out. Not sure if it’s for you? Have a look at our Conference Spotlight Blogs for a peek at what’s in store for delegates this year. I can assure you, you won’t be disappointed.


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 on their achievements this week. Have you got news or a blog to share? Send us the link to

Good News

Is pleased to announce the release of her latest book THE SHUTTLE. Visit her website for more information.

BREATHE FOR ME is a hot contemporary and the first in an independently published series.

The last thing Chelsea Greene wants is to be rescued, but that’s exactly what happens when she’s caught wearing nothing but her swimsuit during a midnight emergency evacuation drill. Turns out her `hero’ is a former lifeguard who has no hesitation in offering the kiss of life.

Is excited about her June release HER GUARDIAN ANGEL. Click here for a sneak peek at the trailer.

At the same time as her latest release, SECRETS IN TIME came out, GATHER THE BONES was nominated as a finalist in the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence (Mainstream w/romantic elements category) and also as a Goodreads Book of the Month and for the 2012 InD’tale Magazine’s RONE Awards.

Annie’s long awaited sequel to HOLIDAY AFFAIR, ITALIAN AFFAIR will be published on 10 June. Annie was ecstatic when it received a four star review from RT magazine.

Janelle has a new release – THE ARRIVAL is Book 1 in the Rainbow Falls Series.

Maggie’s Victorian mystery romance THE FOLLY AT FALCONBRIDGE HALL has been nominated for the RONE Award.

A new anthology with Entangled entitled WHEN HONEY GOT MARRIED hitting online stores.  Honey’s an RT Top Pick about the lead-up to a great grand Louisiana wedding as written by Kimberly Lang, Anna Cleary, Kelly Hunter and Ally Blake.

LET ANGELS FLY, a new release from Noelle Clark is a story about how life can be full of surprises the second time around. View the trailer for a sneak peek.

HALF MOON BAY will release on May 22, 2013 with a book launch in Cairns on May 24, 2013 and details are available on Helene’s blog. Helene is also touring Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne during late May early June with Penguin so keep an eye out for the dates coming soon to the blog.


Keeping Up Appearances


Love, Lust & Longing at Taree LibraryQueenofHearts

Karly Lane, Cathryn Hein and Kylie Griffin are headed to Taree Library to take part in a “Queen of Hearts” author panel. There’s a Meet & Greet prior to the panel. They’ll be talking about their respective romance genres and fielding questions from the audience on the night. There will be a lucky door prize/raffle – a signed collection of books from Karly, Cathryn and Kylie. Manning Valley Books will have available for purchase copies of their books at the event and there will be ample opportunity to have them signed before/after the event. FMI: Call Taree Library 6592 5390.



The Lynne Wilding Meritorious Service Award is a member-nominated award (for our volunteers). If no-one tells us how great they are, they may never be nominated. So if there is someone who you know who is a brilliant ambassador for romance and for RWA and who gives much of their time to the organisation we all love, please take a moment to sing their praises to the official nominations committee this month.

Here’s what you do:

1.  By 1 June 2013

2.  In a letter or email, write your nominee’s full name and why you believe they should be considered for this very special award. Also include your own name and address details (you must be a current, financial member of RWAustralia to make a nomination). Feel free to wax lyrical to communicate exactly what it is that makes their contribution so special.

3.Post your nomination to:

Lynne Wilding Service Award,
PO Box 1236 Neutral Bay NSW
2089 Australia



It’s that easy.


Cruisin’ Member Blogs

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

  • RWA Blog

May 4 – Hearts Talk Wrap with Ainslie Paton

May 5 – Event Announcements with Juanita Kees

May 7 – Conference Spotlight with Eleni Konstantine

May 9 – Cruisin’ with RWA with Juanita Kees

May 5 – Self-publishing vs traditional. Join us when Lilliana Anderson explains her choices and shares an excerpt from her new book, A BEAUTIFUL STRUGGLE.

May 12 – my guest will be Iris Blobel.

This week on Friday Feast I regale the world with tales of my week with Hugh. And what a delicious time we had. There were rich beef casseroles, new potatoes with fresh herbs from the garden, luscious chocolate fondants and more. He had me… at least until a man named Neil came along. Food and drama. Friday Feast has it all!

