Awards Night Results 2016

Once again, our conference organisers hosted a wonderful conference dinner and glorious award presentation.

Thank you to our conference committee for organising and managing such a great event.  We must also thank our lovely president, Leisl Leighton, who MC’d the evening for us.

We started by congratulating the winners of the Cover Contest, the Ripping Start, Selling Synopsis, First Kiss, Little Gems and Little Gems Cover Awards, all of which were decided and announced during the year.  (If you would like to revisit the winners and finalists, there are links at the end of this post.)  Thank you to Michael Hauge, Erica Hayes, Joanne Grant, Pauline Johnston, Sarah E Younger, Tricia Sargant and Lis Hoorweg for presenting those awards.

Then we moved onto the awards that are saved for the big reveal at the conference, which this year included the ROMA, The Valerie Parv Award, The Emerald, The Emerald Pro, The Ruby (in all its various categories), the Lynne Wilding Meritorious Service Award and a Life Member Award. We also announced the covers from our members’ books that we voted as our favourites in several categories.  Thank you to Leisl Leighton, Valerie Parv, Jo McAllister, Esi Sogah, Erica Hayes, Kerri Lane, Michael Hauge, Annie Lynch, Nikoo McGoldrick, Jim McGoldrick, Amy Andrews and Anita Joy for presenting these awards.  Thanks too, to Anne Gracie for the famous and much-loved ‘stand ups’!

I must also take this opportunity to thank Erica Hayes and all the volunteer members of the contest team of RWA, without whom, our contest season could not happen.

And now, for the results, drumroll please…

The Cover Contest competition, judged by our members.  As authors, we often have very little control over our covers, so we are always grateful when the cover fairies (otherwise known as the artists and publishers who create the art) bless us.  This year, our most blessed books, as judged by our members, were: (if you’d like to see the covers in question, you can find them here.

Favourite Contemporary Romance Cover:

Operation White Christmas – Nicki Edwards – Pan MacMillan

Favourite Erotic/Sexy Romance Cover:

The Veiled Heart – Elsa Holland – Self Published: Artist, Hang Le

Favourite Historical Romance Cover:

The King’s Man – Alison Stuart – Escape Publishing

Favourite NA/YA Romance Cover:

The Finn Factor – Rachel Bailey – Entangled Embrace

Favourite Paranormal Romance Cover:

The Shattered Court – M J Scott – Penguin/ROC

Favourite Romantic Elements Cover:

Pretty Famous – Carla Caruso – Harper Impulse

Favourite Romantic Suspense Cover:

Storm Clouds – Bronwyn Parry – Hachette Australia

Favourite Rural Romance Cover:

Summer and the Groomsman – Cathryn Hein – Self-published. Artist Kellie Dennis, Book Cover by Design.

Congratulations to all these members for having great luck with the cover fairies and to the publishers who commissioned and artists who created these gorgeous covers.


The Roma Award for Media

The finalists for the ROMA Award 2016 were:

Danielle Binks; 

It takes a village to write a romance: the surprising rise of collaborative fiction.”


By any other name: the secret lives of romance authors.

 The Wheeler Centre

“The F word: A live podcast, featuring Kate Bell, Kat Mayo and Beth Driscoll”

The ROMA is an award to recognise professional, positive media coverage of the romance industry. It was launched by Romance Writers of Australia (Inc) (RWA) to help recognise and acknowledge those members of the media who reach beyond the cliché in their reporting on romance writers, releases or industry. In determining the winner, the award selection panel look at the angle of the article, the quality of research, the representation of romance and the ‘reach’ of the piece.  Any RWA member can nominate a media piece that they feel stands out as particularly worthy.

And the ROMA was awarded to:

Danielle Binks, for BOTH her pieces – they tied!



The Valerie Parv Award (VPA) 

Highly Commended:

Bloodlines – Jess Langhorne

By Love Undone – Samara Kelly

His Bargained-for Bride – Jodie Morphett

3rd Place: Starborn – Samantha Wicks

2nd Place: Demon Curse – Raewyn Bright

And the winner and the new minion is…

1st Place, VPA – Fighting Spirit – Chris Weston



The Emerald Award

3rd Place: The Shooting Star – Frances Dall’Alba

2nd Place: Alpine Kisses – Laura Boon

1st Place: Island Redemption – Suzanne Cass



Emerald Pro

1st Place: A Suitcase, a Smile and a Lie – Katy Scott



The Lyn Wilding Meritorious Service Award.

