Breakout Speakers

Saturday Breakout Session One

1. Dealing with Author Overwhelm in the Digital Age (SPA Girls)

Feeling overwhelmed? Panicked? Like you don’t have enough time in the day to do everything you need to do? Don’t worry, author overwhelm is a common and not-so-surprising side-effect of the Indie lifestyle. Join the SPA Girls for an informative, honest and often hilarious look inside our publishing lives, and learn tips and techniques for creating focus and setting the right kind of goals for you and your writing career so that you can stop feeling panicked and get back to writing.

Speaker BioSPA Girls
The SPA Girls (SPA = Self Publishing Authors) is the code name for four Indie authors who are trekking together through the brave new frontiers of self publishing. Trudi Jaye, Wendy Vella, and Cheryl Phipps run a weekly podcast talking about self publishing best practice (www.spagirlspodcast.com), where we interview guests, talk about our own successes and failures in the self publishing world, give tips and advice based on what we’ve learned, and generally try to help people just starting out on the self publishing journey. We’re keen to help other authors take the first step on this exciting and rewarding self-publishing adventure!

2. How to Inject Emotional Punch Through Pacing

In key scenes where plot and story are established, where tension builds or romance blossoms, we as authors need to focus on choosing the appropriate pacing to bring emotional punch, to ensure our characters feel every skerrick of emotion, draw out every ounce of tension, and make our readers enthralled.

This workshop will help you dissect emotional beats to determine appropriate pacing and focus on how to draw out the tension between your protagonists. Finding the right balance, slowing things down to focus on the minutiae or ratcheting things up to a knife’s edge, will not only enhance your writing but will have your readers begging for more.

Speaker Bio: Cassandra Dean and Lucy Clark


Cassandra Dean is an international, best-selling author in a variety of genres, including historical romance and erotic romance. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Communication Studies & Professional Writing) and is an Editor with Decadent Publishing. Cassandra has presented workshops at various State, National and International conferences and lectures regularly at the SA Writers’ Centre and was a finalist in the coveted R*BY award in 2016.

Lucy Clark is an international, multi-published author of over 65 romance novels. She has over 20 years industry experience and holds a Master of Arts (Writing & Literature). Lucy tutors in English at university and will commence her Ph.D. in 2017. Lucy has conducted workshops and tutorials at State, National and International levels, has finalled multiple times in writing competitions and was awarded the coveted R*BY award in 2014.

3. Getting Out of the Slush Pile.

Manuscripts in the slush pile do eventually get read, but most get rejected. Anne Gracie will share some real editor feedback on a variety of submissions, and outline some ways you can maximise your chances of getting out of the slush pile—in a good way.

Speaker Bio: Anne Gracie

Australian Anne Gracie started her first novel writing by hand in notebooks while backpacking solo around the world. Hooked on Georgette Heyer from the age of eleven, Regency-era historical romance was a natural choice. Now a best-selling, multi award-winning author, Anne has written more than twenty books, which have been translated into more than eighteen languages, including Japanese manga editions (which she thinks is very cool.)

4. The Hidden Traps of a Writers On-line Platform

There are some many different elements that can go into forming an on-line platform, but there are many traps that writers are not aware of. Are your cross-platform posts missing the text? Are you missing the photos? Were you hit with charges you never expected when you had setup that website? Are you leaking your personal contact details across the web without even knowing it? Have you inadvertently given out your personal profile on Facebook?

In this session, you’ll learn about many of the hidden traps of building an on-line writer’s platform and how to avoid them. Learn about the real costs of a custom domain and how to protect your private contact information. Learn about the differences between a Facebook profile and a Facebook page and how to avoid those annoying “Friends Request.” Learn how to cross-post across different social media sites without looking like a dweeb who can’t complete a sentence. At the end of the day, it’s about protecting yourself and your reputation.

Speaker Bio: Judy L. Mohr


Kiwi Judy L Mohr is a writer of fantasy and science fiction with strong thriller roots. She is also a freelance editor with Black Wolf Editorial Services, working on projects from writers around the world. When she isn’t writing, editing or doing something for writing within the local community, she is hosting her own radio show about science, Conversations in Science, on KLRN Radio. Whether it is through her editorial work, the science show, or her other activities, one thing is clear: she loves sharing her knowledge and imagination with the world.

Saturday Breakout Session Two

1. How to Write a Blurb that Sells or a Query Letter that Gets a Request

As readers we’re familiar with back cover teasers. Our bookshelves are full of them. We should know how to write one. So why are they so hard? Gracie offers some easy steps to guide you through the process of making blurbs flow and most importantly sell! Take these tools and tips and use them to develop that killer query letter.