May 2 – MAGIC THURSDAY – with Nicole Murphy

May 3 – REAL LIFE PARANORMAL – with Mel Teshco

May 7 – GOOD NEWS DAY compiled by Kylie Griffin

May 8– A BITE OF… S.E. Gilchrist

May 9 – MAGIC THURSDAY – with Kylie Griffin

Writing Buddy Wednesday – DarkSider, Shona Husk

Author Harvest ‘bales up’ Cathryn Hein and HEARTLAND

Alissa Callen came knocking on my country manor door!

May 4 –  I will be hosting, Fiona Greene on Spotlight on Writers.

May 4 – CAT-URDAY: Cats with Attitude

May 7 – NEW AUTHOR SERIES: Kate Belle – our RWA/NZ newly published authors from Destiny, Escape & Momentum!

May 11 – SATURDAY SEVEN (Skin – Kylie Scott) – Seven paragraphs of a favourite book off my shelves.

What is the most important thing you learned as a newly published author?  Join my on my blog on and share your experiences, as I share what I’ve learned so far.


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. Michelle Diener
  2. Sara Hantz
  3. Teen Fiction Cafe
  4. We Love YA
  5. Yvonne Lindsay
  6. Wink Girls


Have a great week,

from the Cruisin’ Chauffeurs

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

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

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


 BiosShannon Curtis (681x1024)

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

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


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

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

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

Tell us about yourself in 10 words or less.

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

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

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

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

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

Will there be hands-on exercises or audience participation?

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

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


Which members will benefit most from this session?

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


Any advice for conference first-timers?

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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



Thank you ladies!

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

RWA and the ARRA Awards

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

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

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

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

Here are the finalists. Congratulations everyone!

Favourite Paranormal Romance – proudly sponsored by Galaxy Bookshop

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

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

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

Favourite Short Category Romance – proudly sponsored by Harlequin Australia

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

Favourite Historical Romance – proudly sponsored by Carina Press

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

Favourite Contemporary Romance

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

Favourite Erotic Romance – proudly sponsored by eXtasy Books

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

Favourite Romantic Suspense – proudly sponsored by Love Books

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

Favourite Continuing Romance Series – proudly sponsored by Harlequin Australia

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

Favourite Australian Romance Author 2012 – proudly sponsored by Booktopia

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

And for the Members’ Choice categories …

Best First Meeting Between Couple in a romance published in 2012

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

Best Love Scene from a romance published in 2012

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

Favourite Cover from a romance published in 2012

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

From Pitch to Publication (pt 2): Helene Young

Welcome to the second in a series of special guest interviews with authors who received a publishing contract after pitching their manuscript at an RWA conference. I hope these interviews motivate and inspire you with the knowledge that pitching appointments can and do lead to publication!

Please welcome multi award-winning author, Helene Young:

1. Congratulations on receiving a publishing contract! Which conference did you pitch at and had you ever pitched before?

I pitched at the 2008 RWA conference. I had pitched before in 2007 and also at the RWAmerica conference in 2008.

2. What was going through your mind before the pitch, and afterwards did you feel it had been a success?

I’d made sure I’d met Bernadette Foley before I pitched to her so I felt more relaxed. I was conscious I needed to sell her me as a marketable writer as well as my manuscript. When she asked for a full manuscript I floated out of the room on a high.

3. How long did it take to hear back after your submission? What was the next step?

It took two months for a response and it went something like this. ‘I think the novel could be on the way to something, but it’s not there yet.’ Bernadette then set out some very clear suggestions, which I took on board.

4. After submitting your full manuscript, did you get a call with an offer of publication, or did you have to make changes to your manuscript first?

It took me five months to rework the manuscript, chew my nails off, procrastinate and eventually hit send. Two months and one week after that Bernadette called me with an offer to publish.

5. How did it feel when you received an offer of publication?

I was elated. We were on holidays in the Whitsundays on a yacht and I know the smile lines ended up tanned into my face because I didn’t stop smiling for ten days!

6. Do you have any advice for writers who are thinking of pitching at the next conference, or for writers who have already pitched and are anxiously awaiting the results after sending in their submissions?

For those that are thinking of pitching – remember you are selling yourself as well as your story. Be friendly, engaging and remember to breathe!

For those who are waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, I say get writing! Once you’ve been accepted for publication editing will take a large slice of your time. That means the waiting time is the best chance to get on with your new project – and it will stop you obsessively checking emails and/or the letterbox!! And also remember to decode the reply carefully. A rejection may in fact be an invite to work more on the manuscript using their directions 🙂

7. Which book got published as a result of your conference pitch? Can you give us a brief blurb?

Wings of Fear (Border Watch).

