New releases from members this August

It’s August – the last official month of winter. Sometimes wind and rain sweeps down. Sometimes the daffodils come early. Always there is the RWA conference to motivate and inspire a novelist. If you’re looking for something to read on the plane on the way to Brisbane, your fellow members have obliged with a swag of new releases.

HTAug17-NewReleases

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There’s time for one more OWL this year!

5 Reasons to Take Short Story Writing

With NaNo going in full swing, and end-of-the-year deadlines looming, it’s the perfect time to add in one more project, right?

  1. Learn how to write short!

It’s a given, right? Every time I teach a workshop, some students say they tend to write LONG, so they’re looking for tips to tighten their storylines.

  1. Potential for publication

The ultimate goal in the course is to complete a short story, and submit it for a call. If you need that added umpf to hit “send,” this class may be for you!

  1. Gain inspiration

You can either come to the class with an idea, or discover a new one. Many people are amazed at the variety of Calls for Submission out there. Need a story idea? You may find food for your muse.

  1. Take a writing “break”

Turning toward writing short stories or novellas between longer works acts as a way to take a mini-break. Write a bridge between stories or perhaps a shorter piece to kick off a new series.

  1. Make an end-of-the-year goal

Yes, it’s December, and 2017 is sprinting toward us. It’s also the last push before the end of the year. Make it a goal to finish a story this year.

Hope to see you there! For more information, visit:

http://romanceaustralia.com/owl-writing-the-short-story-for-submission/

Louisa Bacio

Australian Love Stories: do you have one to share?

Inkerman and Blunt (publishers) are in love with love.Inkerman and Blunt logo

Well, so it seems, anyway.  And not just any love, but specifically, Australian love.

Last year, Donna Ward from Inkerman and Blunt published an anthology of Australian love poetry.  This year, she’s moving on to short stories – and wants to see yours.

The stories must be short – no more than 3,600 words – and for this collection, they are looking for stories of amatory love (more on this below).  For full submission details, see the information on the Inkerman and Blunt website – but don’t delay: entries must be postmarked by the 28th of February 2014 (and yes, that does mean hard-copy submissions only).

The anthology will be edited by award-winning Australian short-story writer Cate Kennedy.  Naturally, when a writer and a publisher get together with love on their minds, there must be a story that goes with it.  We’ll let Donna tell it… (more…)

2012 Little Gems Author – Kerrie Starbuck

What a great name! (The kind that stands out on book shelves and says – “read me”.)

So let me introduce you to the face behind the name and the story with the equally fabulous name:

Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Revenge

 

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

The biggest challenge for me is knowing at what point to start the story. My tip: start the story as close to the end as you can.

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

A crack like an amplified champagne cork popping announced the appearance of a rotund little woman dressed completely in green. Green shoes, green dress, green hat. Next to the woman in red, she looked like an overgrown pea. An angry pea at that.”

What was your inspiration for the story?

This was originally a mini-writing challenge my critique group set for each other a couple of years ago – from memory, it had to be a short story featuring a Christmas theme, and a pair of red high heels. I quickly abandoned my first idea of a cross-dressing Santa and settled on this story instead.

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

I’m currently working on a WIP that I hope will one day be published by HM&B. I’d love to have it ready to pitch at this year’s conference, but we shall see… it certainly will be if my super annoying motivational crit group has anything to say about it (thanks, guys, love you xx)…

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

I don’t have either a website or a blog yet as my focus right now is on getting my current WIP finished, and I’m way too easily distracted as it… squirrel!

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

Oh hell yes. After my first conference in Coogee (2010) I was completely addicted. I’m blown away by the calibre of the conference as a whole, the sophistication of the speakers and attendees… and yes, also the extraordinary volume of freebies 😉 That it’s all done by volunteers is a testament to the extremely high standard of professionalism the RWA Conference Team is blessed with – a huge thank you to each and every one them.

(And with my Team Diamond hat on – thanks for that thank you Kerrie.) Hope you enjoyed your first blogging experience today 🙂

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).

