Valerie Parv Award Closing Date extended!

If you’ve been dithering about entering the 2017 VPA, this is the sign you’ve been waiting for!  Entries were slated to close today, but you have an extra week to get your entry in!

All the details are below.  So get your skates on and enter!

If you are an Aspiring, or Emerging RWA member, or non-member with no works 40K+ contracted or commercially available, then you can enter. You will be in the running for a year-long mentorship with Valerie Parv. Valerie has sold 60 novels since 1982, and had over 25 million copies of her books sold internationally.

1,000 word synopsis, and
10,000 words of your unpublished work

More information about conditions and how to enter here:

Contest Opened:  7 April 2016
Contest Closes: Monday 1 May 2017, Monday, AEST 12 midnight

For those of you in the non-Eastern states/territories (or overseas) I will be using this time and date counter (set to Brisbane time) on the day the contest closes:

Once the counter tells me it’s midnight, I’ll flick back over to the VPA inbox, refresh the browser and then close the contest.

Please note: you cannot ‘reserve’ a place by paying your entry fee. The only way to claim a place in the contest is to submit your entry.

If you’re concerned about formatting, then:

a)      Download a template from the website and copy and paste your entry into it:

b)       Contact me ASAP  – we can work on the formatting quickly and then you can get back to finishing your entry off

Please be aware:

–          If your word count is over the 1000 word synopsis, or 10,000 word entry limit and there’s no time to send it back to you, I will trim it at 1000 or 10,000 words exactly.

–          If there are formatting issues and there’s no time to send it back to you, the issues will stand and there is the possibility of a 5-point deduction. This deduction can mean the difference between going through to the final, or not.

There’s still time to enter, you’ve got until Monday!

Good luck with your entry and if you want to know anything, just ask me.

Jo McAlister
Joint 2017 VPA Contest Manager
on behalf of Romance Writers of Australia



Ripping Start finalists

Congratulations to our 2017 Ripping Start finalists:

Bernice Greenham
Tania Holland
Miranda Morgan
Tamar Sloan
Elizabeth Squire
Bree Verity

Finalist entries will be evaluated by our final judge: Lucy Bell, Editor, Pantera Press. A wonderful opportunity!

Well done to all who entered—with 79 entries, the competition was tough, and we hope you find your judging feedback valuable.

Thanks as always to all our hardworking volunteer judges, and a special shout-out to our new contest manager, Cat Whelan, who’s done a fantastic job with a big contest. Entrants will start receiving their scoresheets soon.

Contest News! Changes to the Emerald…

Emerald Award

The next big contest of the year for our Aspiring and Emerging members is the Emerald, which is open 31 October – 21 November. This special reader-judged contest offers the chance to have your full manuscript evaluated by your target audience.

Our judges are keen romance readers, found in libraries, bookstores, reader organisations like ARRA, trains, offices, couches and bedrooms all over the country—and we’d all love to know what they think of our books!

The first round of the Emerald is for the first 10,000 words (increased from 5,000 for last year) of your unpublished romantic manuscript (10K+). The top 15 entries will progress to the second round, where the full manuscript is judged by our readers.

Three well-deserving finalists will win a reading by our final judge: Rebecca Saunders, Fiction Publisher, Hachette Australia. So get your entries ready!

You’ll be able to enter via a link on the temporary RWA website.

FAQ: Does your manuscript need to be finished to enter the Emerald? Well, we recommend that it is finished, or very close to – because if you make the second round (which is typically announced early in the new year) you’ll be asked to submit the full with only a few days notice.


CHANGES TO THE EMERALD PRO for published authors

The Emerald Pro is also open 31 October – 21 November. This is our “Emerald for published authors”, available to our Emerging and Established members who already have works commercially available.

In response to feedback from members, we’re making a few changes for this year.

