Our Member Blogs

We've summarised the blog postings that have been made on the site recently. Please click on the titles to read the full post.

15/10/2015 - 7:14pm

I often wonder if I would have become a writer if I hadn’t become a pilot. Flying gave me the opportunity to visit remote and regional Australia and it was partly that ‘bird’s eye’ view that led to me writing my first manuscript in 1998, not long after we moved to Cairns when I started work with QantasLink.

Six books later and my stories have all been set in regional areas. I love being able to bring places like Cooktown or the Torres Strait to a new audience. Until we moved to North Queensland I didn’t appreciate the tyranny of distance or the difficulties presented by living that far from the rest of the country. People have to be more resilient, more self-sufficient because nothing happens in a hurry. Come the wet season everything grinds to a halt as rivers rise and roads are cut. The impact on policing and law enforcement is profound. No CSI Miami or SERT teams lurking in the bushes.

Community policing in rural areas is about building relationships that manage people into doing the right thing. My latest book, Northern Heat, owes a great deal to the local policeman running the Police Citizen Youth Club in Cooktown. I’d driven the six hours up the road to conduct a writing course and the venue was the new PCYC complex, which also serves as the cyclone shelter for the district. I was struck by the extent to which the policeman was involved in the local community. He spoke about the difficulties of managing domestic violence in close-knit communities, the impact on the kids as well as the parents and how his centre could provide a ‘circuit-breaker’ on the cycle of violence.

When I sat down to write Northern Heat, it was insights from the policeman and the writers who I met on that course that helped to colour the characters and enrich the setting. I’m a big believer in ‘writing what I know’ and what I know is flying, living in rural Australia and sailing.

Do you write from experience, about places your know well or careers that you’ve had? Is it important to you as a reader that the story is written from first hand experience or is research enough?


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Author Bio

Helene’s recently taken time out from her busy career as the Queensland Regional Flying Manager with QantasLink. You’ll now find her sailing the Coral Sea with her husband aboard their catamaran, Roobinesque. She recently appeared in Judith Lucy is All Woman  in an episode showcasing women in aviation.  

She has twice won the highly coveted RWA’s Romantic Book of the Year in 2011 and 2012 and was shortlisted for the Daphne du Maurier Award for Mainstream Crime and Suspense. She has also been nominated in the Ned Kelly and Sisters in Crime Awards. Helene’s last novel, Safe Harbour, was voted Australia’s 2014 Favourite Romantic Suspense Novel. This is the fourth time Helene’s stories have won the award.

A motivational speaker and writing mentor, Helene is working on her seventh novel.

Northern Heat

In steamy northern Queensland, Conor is rebuilding his shattered life. Working at Cooktown's youth centre has given him the chance to make a difference again, and the opportunity to flirt with Dr Kristy Dark. The local GP is hiding her own secrets and struggling to raise her feisty teenage daughter alone.

When a severe cyclone menaces the coast, threatening to destroy everything in its path, tensions come to a head – and the weather is not the only danger. Cut off from the world and with her life on the line, Kristy will have to summon her courage and place her trust in Conor, or they'll both lose someone they love.


07/08/2015 - 2:32pm

To join Sisters in Crimeonline is simple. Click here and follow the prompts.

Merchandise including tshirts, books and stiletto champagne stoppers will soon be available online through Eventbrite.

Sisters in Crime Membership fees

Victorian membership: A$40/$30 (conc) pa

Non-Victorian membership:A$30/$20 (conc) pa

Overseas subscribers & libraries:A$35 pa

Some of the advantages of joining Sisters in Crime Australia membership include:

  • Becoming a member of an organisation that promotes and celebrates women crime writers, offers a forum for debate and is seriously committed to fun
  • A membership card that offers 10% discount at selected bookshops
  • Discounted prices for Scarlet Stiletto winning short story collections, Scarlet Stiletto: The First Cut & Scarlet Stiletto: The Second Cut
  • A vote in the Davitt Awards for the best crime book of the year
  • Emailed updates of forthcoming events, competitions, news and much more
  • The opportunity to become involved by volunteering with Sisters in Crime Australia

Discounts for members are members are available at:


