I know I'm in my own little world, but it's OK.
They know me here...


Saturday, July 30, 2011


Some of my highlights from the Orlando, Florida conference last year...

Meeting Joss Ware aka Colleen Gleeson
Literacy Signing - so big!

The Jumbotron TV screens

RWNZ & RWAussies celebrating

At the Pikabu...

Darynda Jones awarded me my Golden Heart
Theme Parks galore!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Who's That Girl? with Toni Kenyon

We have a British Kiwi visiting today! Please make Toni feel right at home.

Hi Kylie, thanks for having me ‘over the pond’.

Name? Toni Kenyon.

Where are you? I live in Auckland, New Zealand – the semi winterless north. :-)  I have been here since my parents emigrated from England when I was nine years old.  I have to admit that the recent Royal Wedding had me hankering for the ‘olde country’.

How many years have you been a member of RWNZ? I joined RWNZ back in …. um …. 2003.   Gosh, has it been that long! I had to go and check the RWNZ Clendon Award results page on Barbara’s Books webpage to work that out.

I was a member of RWAustralia back when Donald Maass came to your conference in Melbourne.  I hope to rejoin soon.

What genre do you write?  I write women’s fiction, that oftentimes has a dark and/or erotic vein.

Who are your favourite authors?  Jodi Picoult, Anne Rice, Alice Sebold, Jean M Auel, Sebastian Faulks, Virginia Andrews, Stephen King, Diana Gabaldon, Karina Bliss and an even more eclectic list of erotica authors, a lot of whom go by the name of ‘anonymous’.

What inspired you to write romance?  LOL.  I’m the writer who often gets score sheets back from competitions telling me that, ‘… this is not a romance…”.  But putting that to one side, I think I fell in love with romance as a young adult, reading my mum’s Catherine Cookson collection.

There’s something special about a happy ever after and some security in knowing that at the end of the book, I’m going to have an attack of the warm fuzzies and know that these two people I have fallen in love with are going to have a safe and secure future together.  Although I get a satisfactory ending with a lot of the material I choose to read, I don’t always get the emotional satisfaction of a HEA.

Who's your dream agent and dream publisher? Harlequin.  I continue to be blown away by their support for their writers and their marketing savvy.  I’m hoping for the perfect agent match, but I’m not prepared to admit who I’m stalking at the moment. :-)

What's the best thing about going to conference?  Networking.  Meeting amazing like-minded people whose eyes don’t glaze over when you start talking about plot points, character arcs or goal, motivation and conflict. 

And lastly, finish these statements... 
My greatest strength as a writer is... my characters – they talk to me.  I have no choice but to write their stories. 
A sexy hero needs... chest hair.
My latest WIP (work in progress) is about... a woman fighting for the right to have her deceased husband’s children. 
When I write I like to... write in small 200 to 300 word stints.  I’m like a Meercat, I need to pop my head up (and out of the story) to check on the ‘real world’ around me. 
My best writing milestone to date is... to have an editor and an agent say that they will look at anything that I write. 

Thanks so much, Toni, for answering my questions!
You can visit Toni at her website or follow her on Facebook.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Debut Author's take on self-publishing...

Bronwen Evans over at Regency Seductions, has posted a thought provoking piece on "A Debut Author's take on self-publishing...".

If you're a debut author, an author yet to break into the industry, or anyone following the whole self-publishing/traditional publishing debate, this is a must read!

Monday, July 25, 2011


I headed across the Tasman Sea to the land of the Long White Cloud to interview Romance Writers' of New Zealand's founding member - Jean Drew, aka Jean Adams.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Originally from England, I now live in New Zealand, where I've lived for more years than I care to remember.

Writing is my passion and I've had five books published, with the sixth due any day. Book number seven is in the pipeline, with eight, nine, ten and eleven still in the WIP stage but getting closer and work on each of them for fifteen minutes each day. It's amazing how much you can accomplish with 15 minutes focused time.

My second passion is ancient Egypt, so naturally three of the books are set there. Can't wait to see them in print. :-)

Oh, Egypt is a place I'd love to travel to - it's been on my Bucket List for so many years. I loved studying ancient Egyptian history!