High above the crystal-blue waters of North Queensland, Captain Morgan Pentland patrols the vast Australian coastline. When Customs Agent Rafe Daniels joins her crew, she is immediately suspicious. Why is he boarding her plane when she isn’t there? And why is he asking so many questions?

What Morgan doesn’t know is that Rafe has her under surveillance. Critical information about their Border Watch operations is being leaked and she is the main suspect but when Morgan and Rafe are shot down in a tragic midair attack, they realise they have to start working together – and quickly. One of Australia’s most loved icons is the next target and they have only nine days to stop it.

Will they uncover details of the plot in time, or will the tension that is growing between them jeopardise everything?


Thanks for sharing your experience with us today!

Thanks for asking me 🙂

You can visit Helene at her website, and on Facebook and Twitter.

Conference Spotlight ~ GenreCon

Welcome to another of our Conference Spotlights from the


Today we have some information from a Bronze Conference Sponsor – GenreCon.

GenreCon 2012

When: November 2-4, 2012
Where: Rydges Parramatta, 116 James Ruse Drive, Parramatta
Bookings/FMI: GenreCon 2012 Online

What is it?

GenreCon is a new national conference celebrating Australian genre fiction. It brings together diverse communities of genre writers under one tent to explore writing craft, discuss the business of writing and publishing, and get specialist knowledge to feed their stories.

Genre fiction is the source of many of our most enduring stories and it bridges media such as film, games, and comic books in addition to literature. We’ve started GenreCon to celebrate Australian creators of genre works and the contributions they’ve made to the literary landscape, and to foster the next generation of genre writers as they build their careers.


Who is coming?

GenreCon welcomes genre-writers from every corner of the bookshop, from romance to fantasy to crime, and those whose work crosses the aisle. Among some of the special guests who will be leading discussions, sharing knowledge (and the occasional cocktail) are…

Sarah 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, one of the most globally popular blogs examining romance fiction. Smart Bitches Trashy Books 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.

Anna Campbell has written seven historical romances for HarperCollins Australia and her work is published internationally, including in the United States, Germany, Russia, Turkey and Japan. Anna has won numerous awards for her sweeping, emotional stories set in the early 19th century, including the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice, the Booksellers Best, the Golden Quill, the Heart of Excellence, the Aspen Gold, and the Australian Romance Readers Association’s most popular historical romance. The Australian Romance Readers Association voted Anna their favorite Australian romance author of 2009, 2010 and 2011. In 2012, Anna launches an exciting new publishing venture with her first series “Sons of Sin”, beginning with Seven Nights In A Rogue’s Bed in October 2012.

Helene Young is a contemporary suspense author and lives near a beach just north of Cairns. When she’s not writing, she flies Dash 8 aircraft around regional Australia. Her stories are set in the top end of Australia – a wild and wonderful, larger-than-life environment just begging to be showcased in novels filled with intrigue. Her latest book is Burning Lies.

Kim Wilkins was born in London, and grew up at the seaside north of Brisbane, Australia. She has degrees in literature and creative writing, and teaches writing at the University of Queensland and in the community. Her first novel, The Infernal, a supernatural thriller was published in 1997. Since then, she has published across many genres and for many different age groups. Kim publishes contemporary epic romances as Kimberley Freeman, including her latest, Lighthouse Bay.

Presented by…

GenreCon is an initiative of the Queensland Writers Centre, presented under our national platform The Australian Writer’s Marketplace. Queensland Writers Centre is one of Australia’s most successful non-profit organisations for writers. We strive for more Australian writers to have sustainable careers and to be read and enjoyed throughout the world. Our national programs support the artistic and professional development of writers through mentoring, manuscript development, peer support and industry-relevant education. Our passion is getting writers where they want to go and assisting them at all stages of their career.


Thank you GenreCon and Jennifer St. George.

Our next spotlight is on the 6th August. 


Cruisin’ with RWA

With the Gold Coast Conference just weeks away, Clint has been out scouting for posts on past and present conferences. Have you got a pleasant memory to share from a Romance Writer’s Conference? Send it to us at


Claytons Conference 2012

Registrations for Claytons are now open.

We all know the Diamonds Are Forever Conference is going to be brilliant, but not all of us can make it to the sunny Gold Coast. Enter the annual Claytons Conference, the conference you have when you’re not having a conference (to paraphrase an old but famous soft drink slogan).

Claytons 2012 is online, interactive and impossible to ignore. It’s good fun, motivational and informative. It is open to all Romance Writers of Australia members and it’s free.

