Tag Archives: advice

Narrelle’s Holiday Reading Guide

The end of the calendar year is coming, bringing with it school holidays, the Christmas break, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the solstice and other observances and festivals, including the new year!

Whatever the occasion – it’s always a good time for a book, am I right? Seems a good time to suggest a recommended reading list of the books I’ve enjoyed this year!

Pardon the blatant plugging, but I have stories in a couple of fantastic anthologies that have been published over the year which you might enjoy, especially if you enjoy crime, adventure or fantasy!

Sherlock Holmes: The Australian Casebook is a collection of stories set in Australia (and on a boat to New Zealand) in 1890.

Authors include Kerry Greenwood cowriting with Lindy Cameron, Lucy Sussex, Steve Cameron, Meg Keneally and Jason Franks!

And then.. Volumes One is an absolute treasure trove of great fiction by Australian writers, including Sulari Gentill,  Jason Nahrung, Alan Baxter, Jason Franks, Lucy Sussex, Amanda Wrangles, Evelyn Tsitas, Peter M Ball, Dan Rabarts, Kat Clay, Sophie Masson, Tor Roxburgh, Emilie Collyer and Tansy Rayner Roberts.

There are stories in outer space, in ancient lands, involving dragons and mysteries and alien life forms and pretty much everything in between!  Volume Two is coming as well – check out Clan Destine Press for details (and other cool books by Australian authors!)

I’m especially delighted with Scarlet Stiletto: the Ninth Cut 2017, as it contains my Award-winning ghost/crime story Jane. In fact, every story in the volume is an award winner, by fabulous new Australian crime writers.

I have novels and short stories out too, like the action-filled paranormal thriller/gay romance Ravenfall ,and lesbian romance Near Miss!

But it’s not all about me, I know that.

It’s also about Emily Larkin, whose Baleful Godmother series has been a delight all this year. The sixth book of this magical regency series of books and novellas has just been released, but you can start with the delightful Unmasking Miss Appleby, then dash right along with Resisting Miss Merryweather,  Trusting Miss Trentham, Claiming Mister Kemp, and Ruining Miss Wrotham before finishing (for now) with Discovering Miss Dalrymple.

Tansy Rayner Roberts has been another joy this year (and every year) with her Belladonna University/Fake Geek Girl and Castle Charming novella series, her Patreon posts and pretty much just everything she writes. I interviewed her recently, so you can find links of books to love right there. Her brand new book, Girl Reporter, is due out on 19 December too!

More gruesome splendour is provided by Emma Viskic, whose  And Fire Came Down, is every bit as good as its award-winning predecessor, Resurrection Bay.

Full of action, drama, serious injury, and featuring a cast of diverse supporing characters and a deaf protagonist. Highly, highly, highly recommended!

I also want to wave flaily hands at Gillian Polack’s The Wizardry of Jewish Women, because it displays her customary wry wit and intricate world-building in a seemingly innocuous domestic setting with suburban Australia.

Get The Wizardry of Jewish Women in Mobi or Epub formats at Bookview Cafe. 

That’s enough fiction of various types to be getting on with. If you want to try some more ideas, just search my blog on the tag ‘reviews’ for suggestions.

Enjoy your break, if you get one, and may every book you read be golden!

And please – if you have a great book recommendation for the 2017-18 transition, please leave a comment, and maybe even a link!

A Tale of Two Conferences

Narrelle with a snake at Australia Zoo
‘Australia Zoo / Ben Beaden’

I spent the middle of August in Queensland. Respite from Melbourne’s very chilly winter was a bonus but not the purpose.

Instead, I was attending my first ever Romance Writers of Australia conference, and then loitering a little longer so I could join Tim on the Sunshine Coast for his conference with the Australian Society of Travel Writers.

And then I got to cuddle a snake.

Love Gone Wild

The RWA conference – Love Gone Wild – was a big financial commitment, but it was definitely worth the time and the money to attend. Apart from getting to meet with hundreds of fellow writers of romance, I was able to attend the conference sessions. I learned something new at every single panel, even ones where I felt fairly sure I knew the material being covered.

I was able to hear from established writers, publishers and agents about how the industry is changing, how people are responding to the changes, the opportunities that are out there and how writers can look for new ways to engage readers. The conference was what finally made me work out how to import my blog, which used to live on a separate site, into my main website here!

I’ve learned a lot about marketing and more than a few things about how to approach submissions and agent queries.

I even won a raffle prize where I get to consult with a swordsman about writing fight scenes!

My new novel, Ravenfall, made its first appearance at Love Gone Wild – and it was the first time I got to lay hands on the trade paperback of this little beauty!

The ebook is coming later, but for now the paperback is due out officially on 1 September and is up for pre-order on:

The fancy dress evening was a delight too – a flock of flamingos were there!

In all, if you’re a budding or established romance writer, I can highly recommend both membership of the RWA and attendance at their annual August conference. Not only are the sessions of enormous value, there are opportunities to pitch books to a range of publishers and agents. It’s being held at the Sofitel Wentworth in Sydney next year, so you can start preparing now!


I’m not myself a travel writer but in my other life as a freelance writer, I’ve written for universities, hotel chains and entertainers. With Tim attending a conference only the weekend following Love Gone Wild, it made sense to hang about (and spend some time with my fabulous brother Stephen, who lives in Brisbane) and join Tim for some of the events that partners were invited to.

So it was that I found myself learning to paint watercolours in the Sunshine Coast hinterland with artist James McKay and later making pottery chickens at Fried Mudd.

Not to mention seeing critters being cared for at the wildlife rescue centre and cuddling snakes at the Australia Zoo. This place is huge and witnessing two blokes feed a crocodile while attempting not to be eaten by one gives me even greater respect for crocodiles.

My favourite part of the croc show was actually the birds – watching the bright parrots and macaws, the beautiful whistling kite and the massive Andean condor. I was fortunate later to meet a macaw up close.

It’s important just as a person to be curious about the world and to seek out new experiences. As a writer, your curiosity is one of your best writing tools – to go forth and try things out. You never know if you’ll need to write about them. More to the point, I often write about things soon after experiencing them.

Now. How soon can I get a character to muck about with a snake?