The LWA is named in honour of RWA’s first president, Lyn Wilding, and honours our wonderful volunteers.  In this sense, it is not won, but awarded, as all our volunteers and all the nominees are winners in our eyes.  This year, those nominated included Linda Brown, Daniel DeLorne, Imelda Evans, Erica Hayes, Delwyn Jenkins, Jillian Jones and Vicki Vuat.  We would like to thank all of them for their service, and the members who took to the trouble to nominate them.  We appreciate all your efforts.  But the award can only go to one and this year the recipient is:

Daniel DeLorne



New Life Member

In honour of her long history of sharing her expertise and experience with RWA, we are delighted to announce our newest Life Member:

Valerie Parv



Ruby Award for Romantic Book of the Year

Ruby Novella Finalists:

Misletoe Maverick – Shannon Curtis – self-published

Silk and Scars – Cassandra Dean – Decadent Publishing

What a Bachelor Needs – Kelly Hunter – Tule Publishing

Pursued by a Rogue – Kelly Hunter – Tule Publishing

And the Ruby goes to:

What a Bachelor Needs – Kelly Hunter – Tule Publishing



Ruby Short Sweet Finalists:

The Secret Son (Retitled as The Montana Son) – Joan Kilby – Tule Publishing

You for Christmas – Madeline Ash – Tule Publishing

Still Married to her Ex – Lucy Clark – HM&B Medical

Home to Bindara Creek – Juanita Kees – Self Published

Reach for the Stars – Kerrie Patterson – Self Published

And the Ruby goes to:

The Secret Son (Retitled as The Montana Son) – Joan Kilby – Tule Publishing



Ruby Short Sexy finalists:

Tribal Law – Shannon Curtis – Australian Romance Readers Association

The Wedding Bargain – Yvonne Lindsay – Harlequin Desire

Pretend It’s Love – Stephanie London – Entangled Lovestruck

Never Surrender – Rosie Miles – Entangled Ignite

Seducing His Enemy’s Daughter – Annie West – HM&B Sexy

And the Ruby goes to:

Never Surrender – Rosie Miles – Entangled Ignite



Ruby Long Romance finalists:

Rise – Karina Bliss – Self Published

The Spring Bride – Anne Gracie – Berkley/Penguin Random House

Kakadu Sunset – Annie Seaton – Pan MacMillan Australia

Lethal in Love – Michelle Somers – Random House Australia

And the Ruby goes to:

Lethal in Love – Michelle Somers – Random House Australia



Ruby Romantic Elements finalists:

A Dangerous Arrangement – Lee Christine – Escape Publishing

The Patterson Girls – Rachel Johns – Harlequin MIRA

Pay the Piper – Mary Brock Jones – Self Published

Between the Vines – Tricia Stringer – Harlequin MIRA

And the Ruby goes to:

The Patterson Girls – Rachel Johns – Harlequin MIRA



Finally, here are the links for the previously announced competitions:

Ripping Start Results 2016

Selling Synopsis Results 2016

First Kiss Results 2016

Little Gems and Little Gems Cover Results 2016


And then we all boogied our celebrations at the Escape after-party till they kicked us out!

Congratulations to all the winners and recipients and to all those admiring them from afar, make sure you enter next year.  You have to be in it to win it!



Author Spotlight and Giveaway: RUBY finalist and Lynn Wilding award nominee, Juanita Kees…

Today we welcome to the Author Spotlight our very own RWA blog supremo, Juanita Kees.  Welcome, Juanita, and congratulations on the release of ‘Under Cover of Dark ’!  Could you give us the blurb, please?

New Australian romantic suspense follows Under the Hood, about a Western Australian drug gang, the teenagers they recruit, and the cop who wants to bring them down.

When Mark Johnson delves deeper into his investigation into the murder of Tiny Watts and the involvement of a teenage gang with sleazy lawyer, Gino Bennetti, and his drug world ties, the last thing he expects is to be interviewing Gino’s widow, a woman in a world of trouble.

When her husband is shot and killed, it is both a relief and a disaster. Lily has her son to protect and secrets that run deeper than the scars she bears. Mark Johnson is the last person she wants uncovering those secrets, especially the truth about her son, Luke’s involvement in Tiny Watts’ murder.

As the investigation continues and Lily’s wounds begin to heal, she finds the detective easy to trust and the friendship between them blossoms into more. But the secret Lily holds places everyone in very real danger. When it is finally revealed, Lily will lose everything: her son, the man she’s grown to love, her freedom, and her life.