Speaker Bio: Gracie O’Neil

Gracie O’Neil is a romantic suspense author and a long time member of RWNZ. Her work has won the Romance Writers of New Zealand Clendon Readers’ Choice Award, and the Mainstream with Romantic Elements Category NTRW Great Expectations Competition.

She loves making sure the villain gets what’s coming to him and the heroine gets her ‘happy-ever-after’. You can find her most mornings at her local cafe drinking cappuccino and working on her next book.

2. Panel: My Strategy for Successful Self-Publishing

A question and answer session discussing how three RWNZ members have made a success of self-publishing. What strategies did they adopt and how to keep up with the times.

Speaker Bio’s: Tracey Alvarez, Wendy Vella, Serenity Woods (Faye Robertson), and Bronwen Evans (also moderator)

Fuelled by copious amounts of coffee, USA Today bestselling author Tracey Alvarez writes steamy but heart-warming contemporary romances set in New Zealand. Her two series, DUE SOUTH and FAR NORTH, both focus on small coastal towns, close communities, and family.

 

With 21 books published, best-selling author Wendy Vella’s passion for romance novels has grown stronger with every new release. She has multiple ideas running through her head at all times, and loves writing strong heroes and feisty heroines. Humour is her trademark, and mix that with sensuality and intrigue and you have a book that will keep you turning the page until the end. Wendy writes, contemporary, Regency, and historical paranormal romances.

Faye Robertson writes as USA Today bestselling author Serenity Woods. She lives in the sub-tropical Northland of New Zealand and writes hot and sultry contemporary romances inspired by the beautiful weather and her gorgeous surroundings.

USA Today bestselling author and current RWNZ President, Bronwen Evans grew up loving books. She writes both historical and contemporary sexy romances for the modern woman who likes intelligent, spirited heroines, and compassionate alpha heroes. Evans is a three-time winner of the RomCon Readers’ Crown and has been nominated for an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award. She lives in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand with her dogs Brandy and Duke.

3. Keeping Them in Suspense

Harlequin editor Allison Carroll joins award-winning authors Frances Housden and Brynn Kelly to share their secrets for keeping your readers hanging on your every scene, in a panel discussion. They’ll help you learn tools and tricks for building suspense with every element of your story and bring it all together for an explosive climax. While the emphasis will be on the broad subgenre that is romantic suspense, the tips will help writers of any genre hook readers and keep them turning pages way after bedtime. Because, after all, every romance is about the suspen—.

Speaker Bio’s: Brynn Kelly, Frances Housden, and Harlequin editor Allison Carroll

Brynn Kelly writes high-octane romantic suspense for Harlequin’s HQN imprint. RT Book Reviews has named her a “hot new talent” in romantic suspense, New York Times bestselling author Carla Neggers called her debut, Deception Island, “romantic suspense at its best”, and New York Times bestselling author Karen Robards called her latest novel, Edge of Truth, “a breathtaking romantic thriller”. Brynn has won the Pacific Hearts and Valerie Parv awards, and was a finalist in the Golden Heart. She spent two decades as a journalist, copywriter and manuscript copy editor in New Zealand, Australia and the UK and wrote four non-fiction books before becoming a full-time novelist. See www.brynnkelly.com.

Rita-nominated author Frances Housden was first published in contemporary romantic suspense and even now that she has become immersed in writing Scottish medieval romance, the element of suspense always creeps back into her books—a feature she hopes her readers enjoy as much as she does. Although she now lives at New Zealand, at the other end of the earth from the Scotland where she was born, her memories of the Scottish history that surrounded her while growing up feature in her books. See www.franceshousden.com.

Allison Carroll – Associate Editor HQN Books and Graydon House Books
Allison Carroll is a Montana transplant who once upon a time packed all her belongings in a U-Haul and drove cross-country to NYC. Her introduction to publishing began at Dorchester Publishing in 2009 and continued at Macmillan’s Heroes and Heartbreakers. Allison joined the Harlequin family in 2012 as part of the Desire and Romantic Suspense Series teams, before transitioning to HQN and Graydon House, where she’s worked with such authors as NYT bestseller Jeaniene Frost, NYT bestseller Brenda Jackson, NYT bestseller Gena Showalter, Golden Heart nominee Brynn Kelly, USA TODA bestseller Christie Ridgeway, NYT bestseller Kasey Michaels, and more. Allison is actively acquiring for HQN and Graydon House. Feel free to follow her @AllisonPCarroll.

