Monthly Archives: August 2013

#RWAus13 Riding the Waves… Day 2

Sunday 18th August

It’s 7am and I’ve been up an hour on Facebook enjoying all the chatter with fellow RWA members who it seems, like myself, thoroughly enjoyed the events of yesterday, including the Awards Night.

Last night’s event was remarkable. The Southern Cross Ballroom was fabulously presented with tables all decked out with Baci Chocolates [the official sponsors of the event], glittering gems, and bottles of champagne and delicious pastries. The tables were all lit by overhead blue lights and the effect was awesome – perfect to set the mood.

Fremantle 029 Fremantle 027

Have to get ready for today’s events so will pick this up later.

It’s now 6pm. The conference is finished, but what an incredible day it was. Starting at 8.30am with the usual introductions and address by the sponsors: Harlequin, the day began with “Survivor: Submission Island”. Writers were invited to submit anonymously the first three pages of a novel whether it was finished or not. The submission was read by an independent reader to a panel who would listen and either ask for the piece to be “Stopped” or request to hear “More”. Several entries were read in the hour allotted to this event; some writers were fortunate, others weren’t; and some like me didn’t get their submission read at all. In a way it was a disappointment as I would have liked to hear the panels’ comments; but also it was a relief, as after attending the various workshops the previous day I felt my work would need drastic revision. The one thing however was that the exercise has inspired me to work at the novella and finish it, rather than hiding behind the excuse that “I’m stuck”. The comments made by the panel were a treasure trove of invaluable tips and expectations.

Two of the workshops I attended were specifically chosen to help me achieve this goal:

  1. Learning about the power in detail and how it can enhance your story. How the use of descriptive language can make your manuscript come alive to the reader, drawing attention to the vividness of written images to allow your creativity to become alive.
  2. Using set multiple targets from start to end to achieve your goal and thus allowing the writer to map out a scene and help in the development of the characters.

As an added bonus the second workshop used visual examples and we were treated to a scene from “Gone with the Wind” – superb!!

The third workshop, which was actually timed in between the above two, was centred on Self-Publishing, and even though I have already done such five times over, I was still keen to find out from the panel of bestselling authors their experiences and views. The general consensus had a positive vibe for Indie publishing, such as through Smashwords and/or Amazon. Overall the opinion was in getting the book ready for publication: ensuring the work is first looked at by a reputable editor and that a well-designed cover is attained for the book. Furthermore, it was strongly advised for the manuscript to be reviewed by a critiquing group so that when presenting to an editor some of the work may have already been done thus reducing the time spent and hence minimising the costs.

In the end it is your work and it should be of a quality and feel-good standard to make you comfortable when unleashing it upon your readers. Your name is on the cover: you have invested hard work, time, energy and love in recounting a tale to be proud of. It is in your interest to spend money in ensuring the writing is up to scratch and that a quality cover makes your creation stand out from all the rest. For me, I am forever grateful to Judy Bullard at Custom EBook Covers for the fabulous work she has created for my books.

As the conference wound down we were treated to a pre-view of the 2014 Conference which is to be held at the Novotel Olympic Park, Sydney between the 7th and 10th August. We can’t wait!!

Meanwhile though it was nice to finish off the evening by going out to dinner with five of the new friends I made during this weekend. Then to crown it, as I entered the elevator to go up to my room, I found myself sharing it with Bestselling Author Nina Bruhns who is also Senior Editor for Entangled Publishing. As she was amongst the panel of the self-publishing workshop I took the opportunity of thanking her for the invaluable insights given. In turn she asked what I write and having mentioned my genre is mainly historical romance and historical adventure, she remarked that she would love to read my work and to consider approaching Entangled Publishing. What better incentive can anyone be given to finish one’s book and see where it leads?

Perhaps this time next year I might be honoured by having one of my works accepted by a third-party publishing house and thus fulfilling a personal ambition.

RLB – Tomewriter



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Riding the Waves… #RWAus13

Not sure about “Riding” more like “Floating” and the “waves” seemed rather choppy when walking around this morning at around 5.30 Fremantle time. Whose idea was it to start on Cointreau Spitzer’s??

There was I thinking it was going to be a quiet evening not knowing anyone at the Romance Writers of Australia [RWA] Conference Cocktail Party last night [Friday 16th August]. I should have known, being out numbered, the female members of the RWA were not going to let someone sit in a corner getting inēbriātus all by himself.

I suppose what did not help was getting up at 2.45am yesterday morning to get ready to depart for the airport [my flight was at 7am]. Too early for breakfast I made do with a MacDonald’s egg & bacon muffin and a poor excuse for a coffee when I arrived at Terminal 2. The breakfast served by Virgin once we were airborne was a trifle better. By the time I arrived in Perth I was starving. The taxi driver, a nice chap, drove me to the hotel and gave me a breakdown of his life history. Very interesting… could be a book in it!!

