Little Gems contest placegetters

Congratulations to our Little Gems prizewinners:

Equal First prize: Courtney Clark Michaels and Imelda Evans

Second prize: Shannon McEwan

Equal Third prize: J. Keneally and Rose Pearse.

In addition, the following authors have been invited to participate in the 2017 Little Gems Onyx anthology:

Heidi Catherine
Kat Colmer
Frances Dall’Alba
Fiona Greene
Jillian Jones
Caitlyn Lynch
Fiona Marsden
Jane Newton
Stella Quinn.

Congratulations to all our entrants – the score required to reach the anthology list was high and as you can see, it was very difficult to separate the stories! Thanks as usual to all our volunteer judges, and the contest manager Lis Hoorweg.

Little Gems 2016

The results are in!  The stories have been entered, judged and ranked.

Congratulations to our Little Gems 2016 placegetters!

1st – Victoria Steele – Treasure and Trust

2nd – Monique Hall – Breaking Free

3rd – Cat Whelan – For Love Of A Pug


In addition to the placegetters, the following top-scoring stories will also be invited to participate in the Little Gems Sunstone anthology for 2016:

Heidi Catherine – The Sunstone Heart

Suzanne Cass – Solar Flare

Melanie Coles – The Heart Of Stone

Fiona Greene – Follow Your Dreams

Emily Hussey – In the Cards

Jillian Jones – An Enticing Proposition

Emmeline Lock – Say The Words

Fiona Marsden – The Sunstone Inheritance

Fiona Marsden – The Sunstone Bride

Michelle Skidmore – Lights Will Guide You Home

Camille Taylor – The Healing Gift


And we have fabulous cover art! The winner of the 2016 Sunstone Cover Art Contest – for a record fifth time – is Sheridan Kent, with this outstanding design:


Little Gems Cover 2016

Remember, this year Little Gems will be going digital, so you’ll be able to admire this lovely work – and read our members’ amazing stories! – on-screen as well as in print.

Congratulations to all who entered both contests. As usual, competition was fierce.

Thanks as always to our volunteer judges, Little Gems manager Lis Hoorweg and the Cover Contest judge, David Whitbread of DW Design.



Little Gems set for 2015

The Little Gems competition for short stories of love has been decided for another year.  This year, we have four official placegetters, and a further 11 stories which ranked highly enough with our judges to make it into the anthology.

First:                    Kat Colmer—For the Love Of Gnomes

Second:               Rowena Candlish—How You Love Me

Equal Third:       Lisa Barry—Peridot Silk

and                       Anne Prince—The Rules Of the Game.


Anthology placegetters (in alphabetical order):

Elizabeth Ellen Carter—The Tin Bear

Heidi Catherine—Peridot Eyes

Kat Colmer—Sweet Bombe Alaska

Stella Frances—Fragments

Nicole Grant—Lost and Found

Fiona Greene—Secrets Of the Past

Harriet Jarvis—The Enemy Next Door

Kerrie Paterson—Lost Love

Anne Prince—The Greening of Love

Ute Rozenbilds—Time Heals

Michelle Skidmore—The Peridot Package


Little Gems Manager, Lis Hoorweg, says:

The standard was very high once again. The 15 successful entries scored above 94%, and all of the 63 entries received scored 70% or above. As usual, the anthology will be available in a lovely print edition by conference time. Thanks to all our judges, and congratulations everyone!


Also decided is the winner of the Little Gems Cover Contest.  This year, the winner is (once again) Sheridan Kent, with this fabulous cover.

Competition was fierce, with 4 covers making a hotly contested short list. Thank you to all entrants for their fabulous artwork, and to our final judging panel, including our expert judge, graphic designer David Whitbread.

LG Peridot Cover 2015FC


Little Gems Cover Winner

We have a winner in the competition to design the cover of the 2014 RWA Little Gems Anthology (which will be available later this year, full of wonderful romantic short stories).

This year’s theme is Moonstone and the designer who was judged to express it best was… drumroll please…

Sheridan Kent!

This is Sheridan’s third win at designing the Little Gems cover and her second in a row.  She also designed the cover for the Garnet edition in 2011 and last year’s Sapphire Little Gems.

Congratulations to Sheridan and thanks for another lovely cover with our first Little Gems kissing couple!

Little Gems Moonstone cover

RWA Contest update

A quick reminder to our published authors and our short-story writers.  Both the Ruby and the Ella are now open for entries and close on the 7th of February.  So don’t delay!  And our Little Gems competition, for short stories, opens in a few days, on the 10th of January, and closes on the 31st.  For further details and entry forms, click on the links to be taken to the RWA website.

