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:

Louisa Bacio


Author Spotlight and Giveaway: Erotic Romance Author, Cate Ellink…

*Ed’s Note: This post contains adult content and is only suitable for readers over the age of 18.

Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Cate, and congratulations on the release of ‘Deep Diving’! Can you give us the blurb, please?

Thanks heaps, Sarah. This is my blurb, the official one may be different.

Two competitive athletes and a sex-filled holiday fling. No strings, right?

Samantha Caine, newly-retired Olympic triathlete, meets Cooper Sterling, high-profile rugby league player, on tropical paradise, Lord Howe Island when they’re paired as dive buddies.

Soon they become more than undersea partners and things get seriously sexy, but Sam’s disinclined to be another football groupie, and for Cooper it’s about more than good looks.

Is a holiday fling the finish line or can Sam and Cooper turn friendly competition into more than sizzling sex?

Deep Diving


What was the inspiration behind ‘Deep Diving’?

I was at the NRL Grand Final in 2012. I’m a footy fan, so this was no hardship. One of the players caught my attention – no idea why in this game, when I’d seen him play before – and I began to wonder how you’d ever meet someone like him, and if you did, what would it be like?

I figured you’d meet him on holidays. I’ve been to Lord Howe Island a few times and it’s one of my favourite places. So, my imagination went crazy. I’d meet him scuba diving at Lord Howe. I’d have to be really sporty to attract him, but I wouldn’t want to make myself too easy, so our holiday would have to be full-on and competitive.

And being a new erotic author, I wanted to see if I could write a lot of sex without getting bored (I know, please don’t think too deeply about my mind. It scares me too!). So Cooper and Sam have a competition to always use a different form of the sex act on their 11 day holiday. I hope you won’t get bored reading, because I certainly didn’t!

The world of erotic literature has certainly expanded in recent years. Was there a catalyst for this, do you think, or has society’s attitudes relaxed to the point that readers no longer need to hide their books in brown paper bags?

Sarah, you ask some great questions. I think e-publishing has been the major catalyst because no one sees what you’re reading, and e-publishing has allowed erotic literature to be readily available. When I first started reading erotic stories (in the 1990s), it was difficult to buy (or borrow) these books. They just weren’t easily available in Australia. Now it’s a click of a button and the book is yours!

I think there’s been some relaxation of society’s attitudes, brought about by the popularity of some erotic titles, but I think this has a long way to go. Most people I know (who aren’t writers) struggle to cope with the fact that I ‘write sex…for people to read’.

Do you see the popularity of erotic novels as sexually liberating for readers?

Hmmm…yes, I suppose so. I want to write it for that reason, so I hope people read for that reason. I don’t write for it to be titillating, I write because I think sex and intimacy is an integral part of a relationship and we (as a society) have hidden (or belittled) that part of ourselves for a long time. I want to open the doors to the bedroom, or wherever people have sex. I want sex (in whatever form) to be seen as a normal part of a healthy relationship.

You’ve written a number of stories for anthologies as well, the most recent being ‘Control’. How do you go about making the characters as deep in a short story as in a novel?

I started by writing short stories, and most of my short stories are ‘scenes’ rather than what you’d call stories (eg Control is <1200 words, so it’s really short). Mostly, my short stories are erotica, not erotic romance, so I don’t need too much character development because I’m not showing the emotion of people falling in love. Erotica is more about describing the sex act itself. Erotic romance is focussed on the romance, the emotions, including the sex act.

I write in first person (unless I have to change) and giving only one character’s thoughts and emotions makes it easier to write short. Sometimes I think maybe that’s cheating, but I really can’t handle two people!


What would we find on your bookshelf and e-reader? Which authors have influenced you the most?

I am a most eclectic reader, so you’d find all sorts on my bookshelves/e-reader. In the erotic line, I have most of the Marquis deSade’s books. I think of him as the forefather of erotica and his books were an eye-opener to me when I was first introduced to them. I have quite a few of the ‘older’ erotic books, like Fanny Hill and The Story of O. I went through a phase were I made quite a collection of ‘sex books’ (eg The Art of Sexual Ecstasy, Sex for One, Sex Q&A, Our Bodies, Ourselves) and I use these a lot for ‘research’.