Also, congratulations on being a RUBY finalist for ‘Under the Hood’. How did it feel to see your name in the finals?

Surreal! There are so many wonderful names up there amongst the finalists. I am both honoured and in awe. I’d hate to be one of the judges with all that talent to choose from. I’m thrilled to make it to the finals with this baby. I had so much fun writing it. Thank you to the judges who read and enjoyed it enough to get it nominated for this fabulous award.

You are one busy, busy lady! Between being a freelance editor, writer and senior editor on the RWA Blog, mum to three boys and wife, how on earth do you manage your time?

Don’t forget the dog!  Plus I work three days a week as an administrator at a Holden Dealership. Seriously? I don’t know. It takes a lot of juggling some days. Perhaps because I love what I do with such passion, I don’t see it as a chore. I do know that there are days when I could use an extra twenty four hours!

‘Under Cover of Dark’ is a romantic suspense. What are the elements of a compelling romantic suspense?

A fast pace, tension, high drama and the odd plot twist surprise to keep the reader engaged in the story, always wanting to know what will happen next. I like to take my readers on an emotional journey as well as an adventure. When they put the book down, I want them to be exhausted, emotionally drained and in love. If the reader feels as if they’ve been a part of the characters’ journey, the author’s job is done.

How do protagonists and heroes in romance differ from those in romantic suspense?

Romantic suspense characters have an edge. They are mysterious, brave yet protective, a little dangerous and love taking risks. While romance heroes wine and dine their heroines in comfort and style, romantic suspense heroes are out there in the wild world saving their heroines in the face of danger. I’d happily settle for both!

Is there any other genre you could see yourself writing in the future?

I’m dabbling in a little Fantasy at the moment with my next series set on Paradise Beach.

When you’re not editing, writing, RWA-ing, what do you do in your spare time?

Spare time??  I potter around my garden, restore garden furniture, read and enjoy the odd motorbike ride to wherever the road takes us.


As a professional editor, do you find that in your own work you edit as you go? What is the main challenge in being both an editor and an author?

The hardest thing is shutting down the editor in me when I write, so yes, I edit as I go. It takes forever! One of my critique partners once said, “You write a very clean dirty draft.” The downside of that is my stories don’t get written very fast!

What would we find on your bookshelf/ereader?

A LOT of romance in any genre, my Tony Park and Matthew Reilly collections, and the odd biography.

You’ve written about subjects as diverse as a motor dealership, gangs and drugs, and kidnapping. How do you go about researching these topics for authenticity?

I’ve worked in the motor industry forever and am a car fanatic. My father was a mechanic by trade, my mother hails from generations of General Motors employees and I married an auto electrician. I have oil in my veins and loads of material to work with!

In Under Cover of Dark, I was lucky enough to have the help of a prison officer who I probed mercilessly with questions. Understandably, there were some questions he couldn’t answer but I was blown away by his absolute commitment to juvenile offender rehabilitation, despite the possibility they’d re-offend.

I watched a lot of reality programs on gangs in prisons and studied their habits and methods of communication. It’s fascinating to see how many ways a coded message can be delivered.


Can you tell us a little about your current work in progress?

I’m working on the next book in the Tag Raiders Series, Under his Protection, which features the youngest member of the gang, Connor, his mum Mia, and Ethan Wright who is a counsellor at the Tiny Watts Rehabilitation Centre opened by TJ and Scott Devin (Under the Hood).

Thanks for coming on today, Juanita. Could you give us a sneaky peek at one of your favourite parts of ‘Under Cover of Dark’, please?


He stood almost toe to toe with her now. She felt the warmth of his body, the temptation to sink into the comfort it provided. Her body swayed towards him with the strength of the pull. Strong, warm fingers tipped up her chin gently. Dark grey eyes searched hers for the truth and promised a safe haven from harm.

‘My offer of witness protection is still on the table. Take it and let’s end this nightmare of yours.’

Lily hesitated a moment longer, torn between telling the truth and protecting her son who had suffered so much at the hands of these criminals already. She’d borne this burden alone for too long. The strength to fight against it waned as the ache of her strained muscles surfaced.

‘Yes, he has a diary.’

With a sigh, Mark pulled her into his arms and held her against the beat of his heart. Lily listened to the comforting tattoo for a moment, savoured the warmth of his arms and allowed herself to believe he meant what he said.

juanita (2)


Web links






Buy link

Juanita is kindly gifting one  eCopy of ‘Under Cover of Dark’ to one lucky reader. To enter all you have to do is leave a comment for Juanita below. The winner will be contacted via email, so please make sure that we can reach you!