Event Announcements

Hello and welcome back! With the excitement of RWA 2013 now a happy memory, it’s time to start planning for next year. A huge congratulations and thank you to the 2013 Conference team, volunteers, sponsors, presenters and delegates who made it possible to ride the waves of romance in the beautiful town of Fremantle. I hope you enjoyed the delights Western Australia has to offer.

RWA Conference 2014

Romance Rocks!

4 days. 30+ workshops. Over 300 writers, editors, agents and publishing industry professionals. One epic conference.  Join us in Sydney with guest speakers; thriller writer and writing craft author, James Scott Bell, along with award-winning, best-selling romantic adventure author, Cherry Adair.

When: August 7-10 2014
Where: Novotel Sydney Olympic Park, Homebush

Keep an eye out for updates on the blog and website for more information.


RWAus contest season is now open and we have a ripping new contest for our unpublished writers. Closing dates for the 2013-14 contest season:

Ripping Start 6 September 2013
Selling Synopsis 22 November 2013
Emerald Award 22 November 2013
Little Gems 31 January 2014
First Kiss 14 February 2014
Valerie Parv Award TBA April 2014


The EllaPrint

RWA is excited to launch a new contest for published novellas. To be known as The Ella, the romantic novella of the year award will be a reader-judged contest, and the winner will be announced at RWA’s national conference in August.

The RUBYPrint

The Romantic Book of the Year Award, affectionately known as The Ruby, is our premier award and the only one of its kind in Australia. Voted on by Australian readers, this contest is open each year to any Australian or New Zealand romance author who has published a long or short romance novel.

Keeping up Appearances

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:

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.

In September, and again in November, CAE is running Beverly Eikli’s Short Course, Write Romance and Sell it:

Do you want to write a romance novel? Do you have a manuscript or two gathering dust? Multi-published and award-winning romance author Beverley Eikli will help you develop that kernel of an idea that sells a romance. Learn practical devices to improve plot, pacing and presentation, as well as how to pitch to traditional publishers, e-publishers, independents and small press. Beverley will also discuss self-publishing, changing markets and what editors are looking for.

When: 10.00am-1.00pm

Cost: 4 sessions Full Fee: $320.00 | Concession: $310.00 Find out more on their website.


Friday 30 August – SYDNEY

Throbbing Hearts Trivia Night – 6.30 to 11.00 pm

Cost: $8.50

To book: website

WORKSHOP EVENT – with Jenn J McLeod & others incl. Kate Cuthbert – Escape Publishing. A one-day symposium focusing on how writers promote themselves and their work in the constantly changing world of publishing.

When: 10am – 4pm

Where: NSW Writers’ Centre

Cost: Full Price: $90; Member (NSW WC): $65; Conc Member: $55

For writers and publishers, the challenge is always how to get a book into the hands of readers. Whether you self-publish or go with a mainstream publisher, whether it’s an ebook, print or both, the challenge of promoting yourself and launching your book into the world remains. Open Access will bring together authors, publishers, a bookseller, digital expert, and industry professionals to talk about how they do this – their hits and their misses.

FMI + Bookings:

Writer’s Classes, Groups and Library Events


Fiction Fundamentals – a one-day writing intensive workshop. Inform. Excite. Ignite. Register for Fiction Fundamentals

Are you committed to writing, but not sure how to get started? You have a story idea, and are overwhelmed by the complexity of the header narrowtask? Or you’ve started, maybe even published, and you want to explore and improve your craft? Perhaps you’re considering the path of self-publishing?

The Write Chicks are multi-published romance fiction authors, Shannon Curtis and Paula Roe. Together, they have over 12 years’ writing experience. They will be joined by Jennifer Brassel, published author and creative writing instructor and for one day these professional authors will share their experience and techniques for writing and publishing in an intensive seminar designed to boost your own skills and knowledge.

Whether you’re looking to learn something new, or wanting to hone your craft, this writing boot camp will deliver value for money. Three authors. Intense, comprehensive sessions. One event.

Special Events

  • Brisbane Writers Festival: 4-8 September 2013

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

Romance Writers of Australia will launch the 2013 Little Gems Sapphire Anthology at the Brisbane Writers Festival. Enjoy readings from this annual publication that celebrates the best romantic short stories.