4. Grand Designs – Discovering the Building Blocks of Story. (New to mid-level.)

Storytelling is in our DNA. Whether our stories have been painted on cave walls or told around the hearth or read in printed or digital media, they are part of our foundation, an inherent human need. Modern stories have grown out of the myths, legends and folktales of our ancestors.

This workshop will look at how these traditional tales were structured and how modern stories follow similar patterns. We will then look at how this knowledge can be used to create or strengthen our own stories. This workshop is suitable for beginner writers in all genre, and especially useful for romance writing.

Speaker Bio’s: Kathy Derrick

Kathy Derrick lives in Kerikeri, Northland. She trained as an engineer but, after starting her family, decided to explore a different set of building blocks and turned to writing. Kathy teaches Myth, Legend and Folk Tale, and History of Literature courses for the Northtec Applied Writing Diploma. She has also organised and presented at a number of workshops and conferences for the Northland branch of NZSA, including the highly successful NorthWrite 2012, 2014 and 2105 workshop series. Kathy has over twenty years’ experience as a writer and is currently studying for a Masters of Creative Writing through the University of Edinburgh.

Sunday Breakout Session One

1. The Nuts and Bolts of Scrivener – Part One.

Scrivener is a word-processing package designed specifically for writers. What’s better, it’s affordable. However, for some, Scrivener can be overwhelming to start. This practical workshop will take you through the steps needed to get started, from writing a new manuscript through to compiling into a format suitable for submission to an agent/editor. You’ll learn about some of the common pitfalls and how to avoid them.

This is a practical workshop. It is expected that ALL participants have their own laptops with Scrivener installed. However, there is no need to purchase the software now; trial versions are great for those just starting.

Speaker Bio: Judy L. Mohr

 

Kiwi Judy L Mohr is a writer of fantasy and science fiction with strong thriller roots. She is also a freelance editor with Black Wolf Editorial Services, working on projects from writers around the world. When she isn’t writing, editing or doing something for writing within the local community, she is hosting her own radio show about science, Conversations in Science, on KLRN Radio. Whether it is through her editorial work, the science show, or her other activities, one thing is clear: she loves sharing her knowledge and imagination with the world.

2. GEORGETTE HEYER: HOW SHE WROTE HER REGENCY NOVELS

An international bestseller in her lifetime, 43 years after her death Georgette Heyer still sells in the millions. Her most famous books, her Regency novels, are written in apparently effortless prose but, like most authors, Heyer found writing hard. This workshop will discuss Heyer’s writing process and research and explain how she brought the Regency to life with examples from her novels.

Speaker Bio: Jennifer Kloester

Jennifer Kloester first read Georgette Heyer’s novels while living in the jungle in Papua New Guinea and re-read them while living in the desert in Bahrain. Heyer‘s books inspired a love of historical romance fiction. In 2004 Jennifer completed a Doctorate on Georgette Heyer and her Regency Novels. Since then she has travelled widely, researching Heyer’s life. She has given talks on Heyer around the world including at Romance Writers of America and Romance Writers of Australia and is delighted to be speaking at Romance Writers of New Zealand. She is the author of Georgette Heyer’s Regency World and Georgette Heyer: Biography of a Bestseller and two YA novels, The Cinderella Moment and The Rapunzel Dilemma published by Penguin. Her new contemporary novel, Jane Austen’s Ghost, will be published in 2018.

3. Beyond Plot – what is your story about?

They say that a human body can survive 3 weeks without food, 3 days without water, and 3 minutes without oxygen. So how long can a human mind survive when bored? How long can a reader stick with a book that doesn’t carry any meaning?

Meaning is more than goal, motivation and conflict. It’s beyond the plot or the theme. Meaning is how the plot affects the protagonist and how it impacts on the reader’s life.

Don’t kill your story with an empty plot. Come to this workshop to discover techniques that help you translate “First this happened and then that happened” into four-dimensional reader experiences.

Speaker Bio: Yvonne Walus

Yvonne Walus is a member Romance Writers of New Zealand and the Crime Writers Association in UK. She writes, you guessed it, romance (under the pen name Eve Summers) and crime fiction (under her own name). Her work is available as paperbacks as well as e-books. Some of her stories were lucky enough to be finalists in the annual Chapter Short Story competition. Yvonne is also a mother, a wife, a slave to two cats and a master to one dog.

4. Creating Reader Engagement

When readers come across authors who make them care, they will return to those authors’ books again and again. The most successful writers create this relationship, not through constant social networking, but in the way they write, in the worlds they build, and the characters they create. Anne Gracie explores techniques that make readers engage with a text, and care.

