Category Archives: Workshops and Talks

Upcoming workshop: Building Believable Fantasy Worlds

In November, I’m presenting a workshop on building believable fantasy worlds as part of Stonnington’s [Untitled] Literary Festival, here in Melbourne.

In this workshop you will learn the different sub-genres of fantasy fiction; brainstorming techniques to spark writing; the elements of building a believable fantasy world and how to grab the reader from the first line. Participants should bring their Work in Progress to the workshop

Friday 16 November, 10.30am – 2pm
Prahran Library, 180 Greville Street, Prahran
$10 plus GST and booking fee.    Book here.

Download the PDF for more information.

Sex and Intimacy Workshop: Writing Exercise and Competition

Sam loves ice cream. Copyright: omkar / 123RF Stock Photo

Yesterday, I had the very great pleasure of conducting a one-day writing workshop for Writers Victoria on my approach to writing about sex and intimacy in all kinds of books, not just my current crop of erotic romances. The workshop was called Avoiding the Bad Sex Award and I very much hope the attendees left with some tips and ideas on how to use such scenes to tell their stories and to tell them well.

Once of the writing exercises was to write a scene involving two characters and one or more of a choice of keywords. The scene could be explicit or an example of non-sexual intimacy. It could be humorous or serious, or written to reveal a plot point (involving a betrayal or a revelation).

Some terrific scenes resulted, which was impressive – especially as it’s very difficult to write such a scene cold, without context.

The prompts were:

  • Characters: Alex and Sam
    (designed to be non-gender specific)
  • Keywords: lick, honey, blue, hurt, tie, shirt, pet
    (choosing any or none – these were just to help prompt ideas).

I didn’t want to set the attendees a task I wouldn’t try myself, so once everyone was writing away, I picked a few words and off I went. This is the (unedited) result.

The day was scorchingly hot, which was great for Vitamin D; not so great for the logistics of eating ice cream – although that might depend on your point of view.

Alex, for example, was absolutely dumbfounded by the way Sam ate her melting ice cream. By the curve of her lips swirling over the crown of the strawberry-and-mint sorbet. By the tip of her tongue scoring gleeful lines across the sweet summit, darting to the left to capture a smear of flavour beside her lip. By the bliss in Sam’s whole expression as she closed her eyes and found cold berry, fresh mint, sugar and ice transformed into an unlikely bit of heaven.

Alex had no idea how hard it could be to watch someone eat an ice cream like that and keep one’s own tongue still. He found that he was watching Sam’s face with the same avidity with which she regarded the sliding, sticky stripes of sorbet melting onto her fingers. He sucked on his lower lip in sympathy as she licked her fingers clean. His own tongue snuck out to touch his top lip, as though tasting the air in such proximity with her mouth.

When Sam, giggling at her inability to eat as fast as the confection melted, allowed strawberry and mint to drop onto her chin, Alex moved on reflex.

He swiped his finger across the drip, capturing it, and held it to her.

“Hre,” he offered in a surprised whisper, like he’d had no notion he was about to speak, “You missed a bit.”

Sam’s eyes met his and Alex was suddenly aware of the knowingness there. She had been watching him watch her.

Alex held his breath.

Sam leaned so slightly towards him and slipped her lips over his offered finger. She softly sucked the flavour from his fingertip. She took her oh god so sweet time pulling back before smiling, well pleased.

“Thanks,” she said.

Then went back to her sorbet.


So there you have it. A slice of intimacy written in about fifteen minutes.


I’d love to see what my readers might do in the same time limit – so if you’re game, use those names and whatever of the keywords might inspire you, create a scene of intimacy – sexual, non-sexual, plot-driven, funny or whatever takes your fancy – and spend about 15-20 minutes to write 300-500 words.

Pop the result in the comments section. (The copyright will stay yours of course – who knows, it might be the start of a short story or a book!)

The scene I like best will get a prize – a copy of my new digital erotic short story, Sky High, Bone Deep, out with Escape Publishing this month!

Get your scenes to me by 23 July 2014 by posting them in the comments below!


Read about the other talks and workshops I do at Speaking.

Workshop: How to Avoid the Bad Sex Award

Writing is hard, yo! And writing scenes of sex and intimacy are at least as hard as everything else. Maybe harder.

Yes, I know. As soon as you mention ‘sex’, everything becomes a double entrendre. Sometimes just single entendres. Bear with me. Or bare with me. Whichever you prefer.

Recognising the difficulties of writing scenes of physical and emotional intimacy – there are awards for badly written sex scenes, for heaven’s sake! – I started, last year, to teach a short workshop about my approaches to doing so. I’m not just talking about writing raunchy scenes in my erotic romances. All kinds of books use sex scenes/intimate scenes as part of the plot or of character development. I thought it would be cool to share some of the tips and ideas I’d picked up about how to approach such scenes.

Then Writers Victoria suggested I present these ideas and some activities as a one day course. And so – ta daaaaa! On 8 July, I’ll be presenting a one day course (six hours) on How To Avoid the Bad Sex Award!

If you’re interested in doing the workshop during WV’s winter school, the details are below.

Writers Victoria workshop details

Name: How to Avoid the Bad Sex Award

When: Tuesday 8 July, 10am to 4pm

Where: Workshop Space, the Wheeler Centre, Melbourne

Workshop Space (Level 4), The Wheeler Centre, 176 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne – See more at:
Workshop Space (Level 4), The Wheeler Centre, 176 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne – See more at:

Cost: WV member $130; non-member $180

Bookings: via the WV website

Winter School – How to Avoid the Bad Sex Award

Tuesday 8 July 2014, 10:00AM – 4:00PM

– See more at:

If you want to know a bit more about me first, you can read the Q&A I just did with WV, which they put online today – Adventures in Romance Writing.

Read about the shorter course and other talks and workshops at my Speaking page.