Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The Essence of Attraction – Part One

When you write a romance novel, the attraction between the hero and heroine needs to crackle off the pages in order to drive the story forward. So how do you set about creating this sort of chemistry?

An important aspect of attraction is mystery… the hero and the heroine need to spend time wondering about each other. A good way to create mystery in a novel is to have short, sparkling scenes of dialogue between the hero and heroine, interspersed with scenes where the main characters reflect about their interactions with the other person. The more they wonder about each other and try and figure each other out, the more they will become attracted to each other.

Another important aspect of attraction is desire… in order to keep the desire building between the hero and heroine, you should create obstacles between them that need to be overcome. This applies particularly to the hero of a novel, because the more he has to work for the heroine, the more he will appreciate her. Heroes in romance novels are often Alpha Males, who have the world (and most women) at their feet. That’s why it’s so important for men of this ilk to work hard for the heroine because heroes who have it all need to be shaken out of their complacency if they’re ever to fall properly in love.

The third important aspect of attraction is confidence… even if you’ve created a shy, retiring female character she needs to have some element of confidence in herself if she is ever to be a believable romantic heroine. If a heroine has no self-belief, it will be hard for the reader to believe in her and her love for the hero – it’ll appear to be a wishy-washy kind of thing without form or substance. The hero also needs to portray confidence in a romantic relationship so that the heroine (and the reader!) will fall in love with him. Just as a man leads a woman when they are dancing, in the same way, a man’s confidence will either sweep a woman off her feet if it is present or cause her (and the romance) to stumble if it is not.

In my next post, I will elaborate on other important elements of attraction, which are vital for a romance to be believable.



Thursday, December 19, 2019

Two Things Every Christmas Romance Needs



Last year this time, I had two Christmas romances out. I'm writing another Christmas romance this month. All of these things have fooled me into thinking I’m an expert on Christmas romances. (I absolutely know I’m not, but it’s better for this post if I pretend to be.) So today, I’m sharing two things every Christmas romance should have!

The Christmas Thing
As you can tell from the descriptive title of this paragraph, I truly am expert on Christmas ;-) Seriously though, I’ve used the vague term thing because Christmas means different things to people around the world. For the most part, people associate Christmas with snow. Cue the romances with beautiful white covers and mistletoe kisses.

But let me tell you – this doesn’t mean anything in my part of the world. Snow is rare in South Africa, and mistletoe is only something we see in movies. Which means that my Christmas thing is different to the more traditional Christmas romances. To clarify (although honestly, how much clearer than a thing can I be?), your Christmas romance should have something that makes your readers feel like it’s Christmas. In HER FESTIVE FLIRTATION, that thing is my hero and heroine decorating a Christmas tree together. In A WEDDING ONE CHRISTMAS, it's a Christmas parade and a Nativity play. Make sure you have it, and your Christmas romance is closer to being just that.

The Christmas Kiss
Christmas Kisses are a Thing, okay? Despite the fact that there’s no mistletoe in South Africa. But mistletoe is a really good way of introducing the Christmas Kiss, and it’s a fan favourite. So, if it’s a thing where you live, go for it! But if it isn’t, you still have to embrace the Christmas Kiss. It’s that magical kiss that seems like it’s made possible by the festive season. The moment the Christmas lights go on and the couple realise it’s Christmas and the attraction flares. Or when the hero buys the perfect Christmas present for the heroine and the emotion builds.

You have to make your reader feel like it’s Christmas, and these are two easy ways to do so!

From the ROSA Blog Team, we're wishing all our ROSA members (and everyone else!) a very happy festive season!

You can find Therese Beharrie on Twitter or Facebook!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

ROSA's 2020 Cape Retreat

Date: 28-29 March 2020

Venue: Set within the heart of the Cape Winelands between Somerset West and Stellenbosch, Klein Welmoed Wine & Olive Estate offers breathtaking views, luxurious accommodation, and tranquil surroundings.

The retreat: Two full days of fun, informative and inspiring talks and workshops, networking and writing sessions. There will be a wine and olive tasting/talk with sunset canap├ęs and drinks on the Saturday evening, followed by dinner. (Guest speakers and full program to be announced at a later stage.) Space is limited so book early to avoid disappointment.

Member Fees:
R745 for Saturday only
R450 for Sunday only

Non-member fees:
R825 for Saturday only
R500 for Sunday only

Saturday evening dinner: On the evening of Saturday 28 March, there will once again be a dinner, an opportunity to network and socialise with other delegates. Partners are also welcome to attend. The dinner will also take place at Klein Welmoed, and costs R245 per person.

Accommodation: The estate offers beautiful and luxurious accommodation, including breakfast. Olive Cottage and Shiraz cottage are two modern and spacious cottages, each with 2 bedrooms with twin beds in each room and 2 bathrooms, perfect for 4 guests sharing a cottage. There are also four lovely guest rooms available in the Manor house which are suitable for single or sharing (twin beds). Please note that space is limited and March is high season for the estate, so although they have offered preferential rates to our members, they cannot hold the rooms indefinitely. If you’d like accommodation, please book asap. To confirm your room or to enquire about cost/details/availability of accommodation, please contact Karin at info@kleinwelmoed.co.za and mention that you’re attending the ROSA writing retreat.




Thursday, November 28, 2019

Conference Report from Lydia Gittens


Our final post on ROSACon2019 is from one of this year's scholarship recipients, Lydia Gittens. Thank you Lydia for sharing your experience with us!