And finally, on behalf of all RWA members, thank you Juanita for all that you do for this wonderful organisation. We wish you the best of luck with the RUBY and the Lynn Wilding award!

*Ed’s Note: Thank you for having me! I cannot tell you how much it means to me to be part of such a wonderful family here at RWA. Each conference is like coming home, a family reunion that inspires, encourages and motivates. Volunteering is a way to give back to the members what they give me – love, support, creative advice and a place where I feel I belong. Here’s to many more years of success and growth for all! You rock!

To my fellow nominees in the Lynne Wilding and RUBY, wishing you all a hearty congratulations and good luck for Awards night. I’m already a winner to be in such talented company. Thank you.  







What is the Lynne Wilding Meritorious Service award?

For our newer members, Lynne Wilding was RWA’s inaugural (and longest-serving) president two decades ago and we remember and honour her by awarding a meritorious service prize in her memory.

RWA wakes and sleeps on the efforts of its volunteers: some have carried out their role for years; some have just taken on a role for the first time and are working like Trojans; others swap roles regularly to get a strong understanding of how RWA runs; and some give as much time to the running of RWA as they do to their own writing and families.

An award for volunteers in an organisation that could not run without them must surely be our most important. Yet, every year the contributions of some fantastic individuals go unnoticed, perhaps because everyone thinks that someone else will nominate them.

The Lynne Wilding Meritorious Service Award is a member-nominated award. 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. Nominations are confidential so you don’t need to worry about whether they’ll growl at you for singling them out for attention. They absolutely deserve their moment in the spotlight!!

By now, you are no doubt thinking, ‘I know someone who gives generously of their time. How do I nominate them for a LWA?’

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.


September Hearts Talk Wrap Up

The latest edition of Hearts Talk is out now.

Our monthly member-only magazine has the latest news and information for writers.

Here is a little peek….

Conference Wrap Up

From Here to Eternity – The Best 20 years

The 20th annual RWA conference was held at Hilton on the Park in Melbourne from Thursday 11th August through to Sunday 14th August, and was a resounding success. Various RWA members and regular HeartsTalk contributors took photos flamboyantly, eavesdropped unabashedly, interviewed brazenly and reported back with candour and panache…

The 2011 conference kicked off on Thursday with the A-Day for published authors, “Staying published in a changing world”. Thursday afternoon saw the first of the bonus workshops, an innovative new addition to the conference program: “Taking the terror out of pitching” with Jaye Ford & Christine Stinson, and “Panic-free pitching” with Anna Sugden.

The Friday workshop this year was Bob Mayer’s “Write it Forward” (formerly known as “Warrior Writer”) followed by more bonus workshops, “An agent reads the slush-pile” with Kristin Nelson, & ‘Now we’re talking” chats with a stellar line-up of authors.

The Friday night cocktail party, sponsored by Harlequin, was themed “Roaring Twenties” and was a spectacular icebreaker.

Saturday and Sunday Conference featured a jam-packed program of workshops, panels and sufficient breaks to grab a coffee and get networking…

Behind the Scenes with Cath Evans (& conference team)

Bronwyn Jameson and Louise Reynolds were appointed in March 2010 and began conference preparations – 18 months before the conference! First job was choosing a venue. Through a series of proposals, quotes and visits, a long-list of nine hotels was whittled to four, then three, before Hilton on the Park was contracted. Then to find Speakers. They drew up a (long) wish-list and 18 invitations were sent to build their “dream-team”. And what a dream team!

For 18 months, Bron and Lou lived and breathed the conference – some days more than others. It was a pleasure to work with such professional people. They had a vision and everything was linked to this vision.

A-Day in Brief

Some points from Stephanie Laurens, Marion Lennox, Susan Wiggs, Bob Mayer, Kelly Armstrong

Friday Workshop with Bob Mayer

“Most bad writing is based on fear” ~Stephen King

This quote from one of the most famous writers on the planet appeared early in Bob Mayer’s Friday workshop, Write it Forward (formerly known as Warrior Writer), and it was a theme Bob returned to often.

Conference Newbies

Bec Sampson talked to first time conference goers Carla Caruso, Raewyn Bright, Rowena Holloway and Heather Davis about their experience.

