Category Archive: Romance Llama

  1. 5 Things on my writing desk


    I’ve missed doing the ‘5 Things‘ post series, it’s been so long! So today I wanted to share with you 5 things I keep on my writing desk.

    I’m lucky enough to have a dedicated space in my apartment for writing. I have a desk that sits in the alcove behind our kitchen (great position because it’s close to the coffee machine) where I face a window and have plenty of natural light. It’s small, but it’s mine.

    These are the 5 things you’ll always find on my desk (aside from the obvious, my laptop!):

    1. Romance Llama: my writing mascot, a furry stuffed llama with a lopsided smile, lives on my desk. He keeps me company during the day when I’m home alone, and he puts a smile on my face. Want to know more about romance llama?
    2. Noise Cancelling Headphones: Sometimes I’m still writing by the time my husband gets home. Often I write on the weekend. Noise cancelling headphones keep me sane when all I can hear are the not-so soothing sounds of GTA 5.10405299_1564884137058382_2408606781253887356_n
    3. A candle: I’m always burning candles, I love the way they scent the apartment and the flickering flame makes me feel all warm and cosy. The current one on my desk is Yankee Candle Hazelnut Coffee – mmmmm!
    4. A notebook: I’m a little bit old school in that I only take notes by hand. I write and plan on my laptop, but when revising or thinking up an idea for a new story I find it easier to write it down. This is also my excuse for buying endless amounts of cute stationary.
    5. A throw: It can get very cold when you’re sitting by a window, especially in winter. I love to rug up in a cuddly light-weight blanket when I write – my current one is from IKEA.

    What are the things you always have by your side when writing?

  2. What to take to a writers conference


    Not long to go now! The annual Romance Writers of Australia Conference is only a week away.

    Last week I gave some introvert survival tips for conference goers, this week I’m talking about what to take (or what not to take, as the case may be).

    HA0478 - Journey Planning. Lifestyle Images Portraying The Three Main Elements Of A Journey: Planning The Route, Travelling And Reaching Destination.

     Photo by Highways Agency


    Things to take to RWAus 2014:

    • Business Cards: don’t think business cards are only for published authors, they’re not! If you happen to chat with someone while waiting in line for a drink and they ask you what your website or Facebook page is, you can give them a business card. People are more likely to hang onto a card than a scrap of paper.
    • Flat shoes: Yes, I love my high heels too (and do pack a pair for the cocktail parties) but flat shoes will be a lifesaver for the long days you spend going from workshop to workshop and hanging around talking to people.
    • Carry-on luggage and checked luggage: Here’s a little secret about conference…YOU GET A LOT OF BOOKS!!! You need space to bring them home.
    • Camera: You don’t want to meet your favourite author only to realise you don’t have a camera with you.
    • Phone/iPad/Tablet Charger: This seems like an obvious one, but put it on your list anyway.
    • Something to write with: Whether you prefer pen and a notepad or a tablet/laptop, it’s important to have something to take notes on. This isn’t just for workshops but for any ideas that spring up thanks to all the additional creative energy, and to jot down the details of those you meet (in case they haven’t brought their business cards). I generally take a notepad and pen because laptops can be heavy and take up a lot of luggage space. I also found last year I didn’t do any writing in my room, too busy having fun!
    • Something unique: I think it’s a great idea to have something unique with you that will stand out and make people remember you. It might be a flashy necklace, a cute headband or a stuffed llama. I always remember the people that wear statement jewellery or bright shoes – every little bit helps!
    • Water, Panadol, hydrating eye cream: This is my ‘anti-tired’ kit. By Sunday afternoon I want to crawl in bed and sleep off the exhaustion but I also don’t want to miss out on the fun. The water can be bought at the hotel or in a nearby shop, but I HIGHLY recommend keeping hydrated. Hotels can often have air conditioning running and it can make you feel really sluggish and headachy.


    In the interest of saving space, here are some things that I would strongly consider whether or not to take:

    • Books for signing: I know, there’s a huge signing and your favourite author is going to be there. But books take up space (and weight!) and you’ll be bringing a lot home with you anyway. Do you really need extra book weight in your suitcase?
    • Your manuscript: The rules for pitches (and general conference etiquette) is that you provide our manuscript electronically after the conference if you get a request. Having printed copies of your work on hand won’t make your chances any better and they’ll just take up extra space in your luggage.
    • Multiple pairs of shoes: Honestly, I put this in as a reminder for myself. Find one pair of heels that matches all the nighttime outfits and leave it at that.
    • Laptop: see the above comment on taking notes.


    I hope this post is helpful for those getting ready for conference, what are you going to take with you?

  3. Romance Llama + 10 Random Facts

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    If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed that yesterday I posted a rather random picture of myself with a stuffed Llama. I love Llamas… and not in a random I love Lamp kind of way. The Emperor’s New Groove is, in my humble opinion, a highly underrated movie and if asked what animal I would most like to own, I would always say Llama. Random fact: the annoying catchy and amusingly meaningless Llama song (warning: earworm ahead) is actually older than YouTube. Anyhow, when my husband decided that he wanted to get some something to celebrate the sale of my first novel he came home with this little guy…

    Meet Roamnce LlamaMeet Romance Llama

    I’ve decided to make Romance Llama the mascot of this blog and, in a similar tradition to travelling garden gnome prank, Romance Llama will make regular appearances here and on Instagram  and Tumblr. Also, in the spirit of randomness here are 10 random facts about me…besides my love of Llamas:

      1. I’ve worn glasses since I was 14 years old. I was declared short-sighted and prescribed glasses on the very same week that I got braces…talk about an ugly duckling phase!
      2. Both sides of my family immigrated to Australia in the past two generations – my paternal grandparents are originally from Italy and my mother was born and raised in London, England.
      3. I used to write and illustrate my own books as a kid, my mother still has one that I produced in my first year of primary school…it was about cats. I’m not a cat person.
      4. My favourite author of all time is Agatha Christie, and my goals is to find a copy of every book she ever wrote. Of all those I’ve read so far Death on the Nile is my favourite.
      5. I wasn’t able to eat anything with cocoa in it as a child, so I grew up on white chocolate. Even now that I can eat regular chocolate, white chocolate is my favourite.
      6. I’m so pale that I can get burnt through a car windscreen if I’m driving on a sunny day. As such, I almost never go to the beach.
      7. I have an agreement with my husband that if Jason Statham ever propositioned me, I would be allowed a ‘day pass’ with no hard feelings.
      8. I was an avid dancer growing up and I studied ballet, tap, jazz and other types of dance from the age of 5 until I was 23. Unfortunately, due to severe tendonitis and troubles with my ankles, I was never able to dance en pointe and I suffered many injuries over the years.
      9. I once was a cheerleader at a Melbourne Storm rugby league game at the Telstra Dome (now Etihad stadium) in Melbourne.
      10. Aside from my business degree, I have a Certificate II in makeup artistry and worked as a wedding makeup artist for a number of years. I did my own makeup for my wedding and still do makeup for friends and family’s special occasions.

    I hope you enjoyed meeting Romance Llama and finding about a little more about me. I’m planning to put up some Q&A on this site, so if there’s anything you like to know please feel free to leave a comment below or ask a question via Tumblr.