Little Gems 2012 Author – Carmen Gowans

Meet Carmen Gowans, Diamond Edition author of:

Diamonds In The Sky

We asked Carmen what challenges her most about writing a short romance story and to share her tips.

Hmm… hard question. I never know what to write until my fingers start tapping the keyboard. But that applies across the board, not just for short stories. That’s one reason why I think short story competitions are great, because they usually provide a word limit, a time limit and a theme. Just the thing for writers who like a prompt!

My tips: It should resonate with your soul; you should have fun with it; and cut Cut! CUT!!

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

Not sure if it’s what you meant, but I’m fond of this paragraph:

“She fell asleep dreaming she was thirteen again, dreaming of the high field and stars like diamonds, dreaming of Luke Walsh, the boy with the lopsided smile and adorable face. He had kissed her that last night, his lips sweet and smooth and tasting of oranges. And she had floated in starlight.”

What was you inspiration for the story?

I’m drawn to sparkly things 🙂

What are you working on now?

I’m working on Not Running Out of Steam, which can happen if I don’t eventually stumble on a clear goal for a story. That wasn’t a book title, BTW 🙂

What are your writing goals for the future?

This question made me smile because I find the writing process so therapeutic. Yes, even revision and editing. I don’t mean in a cathartic way, just that the actual creative focus is very soothing for me. So while I’m thrilled and honoured that my entry will be published (Yay!), I wouldn’t want any undue pressure to negate that lovely, calming effect. Having said that, I would like to complete my latest project – I’m reluctant to call it a book / novel until the first draft is finished – and then see about submitting it. But that’s a long way off.

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).

Little Gems 2012 Author: Carol Hoggart

Hi, legally I’m Carol Hoggart, but such a name is quite unsuitable for an author of medieval romances. Not a sniff of romance there, so I’ve cooked up a pseudonym (partly so my parents never read my stuff!).
I plan to publish as Venetia Green, although my Little Gems are going to remain prosaically Hoggarty.
Carol has two short stories in the Diamond Edition:
 And the names are quite wierd enough for you to remember: ‘The Nun and the Thief’ and ‘The Diamond of Friday Street’.
What challenges you most in writing a short romance story?
Regarding the challenges of a short story – the biggest one had to be length! Plan as I might, the words just didn’t want to stay contained within the 3000 word limit. Then there was research – these were the first stories I had written set in medieval London, so the research I needed to do was completely disproportionate to the word count. Just finding out that goldsmiths and the like usually set up shop on Cheapside or Friday Street took a whole load of discovering. Still, it’ll all come in handy later on.
Regarding tips for short stories, I’m really not sure I’m the right person to give them. These were the first I had written pretty well since high school. But I’m definitely a plotter. I suppose my tips might be: keep the number of characters to a minimum, the plot relatively simple, and plot first to make sure the story is do-able within the length.
Do you have a favourite line/short piece from your short?
Seeing as I have two stories in the anthology, I’m going to be greedy and give you two excerpts, one from each:
From ‘The Diamond of Friday Street’:
‘We have other stones, my lord. Amber a-plenty, ruby that dropped as dragon’s blood from the skies, a handful of pearls from seas warm as bath-water …’
‘No, I want no other stones.’
‘But … we are lapidaries, my lord. We have no other stock. So … your business with us is done.’
Her eyes were upturned to his now, pools of grey light sparking with a million tints. Like Adela herself – seemingly colourless at first, but threaded with all the richness of the meadow.
And from ‘The Nun and the Thief’:
The man lounging beside her might be low-life scum – attractive in a lithe and cocky sort of way, admittedly – but still first-cousin to the slime that rimmed the Thames at low-ebb. But he was not stupid, and he would take her diamond if he could. The liripiped man had known what he was about: two thieves made an honest man.
What was your inspiration for the story?
The theme of diamond, of course! I was determined to remain within the Middle Ages, and diamonds were not particularly well known then. Engagement rings were unheard of, and the cutting of stones was still pretty rare. I had lots of fun in ‘The Diamond of Friday Street’ with incorporating ancient beliefs about the diamond or ‘adamant’ as it was sometimes called. Then in ‘The Nun and the Thief’, I was inspired by a historical robbery in medieval London, although the details are quite different.
What are your writing goals for the future?
My first project was a full length historical romance featuring Vikings, entitled Enslaved. I’m currently on tenterhooks waiting to hear back from 2 publishers on that score. But for the future: writing short stories has proved to be so satisfying that I’ve decided to try my hand at novellas for a bit. I’ve just finished an erotic novella with a Viking setting, and now I’m trying to psyche myself up to beginning another – set in medieval London. With the boom of e-books, short stories and novellas are suddenly a lot more marketable!
Will we be able to catch up with you in person at the RWA National Conference in August?
Absolutely! Would I miss the chance to catch up with the most interesting and inspirational ladies (and occasional gents) in Australia? No way. I’ll see you there.
 Anthology Orders Now OpenWould 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).

