RWA 2014 – Sydney presentation

August 27th, 2013

Shannon Curtis – coordinator
Jennifer Brasel, Keziah Hill, Paula Roe, others

7 – 10 August 2014

Theme:  Romance Rocks
Novotel Sydney Olympic Park, Homebush

Confirmed presenters:
– James Scott Bell (Plot and Structure, also zombie legal thriller series)
– Cherry Adair

More will follow, stay tuned!

– Thursday – Professional author day
– literacy high tea
– Friday – craft workshop – James Scott Bell
Saturday and Sunday conference program

Looking for Rocking Romance Roadies to assist with organising

RWA Day 2 Plenary Address – Sarah Wendell

August 27th, 2013

Sarah Wendell – You gotta catch a wave

Title is a tribute to a Beach Boys song

– make sure you say thank you to the people who assist you
eg sponsors who give chocolate and free wifi

– don’t forget to look behind you – see what you did, be proud of what you have done
– look forward and have faith

So many people want to write a book, it is amazing if you actually do write one.
Thank you for not listening to those who say writing romance is not a good use of your time, because they are full of crap

Don’t listen to people who say that Australian stories and Australian settings and Australian voices don’t sell.

RWA Day 2 Plenary Address – Kim Hudson

August 19th, 2013

Kim Hudson – Does Fear drive us?

can’t be in a fear based world and a love based world simultaneously
fear based = heroic
loved based = artistic

– be the best you can be
– hold that in your heart as you write
– in the love based world, very internally motivated ‘how does that feel to me’
— if you can connect to yourself you are free – no fear if you can connect to yourself

people who play heroic roles (eg in games) do gain confidence
fear-based world is ‘either this or that’, whereas love-based world is ‘and’ and ‘inclusive’
the happy ending is about letting guard down and allowing someone in – overcoming fears to allow love in

RWA breakout session 6: Confessions of a psychopath

August 19th, 2013

Ken Milling  (Psychoanalyst, Jungian):  Confessions of a psychopath – what writers get wrong

Books, tv and film are filled with stereotypes and common misportrayals of bad guys, broken families and other dysfunctional characters.
– how writers can look beyond the same-old-same-old of dameage and disorders for the really gritty and interesting aspects of what turns a perfectly functional personality dysfunctional?

From a clinical perspective, highly unlikely for a therapist to meet a psychopath, as they would not go into therapy (particularly white collar).
– violent psychopath is actually easy to stop to a degree
– white collar psychopath is much harder to detect and therefore to do something about
– higher rate of males than females, but research is thin on the ground

RWA breakout session 5: The voyage of a writer

August 19th, 2013

Kim E Hudson – The Voyage of the Writer

Kim was able to use her work and understanding on the Hero’s journey to refine her own work to a point of excellence, and to champion it in the world of sales and marketing.

As humans, we have two drives
1. love
– passion driven,
– internal motivation
2. fear
– to push back against what could be damaging;
– crisis driven,
–  external motivation

Archetypes and journey
– archetypal structure is the series of actions that effect emotional growth (fear and love driven)
– everything you need to know is embedded in the story

Virgin – source of creativity
– to recognise your intrinsic worth and bring it to life
– the power to be all you are capable of being
– to filter the world through your senses and give it a tangible form

Hero – source of productivity
– to push back the boundaries of mortality
– the power to assert your will even against the will of others
– to be objective (it’s not personal)


RWA Breakout session 4: Getting your feet wet – Blogging 101

August 19th, 2013

Sarah Wendell (Smart Bitches, Trashy Books) – Getting your feet wet:  Blogging 101
Discussing ways to connect with readers
Looking at different avenues to connect with one another and connect with readers
– note: facebook keeps changing, no-one is an expert on it

Social media exposure
Why is digital marketing and promotion important:
– the reader is your customer
– the reader connects with authors and publishers directly
– the reader is curious about what they want to read next
– connection to readers helps to build your brand
– brand is the promise that you are going to deliver X to your readers
– social media gives you lots of opportunities to connect to readers and become familiar to them
– it also gives lots of opportunities to mess up , but that is ok – everyone does that