Please visit the Claytons page on the RWAustralia website for more information (including the program) and to register.

If you have any questions, you can contact Julia and Jenny at ClaytonsConf12 [at] gmail [dot] com.

We look forward to “seeing” you there!


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

  • Eden Summer has signed her first contract for a contemporary romance with Etopia Press. Release date TBA.
  • Annie West’s latest book has been accepted for publishing. CAPTIVE IN THE SPOTLIGHT will be a UK Modern and US Presents release in March 2013.
  • Nicola Marsh’s first category romance for Entangled Publishing, NOT THE MARRYING KIND, is out now.

Keeping up Appearances

Meet Helene Young:

Brisbane Launch for BURNING LIES
When: 27th July, 5.30 pm
Where: Black Cat Books and Cafe, Paddington, Brisbane.

See Helene’s webpage for more details


RWA Merry Webber Blogs

July 20 – A Day in the Writing Life of Cathryn Hein – Suzanne Hamilton

July 21 – Bestsellers List – Tamara Gill

July 22 – Event Announcements – Juanita Kees

July 23 – Conference Spotlight – Eleni Konstantine

July 26 – Cruisin’ with RWA – Juanita Kees


Cruisin’ Member Blogs

Share a link and a short blurb here each week by emailing the details to us at:

July 20 – This week on Friday Feast:

This week on Friday Feast I’m very excited to host Australian suspense author Jaye Ford. Jaye’s book, BEYOND FEAR, was the highest selling debut crime novel in Australia in 2011. Her second novel, SCARED YET? released in March to more amazing reviews.

With winter in full swing, Jaye reveals her cold weather obsession with soup and shares a favourite that can be easily whipped up from the contents of your pantry and freezer. Definitely one for writers – just like her page-turner books!

July 19 – Magic Thursday with Nicola E. Sheridan on Mythological Creatures – beasts from Hell

July 22 – Weekly Overview

July 24 – Good news day

July 26 – Magic Thursday: Kylie Griffin with a giveaway of a gift pack.

July 19 – GUEST BLOGGING at Riverina Romantics on my ALLIANCE FORGED blog tour!

July 21 – SERIES: The Paranormal DownUnder – Jenny Schwartz – Aussie authors who live the paranormal life and love it!

July 22 – SUNDAY SWAG – Giving away some Light Blade series swag at Riverina Romantics as a part of my ALLIANCE FORGED blog tour!

July 24 – CONFERENCE TIME: Memorable Moments…with Serena Tatti – members of RWAustralia & New Zealand fill you on what to look forward to at the annual conferences.

July 26 – GUEST BLOGGING at magical Musings on my ALLIANCE FORGED blog tour!

July 26 – GUEST BLOGGING at the Dark Side DownUnder on my ALLIANCE FORGED blog tour!

July 20 – Pop in for a pre-release peek at FLY AWAY PETA


Clint’s Cruisin’ Lane


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. Wink Girls
  2. Annie Seaton
  3. Christina Phillips
  4. Historical Saga Novels
  5. Janet Woods
  6. Mel Teshco


Enrico’s quote of the week

It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by.  How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment?  For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone.  That is where the writer scores over his fellows:  he catches the changes of his mind on the hop.  ~Vita Sackville-West

Have a great week!

Regards Juanita

Cruisin’ with RWA

Welcome to another edition of Cruisin’. I hope you’re all keeping warm and dry. This is the perfect weather to cuddle up with your Kindle, laptop or a good, old-fashioned paperback and enjoy. We have a great collection of blogs for you today, so sit back and relax, and let Enrico and Clint take you Cruisin’.


Claytons Conference 2012

Registrations for Claytons are now open.

We all know the Diamonds Are Forever Conference is going to be brilliant, but not all of us can make it to the sunny Gold Coast. Enter the annual Claytons Conference, the conference you have when you’re not having a conference (to paraphrase an old but famous soft drink slogan).

Claytons 2012 is online, interactive and impossible to ignore. It’s good fun, motivational and informative. It is open to all Romance Writers of Australia members and it’s free.

Please visit the Claytons page on the RWAustralia website for more information (including the program) and to register.

If you have any questions, you can contact Julia and Jenny at ClaytonsConf12 [at] gmail [dot] com.

We look forward to “seeing” you there!