When: 10-11AM.Print

Date: Sunday, 8 September.

Venue: Red Box, State Library of QLD.

Tickets: Free.

Romance Writers of Australia will present popular romance blogger and critic Sarah Wendell in discussion with New York Times best-selling author, Nalini Singh at the Brisbane Writers Festival.

Time: 1-2pm, Date: Sunday, 8 September.

Venue: Auditorium 1, State Library of QLD.

Tickets: $12-$16.

  • 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

Keep up to date with Random House Australia’s calendar of events including upcoming author appearances, tour dates and special events.

  • 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:

Cruisin’ with RWA

What a week! The Romance Writers of Australia have a great, new-look website and blog, plus an awesome new logo thanks to the hard work of our webmistress. Riding the Waves was a huge success and we celebrated our members’ achievements well into the night at the Gala Awards and After Party. There are posts galore from our members, so be sure to click on the links below and share in the good news and celebrations.


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

Iris’s fourth book, NEW BEGINNINGS released by Astraea Press and set in the beautiful city of Hobart, is now available in on-line stores

Anna’s third and final book in the Wiltshire Girls series, YEW TREE GARDENS, will be available in paperback from the end of August.

DANGEROUS DESIRE, published by Entangled, is now live on all e-tailers.

will indie-publish DEFIANT SURRENDER in September.

BLUSH, Book 2 in her Burlesque Bombshells series, has been released.

RWA Contests

Contest season opens on August 23.

Contests for unpublished writers:

The Emerald Award is our major contest for unpublished writers, and offers a unique opportunity to have your full manuscript judged if you make the second round. Initial entry is 10,000 words of your category or single title manuscript.

The Valerie Parv Award offers the winner a year of mentorship with bestselling Australian romance author Valerie Parv. Enter the first 10,000 words of your category or single title manuscript along with a 1,000 word synopsis.

The Ripping Start is for the first 1,500 words of your romance or romantic elements novel or novella. A great way to hone your hook

The First Kiss gives you the opportunity to showcase that romantic tension. Enter a 1500-word scene involving your protagonists’ first kiss, plus a half-page set-up.

The Selling Synopsis tests your synopsis-writing skills. Enter your category or single title synopsis for the chance to impress an agent or editor.

The Little Gems contest (also open to published authors) is for romantic short stories up to 3000 words, and offers finalists the chance to have their story published in an RWA anthology.

We also run a contest for artwork for the cover of the Little Gems anthology. This is open to members and non-members.

Contests for published authors:

The Romantic Book of the Year (R*BY) is our contest for published novels by Australian or New Zealand authors. It includes sections for Short Sweet Romance, Short Sexy Romance, Long Romance and Romantic Elements novels.
Entries for the 2013 R*BY (for novels published in 2012) open in December 2012.

The Ella is our contest for published novellas.

Our Little Gems short story contest is also open to published authors.

Looking for more contests?

In Australia, each state has a Writers’ Centre. Membership of the centre will give you access to the list of many competitions being held right across Australia in various forms of writing.

Romance Writers of America contests are summarised at Stephie Smith’s web page. Check the individual RWA chapter websites for full details.

Romance Writers of New Zealand contests can be found at their website.


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:

  • RWA Blog

August 18 – RWA Award Winners Announced

August 25 – Event Announcements

August 27 – Author Spotlight on Anna Campbell

Sarah Belle is looking for RWA members to spend a moment in the Author Spotlight with her. Email to register your interest and answer a few questions.

August 29 – Cruisin’ with RWA

10 things I learned at the Romance Writers Conference

Anita shared this link to Inky Girl’s blog where a man proposed to his girlfriend with a self-published book he left for her to find in the library.

Feeling the cold? Then you need soupadouping up! Come and get cosy on Friday Feast this week with Australian author Leisl Leighton. With a delicious soup recipe on offer and Leisl’s spine-tingling debut romantic suspense KILLING ME SOFTLY, you’ll be fighting off those winter blues in no time. Plus tell us which soup warms the cockles of your heart and you’ll go into the draw to win a Kindle ebook copy of KILLING ME SOFTLY. Souper indeed!

Meeting, Greeting and Me (2013 RWAus Conference)

Recommends writing courses to gain valuable feedback

Win a copy of Cassandra’s book TEACH ME

RWAus13 Conference Overview

(SPOILER ALERT NZ!) Offspring’s Patrick is dead! (And oh, wasn’t there a social media meltdown when they killed him off?) The good news is … Author Harvest lives on – back due to popular demand – and has been revamped as Bar Yarns & Beer Nuts. Jenn is putting together a great author line up.