* * *

A mere two and a half weeks have passed since the Rosa conference and I am still on cloud nine. Ask my poor colleagues they will confirm this.

My personal highlight? Everything. Okay I know that’s a bit of a cop-out. So let’s start at the beginning. The venue was beautiful. I felt like a Cinderella stepping into the prince’s castle. The food and snacks were fantastic.

The goody bag ROSA gave us was like having Christmas in September. The books are great and the treats ... need I say more.

But in all honesty it was the people that made this conference the success that it was. I want to start with my fellow conference goers. You guys are great. As a newbie I learned so much just from our informal chats around tea-times and mealtimes. Being able to network and just getting the nitty gritty (the do’s and don’ts) from those that have walked the hard and often lonely road to publishing a novel. Thank you for your willingness to share your journey with me and for the encouragement and warnings you gave me.

Moving on to the presentations: I can’t single out any presenters they were all very professional, interesting and loads of fun. I learned about things I knew nothing about. Such as: The challenging world of self-publishing. What it means to have an agent and how to obtain one. How to use social media effectively? To name just a few. The presentations literally covered most of the topics I as a newbie wanted to learn about.

I want to give a BIG shout out and a big THANK YOU to everyone at ROSA for gifting me with the scholarship. Making it possible for me to attend a conference that I know has and will impact my writing career from now and into the future.

Lydia Gittens
7 October 2019
(PS Watch out for my name thanks to ROSA CON 2019 you just might see it in the print)



Tuesday, November 19, 2019

ROSA's 4th annual Strelitzia Awards for unpublished authors


ROSA's annual contest for unpublished authors, the Strelitzia Award, is now open for entries. Entrants receive three months of mentoring as they prepare their entries, and in 2020 this mentorship phase includes a whole lot more features. Not only will entrants receive one-on-one mentoring and personalised feedback on their work, but they will also have access to webinars, lessons on writing craft and private Q&As.

The Strelitzia contest not only offers excellent value for money for aspiring writers, but also the chance to win this fabulous glass trophy.

This year, the contest is open to both ROSA members and non-members, and we are accepting entries in both English and Afrikaans. The deadline for applications is Sunday 24th November, and we have place for only twelve participants, so if you'd like to take advantage of this incredible opportunity, don't delay!

ROSA also has a scholarship program available for those who want to enter but can't afford the fees. Applications for scholarships close on Wednesday, 20th November.

For more information, the contest rules, and the link to the entry form, click on the button below.



Monday, November 11, 2019

ROSA's Scholarship Program


Thanks to the generosity of our published members who donated the royalties from ROSA's first anthology, Wedding Season, our scholarship program has been expanded so that more of our members can benefit from the program.

In 2020, scholarships will no longer be linked to the annual conference, and there will be four scholarship beneficiaries. Each scholarship will be to the value of R2,000. This will not be in the form of cash, but rather a value allocation to the ROSA member to cover the cost of any ROSA educational services the member wishes to make use of, including entry into ROSA contests, ROSA webinars or workshops, or attendance at local chapter events, the Cape Retreat or the annual conference. This will enable more members to benefit, no matter where they live, and is focused on benefitting aspiring authors.

You do not need to be a ROSA member to apply for a scholarship, however non-members who are accepted into the program will have the cost of their membership fee deducted from the scholarship amount.

The closing date for applications is Wednesday 20 November 2019, and successful beneficiaries will be notified within a few days, to enable them to enter the 2020 Strelitzia contest. Submit an entry form on this link.

Please ensure that you read all the Terms & Conditions on our website here before applying for a scholarship place, and look out for the announcement of the 2020 Strelitzia contest and mentorship program for our unpublished members coming soon.


Thursday, November 7, 2019

Conference report from Alissa Baxter


Today's post is from long-time ROSA member and ROSACon veteran Alissa Baxter.

* * * 

I attended this year’s ROSA conference this year, and I found the range of topics that were presented very interesting. I particularly enjoyed listening to Whitney Ross give us an insider’s view into traditional publishing in the United States.

Whitney represents middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction across all genres, including historical, science fiction and fantasy, romance, and contemporary fiction.

She joined the Irene Goodman agency in 2018, and before that she worked as an editor at Macmillan for nearly ten years, so she is uniquely qualified to give authors an insight into the mysterious world of traditional publishing.

I was very interested to learn about how many imprints the big publishers have. It can be overwhelming to know where to start looking for a publisher, especially when there are so many imprints in each house. Literary agents act as the gatekeepers of the traditional publishing houses, and therefore, if you wish to go the traditional publishing route, it is important to know how to set about finding an agent who is the right fit for you.

Whitney gave us some great tips on how to write a good query letter, and she explained the role of an agent in terms of the business side of publishing. She also warned us about agents who might not be what they seem (“schmagents”), and she showed us examples of query letters which grabbed her attention, and those that didn’t.

It was a fascinating talk, and it demystified the role of literary agents and exactly what it is that they do for authors. Some agents have more of an editorial focus (Whitney is an editorial agent), but all agents bring a unique set of skills to the table, and it’s important to find one that is a good fit for you – that’s if you decide to go the traditional publishing route. If you would prefer to go it alone, self-publishing allows you to manage the entire publishing process yourself, but that’s the topic of another blog post entirely – and I’m sure someone will be writing a post about Ashleigh Giannoccaro’s fascinating talk about this topic.

Whitney Ross - image courtesy of Suzanne Jefferies