Monday, 16 September 2019

Why You Should Consider Entering a Writing Competition… or Two

By Kristine Charles

September brings with it many things.

Spring. Footy finals. My birthday (yay!).

And the start of the Romance Writers of Australia competition season.

RWA rips in with the Ripping Start… (for which, full disclosure, I am the Contest Coordinator) but before you start moaning at me about dreaded third judges and why you have no time to enter competitions, here are three reasons why entering competitions is good for you.

Discipline and Deadlines

Entering a competition means you have to manage your work into the required format. Margins, spacing, number of words and section of work. You may have to prepare a synopsis to requirements (SHUDDER!) or write a short set-up to a specified word count. This is all designed – generally speaking – to replicate publisher submission requirements, and managing word processing software is a skill we all can master (if you haven’t – there are plenty of videos online to assist). These are important skills to have if you’re going to make it in the publishing world.

A contest also has a deadline. Submit by your deadline or you won’t be able to enter the competition. Simples. A little like meeting a contract deadline… right?

Fabulous Feedback

Yeah, yeah, we all know about the dreaded third judge. That one judge who just hated your work and completely tanked your average score. We’ve all met them.

But, in every cloud there’s a silver lining.

In entering a competition, you’ll generally (although not always) get feedback from a number of judges. And often even the feedback from the meanest of judges will leave you with at least one pearl of wisdom that makes your writing better.

You get to decide what feedback to take on board and what you sacrifice via burning to appease your writing muse – but getting feedback on your writing from people who don’t know you (and therefore won’t just say it’s AMAZING) can be useful.

As an aside, most competitions are always on the lookout for judges and, while you clearly can’t judge in a competition you have entered, volunteering to judge is a great way of dipping your toe into contest waters and seeing what they’re like. So, if you’re not quite ready to give a competition a go, consider volunteering as a judge first.

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner

Yes, winner. Because you might win. And then you get to add ‘AWARD WINNER’ to your bio. Doesn’t that sound nice?

You also might not win, and that’s okay, because you gave it a shot. You’ve also done some work on your discipline, and you’ve got some fabulous feedback to consider.

So… which competitions will you enter this year? Let us know below.

Kristine Charles is the newest member of Breathless in the Bush and writes sexy tales where coffee (and red wine) is abundant, designer shoes and handbags are cheap, chocolate has no calories and men always put the toilet seat down. Find her at or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I love to love… coffee.

I love to laugh… at dad jokes and gutter humour.

I love to learn… about the many ways to tell a story.

Monday, 9 September 2019

Romance Across Time: The Tudors

The Tudor Period
The Tudor Period spans the years between 1485 and 1603, commencing with the reign of King Henry VII, and concluding with the death of Queen Elizabeth I. It was a time of great rivalry amongst those who sought the English throne. This caused the royal family to live in the White Tower, within the grounds of the Tower of London. The fortifications afforded them great protection. Prisoners were housed, and often tortured, in other buildings within the tower precinct. The Reformation also dominates this time period, the change from Catholicism to Protestantism creating its own tensions.
This is an incredible period in history offering countless opportunities for authors to write captivating historical romance novels.

Much Ado About Marriage by Karen Hawkins

Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Rotherwood attempts to break into a castle on the Isle of Mull, Scotland. He is on Queen Elizabeth’s business. Thomas encounters the laird's cousin, Fia, who is doing some thieving of her own. He feels a powerful attraction towards her, but given her clothes and behaviour, Thomas fails to realise she is a lady. More than anything, Fia desires to go to London to become a playwright. She asks Thomas to be her patron. He agrees, not realising Fia wants assistance with her writing ambitions. Thomas assumes she is offering to become his mistress. After Thomas and Fia flee, they are caught kissing by the laird and forced to marry. The developing romance between these strong, independent, forthright characters is a joy to read.

The Other Countess by Eve Edwards

Lady Eleanor Rodriguez, known as Ellie, is impoverished. Her father frittered away the Earl of Dorset's family fortune, and his own, trying to turn lead into gold. The earl goes to the court of Queen Elizabeth I, hoping to repair his finances through marriage, only to find that Ellie, and her father, now reside there. The earl and Ellie are attracted to one another, but their attraction can go nowhere. The earl must marry a lady with considerable wealth, and Ellie refuses to ruin the happiness of his mother and sisters by following her heart.

 The White Princess by Philippa Gregory

King Henry VII wins his crown by killing King Richard III in battle. Winning the hearts and minds of the English people proves much harder. He marries Elizabeth of York to try to appease the powerful House of York, and further cement his position. Elizabeth loved Richard, but has no choice in the matter. Love grows, then the pressure of ruling without public support, and governing in a treason-filled world, drives Henry near paranoia. This historic novel with romantic elements is a real page turner.

Have you read any historical romances set in the Tudor period? Which one was your favourite?

I love to love family time.
I love to laugh while reading romance novels.
I love to learn more about the craft of writing.

Monday, 2 September 2019

5 Characteristics of a romance Heroine

by Cassandra Samuels

I've heard this rumour that behind every great man there is a great woman. In romance this isn't a rumour it's a fact. So let's have a look at what makes a great heroine.

Definition: a heroine is admired for her courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.

In romance, the heroine has to be someone you can relate to, someone you want to find a love worthy of her good heart.

A sense of humour: How else is she going to put up with the games that the hero will put her through?
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A sense of her own fallibility: She will mistakes. sometimes they will be little faux pas and other times they could almost be catastrophic. However, if she is the kind of heroine we can get behind she has to be able to admit she was wrong.

A sense of caring and or nuturing: Of course she needs to be someone who cares about others, often before herself. Someone who can care for the hero even when he is being a bit of a goose. She will inately know he is worth the effort.

A sense of passion: Passion for life, causes, family and, well, the hero - that's a given.
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A sense of cleverness: I mean who wants a heroine that is TSTL (Too silly to live). She has to be able to go head to head with the hero, even trump him now and then. She will often have her own dreams, plans and plots and that is what will keep the hero and the reader interested in her.

What do you look for in a great romance heroine?

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Love to Love  Finding out I am having a baby granddaughter in January

Love to Laugh at my grandsons singing "we will, we will, rock you."

Love to Learn: wonderful tips and tricks from the RWAustralia conference.