Originally the Pro was designed to give entrants reader feedback without the stress and risk of publishing – but members also want publishing pathways, as well as prize money, along with the kudos of winning a hard-fought contest. So for this year:

  •  We’re having a third round of judging, by an editor/agent final judge, just like the ‘unpublished’ Emerald. So in addition to getting valuable anonymous feedback from readers, our three finalists will have their full manuscript read by our final judge – Esi Sogah, Senior Editor, Kensington Books.
  • To that end, we’ve removed the requirement that your entry be in a subgenre that you’re not published in. We know you’ll want to put your best work in front of the final judge. So enter whatever subgenre you like – as long as your entry remains unpublished and uncontracted for the duration of the contest.
  • Prize money! We’ve included prize money for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, the same as for the ‘unpublished’ Emerald.

Your first round entry is the first 10,000 words of your unpublished/uncontracted manuscript. The top 15 who make the second round will submit their full manuscript.

As for the Emerald, you’ll be able to enter the Pro via a link on the temporary RWA website.

Do you have a Selling Synopsis?

RWA’s contest season is steaming ahead, and the Selling Synopsis is now open for entries!

Writing a synopsis is many writers least favourite activity, but it is one of the most important skills to master if you want to get an editor or agent interested enough to request your full manuscript. First impressions count – and impressing an editor or agent depends on it.

This competition lets you try out your skills, get feedback and, if you make it to the final, get your synopsis seen by Joanne Grant, Senior Executive Editor, Harlequin UK.

The competition is open to all members of RWA now and closes on the 31st of October, so get writing that synopsis!  If you aren’t a member, and would like to be, you can join here.

For more details and to enter, visit our website.



Event Announcements

Do you have an event or workshop you’d like to share? RWA Members, email your event news to cruisin(at)

Keeping Up Appearances

January 26, 2014, Radio Interview – Air on The Authors Shelf – Station: 2SSR 99.7FM and tune in radio 12-1.00pm EST.

February 12, 2014, 7:00pm – Arana Hills Library, Meet the Author

February 15, 2014, 10.00am – Caboolture Library, Meet the Author

Date: Tuesday 11th February

Time: 6.30 -8.30pm

Venue: Warnbro Community Library, Swallowtail Parade Warnbro

RSVP: Please email Claire on claire(at) if you are attending. Places are limited and numbers are essential for catering purposes.

Writers Festivals 2014

Perth Writers Festival
February 20–23

Adelaide Writers Week
March 1–6

Newcastle Writers Festival
April 4–7

Sydney Writers Festival
May 19–25

Word Storm, Darwin
May 29–June 1

Bellingen Writers Festival
June 7–9

Mildura Writers Festival
July 17–20

Byron Bay Writers Festival
August 1–3

Melbourne Writers Festival
August 21–31

Brisbane Writers Festival
September 3–7

Ruby Award

The Ruby opens on the 6 January and closes on the 7 February 2014. For more information, email the contest manager,Print
Annie Lynch at

Ella Award

The Ella opens on the 6 January and closes on the 7 February 2014. For more information, email the contest manager,
Raewyn McGill at ella@romanceaustralia.comPrint
As always, please check the website for guidelines, previous winners and the most current information.


Selling Synopsis Finalists

We are pleased to announce the finalists in RWA’s Selling Synopsis contest.  Congratulations to (in alphabetical order):

Nicole Grant

Enisa Haines

Morag Hutton

Erin Moira O’Hara

Tricia Sargant

Margaret Swan

The final entries will now go to Joel Naoum from Momentum for judging.

Best of luck to all the finalists and thanks as always to all the RWA volunteers who make our contest season possible, particularly Leisl Leighton, Margaret Midwood and all our volunteer judges.

First Kiss Results!

Congratulations to our First Kiss Winners chosen by Editor Kate Cuthbert of Escape Publishing.

1.     Ella Audrey

2.     Jess Langhorne

3.     Delwyn Jenkins

Thanks to Kate, for judging, our own Deb Cox, for managing the contest, our contest and judge co-ordinators, our judges, and all the volunteers who make the activities of RWA possible.


Cruisin’ with RWA

Can you believe it’s been a week already since Enrico and I saw you? Time is flying by. With only six weeks until Christmas, it’s almost time to brave the crowds and go shopping. We’re nearing the end of 2012 and soon another year will be assigned to history. What we’re excited about is the opportunities 2013 will bring. We have a little taste of what the future holds this week as well as great blogs, good news and books to add to Santa’s list.

