Monday 26 October 2020

The Anthology Love Affair

By Jayne Kingsley


Months ago—pre-Covid—a group of authors sat down over a bottle of fizz and an idea was born. One that involved a yacht, New Year’s Eve and a mystery benefactor. 


Next week (November 1) Love & Fireworks: A New Year’s Eve romance anthology will be out in the world and boy was it fun to write this anthology with some of my fantastic and fabulous author pals. 

I thought for my blog I’d share insight from each of us into why we all loved writing this anthology together. 



First up: Anna Foxkirk


“Let's start with the fact that being asked to contribute to this anthology felt like an act of inclusion, extending the hand of friendship. Last year, I was supposed to contribute to Christmas on Hope Street, but for a number of personal reasons, which I won't bore you with, I couldn't. I was therefore beyond thrilled when they offered me a second chance. Ever since meeting at the RWA conference in Brisbane in 2017, we've gelled so well as a group, and I feel nothing but gratitude for having met these authors, for their support and the joy of having become part of this writing crew.


The actual process of writing and reading others' work, giving feedback and editing the Love and Fireworks anthology became a bonding of writers, a real team effort. I immediately loved the premise - a mega party on a mega yacht on New Year's Eve. So exciting, I could envisage the fireworks already! When I sat down to write, the story flowed, as if it had been tailor-made for me to write - that is such a zen moment for a writer! An additional bonus was the opportunity this experience gave me to learn from Jayne, Megan, Stella and Marianne, in terms of studying their writing craft, but also benefitting from their savvy and know-how as self-published authors - as someone just embarking on a self-publishing career, boy, I have a whole lot to learn! 


Last but not least, working on this anthology has meant sharing the hard work needed to produce a book. That's no mean feat and I feel incredibly proud to have been even a small part of this collaborative effort. With less than a week to go, I can't wait to sing and shout about Love and Fireworks, but even more wonderful is that instead of celebrating solo, it's a shared joy, effectively a party!” 


If you want to find out more about Anna Foxkirk and her upcoming works of fiction check out her website: or follow her on Instagram:



Megan Mayfair


I enjoy working in collaboration with others, and the give and take to make sure that all the stories work as individual romances, but also as part of a broader theme. Having five stories all set around the same yacht party definitely involved some creative problem solving and negotiation, but it was such fun to work out those small details like the size of the yacht or the details around the countdown to create, hopefully, a consistent and fun read to ring in the new year with.”


If you want to find out more about Megan Mayfair and her upcoming works of fiction check out her website: or follow her on Instagram:



Marianne Bayliss


“I’ve had stories published in four anthologies. I enjoy writing to a theme and joining in with multiple authors to achieve a common goal, which is to produce a high-quality product that reaches as many readers as possible.


The Love and Fireworks anthology was a collaborative process with my writing group. This is the second anthology we’ve written – the first was Christmas on Hope Street – and this, like our first, was a passion project. I loved working on these two anthologies. The excitement as we brainstormed the concept, nutted out details and fine-tuned the words was infectious and united us more. We each drew on our individual skill sets to contribute to the book, whether it be editing, formatting,

proofreading or promotion and cheered each other on as the deadlines approached. 


This all-in method is a lovely way to work if you have trustworthy, reliable, supportive collaborators. I’m so fortunate that I do have such writers in my wonderful writing group. They make working together to produce a beautiful book an absolute delight.”


If you want to find out more about Marianne Bayliss and her upcoming works of fiction check out her website:



Stella Quinn


“Some anthologies are grouped together around a loose concept, like regency Christmas romance, or valentine's day. Others -- such as our Love and Fireworks anthology -- have a specific event or cast of characters which need to be included. These anthologies are the type I enjoy writing for, as the collaboration process is so fun!


The collaboration process also means you have to employ a little writerly discipline. You cannot let your characters be in charge, you have to make them fit the premise of the anthology, which can feel a little like having to create jigsaw pieces out of words.”


If you want to find out more about Stella Quinn and her upcoming works of fiction check out her website: or follow her on Instagram:



Jayne Kingsley


Lastly – me! I love reading anthologies, particularly ones based around a theme, so writing one was an absolute joy. To be able to write with some of my closest author friends is such a pleasure and a privilege. I also feel it takes the pressure off in some ways as you don’t feel so alone with your story (which often writing can be). 


Plus writing about New Year’s Eve and finding love aboard a glamour filled yacht was just plain fun!