When did you start to write and how long did it take you to be published?
I started half-heartedly dabbling in writing many moons ago, when I fancied myself to be the next Agatha Christie. Unfortunately, the plots didn't pan out the way they should have. It was a long time before I started writing again and by them I had discovered romance.

It was love at first read and I've never looked back. It took a while to get published but it was worth the wait. A brief hiatus a couple of years ago almost saw me chuck it away. Thank goodness I didn't. That break away has strengthenend my passion.

Are you a pantster, scener, or plotter? Is it your characters or plot that influence you most?
I'm definitely a plotter but I didn't used to be. I was once a pantser but the stories went off at tangents that I couldn't control and my books ended up twice the size they should have been. It wasn't until I went to an RWAmerica conference that I found out that most people plot. What a revelation! Totally freeing. The characters are my greatest influence.

Can you tell us about your latest release?
THE FIRES OF PASSION, the second book in the Patiki Bay series, (the first was YESTERDAY'S DREAMS released in January 2011) is about a jaded New York jeweller, Blaize Hathaway. For his own reasons, Blaize despises rich women. Then he meets the heroine, Kimberley Holland, who challenges every belief he's ever held about rich women, and he's hooked.

Just once in her life, every woman should know a man like Blaize Hathaway.

When Kimberley Holland shrugs off her family and relocates to the other side of the world, she never imagines she'll find herself alone with a drop-dead gorgeous stranger who threatens her new-found freedom. His touch leaves her questioning far more than her good breeding, and leaves her hungry for the man. Her grandmother's wise words encourage her that life is meant to be lived with passion -- but is one week long enough?

Blaize Hathaway despises wealthy women. They are predators who prey on ambitious young men with pockets full of dreams but no money. Then he meets well-bred Kimberley who challenges all his beliefs. By the time he realizes she's different, he's in well over his head.

Yet before Blaize can surrender to the fires of passion, he must escape the torments of a darkened past. Will he find the peace he yearns for, or will he be too late?

What is it about your characters that made you want to tell their stories?
I didn't tell their story. They did.

What’s the most unusual place you have visited?
It has to be Egypt.

Which book that you’ve read has made a lasting impression on you? And why?
Ah, an easy question. Without doubt FLOWERS FROM THE STORM by Laura Kinsale. That book had such a profound effect on me that I couldn't write, or read anything else, for two weeks.

If you weren’t doing what you do today, what other job would you have?
Archaeologist in Egypt or Britain.

What’s next for you? What are you working on?
Another two contemporaries are in the pipeline, but I am also working on DAUGHTERS OF EGYPT, a trilogy set, guess where, ancient Egypt. :) One is finished and "resting" while I work on the other two.

Do you have any advice/handy tips/craft skills you’d like to share with unpublished authors?
Read, read, read. Never give up, and never let anyone who doesn't understand the genre, read your work. They'll put you crook.

Jean, thank you so much for joining me here on my blog today! If you'd like to find out more about Jean, check out her website or her publishers - The Wild Rose Press or Highland Press.

Some of Jean's other books:

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Here's a little teaser of what to expect at conference...

Meet other delegates...
Great venues...

Attend an author signing...
Win an award...

Dress up for the cocktail party...
Buy a book or two...

Meet old friends...
Fantastic food...
Cheer friends on at the dinner...
Aspire to join the finalists next year...
Take home a prize or two...

Celebrate achievements...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bec Skrabl - a book deal and an agent!

A huge shout out for my fellow BILD'er (Book in 50 Days), Bec Skrabl who has crossed over into the world of publishing! Yay!

Bec is now represented by Jessica Faust of BookEnds LLC, and and she's secured a 3-book deal with Sourcebooks. Woohoo!

Bec writes paranormal romance , and the book that caught their eye was The Devil of Whitechapel, a steampunk novel.

Congratulations, Bec!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Who's That Girl? interview with Tyree Connor

We're headed to the beautiful Waikato region in New Zealand (think LOTR Hobbiton-like country side) to grill...umm, my latest guest. 