Three rules to social media:
Rule 1 – the hard sell does not work
social media is a conversation is not a broadcast.  don’t only talk about the book you are selling.  trying to promote someone else’s book does work

Rule 2 – be a person!
comment on other peoples blogs, be an online presence, not a ‘thing’

Rule 3 – have a social media policy for yourself:
– check out some corporate social media policies as a guideline, they give examples of what people can and can’t say online
– eg don’t talk about work and family (use code-names etc if you mention)
– work out what you are going to talk about, what are you not going to talk about – work out away from the computer, set the rules
– your policy is up to you, just make sure you figure out what is on and off limits
– be aware of cultural differences (eg Australian humour vs American humour)

Day 2 Plenary Address – Nina Bruhns

August 19th, 2013

Nina Bruhns:  When the going gets tough, Hang Ten

– you need to make sure you torture your characters enough (especially intrigue writers)
– “what is the worst thing that can happen?” – make sure you put that in your story, in every paragraph
– don’t be afraid – it can be really scarey but you have to do it to get anywhere

Don’t follow the trends when you are writing

– write off in the fringe if that is what interests you
– if no-one wants it, then go ahead and self publish
BUT get an editor first, don’t put it out there if it is crap

don’t be easy on yourself, you need to be resilient

Day 2 Plenary session – Survivor submission Island

August 19th, 2013

Jennie Jones (moderator), Nikki Logan (moderator), Abby Zidle (Simon & Scuster NY), Laura Bradford (Bradofr Literary Agency), Nina Bruhns (Entangled Publishing), Margaret Marbury (Harlequin HQN, Mira, Luna), Joel Naoum (PanMacmillan/Momentum), Alex Adsett (Agent – Alex Adsett Publishing Services)

Synopsis:  The opening pages of an anonymous manuscript are read out to the panel by the moderators.  The reading continues until all the panelists are showing their paddle, with either the red ‘Stop’ Sign or the green ‘More’ sign showing.

If a publisher ask for more, they will be able to follow up with author to get further information

Comment:  About 8 manuscripts were read out publicly like this (authors not named), in various genres.  After the final publisher puts up their sign, feedback will be given as to why they have responded in a particular way, and why.

Note:  this was a very brave thing for authors to do, and the feedback overall seemed pretty good.  Still it must have been gut-wrenching for them and I applaud their bravery and commend each and every one of them for giving it a go.  I have listed the feedback as general comments, not to a specific manuscript.  Also some publishers gave contradictory feedback, as they are looking for different things (eg Harlequin not looking for chick lit or women’s fiction, some of the other lines ok with less romance)


RWA Day 2 – Harlequin / Escape Publishing Sponsors Address

August 19th, 2013

Sue Brockhoff (Publishing & Communications Manager) and Kate Cuthbert (Escape Publishing)


  • is looking for digital first fiction
  • fiction across all genres
  • 5,000 – 250,000 words
  • particularly looking for science fiction, fantasy, intrigue, rural romance
  • new genre of ‘rom-magic comedy’ eg I Dream of Johnny
  • about to publish first gay romance


  • looking to start new genre ‘coastal romance’
  • launching Cosmo Red Hot Reads
  • 2 e-books per month, 30,000 words each

RWA Day 1 – Afternoon plenary session

August 18th, 2013

Launch of Little Gems Anthology 2013:  Sapphire

New logo unveiled.
New look website unveiled.

Will be officially live after the conference.


Annual General Meeting:

– new consitution due to changes in the NSW Associations act
– vote passed
as approaching 1000 members, reviewed way RWA want to be seen etc
‘The Year of Admin’
– new logo
– website revamp
– consitutional change
– update of consitution
– update of key policies

Year of Controversy:
– a member was expelled for plagarism after committee reviewed works submitted and was found to have substantially plagarised the works of other authors
– this took a lot of time and resources, and the committee determined that members were not sufficently covered by a policy relating to this
– there is now a RWA policy / Code of Conduct to deal with plagarism


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