Tweet About it

#RWAus11 was this year’s hashtag for twitter, and the tweets were flying. As of 19 August, 2739 tweets had been sent using the hashtag. Top tweeters (apart from the official RWA accounts) were @ReadNikkiLogan, @RachaelJohns, @sarazon, @HeleneYoung, @Bookthingo, @kikilon, @NicolaMarsh and @KeziahHill. The second top hashtag was #Mayer.

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

Award Dinner Winners

R*BY Winners

  • Winner of the RBY – Short Sexy
  • Lindsay Armstrong for The Socialite and the Cattle King
  • Winner of the RBY – Short Sweet
  • Melanie Milburne for The Doctor’s Rebel Knight
  • Winner of the RBY – Long Romance
  • Sophia James for One Unashamed Night
  • Winner of the RBY – Romantic Elements
  • Helene Young for Wings of Fear (formerly Border Watch)

For lists of the following awards, see Hearts Talk.

The Emerald Category, The Emerald Single Title, Valerie Parv Award, First Kiss, STALI, High Five, Little Gems, Selling Synopsis

Lynne Wilding Award
Louise Reynolds

20 Years of Covers contests

  • Category – Bronwyn Jameson
  • Contemporary – Christine Stinson
  • Paranormal – Ebony McKenna
  • Historical – (tie) – Christina Phillips & Tamara Gill
  • Most Popular Overall: Ondine by Ebony McKenna

ROMA Award

Winner: ABC South Australia – Simon Royal reporter

The Changing Face of Romance – August 28th 2010


A Special Award for 20 years of support to romance and romance authors was awarded to Julie Redlich, former Fiction Editor of Woman’s Day.

A 20th Anniversary Appreciation Award was presented to Harlequin.

Honorary Life Membership was awarded to Anne Gracie.

From the Coordinators

Our 20th Anniversary Conference is over and, according to the feedback survey and the many emails from happy delegates, it appears to have been a success. For this we must offer effusive thanks and praise for our fabulous conference team, the larger team of volunteers who pitched in to help when conference week looked overwhelming, the session moderators and MCs, our brilliant presenters, and the sponsors whose contribution allowed us to create many memorable additions.

Thank you to everyone who made “From Here to Eternity” a conference to remember.

The final numbers: A total of 360 writers and industry professionals attended this year’s conference. An additional 54 partners, friends and readers attended the evening events. ADay attracted 71 authors. 176 writers attended Bob Mayer’s Friday workshop and a record 266 at the Awards Dinner.

RWA Noticeboard

Hearts Talk Editor – Job Vacancy

We’re looking for a new editor for our monthly newsletter. If you’re organised, have an eye for detail, can manage a team and have a desire to  lead Hearts Talk forward, then we want to hear from you!

Group Grants Scheme

Congratulations to Writers not Waiters and the Marlborough Romance Writers Group on the success of their grant applications.

Little Gems 2011 Garnet Anthology: Second Print Run

Due to overwhelming demand we have done a second printing of the Little Gems 2011 Garnet Anthology. Don’t miss out on your copy. Go to the Little Gems page on the RWA website for the order form and payment details.

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

Slam-Dunk that Synopsis by Erica Hayes 

What’s a synopsis, and why do I need one?

A synopsis is a short written summary of your story, and its sole purpose is to convince an editor to buy (or an agent to represent) your work, or at least to request the full manuscript. They can gauge the saleability of your writing from a partial – but they need a full synopsis to gauge the saleability of your story. And make no mistake – it’s saleability, not necessarily quality or talent, that will get you that elusive contract.

So it’s not the same as a pitch or a query letter, then?

No. That’s more like a back cover blurb: a short teaser to hook the reader. The synopsis must contain your full plot, including the ending. The editor wants to know how the romance resolves.

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

Of course don’t forget our regular columns

  • From the Prez with Alison Ahearn. >Alison says bye as president
  • Events with Doreen Sullivan
  • Contest Page with Lis Hoorweg> Info on the The High Five, The Selling Synopsis, and The Single (Title) & Loving it contests. 2010 Valerie Parv Award Report by Erica Hayes
  • Market Watch with Sami Lee
  • Ask Auntie Fi with Fiona Lowe

Dear Auntie Fi, During one of the conference sessions an editor said any of us at the conference workshop could submit to her. Does she really mean this and if yes, how do I know my stuff would be suitable? And how should I send it? ~ Confused from Kew.

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


Not a member? Please view our sample issue from January 2011.

To receive our wonderful monthly newsletter, we invite you to Join RWA for all the details.

