© 2019 by ROSA

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Conference Speakers 2019

This year's guest speakers include familiar favourites like Suzanne Jefferies, Ashleigh Giannoccaro and Didi Potgieter, as well as new guest speakers like Dani René and Felicia Snyman. We are also delighted to be hosting an editor from Lapa Uitgewers and The Blurb Butterfly as guest speakers this year.

Whitney Ross - Keynote Speaker

Before joining Irene Goodman Literacy Agency in 2018, Whitney Ross worked as an editor at Macmillan for nearly a decade, culminating in her role as a senior editor for Tor Teen, Tor, and Forge. Over the course of her career, Whitney has had the pleasure of editing many talented authors, including Susan Dennard, Cora Carmack, Eric Van Lustbader, Steven Erikson, Katie McGarry, Ann Aguirre, Dan Wells, and Stacey Kade.

Whitney represents middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction across all genres, with an emphasis on historical, SF & fantasy, romance, and contemporary fiction. She is also open to non-fiction submissions in the areas of design, cooking, and fashion.

Whitney loves to read novels set in unusual time periods and locations, whether that involves a fantastical element or not. She is rarely able to resist the trickster king motif, and has a weakness for read-between-the-lines subtle romances. Yet she's constantly surprised by books not on her "wish list," and is always open to stories with compelling characters and emotionally involving plotlines.

Whitney earned her B.A. in English Literature, a B.S. in Entrepreneurship, and an M.S. in Publishing. In her spare time, she enjoys competitive sports such as skiing and shopping, and tasting wines with her winemaker husband.


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Tamsyn Bester

Tamsyn is an International Bestselling romance author, a BIS Publishing graduate from the University of Pretoria, and freelance editor. When she’s not writing or editing, she can be found with her nose in a book and spending time with her 3 furbabies.



The Blurb Butterfly

Lelanie Watson, The Blurb Butterfly, will whip your blurbs into shape one word at a time. Tired of the age old 'recipe blurbs'? Then you've come to the right place. Lelanie will help you turn a tired blurb into a fresh piece of information that will only surprise you it will help your sales soar. The Blurb Butterfly can help with blurbs from scratch, blurb make-overs, elevator pitches and even just to fine tune the blurb you currently have. She will take an ordinary blurb and turn it into a finger-twitching piece of writing that will help potential readers make a decision to buy your book. The Blurb Butterfly has been helping authors for the last three years, isn't it time she helped you?



Ashleigh Giannoccaro

Bestselling Author Ashleigh Giannoccaro writes edgy dark romance and erotic horror, self published by choice she writes the stories others don’t dare. Currently residing in Johannesburg, South Africa, with her husband and two daughters, Ashleigh enjoys writing stories that make you fall in love with the unlovable and leave you asking questions. When not writing she can be found with her kindle in a sunny spot reading, or traveling with her family.



Sharonlee Holder

South African, born and bred. Sharonlee Holder lives in one of the outer suburbs of Johannesburg in Gauteng, South Africa.

Life is a happy and creative jumble of a husband, three grown daughters, one super cute granddaughter, three dogs, a cat and a mouthy African Grey parrot. Time at the keyboard is supported by copious amounts of frothy coffee and 'What ifs?'

Writing breaks are a blend of the big outdoors astride a motorbike, crafting, reading or watching anything romance, action, military or fantasy related.


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Suzanne Jefferies

Suzanne Jefferies, Romance writer and proud


Suzanne loves to write romance from contemporary to the downright blush-worthy. Multi-published and award-winning, Suzanne believes in regular HEAs to kick away those reality blues. As a writer-at-large, she writes kick ass copy for government and corporate clients – new clients always welcome. Want to learn how to rock your romance writing? Visit her website www.hearomancewriting.com for online courses, suggestions and how-to’s.




Louise Keuler

Louise Keuler is an Assistant Publisher: Fiction at LAPA Publishers. She has extensive background in marketing and language services; having worked in secondary and tertiary education environments, a financial services institution and as a freelance academic editor running her own business part-time.


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Gerry Pelser

Gerry is a de-facto house-husband who makes his wife tea in bed for a living while also watering the dogs and feeding the plants. When his wife is away, he spends his time writing. Mostly arguments on Facebook, but sometimes even books. He is the author of four books – A photographic manual, a biography and two novels. In addition to words, he works as a photographer and designer, and lectures on photographic lighting. But before he was a writer, photographer or designer, Gerry spent many years active in the BDSM “scene” in South Africa, where he made his name in Japanese ropework known as “shibari”. However, he has since got married under a solar eclipse in the north pole (yes, really), and now lives a happy but vanilla life.