Speaker Bio: Anne Gracie

Australian Anne Gracie started her first novel writing by hand in notebooks while backpacking solo around the world. Hooked on Georgette Heyer from the age of eleven, Regency-era historical romance was a natural choice. Now a best-selling, multi award-winning author, Anne has written more than twenty books, which have been translated into more than eighteen languages, including Japanese manga editions (which she thinks is very cool.)

Sunday Breakout Session Two

1. The Nuts and Bolts of Scrivener – Part Two.

Scrivener is a word-processing package designed specifically for writers. What’s better, it’s affordable. However, for some, Scrivener can be overwhelming to start. This practical workshop will take you through the steps needed to get started, from writing a new manuscript through to compiling into a format suitable for submission to an agent/editor. You’ll learn about some of the common pitfalls and how to avoid them.

This is a practical workshop. It is expected that ALL participants have their own laptops with Scrivener installed. However, there is no need to purchase the software now; trial versions are great for those just starting.

Speaker Bio: Judy L. Mohr

Kiwi Judy L Mohr is a writer of fantasy and science fiction with strong thriller roots. She is also a freelance editor with Black Wolf Editorial Services, working on projects from writers around the world. When she isn’t writing, editing or doing something for writing within the local community, she is hosting her own radio show about science, Conversations in Science, on KLRN Radio. Whether it is through her editorial work, the science show, or her other activities, one thing is clear: she loves sharing her knowledge and imagination with the world.

2. Introducing Christian Romance – the biggest genre you’ve never heard of.

Romance is one of the most popular genres in the US-driven Christian fiction market, but many New Zealand authors—even Christian authors—don’t know it exists. This session will:

  • Introduce authors to the Christian fiction genre and the CBA market.
  • Highlight the main Christian fiction imprints and publishers.
  • Consider how Christian fiction (and especially Christian romance) differs from general market fiction.
  • Discuss Christian vs. inspirational vs. crossover fiction, and the emerging trends for ‘clean reads’ and ‘edgy Christian fiction.’

Participants will be offered a free e-copy of the 2017 edition of Christian Fiction: A Guide to 100+ Christian Fiction Publishers.

Speaker Bio: Iola Goulton

Iola Goulton is a reader, writer, reviewer, and freelance editor.

She is a prolific reader, and reviews over 100 Christian novels a year on her blog, Iola’s Christian Reads. In 2016, she won the novella section of the Genesis Contest run by American Christian Fiction Writers, the leading organisation for Christian fiction writers.

Iola edits Christian fiction for published and aspiring authors from New Zealand, Australia, and further afield: she has worked with clients from Ghana to Greece. Editing combines her professional background and personal interests.

She holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in marketing and has over twenty years’ experience in human resources. She is a married mother of two living in the sunny Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. She plays the horn in the local Brass Band, and attends an independent evangelical church.

3. Making a Scene – every scene has to earn its space on the page.

To come….

Speaker Bio: Kylie Scott

Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013 & 2014, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet.

4. When the Hobby Becomes a Job – how to write four or more books a year and still love writing.

Moving the Hobby to the Career isn’t easy. Add the pressure to produce and it’s enough to quit before you start. The Workshop contains suggestions and tools which you can utilise to balance the needs of your writing dreams with the needs of your writing job. The workshop will detail:

  • Goals, Plans and Scheduling
  • Planning your book: genres, tropes, trends
  • Outlining your book : different outline methods
  • Tools for writing/outlining/planning
  • Writing. And Writing Fast – Loving edits even if you hate it
  • Self-editing, Editors & Proofreading
  • Series and regular output
  • Maintaining release schedules
  • Cross Promotion, Newsletters and ARC readers
  • Advertising: Should I, shouldn’t I?
  • Rinse & Repeat

Speaker Bio: T. G. Ayer

Tee is a Kiwi (of South African origin) author whose passion for strong females and ability to spin a fairly decent sentence, has resulted in over 27 published titles spanning 3 pen names and over 5 genres. Tee’s alter ego, Toni Vallan, writes Psychological Horror and Suspense. Writing since 2010, Tee lives in Auckland, Middle Earth. She loves the beach, and her readers, is a nerd, and a geek, hates crowds, and sings like Adele (only in her head). If she could grow up to be Wonder Woman she’d die happy.

She’s blessed with 2 almost fully-grown girls, and a husband who plays just the right amount of golf to maintain the peace. Most days, Tee can be found typing away at her laptop, creating more words.

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