August Hearts Talk Wrap Up

The latest edition of Hearts Talk is out now.

Our monthly member-only magazine has the latest news and information for writers.

Here is a little peek….

Characterisation with Nicole Murphy

One of the most important – and fun – tasks of the writer is creating characters that jump off the page. Heroes to fall in love with. Heroines to root for. Villains to boo and hiss.

This is particularly important to us writing romance. In her fabulous book ‘The Art of Romance Writing’, Valerie Parv says ‘with a romance novel, so much of the plot is predetermined that you have more of a chance of writing an original story if you start with your characters.’

Understanding the internal motivations of your character, as well as their background, education and occupation, not only helps you provide the reader with a well-rounded person to read but also gives you the writer most of the information you need in terms of plotting.

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

#YA Saves: The Twitter Debate

Every so often, some misinformed ‘expert’ disses a popular genre in an up-market journal that considers itself superior to commercial fiction. The romance genre is regularly criticised both online and in print, and even on television, as journalists reinforce the stereotypes that have been created to dismiss the books and stories loved by women worldwide.

But when Meghan Cox Gurdon accused young adult literature of being too dark in an article published in the Wall Street Journal on June 4, young adult authors and readers banded together on Twitter using the hashtag #YASaves to refute her argument. YA author Maureen Johnson created the hashtag and within thirty minutes it was the third top trending topic worldwide: authors and readers worldwide were tweeting about how YA ‘saved’ them. In 140 characters or less they told how reading a young adult book had changed their life. By that evening, 15,000 tweets had been sent using the hashtag.

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

Recognising Your Volunteers: Lynne Wilding Award Nominees 2011

As I list the names of the nominees of the Lynne Wilding Meritorious Award for 2011, I’m envisioning a giant Mexican Wave rippling through the suburbs, towns and states of this country. And as my own arms soar high, I hope you’ll join in to pay tribute to these amazing women who have given of their time, energy and expertise to our association so that it may continue to grow, flourish and remain relevant.

However, before I actually list these names, please allow me the self-indulgence of reminiscence. We are about to turn 20; I remember rocking this baby association in my arms, and like any good godmother bestowing blessings on it for a long and productive life. I’d love to think it was my blessings that had the power to propel us forward those twenty years, but the truth is, this association would not have survived even one year – let alone twenty – if not for the volunteers who tirelessly give of their time.

This year, the membership nominated six such women. In alphabetical order they are:

Keri Arthur, Deb Bennetto, Diane Curran, Sandie Hudson, Louise Reynolds and Kylie Short.

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

One Year On: 2010 5DI with Jo McAlister

Last July, 24 romance writers gathered at the Mt Gravatt campus of Griffith University in Brisbane, ready to begin the Romance Writers of Australia’s inaugural 5 Day Intensive workshop. We were curious. A little nervous. Very excited. And over the course of five days we took those manuscripts and slashed/ revised/ tore them to pieces.

Was it hard? Oh yes. Emotional? You better believe it. Valuable? I’ll let some of the participants who attended the workshop tell it in their own words…

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

From Here to Eternity Conference Update

Registrations for the 20th anniversary conference closed in mid-July at an unprecedented 350. With little more than a week to go, we bring you these final tips.

For the full conference update, go to our website. For members only.

For news and updates, follow us on Twitter: and the RWA group page on Facebook.

Twitter: if you’re not attending, you can follow the action by searching the hashtag #RWAus11

RWA Noticeboard

Have you logged in lately?

Our new membership database is up and running and attached to the Romance Writers of Australia website. The new system puts you in control: you can change your password, view the expiry date of your membership, update your contact details and change whether you receive Hearts Talk by mail or email.

You are invited to enjoy a new experience – Romance Writers of Australia Forum

RWA is continually improving and updating our members’ online experience, and now we’re pleased to bring you our latest innovation: the RWA forum. Over the past month we’ve had rigorous trialing and testing of our new online forum by selected groups in preparation for our launch. So, come on over now and join in the fun!

What can a forum offer you? You will have the freedom to select which topics interest you most, and you will be able to promote your blog, your blog tour and your reviews in the Promo & Social section. Chat to other members about the genre you write and get the latest news.

ROMA Award Short List 2010-2011

 The Winner of the ROMA will be announced at the Awards Dinner at the Conference in Melbourne.