Jackie Phamotse

Jackie is a writer, businesswoman, social activist and philanthropist. Her debut novel BARE: The Blesser’s Game, was published in 2017 and was awarded the African Icon Literary Award in Lagos, Nigeria in 2018. Her second book titled I tweet what I likewas inspired by the late struggle icon Steve Biko, I write what I like. Her second novel BARE: The Cradle of The Hockey Clubwas released in June 2019.

Jackie’s work revolves around the narrative of women and children in Africa. Her stories are raw, well researched and extremely thought-provoking. Her main objective is to create awareness and find long-term solutions to eradicate social ills. Her books are aimed at educating and empowering people to make better life choices, especially with the fast growing rate of femicide, rape and many other social ills. Her work encompasses creating awareness around rape culture, mental illness and human trafficking. She currently lives in Sandton, South Africa.


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Didi Potgieter

Didi Potgieter woon haar lewe lank op Potchefstroom in Noordwes. Vandat sy kan onthou skryf sy liefdesverhale in haar kop, maar ʼn finalejaarsopdrag het haar gedwing om dit op papier te waag. So het Leer my Liefhê, haar eerste romanza die lig gesien. Met ʼn man en twee kinders en die verantwoordelikheid van brood op die tafel sit, was haar program amper oorvol en tyd vir skryf maar min. Tog het die stories en die karakters bly opduik en aan die begin van 2017 het Didi besluit om voltyds te begin skryf.


Haar mening is dat die lewe doodeenvoudig te kort om nie die kans te vat nie en met soveel onvertelde stories nog in haar kop en hart, hoop sy om van haar loopbaan as liefdesverhaalskrywer ʼn sukses te maak. Met ʼn man wat uit sy eie die skottelgoedwasser uitpak en twee kinders wat my altyd ondersteun kan dit seker nie anders nie.



Dani Rene

Dani is a USA Today Bestselling Author of a variety of genres, from romantic suspense to dark erotic romance and even BDSM romance. She loves to delve into the raw, emotional journeys her characters venture on, and enjoys the dark, edgy, and sensual scenes that fill the pages of her books. Dani’s stories are seductive with a deviant edge with feisty heroines and dominant alphas. 

Dani lives in the beautiful city of Cape Town, and is a proud member of the Romance Writer's Organization of South Africa (ROSA) and the Romance Writers of America (RWA). She has a healthy addiction to reading, TV series, music, tattoos, chocolate, and ice cream.


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Felicia Snyman

Felicia Snyman is a young lawyer and full-time lecturer who has practiced her writing skills properly by completing a master's degree in Mercantile Law. When she is not working in the legal world of rules and deadlines, she enjoys spending time with her Boston Terrier, friends and family. She is in love with writing and finds her inspiration in the life routes of her traveling heart. In the last three years, six published books have already come to live from her pen and she intends to color the world with many more. The beauty of nature, movies, old records, books and good wine are just some of her favorite interests. The books she devours with pleasure are wings with which she leaves behind the concrete walls of the city. She is also fond of singing, delicious braai and a glorious cup of tea.



Romy Sommer

Romy is the author of six contemporary romance novels published by HarperCollins, and has also indie-published eight books under her own name and a pseudonym. With her Hollywood romance novel, Not a Fairy Tale, Romy became the first South African to be nominated for the prestigious RWA Rita award.

Her passion for encouraging and growing aspiring writers led Romy to found ROSA (Romance writers Organisation of South Africa). Through ROSA, she has mentored and taught a great many writers, and now she works as a writing coach, developmental editor and teacher. Visit www.writingcoach.co.za to find out more about the services she offers.


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Elsa Winckler

I have been reading love stories for as long as I can remember and when I ‘met’ the classic authors like Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, Henry James The Brontë sisters, etc. during my Honours studies, I was hooked for life.

I married my college boyfriend and soul mate and after 44 years, 3 interesting and wonderful children and 3 beautiful grandchildren, he still makes me weak in the knees. We are fortunate to live in the picturesque little seaside village of Betty's Bay.

I like the heroines in my stories to be beautiful, feisty, independent and headstrong. And the heroes must be strong but possess a generous amount of sensitivity. They are of course, also gorgeous! My stories typically incorporate the family background of the characters to better understand where they come from and who they are when we meet them in the story.