In recent years I guess the Wonkomance ( girls are those who have influenced me the most. They’re smart women, who write clever stories of relationships that aren’t quite the norm (wonk). Charlotte Stein is my favourite and I try to channel her in my writing (I think her first person is so incredible, I’d like to be that good one day).

What do you do when not writing? How do you relax?

I live on the south coast of NSW only a short stroll to the river and the beach, so I’m often at one of those places if I’m relaxing. I love swimming so look for me in the water. We’re quite close to Jervis Bay for unbelievable snorkelling and diving. I’m a voracious reader. I love eating, and I’m pretty partial to a long lunch. I love sleeping in, and a long soak in the bath, reading, is pure joy.

How important is it for erotic novelists to research? How do they do this – reading, visiting BDSM venues?

I think it’s really important to research and to be clear in your stories the exact nature of people’s relationships (especially with BDSM stories). But I’m a scientist by training, so I’m a bit nerdy about things being right.

I know this is awful, but sometimes I can be pulled right out of a story when something happens that I know isn’t correct. And when this happens in a sex scene, it makes me wonder why on earth the author wrote a scene they know nothing about. I also find there’s a lot of clichés in erotic writing – like foil covered condoms. Maybe they’re foil in the USA, but here, the ones I’ve seen are in plastic. Do we just use the term ‘foil’ without thinking, or do people not go and check out what a condom is like?

I’m a big fan of reading text books for help. I have a few friends who I can ask lots of sex questions to and have discussions that are real and normal (not silly and embarrassing). Online is a great way to learn things too. There are a heap of online things now that weren’t available years ago (eg Q & A, forums, virtual tours of places).

You are known for being very sciencey. Do many creatures in the animal world have sex for fun, or just for procreation?

I have some awesome books about wildlife and sex. There seems to be a large part of the science world that believes animals have sex only for procreation, however there are some who have more liberal views about sex being also for fun. There’s also the huge homosexuality amongst animals debate. I guess no one knows for sure how animals are feeling during sex, but I hope they have sex for fun and not just for routine/procreation.

Do I sound terrible if I say, when I watch animals having sex, I always think there’s some degree of enjoyment had by both parties…but maybe I’m anthropomorphising!


Could you give us a sneaky peek at one of your favourite parts of ‘Deep Diving’, please?

This is one of my favourite scenes, although I did have a tough time deciding!

Mango is sweet and soft with a texture of debauchery. Eating it from Cooper makes it so much more sinful, so much more delicious and so incredibly decadent. My lips touch firm skin, taste Cooper, then close over soft squelching fruit. My tongue licks over warm, tightly packed muscle that’s sweet, salty and male. It confuses my head. Not just sensory overload but my senses are mixed. Soft and hard. Sweet and salty. Solid male and sexy squelch-like female. My head buzzes, my mouth zings.

I feed the last slices to Cooper. Easing the fruit between his lips and licking any escaping juice. When there are no mango pieces left, I lap each mound of abdominal muscle, each dip, until I can no longer taste the sweet dribbles of juice.

If you’d like to learn more about the wonderful Cate Ellink, here’s where you’ll find her:


Facebook person

Facebook author page


Buy link

Cate is kindly gifting one ecopy of Deep Diving to one lucky reader. To be in the running to win, all you have to do is answer the following question in the comments section:

Question: Have your reading habits changed with the introduction of e-readers?

This competition is open worldwide and will be drawn on August 13th, 2014. The winner will be notified via email, so please ensure that your contact details are easily found!

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).

Little Gems 2012 Author – Donna Woodhouse

This week we say congratulations to 2012 Diamond Edition Little Gems author Donna Woodhouse.

Her short story:  Otherwise Engaged

What challenges you most in writing a short romance story? Do you have any short story tips.
 Word count. Make every word count.
Do you have a favourite line/short piece from your short?
 I like my ending because it opens out into the beginning of what could be another story.
What was you inspiration for the story?
Can’t remember. It was originally going to be a novella but I thought it might make a good short story. Looking back I think my inspiration was, ‘ What if two people were in a room and for some reason neither could leave?’
 What are your writing goals for the future?
I am working on a Children’s short story for a competition and a romantic novella. My writing goal would be to be published in Children’s (9-12) and Romance.

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

Most definitely.
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 wbsite.

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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