Name? Tyree Connor.
Where do you live? In the North Waikato regions of New Zealand.
How long have you been a member of RWNZ? Since 2008.
What genre/s do you write in? Paranormal/Urban Fantasy and Medical (weird combination but it works for me lol).
What's your current writing project? A gladiator UF (urban fantasy) and a shapeshifter paranormal.
Have you entered any writing competitions? Yes. RWNZ and RWA comps.
Have you found them to be helpful? They're brilliant for straight-up feedback (both positive and negative). I've finalled in a few and placed first in a couple. The other bonus is if you make a final you tend to end up on an editor or agent desk. That's why I presently have a full paranormal ms under scrutiny at Berkley.
Apple, PC, longhand or other?  I use an Asus Eee PC - it fits in my handbag and goes everywhere.
Name your top 5 authors you like to meet, have lunch with and ask questions of about writing - Stephen King, Patricia Briggs, Cassandra Clare, Joanne Rowling, Christine Feehan.
Do you have any routines or things you do to keep motivated when writing? I keep up with writer blogs that inspire me and, if my typing is stilted, I get in the spa and think about my characters for an hour or more. If I could find a waterproof computer I'd be in heaven.
Name one hobby you love doing and would be unlikely to ever give up - RnR Dancing. I've competed, judged and coached nationally for over 20 years and dancing with my husband to a bluesy tune is the most romantic thing I know.
And lastly, finish these statements...
The actor I would most like to see play one of my heroes is
...Mr J Depp.
The beautiful Waikato region, NZ
My favourite childhood toy was...a tape deck (I'd tape all my sisters records and listen to them in my room for hours).
The best thing about writing is...foreshadowing that looks clever and; worst - cutting a scene I love.
Two things I would pack if I were going to an isolated holiday destination...books and computer (that was an easy question!)
Three goals I've set myself for this year...two completed single title ms, one completed HMB medical, six short stories - and FIND an agent.

Tyree, thanks for being here!
Anyone interested in finding out more about Tyree, visit her blogsite.

Monday, July 18, 2011


I'm excited to introduce my next guest as she's a fellow SFRBrigader.

As a child Ella read books under the covers with a flashlight. There she found a special love of elves, dragons, and knights. Now that she's found her own knight in shining armor and happily ever after, she loves to write tales of fantasy, hot enough to scorch the sheets. No flashlight needed.

Without further ado, please welcome, Ella!

Can you tell us a little about yourself? A southerner transplanted to New England, I’m a reading fanatic, I love to research, and I wrangle kids during the day. Writing is a large portion of my life outside of my family and all of that has direct bearing on what I write.

When did you start to write and how long did it take you to be published? I started writing when I had my last child in 2006 and signed my first contract for a novella, WOLF-BITTEN, published in 2009 by digital publisher Cobblestone Press.

What sparks your creativity? Nearly everything! I am like all authors and have my weakness, but having ideas is not one of them. Nearly anything can spark something for me. From seeing a glimpse of a red teddy (led to SCENT OF CIN) to the smell of gas when I was at the gas station (WOLF-BITTEN). 

What do you think it is about your genre that readers find so fascinating? I think what’s so fascinating about SF/F is that taking an idea that’s mundane and running with it. In paranormal, it’s the attraction of what’s different from human. Or, the taking a portion of humanity and making it bigger than life. As far as romance goes, it’s making characters you want to know, someone who can sweep you off your feet, and give you that happy ending. 

Are you a pantster, scener, or plotter? Is it your characters or plot that influence you most? What’s your writing process from start to finish when writing a book? This isn’t as easy to answer as it could be. I have different writing processes, usually depending on the length of the story. If it’s a short story, I might write it all by the seat of my pants. If it’s longer, I’m all over the place.

Frequently, I write three chapters or so with a spark of initial idea. Then I stop to outline, plot, and research. As for characters or plot, it depends! The origin for a story may be the plot, as with SILVER BOUND, but it never takes off until the characters come to me. I have an upcoming release, a post-apocalyptic romance yet to be announced, which started all with the hero’s character. 

Can you tell us about your latest release? My latest release is JAQ'S HARP, a futuristic retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk released in digital by Carina Press and audio by Audible.com. (more about that world, below).