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

Life on the flip-side with Kylie Griffin

With conference fast approaching, part of the fun of attending one is meeting the authors and listening to their stories of ‘life after getting the CALL’. I took it all in with keen anticipation, dreaming of the day I walked in their shoes, but it wasn’t until I stepped over the threshold that I really understood what they were talking about.

Simple fact is getting the call really does change your life in many, many ways. Some good, some unexpected.

What initially caught me by surprise after getting that email was the speed with which everything happened. I had a week to accept the offer. Having done the research yonks ago I was already in the process of submitting queries, so contacting my top list of I’d-kill-to-berepresented- by-these-agents was a matter of whipping off a few emails alerting them to the book deal on offer.

I can’t stress enough if you’re submitting work to editors, and intend being represented by an agent then make the time to find out about whom you’d like to represent you. Leaving it to the last minute is stress you don’t need.

Why? Well, that seven days will be manic (particularly if you’re working across time zones). Let me repeat that.


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

Of course don’t forget our regular columns:

  • From the Prez with Alison Ahearn
  • Events Calendar with Doreen Sullivan
  • Contest Page with Elisabeth Rose > Contest Wrap of 2011; Contest Formatting
  • Market Watch with Sami Lee
  • The Last Word with Jo McAlister
  • The Writer’s Life  > This month with Kylie Griffin (see above)
  • Ask Auntie Fi with Fiona Lowe

Dear Auntie Fi, My friend has been my crit partner for just over 6 months and although I spend hours reading her work and writing up careful critiques she never seems to get around to reading my chapters. Even if I remind her to do it, any feedback she gives me is really vague and dismissive. But we’re friends and I don’t know how to tell her it isn’t working for me. I’d be so grateful for any advice you could offer.Anonymous

Dear Auntie Fi, Do you think I should read other romance books while I’m writing? ~Book addict from Balnaring

Hi there, wise Auntie! My query concerns use of material from the internet. In my current story, I want to quote a poem I found anonymously posted on a blog spot. Can I legally do that? ~ Tentative in Toowoomba XXX

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Lynne Wilding Award 2011 nominees

As chair of the LWA committee, posting the names of the nominees is indeed one of my most pleasurable tasks, and it’s that time again.

Each year, our little committee has to choose a recipient from those nominated by the membership. This year those members are – in alphabetical order:

Keri Arthur

Deb Bennetto

Diane Curran

Sandie Hudson

Louise Reynolds

Kylie Short

Congratulations to each of you! It’s a huge honour to be nominated by your fellow members as someone who deserves to be specially recognised for all you give to the organisation.

As always, each of you is so very, very worthy and as always – this is one of the most difficult decisions! In a perfect world, each one of you would be the ultimate recipient. But that doesn’t detract from what you do – and so on behalf of the membership and of Lynne for whom the award is named – we thank you for continuing to keep our association healthy, flourishing and relevant.

Hugs and cheers to each of you!
Kerri Lane – and Alison Brideson, Malvina Yock and Meredith Webber – the anguished LWA committee.

August Hearts Talk

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


Mel Teshco chats to Kelley Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong has been telling stories since before she could write. Her earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, hers would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to her teachers’ dismay. All efforts to make her produce “normal” stories failed. Today, she continues to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves, while safely locked away in her basement writing dungeon. She’s the author of the “Women of the Otherworld” paranormal suspense series, “Darkest Powers” young adult urban fantasy trilogy, and Nadia Stafford crime series. She lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids and far too many pets.

Welcome Kelley. The third book in your young adult series, The Reckoning was released in April. Can you tell us a little about this book and how the Darkest Powers series came about?

In this final book of the Darkest Powers trilogy, Chloe must learn to control and use her powers to save herself and her friends from a lifetime in a laboratory. As for the series idea, it was inspired by my second adult novel, Stolen. It gave me an idea for a plotline about supernaturals just coming into their powers. In my world, though, that happens at puberty, so it wouldn’t work for an adult series. That idea was in the back of my mind as I began getting email from readers I considered a little too young to be reading my other books! After toying with the idea for a couple of years, I finally decided to try writing the book during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo.)

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


RWA is proud to announce the Lynne Wilding Meritorious Service Award 2010 Nominees

Lis Hoorweg

Sandie Hudson

Helen Katsinis

Anita Mack

Serena Tatti

Also, Alison Ahearn, Rachel Robinson and Rowena Lindquist were nominated but withdrew.