So how about you? Do you like reading Anthologies? If you’re an author do you like writing anthologies with friends?


I love to love... the sound of rain falling outside whilst I’m cosy inside with a good book

I love to laugh... with my friends over our typos (ice cub anyone?)

I love to learn... how to make giant paper flowers

Monday 19 October 2020

What I Love About Being a Romance Author!

       By Alyssa J. Montgomery

The World of Romance Writing: How do I love thee, let me count the ways...

Even with some downs among the ups, my life’s been pretty darned good. It’s been made all the richer by being a romance author. Being a published author is the realisation of a dream and I think a fabulous lesson for my kids to see that I kept at it and with perseverance, the dream became a reality. And, there are so many great things about this element of my life that I probably can’t even think of them all but I’m going to list five broad areas that make this gig so great.

1.      Friendship – The romance community is wonderful. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with a group of up-beat, positive people who all love a HEA ending and who are able to empathise because they feel deeply?
I don’t know of a single romance author who doesn’t feel for another author who has a rejection letter or who doesn’t feel a sense of elation knowing that a fellow writer has got ‘the call’. I’ve made fantastic friendships with romance readers and authors both in Australia and internationally and it’s been a great journey. The RWAustralia conference, ARRA events and the Booklovers Convention are highlights on my annual calendar.

      2.      Escapism – After a busy clinical day as a speech pathologist, often working with children who have severely delayed speech and language/communication development, I love to escape by reading or writing a romance. As a reader, it’s that guaranteed feel good HEA ending and as a writer it’s holding the magic wand (or keyboard!). I can control the outcome for my characters and I know that no matter what hardships they face, I’m going to wave the wand and give them their deserved happiness.

    It’s a great creative outlet and a lot of fun.

3.      Satisfaction – How satisfying it is to see a story take shape, to come up with some sassy dialogue, some satisfying sex, a resolution to a problem that seemed insurmountable? Then there’s the thrill of having a story accepted for publication, the unveiling of the cover, the reviews and ... the sales!!
Just knowing that someone is out there reading the story is satisfying but when readers take the time to write and tell me they’ve enjoyed the story/series and can’t wait for the next release, or that they were able to lose themselves in one of my stories during a particularly challenging life event they were facing, makes me very happy.

It’s also been amazing and something of a thrill to see that the stories are being read in so many different countries of the world.

4.      Development – Having mentioned reviews above, yes most are satisfying. Even the reviewers who don’t like the story can leave reviews that are satisfying IF they lead to development. I’ve had some great comments from reviewers that might have been a negative, but that I take on board, weigh up, and – often – I can see their point of view and try to tighten up my writing as a result.
It’s been really satisfying for me to have the opportunity to develop as a writer through critique groups/partners, working with professional editors, attending workshops etc. I really enjoy the opportunity to revise a story and make it stronger.

5.      Giving Back – I’ve already mentioned how supportive the romance writing community has been to me, and now as a published author with fifteen titles under my belt, I’m at the stage where I feel I can offer support and some critiques to other authors. I loved presenting a workshop for the South Coast Writer’s Centre last year on plotting and am more than happy to help other writers in any way I can – particularly if it helps them achieve their publication dream.
I’ve also managed to turn two book launches into fundraisers – for the South Coast Autism School and for the Queensland Eye Institute.

    What do you like about being a writer? 

Love to love everything about this romance writing part of my life.

Love to learn how to develop my skills as a writer.

Love to laugh with all my friends in the romance community.

STOP PRESS: Alyssa's next title, "Five Dates with the Billionaire" is scheduled for release from Escape Publishing on the 4th of November.

Monday 12 October 2020

RWA – Where Would We Be Without You?

 By Marilyn Forsyth

A month or so ago a question was posed on the RWA Community Facebook page that really had me thinking. That question was: What has been the most useful part of your RWA membership? 

I jotted down my immediate thoughts then started reading through all the other responses (in hope of having come up with something original to add to the comments. Am I the only one who does that??). 

Anyway, as I read, two things became obvious. Firstly, there is no way to define just one thing as the most useful part of belonging to the RWA. Secondly, the RWA is absolutely and totally an indispensable organisation for all writers – aspiring, emerging or established. 

Here are some of the comments that struck a chord with me... 

Nina Campbell responded with ‘Finding my tribe’. It wasn’t until I joined RWA (and learned that the Breathless in the Bush writing group was looking for new members) that I realised there was a whole community of people out there experiencing the same things I was going through in my writing life. Who knew?? 

