Breakout 5: Self-Defence For Women: How To Write a Fight Scene – RWAus14

August 28th, 2014

Susanna Rogers – 2nd degree black belt in kickboxing, published romance author.  Publishes under the name Nina Blake 

  • likes to feel powerful
  • teaches kickboxing
  • can’t run, catch or throw, but can kick and punch


When in stressful situation or danger:  fight or flight mechanism kicks in

Physiological changes include:

  • heart rate rises
  • increased blood flow to muscles
  • pupils dilate
  • non essential things slow down (digestion stops)

There is a third factor that is rarely mentioned:  freeze


Breakout 4: The Dark Side: Psychology, psychopathy and stalking – RWAus14

August 26th, 2014

I have to admit that I had a great time at the dinner on Saturday night, and went to a room party afterwards.  I decided to sleep in a bit on Sunday morning so I missed the first session of the day (which was noted as TBA in my schedule anyway), and got there in time for my first breakout session.


The Dark Side:  Psychology, psychopathy and stalking

Professor Karl Roberts

  • Chair and Profess of Policing and Criminal Justice, University of Western Sydney
  • Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology, University of Massachusetts, MA
  • Expert witness in the UK

This was an excellent, informative session, and provided a lot of information and ideas for those writing crime, suspense, romantic suspense, mystery, thriller or other sub-gentres in the crime category.  Over all I would say it was one of the best all weekend, aside from the Friday workshop.

HOWEVER – and I don’t want to direct this at anyone specific (and I probably wouldn’t know their names anyway) – it also suffered from one of my pet hates.

Professor Roberts took questions from the floor from the start.  People were asking specific questions that presumably related to what their own story.  He jumped to the end of his presentation and despite saying he would go back, he didn’t really.  The whole presentation got derailed by those who only wanted to discuss psychopathy because it related to their own writing.  A lot of the information in his slides wasn’t even shown to us let alone discussed (I think a lot of it was on the psychology, but I’m not sure).

While I had some questions myself, I refrained from asking them at the time.  He provided us with his email address and said he was happy to answer questions we have that way.  I hope that in the future people will be less selfish about hogging the presenter’s time, because I for one was extremely frustrated we missed out on so much content.

And I would suggest that in future, all questions other than clarifications be kept to the end.

And now, on to the presentation we did get:

What do forensics psychologists do?

  • focus on human behaviour
  • assessment
  • human performance
  • explanation of motivation
  • clinical – psychological problems
  • forensic – specific application to crime and offending


Saturday final session: AMG & Wrap up – RWAus14

August 25th, 2014

Presentation of the First Sale ribbons

There were quite a few this year – I think 25 or so standing at the front, and of course others who were not present.  I didn’t record names, I am sure the list will be available in Hearts Talk or on the website.  Congratulations to all 🙂


just the highlights, the minutes will be available to RWA members.

Change in membership structure – will no longer be divided by published / unpublished.  There are now three categories:

  • Aspiring (unpublished)
  • Emerging (first 1 – 3 years of publication)
  • Established (3+ years)

There are going to be programs tailored for each category, and members are to self-select their status in their website profile.


Sunday Program – RWAus14

August 24th, 2014

Again, my breakout sessions are highlighted.
Registration opens

Arrival Tea & Coffee


TBA  (this was the early program, not sure what ended up going here)

Harlequin Digital – Malle Valick

Audition Submission – Selected Editors & Agents

Morning Tea

Sunday Breakout Session 1

  • Self Publishing 101 – Marie Force
  • A Lady’s Wardrobe Unlocked: Cloth and clothing in Georgian Times – Bronwyn Parry & Beverley Eikli
  • Psychological Warfare – Prof. Karl Roberts
  • Conflict: The Key To Your Romance Novel – Rachel Bailey
  • How The World’s Best Storytellers Do It – Analysing Pixar’s Secret to Success: Part 1 – Kathryn Fox


Sunday Breakout Session 2

  • The Publishing Process – Lucienne Diver
  • Get Your Rocks Off: Writing Convincing Sex – Kate Belle
  • The Staircase of Turning Points – Ebony McKenna
  • Self-Defence For Women: How To Write a Fight Scene – Susanna Rogers
  • Skin The Cat – There’s More Than One Way To Get Published – Cate Ellink / Ainslie Paton / Kylie Griffin

14:20-15:20 Sunday Breakout Session 3

  • Luminous Dialogue – Cherry Adair 
  • It’s Not Just About Ripping Bodices – Maisey Yates / Jackie Ashenden
  • Getting a Grant – Patsy Poppenbeek
  • How Romance Rocks in the UK – Kate Byrne
  • Author Branding – MalleVallik

Afternoon Tea

Keynote Address – Cherry Adair

RWA 2015 Conference Launch

16:10 – 16:15
Fundraising Announcement

16:15 – 16:30
Conference Close

Little Gems – Moonstone: Official Launch – RWAus14

August 24th, 2014

Little Gems official launch:  Moonstone

Little Gems - Moonstone 2014

Little Gems – Moonstone 2014

Cover design:  Sheridan Kent

Contest winners:

Josephine Brown—The Minstrel’s Trial
Rowena Candlish—Minnie’s Year Of Living
Rowena Candlish—Jake’s Best Friend
Heidi Catherine—My Moonstone Love
N.F. David—Luna and the Moonstone
Fiona Greene—The Moonstone Legacy
Jennifer Hoff—The Farewell Letter
Fiona Kekic—The Heart Surgeon
Linda Knightley—Moonlight On Water
D.D. Line—Moonstone Hill
Patricia Poppenbeek—Catch Of the Day
Anne Prince—The Real Thing
Michelle Skidmore—Moonstruck
P.J. Vye—The Girl Who Refused To Marry

Little Gems Anthology 2014 – Moonstone is available now


Breakout 3: Revision & Self-Editing: James Scott Bell – RWAuS14

August 24th, 2014

Revision and Self-Editing for Publication (2nd edition) James Scott Bell


No manuscript is ever submitted exactly the same as it will be published – revisions will be required.   Just accept that.