In a world of floating islands and bio-engineered beans, the bad guys are taken down by agents of the Mother organization—agents like Jacqueline “Jaq” Robinson. Instead of accepting her next routine assignment, she sets out on a mission of her own—to destroy Giant Corp, the company responsible for her sister’s wasting illness. Jaq must steal her cure from Giant’s headquarters high above the city…even though she’ll be brought face-to-face with Harper English, the man who left her to go deep undercover at Giant.

For Harp, Jaq had been a distraction the mercenary thought he couldn’t afford. But once he sees her again, Harp knows he’s made a mistake. Even though she vowed he won’t have her again, it’s clear they still have a powerful attraction. Harp’s determined to get a second chance with Jaq—if they can escape Giant Corp and get back to solid ground in one piece...

What is it about your characters that made you want to tell their stories? Their uniqueness is what drives me to tell the story. That, and they’re fun! 

Can you share a few fun facts about the geographic locations where your novel takes place? The universe for JAQ'S HARP, and continued in BRAIDED SILK (coming soon) is fascinating for me to visualize.
It’s a futuristic world where the city is as large as a small continent, the smog blocks the sky, the poor and working class live on the ground, and the rich on flying islands above the smog. A spy organization, Mother, has agents who sort of police those flying islands. All that is told from the vantage point of fairy-tales of our own past, Jack and the Beanstalk and in BRAIDED SILK, Rapunzel.

What was the easiest and hardest parts about writing the book? My process might be all over the place, but the hard part is usually the same thing. It’s when there’s something about a character that isn’t working quite right. Forcing a character slows me down quite a bit.

What’s the worst writing mistake that taught you a valuable lesson? This is difficult to get into, but my worst writing mistake was in trying to make a point in a subtle way in a story and failing that miserably. It didn’t come off.
What I’ve learned is that if I want to make a point, as I frequently do is my Science Fiction Romance, then I need to just make the point and forget the subtlety. Embrace the message, or something like that.

What’s the most unusual place you have visited? I could say many things here, I think. I’ve visited caves. I went out in a swamp where the alligators roamed. I toured a military base in a behind the scenes kind of way.
I’ve been to New Zealand, which is unusual for Americans, but not so unusual, really. I loved it all.

Which book that you’ve read has made a lasting impression on you? And why? Linnea Sinclair’s GAMES OF COMMAND because the world-building is so real I felt like I was there and would love to be in that world.

Do you have a pet that keeps you company when you write? No pets, but I do have children!

If you weren’t doing what you do today, what other job would you have? I’d go back to website development. Once a geek, always a geek!

Are there any particular settings or sorts of characters you’d like to use in a future book? Cyberpunk! I've been working on a cyberpunk setting that I'd like to delve into more.

What’s next for you? What are you working on? I’m polishing up a space opera, nearly done with the Silver Bound sequel, and have about a dozen other stories on the backburner.

Do you have any advice/handy tips/craft skills you’d like to share with unpublished authors? Write down all your ideas, even if you think they won't work for whatever reason. You never know when that tidbit will work in a new story of its own or can add to something you're working on.

Ella, thanks for joining me here today. It's been great having you visit and thanks for sharing so much about yourself. 

Ella Drake is a dark paranormal and science fiction romance author. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, her blog & Goodreads.

Her Science Fiction Romance, Braided Silk is coming soon. Currently available SFR: Silver Bound, Jaq’s Harp, & Firestorm on E’Terra.

And paranormal: The Forbidden Chamber, Wolf-Bitten, and Scent of Cin.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS 3: Roll out the red carpet...for Awards Night

Whether you attend the Academy Awards of romance writing (aka the RWAmerica Awards night), the Aussie or New Zealand awards dinners, you'll be in for a wonderful few hours of showcasing the best our organisations have to offer.

RWA Emerald:ST winner - Alli Withers
The RWAustralia Awards dinner can be celebrated by anywhere between 100-150 people and you sign up to a table prior to the night. Sometime during the Saturday you'll be reminded by our MC that if you're going to the dinner to put your name on a table-sign in sheet.

If you don't know anyone, just pick a table and put your name on it. You'll get to know them before the night is over.