Have you got a new release, cover, contract, website or blog to share? Send us the link to


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


AWG has launched their What’s Love Got To Do With It? 50th Anniversary Scriptwriting Competition. Applications must be received by 5.00pm Friday December 14.

The Australian Writers’ Guild presents an outstanding opportunity for writers of romantic fiction 

Have you tapped into your inner Bronte or Austen? How about a sweeping saga à la Tolstoy? Are you the next Warwick Thornton, Jane Campion or Jan Sardi with a heart-wrenching story of love conquering adversity?
If you have written a script for a feature film, tele-movie or television mini-series with a love story as the central theme, don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to receive a free day registration for the National Screenwriters’ Conference, a copy of Final Draft 8 scriptwriting software AND get your work read by industry experts.

Full info here:

Competition Wins

Cassandra Pennington won first place in the historical section of the Maryland Writers’ Association Great Beginnings competition. THE WAGER also won 2nd place in the Valerie Parv Award.

New Contracts

New Opportunities -Aussie Authors of Romance Go Digital

SYDNEY: 14 November 2012: Escape Publishing is the digital-first imprint of Harlequin Australia, the leading publisher of romance fiction. After opening for submissions in August this year, Escape Publishing will introduce its first five local authors at an exclusive launch event at ECQ Bar on November 14.
Escape Publishing is an exciting new eBook initiative as it allows Harlequin to leverage its expertise in romance to discover Australian and New Zealand authors and take their stories to a global audience.
The November 14 event celebrates the global release by Escape Publishing of its first five titles by local authors. The authors are from diverse backgrounds, from a stay-at-home mum of four to a former criminal justice system worker, but all share a passion for romance and a talent for storytelling. The five launch titles available as eBooks via all good e-tailers are:

  • Chains of Revenge by Keziah Hill (Erotic Fantasy Romance)
  • In Safe Hands by Lee Christine (Romantic Suspense)
  • Christmas Wishes by Rhian Cahill (Holiday Contemporary Romance)
  • Grease Monkey Jive by Ainslie Paton (Contemporary Romance)
  • Chaos Born by Rebekah Turner (Urban Fantasy Romance)

The eBooks will be housed on a newly created website and distributed by all major e-tailers globally.

Juliet Madison had the pleasure of interviewing editor, Kate Cuthbert from Escape Publishing this week on Publisher Spotlight. Kate answered a few interesting questions and let us know what it is they’re looking for in a manuscript.


Cruisin’ Member Blogs

Share a link and a short blurb here each week by emailing the details to us at:

This week on Friday Feast:

Ever wondered what it’d be like to be felled by a jackfruit? Well, this week on Friday Feast, thanks to romantic suspense and thriller author Sandy Curtis, you can find out. Sandy’s not only taking us to the glorious tropics, she’s also sharing her gluten-free recipe for Chocolate Rum Pie. Chocolate and rum? Like one of Sandy’s brilliant novels, you won’t be able to resist!

November 15  – MAGIC THURSDAY – with Lilliana Rose


November 17 – ENCHANTED ORB: with Rhyll Biest

November 18 – Weekly Overview

November 20 – GOOD NEWS DAY

Musa Monday – HL Carpenter join me

Writing Buddy Wednesday – Juanita Kees

Trailer Thursday – Iron Man 3

Louise Reynolds celebrates her release on Jenn’s Author Harvest


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:

  1. Monique Wood
  2. Monya Mary Clayton
  3. Novel Adventurers
  4. Writing up a Storm
  5. Imelda Evans
  6. Whitney K-E


RWA Contests

HM&B High Five 14 September 2012
STALI 5 October 2012
Selling Synopsis 23 November 2012
Emerald Award 23 November 2012
Little Gems 1 February 2013
First Kiss 15 February 2013
Valerie Parv Award TBA April 2013


Riding the waves: Writing romance in tempestuous times

August 16 – 18 2013 –The Esplanade Hotel, Fremantle, Western Australia

In August 2013, for the first time, our annual national conference is heading to Western Australia. With a gorgeous heritage hotel, sunshine, sea-breezes, alfresco dining and history – Fremantle has it all. And now it has romance!

For more information visit the RWA Website.


Have a great week!

Regards Juanita

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