Fremantle 001

Arriving at the hotel – The Esplanade by Rydges at around 11.00am the room wasn’t ready, no big deal. I made my way to the bar and had a nice cold beer and ordered a beef burger. It was delicious and it set me up for the rest of the day. By the time I had finished eating, the room was ready – quite pleasant, although the view leaves a lot to be desired: a nondescript street with a backpacker’s hotel and lots of trees.

After attempting to have a nana nap I gave up after a couple of hours at staring at the walls and decided on a little TV before getting ready for the Cocktail Party.

As I said before, where I thought I would be standing in a corner like a spare part, I was welcomed into the fold by some very charming people and made to feel I belonged. Copious amounts of red wine and rats on sticks also helped the evening along, and when it all “ended” at around 10.30pm a few of us decided it was too early and continued our delightful discussions at the Promenade Bar. As the night progressed, and the Cointreau Spitzer’s began, I started to being referred to by my pen name, which in a way seemed appropriate in the circumstances. It was also suggested that at the next conference [Sydney 2014] my name tag should be as “Louise Roberts” and not “Robert Borg”.

Saturday 17th August

I would have thought that after such a long and tiring day [PLUS all that booze last night] I would sleep forever – no such luck. Being still on Sydney time I was up at 5.30am. Having made myself a cuppa I started writing this blog, abandoning it after an hour so I could get ready for the day to start.

… And so it began: From around 8am right through to 4.30pm it was an intense day with a few well-placed breaks and lunch. Having had a large breakfast I opted for a very small lunch, so I am now enjoying a very nice chicken pizza courtesy of room service [it is 6.00pm and will need to think about getting ready in an hour or so for the Gala Awards evening at 8.30pm]. I was going to go out for dinner, but it’s raining and I didn’t bring a rain jacket or umbrella. No big deal. This is just as good, and at least I’m writing, which is quite apt when you think about it.

The conference began with a keynote address by the number 1 New York Times bestselling author, Julia Quinn. This was followed by an address made by the conference sponsors, Harlequin; and a panel discussion of the various paths open to authors to third-party publications. This was of particular interest to me as I am still on tenterhooks waiting to hear back for my submission of my historical saga with romantic interludes: The Sword and the Rose. When told that one can wait up to 90 days for an answer as priority is given to novels which have been submitted by agents, I can now understand why I am still waiting since submitting it in mid-May!! So fingers and toes remain crossed.

During the rest of the day I learnt of the importance of an Alpha Male: Hero or Hole and thought about my own Alpha male characters reflecting on their “hero” status and found at times that perhaps they sometimes “slipped” from Hero to Hole…

The presentation was hosted by Paula Roe [ ] and Shannon Curtis [ ] who gave a most informative and enjoyable session.

Later I listened to Julia Quinn give invaluable tips for effective dialogue for one’s characters, and the do’s and don’ts to watch out for.

Finally USA Today bestselling author Maisey Yates provided a workshop to improve ways of increasing productivity in writing novels. It made me shudder when she stated that writing a book in six weeks was too slow for her… 6 weeks is too slow?? Try 6+ months!!

I really must pull my finger out if I’m going to get my novella finished this year. As she said, I must stop making excuses for not getting the job done. I suppose if I take anything away with me from this conference it is Maisey’s sound advice of setting a daily word count goal to get passed the mental blocks, and switch the internet off!! I must admit the latter is my downfall; as when I switch on the computer the first thing I do is check my emails, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn; by then it’s either too late to start writing or I’m too exhausted as another day is over.

Time Check: 7.00pm. It’s time to sign off and start to get ready for this evening’s festivities; and to look forward to tomorrow…

RLB – Tomewriter

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Romance Writers of Australia Conference 17th-18th August 2013

On Friday 16th August I shall be flying out to Perth to attend a conference being run by Romance Writers of Australia [RWA]. I have been a member for two years and this is the first time I will be attending. I didn’t go last year because I was heading off to France. I am looking forward to the event and also to see Fremantle which is where the conference is being held [at the Esplanade Hotel by Rydges]. The conference agenda appears to be full on and it will be nice to meet up with some of my fellow authors with whom I have been “talking to” on Facebook and the RWA discussion group site. The conference is for two days Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th, and I shall be returning to Sydney on the Monday so I can be home for my birthday on Tuesday 20th August.

What I thought I would do, and will be doing, to coincide with the RWA conference and in celebration of my birthday, I will be reducing the price of my romance novel Beneath Southern Stars to $0.99 cents from midnight on the 15th through to midnight on the 20th [Australian time]. You can either link to the Smashwords page through the relevant page in this blog or by clicking on the following link:

Beneath Southern Stars

I will be reporting on the conference when I get back and will be adding some photos of Fremantle.

RLB – Tomewriter

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