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 2012 Author: Shayne Sands reflects on ‘Bali Sunset’

This week we meet Shayne Collier, writing as Shayne Sands, and her winning story: Bali Sunset.

Congratulations Shayne. Tell us…

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

The challenge is squeezing everything in so it doesn’t look like it’s squashed. I guess the tip is to think ‘small’. You can’t afford to plonk in a heap of back story, so you have to write economically and efficiently. You have to remain in the present as much as possible in order to bring your characters to life and together in the moment.

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

I’ve looked at it so many times I’m a bit over it. I still like the start because although it’s in the past (yikes, backstory!) it is evocative and terrifying:

The ocean was in a fury the day Jake Pearson died.

Although an elite big-wave surfer, he was no match for the might of a massive break that engulfed him and his board, holding him under until all the fight was gone and his lungs filled like water bombs.    

What was the inspiration for your story?

I love the ocean. I find big wave surfing fascinating. Growing up, I was a wanna-be surfer chick who dreamt of making out with a surfer boy (never happened – and when it almost did I was well into my wanna-be rock chick phase and rejected the offer).  I visited Bali in 2010 and went to Uluwatu, which has a reputation as a surfing paradise.  I tried to imagine what it was like in the ‘70s, before greedy developers got their hands on it. The photo I took there inspired me.

What are you working on now and goals for the future?

I’m working on a story I started more than two years ago. I’m thinking of too many other story ideas, including one for a book for ‘tweens. My goal is to finish my current wip before I turn 100.

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

I have an ocean swimming blog, which might not interest anyone but it is often funny and charming. I also have a writing blog I intend to use more as I intend to write more often… than not. My swimming blog is www.swimwrite.blogspot.com and my writing blog is www.shaynesands.wordpress.com

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

Yes. As usual, it was a last-minute decision but it’s locked in. I can’t wait to catch up with the wonderful people I last saw in Sydney in 2010 and to forge new friendships.

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).

Cruisin’ with RWA

We love to hear from our members and share in celebrating their success. Send your good news and blogs to cruisin@romanceaustralia.com


50K in 30 Days Challenge

The challenge is well under way as we approach the close of our first week. For those registered, we have a chat room on the 50k in 30 Days Forum where we sprint every night to assist us in reaching our goals. While you’re there, take a moment to introduce yourself, post about your goals and achievements or ‘Participate to Motivate’ and post a message of motivation for fellow participants.


RWA Merry Webber Blogs

June 8 -A Day in the Writing Life of Deborah Challinor – Suzanne Hamilton

June 9 -Ink-Stained Groupies workshop promo – Imelda Evans

June 10 – Event Announcements – Juanita Kees

June 11 – Conference Spotlight on the Conference Team – Eleni Konstantine

June 12 – Little Gems 2012 Author Shayne Sands – Jenn J McLeod

June 14 – 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 cruisin@romanceaustralia.com

  • New releases

June 7 – THE WIND’S GENTLE CARESS – by Anne Brear

Halifax, 1876. On the death of her mother and sister, Isabelle Gibson is left to fend for herself and her brother in a privately-run workhouse. After the matron’s son attempts to rape her, Isabelle decides to escape him and a life of drudgery by agreeing to marry a moorland farmer she has never met. But this man, Farrell, is a drunkard and a bully in constant feud with his landlord, Ethan Harrington. When Farrell bungles a robbery and deserts her, Isabelle and Ethan are thrown together as she struggles to save the farm. Both are married and must hide their growing love. But despite the secrecy, Isabelle draws strength from Ethan as faces from the past return to haunt her and a tragedy is set to strike that will change all of their lives forever.

  • Good News

Cathleen Ross’ Harlequin Spice Brief Psychic Sex has been translated into German and so has the Harlequin Anthology Naughty Bits.

  • New Cover

See the cover for Eleni Konstantine’s  first short story anthology over at her  blog.

  • Great Reviews
Imogene Nix was thrilled to recieve great reviews on her two novels:
STARLINE – received a 4 star review
STARFIRE  – recieved a 5 star review

  • Keeping up Appearances

Pop in and see Rachael Johns at:

When: Saturday June 23

Time: 10.30am

Where: Dymocks, 171 York St, Albany, WA


Cruisin’ Member Blogs

Share a link and a short blurb here each week by emailing the details to us at: cruisin@romanceaustralia.com

Discover a new world of romance, one kiss at a time

June 8 – This week on Friday Feast:

Harlequin Desire author Paula Roe is my guest on Friday Feast this week and what fun she is too! Paula’s celebrating the re-release of book two in the Mills and Boon DIAMONDS DOWN UNDER series with a trip down memory lane to the sugar high that was the 70’s children’s birthday party. Ahh, memories.

Share what you loved or even hated about childhood birthday parties (oh, where to start!) and you could win a signed copy of this fab re-release.

June 7 – MAGIC THURSDAY: Lilliana Rose with giveaway of Christmas Wings

June 9 – DARKLIGHT ON…Carolyn Wren

June 10 – Weekly Overview

June 11 – Winner of Lilliana’s giveaway announced.


June 14 – MAGIC THURSDAY: Amanda Ashby

Rachael John’s answers Juliet’s Ten Awkward Author Questions

June 9 – FROM THE BOOKSHELF…The Shadowlands Trilogy (Shona Husk) – looking for a new book to read or a new-to-you author? Check out what’s on the bookshelf!

June 12 – GUEST AUTHOR: Ally Blake – Ally shares more about herself and her latest book, HIRED: THE BOSS’S BRIDE.

June 8 – Getting to Know Mel Teshco with a giveaway of GALACTIC INFERNO

Warning: this one is HOT! To celebrate her June 13 release, we’re getting to know Mel Teshco. Bring the Kevlar…

This week, a rave about the wonders of RWA, more hearty winter recipes and tomorrow, for the first Friday of the month, some of my favourite words…


Enrico’s Pick Six

Submit your blog site link to cruisin@romanceaustralia.com to share with our readers. Enrico hand picks six blogs to showcase every week.

Enrico’s Pick Six this week:

  1. Write on Track – Diane Curran
  2. Coleen Kwan
  3. Jenna Anastasi
  4. Novel Adventurers
  5. Monique Wood
  6. Suzi Love


Clint’s Cruisin’ Lane

Clint’s been hunting up motivators for our 50K in 30 Days participants. Here are a few gems he uncovered and shared with them this week:


Enrico’s quote of the week

Easy reading is damn hard writing.  ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Regards Juanita

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