RWA Merry Webber Blogs

July 13 – Blog Bites with Monique Mcdonell – Kerri Williams

July 15 – Event Announcements – Juanita Kees

July 17 – Conference Spotlight – Book Cover Competition voting open – Eleni Konstantine

July 18 – Hearts Talk Archive – Sandra Harris

July 19 – Cruisin’ with RWA – Juanita Kees


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

Her debut Regency historical, INVITATION TO RUIN, won the RomCon 2012 Readers Crown Best Historical and her debut self-published Regency historical, TO DARE THE DUKE OF DANGERFIELD, is a semi-finalist in the Kindle Book Review Indie Romance book of the year – winner drawn September 1.

Has sold SECRETS IN TIME, a time travel novella to Lyrical Press. Release date April 2013.

When a seventeenth century cavalier meets a twentieth century doctor, life is going to get interesting.

Rural Romance Writers is a group where authors and readers of rural romance are able to connect and find out anything from our up and coming releases to what our authors have been busy doing through the week.

Keeping up Appearances

Meet Helene Young:

Book Launch for BURNING LIES
When : 6th July, 6 pm
Where: North Queensland Aero Club, Cairns

Author Chat
When: Friday 13th July, 5.30 pm
Where : Foster’s Little Bookshop, Foster, Victoria

Brisbane Launch for BURNING LIES
When: 27th July, 5.30 pm
Where: Black Cat Books and Cafe, Paddington, Brisbane.

See Helene’s webpage for more details


Cruisin’ Member Blogs

Share a link and a short blurb here each week by emailing the details to us at:

July 13 – This week on Friday Feast:

This week on Friday Feast things are hotting up with erotic romance author Lexxie Couper. Lexxie’s discussing her efforts to convert non-Aussies to the joys of Vegemite and sharing a never-let-me-down dessert that’s just perfect for winter. Plus leave a comment and you’ll be in the draw to win a copy of one of Lexxie’s sinfully sexy books.

July 12 – MAGIC THURSDAY: Keri Arthur with giveaway of Darkness Devours

July 15 – Weekly Overview

July 16 – Winner of Keri’s giveaway announced


July 19 – MAGIC THURSDAY: with Nicole E. Sheridan

July 14 – SERIES: The Paranormal DownUnder – Angela Verdenius – Aussie authors who live the paranormal life and love it!

July 14-20 – GUEST BLOGGING with the Book Club Sisters on my ALLIANCE FORGED blog tour!

July 15 – GUEST BLOGGING at The Qwillery on my ALLIANCE FORGED blog tour!

July 17 – CONFERENCE TIME: Memorable Moments…with Melissa Smith – members of RWAustralia & New Zealand fill you on what to look forward to at the annual conferences.

July 19 – GUEST BLOGGING at Riverina Romantics on my ALLIANCE FORGED blog tour!

July 10 – Books with BOB – Heart of the Valley by Cathryn Hein
Why the popularity of Rural Romance or ‘Chook Lit’ is growing so fast.
July 13 – Getting to Know Linda Hays-Gibbs
It’s not often I get to meet someone with her feet firmly set in history. I’m thrilled to have Linda Hays-Gibbs at Mission Romance with her latest release MY ANGEL, MY LIGHT AS DARKNESS FALLS.

To celebrate the launch of Romance Writers of the Apocalypse, we’re having a fun~tastic Friday 13th Apocalyptic Party. There will be giveaways and possibly even cookies! Bring your own sexy hunter of choice 🙂


Clint’s Cruisin’ Lane

If you don’t understand the appeal of the Fifty Shades trilogy…Here are some of the most frustrating things about the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon

Joining me today is Australian rural romance author, Jennifer Scoullar. We’re release month buddies with Brumby’s Run hitting the shelve in July. Jenny and I have both been fortunate enough to spend some time at Varuna, The Writers’ House which is a wonderful place to write in the Blue Mountains. If the words won’t flow there then they won’t flow anywhere!

Over the coming weeks I’ll be featuring these as snippets and as you’ll read, you’ll see just how special coming to conference can be.
Thirteen Writing Tips from Chuck Palahniuk
Yes, we are a sporting nation with loads of great race events to keep fans on the edge of their seats. But there is lesser known and solo race that takes place in lounge rooms across Australia each winter.  

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. Rachael Johns
  2. S.E Gilchrist
  3. Tamara Gill
  4. Valerie Parv
  5. We Love YA
  6. Anita Joy


Enrico’s quote of the week

All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt!  ~Charles Schulz

Have a great week!

Regards Juanita

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