August 23 – RWNew Zealand: Heading to Wellington to celebrate New Zealand romance!

August 24 – CONFERENCE TIME: Memorable Moments with Sasha Cottman – an idea of what you can expect at conference!

August 27 – NEW AUTHOR SERIES: Adina West – our RWA/NZ newly published authors from Destiny, Escape & Momentum!

August 31– CAT-URDAY! – Friends

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:Enrico

  1. Anne Whitfield
  2. Christine Wells
  3. Hot Authors
  4. Janet Elizabeth Henderson
  5. Kylie Scott
  6. Louise Cusack


Have a great week from the Cruisin’ Chauffeurs.

A New Batch of Little Gems

The results are in for the RWA Little Gems contest, the competition to earn a place in our annual short story anthology.

Once again the Little Gems was a hard fought contest with entries requiring a score of at least 92.7% to gain a place in the Anthology. This year we were able to take 15 stories from the 69 entries with a good mix of historical, contemporary and paranormal. Something for everyone. Congratulations to:

First: Jean Versace

Second: Emmeline Lock

Third: Patsy Poppenbeek

And our other successful contributors:

Cheryl Baker
Gabrielle Battistel
Harriet Jarvis
Delwyn Jenkins
Cathryn Jones
C.A. Main
Dorothy Martin
Jennifer Rae
Ute Rozenbilds
Shayne Sands
Jacquie Underdown
Vanda Vadas

Thanks, as always to Lis Hoorweg, our volunteer judges and everyone who makes our contests possible.

Little Gems Cover Unveiled!

Little Gems Sapphire Cover

Allow me to present the winner of the 2013 Little Gems Cover Contest!

This gorgeous design is by the talented Sheridan Kent, who was also the winning designer for the Little Gems cover in 2011.

Congratulations Sheridan and, as always, thanks to all the volunteers who make our competitions possible.

The Little Gems cover competition is one of the few competitions in the RWA calendar that is open to non-members.  It runs every year in late January/early February, there is no fee to enter, you can enter as many times as you want and the winner receives a monetary prize as well as acknowledgement in the anthology and some free copies.  If you know any up-and-coming designers who like a romantic challenge, make sure you let them know about the Little Gems competition when it comes around again!

Little Gems 2012 Author – Juanita Kees

Many of you will know Juanita’s name from her various blog posts as member of the RWA Online Team. She can now add author in the 2012 Diamond Edition of Little Gems.

Her short story: Rough Diamond

What challenges you most in writing a short romance story? Do you have any tip/s for writing a short story.

Rough Diamond is the first short story I’ve written. That in itself was a challenge. How would I pack all that emotion, attraction and crux of the story into 3000 words or less? Tips: Write as much as you like, trim it back to the essentials and give it your best shot!

Do you have a favourite line/short piece from your short?

She smiled. “Long story. May I?”

He shrugged and dropped it in her upturned palm. “Sure. For the record and in case you want to sue if the curse rubs off, I’m Rough Diamond.”

Kimberley shot him a disbelieving look. “Really? Is that the best you’ve got?” She turned the ring towards the sun and admired the rainbows of light it cast between them. “I’ll never convince the court to take the case seriously with a name like that.” Her smile softened the words as she ran a finger along the filigree setting around the diamond.

What was your inspiration for the story?

My engagement ring.

What are you working on now? and/or What are your writing goals for the future?

I’ve just had my debut contemporary FLY AWAY PETA accepted for publishing by Eternal Press and am waiting on my first round of edits. The release date is August which coincides nicely with my first RWA conference. In the meanwhile I’m working on the sequel DARKNESS & LIGHT which is still in the early stages. I have two others in the plotting stage and TAMING THE TIGER, my 2011 HMB New Voices entry is a work in progress.

How can people find out more about you/your writing? Do you have a website or blog?

I’d love to chat to readers at my author site and my blog site I’m also on Twitter and Facebook.

Will we be able to catch up with you in person at the RWA National Conference in August?

Yes 🙂

Anthology Orders Now Open

Would you like to order the anthology for yourself, as a special gift or a Christmas (yes I said Christmas) stocking filler?

Orders are now open and we are taking pre-release orders until the end of June, so plenty of time. Use the order form on our RWA website.

NOTE: Pre-release ordering means you are ordering and paying but the anthology will not be available until August (launched at the national conference).
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