Little Gems 2012 Author – Vanda Vadas

Little Gems welcomes back Vanda Vadas.

The name of her 2012 Diamond Edition story is: Queen of Diamonds

 

What challenges you most in writing a short romance story?

Coming up with an idea that is a little outside the square. Given that this year’s gem is DIAMOND, I wanted to steer away from the obvious…that being a story that revolves around diamond jewellery (although, I do allude to it in my story).

My tip: In last year’s Little Gems Garnet Blog Bites, I mentioned that my stories are inspired by location. My characters evolve as a result of the chosen location. I worked through the same process this year.

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

Yes…there is a part in the story where the heroine is fishing for information from the hero with regard to what he considers to be his perfect type of woman. It is her response to his reply that I had fun with. I won’t quote it here. It needs to be read in context.

What was you inspiration for the story?

I have my husband to thank for this one! We live on the beautiful Gold Coast and we were taking a walk along the beach one day before Christmas. I was telling him about my story ideas, that I wanted to come up with something a little abstract. He suggested setting the story (location) in a casino. I thought this a brilliant idea! Jupiter’s Casino in Surfers Paradise came to mind. Talk about an excuse to do some creative research! We spent time with family in Sydney over Christmas and whilst driving back home, I put pen to paper and did the first draft of QUEEN OF DIAMONDS.

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

A Scottish Historical. Goals? To finish the book and to ultimately see it (and my other books) published.

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

I don’t have a website or blog. However, I’ve had some articles published on Suite101.com and also in a College bi-annual publication. I’ve edited two non-fiction books (published). I’ve been a finalist in national (RWAust), international (RWAmerica) and online writing competitions and have had success with three Little Gems Anthology publications.

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

Most definitely. I’m looking forward to being around people whose passion it is to write wonderful stories and create lasting memorable characters.

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).

Little Gems 2012 Author – Fiona Gregory

Okay, so I’m a little baised in introducing our next Little Gems author. I’m thrilled she has taken time out of her busy RWA Conference Coordination role to tell us about her short story – yes Fiona is becoming a bit of a Little Gems regular.

Fiona’s short story is titled: Hope for the Future

What challenges you most in writing a short romance story?
I love writing short. I did a short-story course many years ago, and my tutor had us writing down to 50 word flash fiction. One of the best pieces of advice I was given is to treat each short as an episode from a TV series, rather than a movie. Start at a point of change, plunge in, and finally, always finish leaving a question in the reader’s mind at the end.
For a romantic short story I recommend focusing almost exclusively on your hero and heroine. All the other characters should be edited down to brief thumbnail sketches. Oh, and I always write to the Little Gem, rather than inserting the Gem into an already written story.

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

City girl, Molly, is spending her first day working in a small country town, where she meets local vet, Blake.
 
“Nope.” He smiled again and held three fingers in the air. “Scouts honour.”
“You were a scout?”
A twinkle of mischief lit up his eyes and the dimple reappeared. “Not exactly, but I know a scout.”
 
What was you inspiration for the story?

I wanted to write about a coloured diamond and I figured the Western Australian writers would have Pink Diamonds in the bag. So I googled Blue Diamond. Somehow or other I ended up with this picture of a tiny grey kitten with big blue eyes, sitting on a person’s open hands. And the story was born.