Hares & Hyenas – 63 Johnston Street, Fitzroy 3065

03 9495 6589

The Sun Bookshop – 10 Ballarat Street, Yarraville3013

03 9689 0661

Camberwell Books – 207 Camberwell Road, East Hawthorn 3123

03 9882 1716

Bellcourt Books - 63 Grey Street, Hamilton 3300 

03 5572 1310

Bellcourt Books - 71 Firebrace Street,Horsham 3400

03 5381 0866

New South Wales

Abbey’s Bookshop – 131 York Street, Sydney 2000

02 9264 3111

Blues Point Bookshop – 131 Blues Point Road, McMahons Point 2060

02 9956 7056

Western Australia

New Edition Bookshop – 50 South Terrace, Freemantle 6160

08 9335 2383


*Pulp Fiction – Shop 4, Level 1 Blocksidge & Ferguson Building Arcade, 144 Adelaide St.,  Brisbane 4000

07 3236 2750

*Note: bookshop offers gift certificate with certain amount spent

Merchandise including tshirts, books and stiletto champagne stoppers will soon be available online through Eventbrite.

If you have any queries regarding this new process or about becoming a member, please contact Michaela Lobb

05/08/2015 - 9:43pm

PD Martin’s next Novel-writing Intensive course is starting soon and her NaNoWriMo course is also open for bookings.  Same set up as previously—inspiring location, fully catered, and intense learning to push attendees’ writing forward. Courses cater for all genres. Note: The courses may be on hold for the next couple of years as Phillipa focuses on her PhD.

Novel-writing Intensive

10am-4pm, Monday 24 August to Friday 28 August Day 1: Story ideas, genre, research and sense of place Day 2: PD Martin’s Writing Rules to Live By Day 3: Character intensive (Part 1) Day 4: Character intensive (Part 2) & Plot intensive (Part 1) Day 5: Plot intensive (Part 2) & Bringing it all together

Phillipa uses a combination of theory, analysing sample texts and writing exercises to make sure you get the most out of the course. Each participant gets a folder with extremely detailed notes (PowerPoint slides and other handouts) so they can refer back to the notes in the future.

Cost is $999 for Sisters in Crime members.


"The novel writing intensive is a must if you want to improve your writing craft and learn tools and techniques to make your story more compelling. Highly recommended." Louise Bassett, 2014 student

The NaNoWriMo course is also open for bookings. Across Sundays in October and November, October is all about preparation and November features five ‘write-ins’ at the Convent to ensure the magic 50,000 words. 

“Phillipa’s NaNoWriMo writing course was illuminating, inspiring, informative and life-changing. That all her students produced 50,000 words of a manuscript…is an extraordinary achievement and reflects her tenacious and methodical approach to teaching novel-writing.” Annie Lawson, 2014 NaNoWriMo student



05/08/2015 - 9:40pm

Join best-selling author Vikki Petraitis for a ten week Novel Writing course catering for both beginning writers and those already working on developing a novel. Components include: plotting, character development, narrative structure, and description. This longer course will give writers the chance to refine a piece of work, and the opportunity to share their work with other people with the same goals – to write a novel. 

Comment from a previous attendee of one of Vikki’s courses:
“Vikki Petraitis was knowledgeable and entertaining. I was engaged throughout. 10 out of 10.’

Saturday October     10, 17, 24, 31

Saturday November   7, 14, 21, 28

Saturday December   5, 12

11.30 – 1.30 pm

Beaumaris Library, 96 Reserve Road

$200 (all ten sessions).  Bookings essential. www.trybooking.com/146422

10/07/2015 - 12:26pm

The Aesthetica Creative Writing Award is open for submissions. Now in its eighth year, the award is an internationally renowned prize presented by Aesthetica Magazine and judged by industry experts including Arifa Akbar, literary editor of The Independent. Prizes include £500 and publication in an anthology of new writing, giving you the chance to showcase your work to a wider, international audience.

Prizes include:

  • £500 Poetry winner
  • £500 Short Fiction winner
  • Publication in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual
  • One year subscription to Granta
  • Selection of books courtesy of Bloodaxe and Vintage
  • Complimentary copy of the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual

There are two categories for entry: Short Fiction (maximum length 2,000 words each) and Poetry (maximum length 40 lines each).

Deadline for submissions is 31 August 2015.

To enter, visit www.aestheticamagazine.com/creativewriting