RWA R*BY Award - Sharon Archer
This is the night we showcase our unpublished finalists in the swag of contests run throughout the year (culminating in the RWA Valerie Parv Award, and Emerald Awards for category and single title) as well as our published authors (with the R*BY Awards), media award and Lynne Wilding Meritorious Service Award.

The awards are announced and handed out between each course of the meal. And (my favourite part) is towards the end when people are asked to stand up and acknowledge our personal achievements (started by Anne Gracie), whether it be finishing their first book, to entering a contest, to submitting a manuscript or getting that elusive contract!

RWNZ Clendon winner - Chris Weston
This format is similar to the RWNZ Awards dinner. There's usually a 'theme' to come dressed to though - last year it was a fantasy theme. The highlight of the night is the RWNZ Clendon Award for unpublished writers & the Clendon Readers' Choice Award.

The number attending tends to be a little smaller (anywhere between 70-100) but this makes for a very intimate and special setting and you get up close and personal with our special guests and finalists.
Clendon Readers' Choice - Michelle de Rooy

At RWAmerica, prepared to be blown away by the sheer size of the night - glamor and glitz, red carpet style presentations, jumbo-tron TV screens so the 2000 strong audience of fellow writers, published authors, agents, editors and other officials can see everything that goes on up on stage, the RITA's, the Golden Heart presentations, etc.etc.

If you're lucky enough to be a RITA or Golden Heart finalist you get to sit at a table right at the front accompanied by one special guest, usually at a table mixed with other finalists and industry professionals.
RWAmerica Awards night
Whichever awards dinner you go to, be prepared to dress up and celebrate the romance genre and those who have done well in contests, publishing, promoting romance and volunteering to make our organisations the best they can be.

Roll out the red carpet...and celebrate romance!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Galactic Burn

Happy Release Day GALACTIC BURN!

My fellow DarkSider and friend, Mel Teshco celebrates her latest release from Ellora's Cave - woohoo!

Here's the "rather hot" blurb:

Humans have been almost wiped out. Only a few females are recovering from the devastation. The same deadly virus annihilated the female population of a mighty alien nation and their three kings—Dar, Ezra and Maddox—are looking for one special female, Lillian, to capture and seduce.
Though Lillian survived, she has no memory and struggles with the fact that three alien men have become her lovers. One by one, they take her, make her burn for release and satisfy her every sexual need. She craves their touches, their kisses, their comforting embraces while forming strong emotional bonds with each. Lillian is falling for her sexy aliens and agrees to become their life mate in a special ceremony—her three males will make love to Lillian as all the surviving alien males watch.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Who's That Girl? interview with Tina Marie Clark

Strapped into my blog hotseat is a fellow Romance Writer of Australia member. Please welcome, Tina Marie!
Name? Tina Marie Clark.

Tina Marie Clark is the coordinator for the CYA Conference, held annually in Brisbane, Australia. She began CYA Conference in 2006 and CYA Conference has grown to be one of the premier events on the Children’s Young Adult Writing and Illustrating calendar, and will be held on 10th & 11th September 2011. 

Where do you live?
Beautiful Bribie Island, Queensland, Australia.

How long have you been a member of our organisation?
RWAustralia Since 2004, RWAmerica only since 2009. 

What genre/s do you write in?
Children’s (published) , YA, Women’s fiction, Series romance. 

What's your current writing project?
Besides coordinating the CYA Conference, I am completing an edit on a women’s fiction. Its one of those books that have taken forever, and gone on a l-o-n-g journey on its way to the end.

I pitched it in Washington in 2009, then after learning so much at that conference I held onto it, didn’t send ‘fulls’ as requested. I felt it needed more work…and I like to believe I was right.

I did RWA 5DI 2010 (Five Days Intensive), and had the wonderful Fiona Brand as my mentor. The edits and rearrangement of the book are almost completed. So it's a tad late for the request that I got back in ‘09 – but hopefully the editors and agents will forgive the delay… 

Basically the story line is: Ashley, an Australian woman, falls in love with a Zimbabwean rancher, and the book is her journey to understanding how the lives of the white Decker family intertwine with the black Ndhlovu family, and their co-dependents on each other. 