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

Right now, I’m editing my latest futuristic, a marriage of convenience story, written during NaNoWriMo last year. The first draft was very rough and I’m hoping to get it polished enough to enter in the Emerald this year. In the meantime, I rewrote last year’s Little Gem (which didn’t make the cut) into a longer male-male romance and am in the process of submitting. It’s actually much stronger this way and not something I would ever have thought when I wrote it a year ago.
How can people find out more about you/your writing? Do you have a website or blog?
 A website and blog are on my to do list for 2013. Any spare time I have at the moment is spent trying to improve my writing. (Oh, and trying to keep my New Years Resolution of running a half-marathon in July 2012)

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

You bet. My fabulous team of volunteers and I are organising “Diamonds are Forever” on the Gold Coast, so I’ll be there from start to finish. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone there.

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).

Little Gems 2012 Author – Mary Warwick

Meet Mary Warwick, Diamond Edition author of:

Diamonds In The Sky

We asked Mary what challenges her most about writing a short romance story and to share her tips.

Biggest challenge in writing a short romance story is finding different ways to develop the romance in so few words, while keeping the surrounding story interesting and plausible.

I can’t remember creating a short story that wouldn’t have preferred to be a novel, and therein lies a major pitfall. I have to write a short story quickly, before it morphs into a 120,000 word epic. The trick is to give the characters depth without using any extra words. A tough call sometimes.

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

My favourite piece from “Diamonds in the Sky” is the 40-word opening to the heroine’s 1,000 word assignment, “In the pearl-white light of the rising moon they danced from star to star, locked in a loving embrace. No wisp of cloud… etc.,” and her flatmate’s wry response: “You’ve got some way to go, girl.”

What was you inspiration for the story?

The mention of diamonds instantly conjures up images of the stars in the vast, Australian night sky. Diamonds as jewels come rather as an afterthought, so the story was going to be about the stars right from the start. A timely visit to the Smithsonian Hubble display just before the Little Gems deadline clinched it.

What are you working on now?

Currently I’m putting the finishing touches to a novel for entry in the Valerie Parv Award. I’m trying to write a biography of the late Joan Crane, who was one of the few Flying Nightingales who went into Europe behind the advancing Allies to fly the wounded home from the front. It’s proving difficult because she was such a self-deprecating sort of lady who never talked about what she had done.

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

I don’t have a website at the moment, but one is in the offing. The domain name is registered.

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

I’ll certainly be at the RWA National Conference in August and I’m very optimistic that I’ll gain a great deal from attending.

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).

Little Gems 2012 Author – Anna Simons

Today we congratulate Anna Simons for winning a place in the 2012 Diamond Edition Little Gems Anthology.

The name of Anna’s 2012 Diamond Edition short story: Seymour’s Folly

 Other name: Anna Ugrinic (this is the real one!)

Do you have any tip/s for writing a short story.

Keeping to the word limit. I talk a lot and I tend to write like that, so paring down can be a real challenge for me.

Focus on one moment in time rather than trying to write a whole novel and add a twist that surprises the reader.

What was you inspiration for the story?

One of my CP’s wondering how many engagement stories were going to be written. Then I watched an episode of Inspector Rex (I’m a German Shepherd tragic) about a jewellery heist and the idea grew from there. I did end up writing an engagement story in addition to this one and it finished 8th from the bottom – go figure!

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

When my heroine thinks “Not unless you counted various shades of blue.” I can’t say why without giving too much away!

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

I was working on a first manuscript for a category romance and it just wasn’t happening – the hero and heroine weren’t talking to me. My two protagonists in ‘Seymours Folly’ started shouting at me from the word go, so their story is being written as we speak. I sent my original hero and heroine on a long holiday and told them to come back when they were ready for me to tell their story. In the future, I want to branch out to general fiction with a couple of ideas that are on the backburner for the moment.

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

Website – work in progress. I’ll include a blog and I plan to upload my short stories as free reads once it’s up and running.

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

 Absolutely – already registered. Can’t wait to get up there. I have a shameful (for an Aussie) secret to share – I’ve never been to the Gold Coast!

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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