As Elisabeth Rose put it, ‘the support of like-minded people (is) where RWA is so strong.’ 

Another wonderful thing RWA provides is ‘the collective wisdom that everyone is happy to share’, as mentioned by Bree Vreedenburgh, No matter what stage of the writing journey you’re on, there will be something you can either contribute to, or learn from the RWA Facebook Community discussions. 

Buy link

‘The generosity of established authors to newbies(is) amazing,’ Nicole Flockton pointed out, and I couldn’t agree more, having been on the receiving end of all manner of advice from some of the most well-known Aussie romance authors. But it’s not only about the support of peers and established authors, it’s also about ‘most importantly, the friendships’, as Immy Moore reflected. 

Some of my tightest friendships are with the lovely people I’ve met over the years through RWA and, like Renee Dahlia-Geelen commented, ‘being able to talk about genre romance to people who get it and aren’t going to snicker about porn’ is a wonderful thing. 

On yet another level, the work that RWA puts into providing ‘enormous support and education possibilities for emerging and aspiring writers’ (Pamela Freeman) is exceptional. Heidi Wessman Kneale agrees, citing ‘levelling up in my skills, not just in the craft, but in marketing and more’, as among the most useful results of her membership. The monthly OWLs (Online Writing Labs) are well-priced and so worthwhile. OWLs 

Lisa Ireland wrote, ‘the opportunity to pitch directly to agents and publishers directly led to my first contract’. It was the same for me. Thank you, Sue Brockhoff, for believing in the potential of The Farmers Perfect Match and taking it to the team at Harlequin MIRA.

Last but not least, Leisl Leighton nominated ‘the two Cs – contest and conferences’ as her picks. Entering (many) contests and taking onboard the feedback enabled me to get my first book published. A dream come true! 

As for conferences – they’d have to be the highlight of every RWA member’s year; an unequalled opportunity for professional development. Sadly, this year we didn’t get to mix in person with our tribe or the stalwarts of our industry, but what a mammoth effort the conference team put in to make sure the online conference was a triumph. Huge congrats to you all! 

Thank you, RWA, not only for all you have done for me personally, but for all you’ve given to those of us chasing the goal to be published. Where would we be without you?? 

What do you love about being a member of RWAus?

Love to Love being a member of RWAus. Click on the link for more info RWAus

Love to Laugh at the black humour of Fargo, the series (available on SBS On Demand). 

Love to Learn that there is light at the end of the tunnel after a hip operation. I won’t say it’s been easy, but I know it’ll be worth it in the long run.

Monday 5 October 2020

Romance Settings - Marooned and Trapped

Romance novels where the hero and heroine are unexpectedly isolated, often as the result of a disaster have always intrigued me. Each character's strengths and flaws are highlighted as they battle against the odds, sometimes struggling for their very survival. Such dramatic circumstances can lead to a love unlike any other.

Withering Hope by Layla Hagen

The light plane Tristan Bress is flying crashes in the Amazon jungle. Aimee, the only passenger, was on her way to her wedding in Brazil. Tristan has a traumatic past which he struggles to hide, however it has prepared him far better for survival in the jungle than Aimee's legal career. Tristan and Aimee must learn to work together in a hostile environment where there is no option, but to constantly watch each other's backs.

Stranded With Her Ex by Jill Sorenson

Daniela Flores, conservation biologist, suffered anxiety attacks following a major car crash. The trauma she experienced exacerbated the communication problems in her marriage eventually leading to divorce. Daniela is thrilled to have the chance to work with a group of researchers on the wild Farallan Islands. This is a chance to prove to herself that she has recovered, and to get her career back on track. She is shocked to discover her ex-husband Sean is a last minute addition to the research team. Sean's experience and expertise makes him more valuable to the team, but Daniela is determined to stay. There is a growing air of menace on the island as progressively more terrifying things befall the small group. Sean is determined to protect Daniela at all costs.

Not Your Prince Charming by Kate Johnson

Princess Elizabeth (Eliza) gives her security team the slip while holidaying in the Caribbean. She escapes to a private party where she is drugged then kidnapped. Xavier Rivera is working undercover on the boat where Eliza is trapped. He frees her, then persuades her to jump overboard and climb into a life raft. They drift to a tropical island where they must learn to survive.

Do you enjoy novels with a marooned and trapped premise? What is your favourite setting for such novels?

I love to love walking on the beach.

I love to laugh at the Vicar of Dibley.


I love to learn and embrace new challenges.