Have you entered any writing competitions? Have you found them to be helpful?
I was entering the RWAustralia competitions, and found the feedback very useful and the comments always encouraging.

I did get into the second round of the RWA:Emerald a few years back, which was exciting, but I never made the finals. I entered one or two American competitions, because they were online submissions, and didn’t place or anything there.

From previous competitions comments, I found that this particular book I’m working on doesn’t fit into the typical RWA mold, so it was no use using the competition to gauge how it was coming along as I did when I was writing category books previously. My aim is to get it finished before 5DI in July this year…only a short time left to achieve that one. 

Apple, PC, longhand or other?
Definitely Apple. Mini on the desk, Pro in the laptop case, iphone4 in the hand bag and use of ipad whenever I can ‘steal’ it from hubby and the kids..oh and of course, another ipod in the car just for music and listening to podcasts. 

Name your top 5 authors you like to meet, have lunch with and ask questions of about writing.
Mmm, you didn’t say they had to still be alive so...Dr. Seuss & David Eddings.

Tina (in white) meeting J.D.Robb
The living but unobtainable:  J.K. Rowling.

Those I have met but would love to have more time with to talk to: Nora Roberts, & Janet Evanovich.

I know a wide and varied bunch, but that's my reading style too, any and everything gets read, from comics to epic fantasy series. 

Do you have any routines or things you do to keep motivated when writing?
Routines and I are so not friends. If it wasn’t for my boys having to be at school, we probably wouldn’t have much of a routine at all. But because my life is busy, I have to find  time to write or it doesn’t happen. I have found that the term ‘have lap top will travel’ best fits me as I can work wherever. I sit in the library, at school, at maccas, in the car, anywhere there is room for my laptop and write while I wait for the kids… this ‘free’ time away from my desk is wonderful as I don’t get bogged down in administration items for CYA Conference, its just me and my keyboard.

Keeping motivated, well this book has been a WIP for probably around 8 years now, and I’m still trying to get it right, so I think that I am naturally motivated to finish something that I start. Do I want the book done and dusted? Of course.

Am I still interested in writing the book? No. The writing for me was the fun part, the editing part kills me and takes longer than the writing ever did. But I know I need both done to get a publishable novel.

Actually, I have small ritual that I do when I am writing all over the countryside…I have my themed music on my ipod so I can listen to it and block out the world. But strangely enough, when I work at my desk at home, its often in silence, just me and my story.

I am also motivated to keep writing because of CYA Conference.  I see so many people getting published because of some small way that CYA Conference touched their lives, and I have so many beautiful book babies on my shelf from those people, that its hard not to keep the dream of another book with your name on it on the shelf  alive and well.

Name one hobby you love doing and would be unlikely to ever give up (writing not included).
Gardening. I adore my garden, and growing flowers, propagating plants and spreading the love of it by sharing plants with neighbours. There is something so satisfying about looking out your window, and seeing a beautiful garden, and knowing that you have nurtured those plants from sticks or seeds to the magnificent plants they are now. 

Tina & Cimarron
And lastly, finish these statements...
The actor I would most like to see play one of my heroes is... Morgan Freeman.
My favourite childhood toy was...  my horse Cimarron.
The worst thing about writing is... it takes so much time to serve your apprenticeship before seeing results.
Two things I would pack if I were going to an isolated holiday destination... my hubby and my laptop, in that order!
Three goals I've set myself for this year... 1. Finish this edit by July’s 5DI. 2. Finish another category book 3. Make more time for writing.

You can find Tina on her website, her CYA Conference website, her personal Facebook page and Facebook - CYA Conference page.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Go BILD'ers Go!

This is a huge shout-out for my incredible writing buddies on the BILD loop (Book in 50 Days).

We're a dedicated, supportive bunch of published and unpublished writers from Australia, UK and NZ who've been helping each other achieve our goals and cheering each other on as we reach certain milestones.

And this week and a bit has certainly been cause for celebration. Why?

Well, just check out this list of accomplishments...
We've been dancing and celebrating as the news kept coming in. I'm so proud to be a part of this group!

So, congratulations to these wonderful ladies - Bec S., Michelle deR., Kendra D., Soraya L., Kris P., Thilo G., Tracey A. and Sue W.!