ROMA Award 2010 Nominees

The finalists (in alphabetical order) are:

Thrills and boom in writing racy reads, Deborah Bogle, The Daily Telegraph

Feminists read between loins, Kate Emery, The West Australian

My Secret Art Life: Romance Writer, Robert Hayward, Art Nation, ABC Arts & Entertainment

Rewriting Mills & boom, Sarina Talip, The Canberra Times

 Romance a career for local author, Adelaide Hills Weekender

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

Hints on How to Describe a Character without Describing Them by Melanie Milburne

I was in Melbourne recently and while I was walking down the street I saw a gorgeous-looking tall man walk past. I mentally took note: He was six foot three with black hair and brown eyes. But if I were to describe him in one of my books as a hero I would rather do something a little more creative so the readers can picture him for themselves. The whole point of reading is to activate your imagination and a good writer will trigger that for you by introducing characters in ways that make you conjure them up in your head. It’s easy to say someone is tall and rattle off the centimetres or inches, but how about applying that good old golden rule of writing of showing rather than telling?

For example: He stepped closer, his tall frame shrinking the space like an adult stepping into a child’s cubby house.

You don’t need to know exactly how tall he is, but you’re getting the feeling he’s not Tom Cruise, right?

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

Subgenre Focus:  Silhouette Special Edition or “Come on in, the water’s fine!” with Lilian Darcy

Unless there’s someone I’m missing (if so, please speak up!) seems like I’m the only Silhouette Special Edition author in the country right now. It’s a great line to write for, and maybe after you’ve read this article, you’ll be inspired to try. As in almost all category romance lines, they are genuinely on the look out for new authors, and you don’t have to have an agent to get your foot in the door.

It’s also a great line to move into if you’ve been published elsewhere and are looking for more scope and wider exposure in the market. Special Edition sells well! The books make regular appearances on the Borders Group Series Romance Bestsellers list, and many Special authors have successful careers as single title authors in addition to writing for the line.

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


A Writer’s Life in Her Marketplace by Christine Darcas

As writers, we’re expected to know where we fit in the marketplace. But how much does it matter?

I expected identity issues in life. In early adolescence, my teachers, books and movies warned me my teenage years could be fraught with angst about what sort of person I wanted to be, so the eventual upheaval of that time didn’t surprise me much. The same sources cautioned me that, even into young adulthood, those issues could still hound me. Of course they did. Maybe my points of reference regarding a woman’s sense of identity in her middle-aged years became less pervasive and insightful because, rather naively, by the time I reached my late 30s I expected all of my self-questioning to have settled. When instead it actually intensified it threw me in turmoil. As I swathed myself with the additional roles of wife, mother and employee, I experienced a more urgent need than ever to discover and guard the core of who I am.

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


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 the beautiful Serena Tatti

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

>This month featuring Christine Darcas

  • Practicalities, Technicalities with Michelle Wood

>This month featuring The Hyphen – joiner extraordinaire with Enisa Hasic

The hyphen (-) is a punctuation mark with specific uses.

* To join separate words into compound words. For example, storm-tossed ocean. To join certain prefixes. For example, co-worker, non-denominational, pre-determine, semi -final.

  • Ask Auntie Fi with Fiona Lowe

Help me! I keep starting new stories and never finish the old ones. Any tips on how to stay focused? (From Easily Distracted)

If an editor or agent or publisher or a contest or whatever asks for the first 50 pages of your novel manuscript, and it happens that the first 3 or 4 chapters come to, say 45 pages, should you send that much or send part of the next chapter too? Or maybe toss in a few more words to expand the chapters to take it to exactly 50 pages? (Bella Bewildered from Brissie)

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


Not a member? Please view our sample issue from February 2010.

You can join to receive our wonderful monthly newsletter.  Please go to our Join RWA page on our website for details.

Who will you nominate for the Lynne Wilding Award?

Established in 1996, this award’s intention is to recognise and honour an individual’s outstanding contribution to RWA. Named in honour of our first President, Lynne was the driving force behind this award. She understood the importance committed individuals can make to the lifeblood of an organisation.

Voting Process:
All nominations are received, recorded and tallied by the Executive Committee. The award recipients are decided by an independent panel of three RWA members in good standing.

What You Need To Do:
Write the nominee’s full name and why you believe they should be considered for this award. Also include your own name and address details (you must be a current financial member to make a nomination).

Send Your Nomination To:

Lynne Wilding Service Award, PO Box 1236, Neutral

Bay NSW 2089, Australia

Or Email

RWA is run by volunteers. Please take this opportunity to recognise their efforts.

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