Have a strategic approach to revision to make it consistent and easier.

Robert Heinlein’s 2 rules for writing

1.  You must write
2.  You must finish what you write

You will learn the most about writing a novel by making yourself complete one – and learning how to fix things

JSB’s corollary: 

3.   You must learn your craft as you write

eg  Read books on writing and craft, go to conferences, learn technique


 JSB rule:

don’t bore the reader


Breakout 2: The Inside Story: Valerie Parv – RWAus14

August 16th, 2014

Australian auther Valerie Parv is an international best seller, who has sold more than 29 million books.  She writes primarily for Harlequin / Mills & Boone, however she has also written a few books on the art and craft of writing.  I have the revised 2004 edition of The Art of Writing Romance, and also Heart and Craft, which is a collaboration by some of Australia and New Zealand’s top romance authors.  I have found them both interesting and informative books – the way some of them describe their personal writing process is hilarious.

Valerie Parv also has an annual writing award that was established in her name in 1999.  Contestants have to submit the first 10,000 words of a novel, and a 1,000 word synopsis of a romance or romantic elements novel.  The winner is mentored by Valerie for a year, and nearly all the winner have gone on to have top selling books.  She is incredibly generous with her expertise and her time, and often runs workshops at the RWA annual conference.  This was her workshop for the RWA 2014 conference.


How to Draw Your Readers into Your Fictional World 

When you are on facebook, you have a feed of comments and images.  You think that everyone you know sees the same thing, but in fact they have a completely different experience.   Likewise, when you write, you think readers are going to experience the story exactly the way you meant it.  But they will take different elements away from it.


How can we get our readers to see our world exactly the way we intended.  It doesn’t have to be identical, because as long as they are reading they are part of the experience.  However there are techniques to allow readers to get as close as possible to the way we envisaged our story.    Five techniques are detailed below:


Breakout 1: Small town secrets: Jenn J. McLeod – RWAus14

August 15th, 2014

Jenn J. McLeod is an Australian author, who writes rural romance set in small towns.

This is the first time she has presented a panel, and although I am not particularly interested in RuRo myself, I thought the topic looked interesting for someone writing crime or thriller stories.  The secrets part features highly in those, and I am always interested in how these can be presented.  And I admit it, I got flashbacks to reading Miss Marple stories, which were usually set in small country towns.

The panel was very interesting, and hopefully I will be able to incorporate some of these elements into my story.   I also picked up Jenn’s book House for all Seasons, the first book in a tetrology.  It is a chance to find out if she knows what she is talking about (so far so good!)


Welcome to Friction Farm –  get ready to: 

  • seed some stories
  • plant some plot twists
  • foster some friction

Rural fiction is changing to a broader readership

There has been a shift away from poetic portrayals of country life

  • lots of personalities
  • potential for conflict


Why small towns work in novels:

if someone new comes to town, people know about it

if something changes, people know about it

if there is a scandal, people know about it

~ Juliet Maddison


Publishing Q&A: Panel discussion – RWAus14

August 13th, 2014

Panel participants:

Joel Naoum – Acquiring Editor, Pan Macmillan

Alex Adsett – Agent, Alex Adsett Publishing Services

Lucienne Driver  – Agent, Knight Agency

Kate Byrne – Senior Commissioning Editor for Headline Publishing Group’s romance imprint, Headline Eternal, in the UK

Jim Azevedo – marketing director at Smashwords


Questions submitted:

What’s hot, what’s not, and what’s the next big thing? 

Joel – could be anything, they publish what they like.  Not after really Australian focused stories atm (international stories).  Particularly looking for new adult, erotic romance, contemporary romance, regency romance, paranormal and sci-fi/fantasy.

Alex – seeing a lot of motorcycle stuff.  everything genre, particularly after sci-fi romance and crime romance

Lucienne – young adult are looking for edgy, contemporary, non paranormal.   Personally likes edgy, but there are agents within the Knight Agency there are people who take sweet

Kate – contemporary going well.  Paranormal and suspense

Jim – romance dominates smashwords, currently 7 of top 10 are romance.  70+ of top 100 are romance.  Recent top list had 25 romances, 7 from Australia.  Write what you want to write


More questions below (more…)

Harlequin: editorial spotlight – RWAus14

August 13th, 2014

An information session by Harlequin representatives:

Malle Vallick – Director of Digital Content & Interactivity

Flo Nicol – Acquiring Editor Harlequin International

Kate Cuthbert – Acquiring Editor, Escape Publishing

Sue Brockhoff – Acquiring Editor, Harlequin Australia


Sue started, giving an overview of Harlequin in Australia – this year is 40 years of publishing in Australia for Harlequin / Mills & Boone

Currently looking for:

  • Harlequin Mira
  • historical
  • sagas
  • contemporary


Escape – digital imprint

Have published 197 titles in 2 years (Kate Cuthbert publisher)

Including Rita nominee Frances Houston

Some will also be in printed version


The other presents are below


RSS Feed