Category Archives: Soul Mate Authors

Another Conference – Another Learning Experience

The Theme of the conference was: "Love is Brewing."

The Theme of the conference was: “Love is Brewing.”

This past weekend I, along with five other great women from my writer’s group, attended the Wisconsin Romance Writer’s of America’s (WisRWA) annual conference. This year it was held in Brookfield, a suburb of Milwaukee.

WisRWA header

The Wisconsin Romance Writer’s of America is part of the Romance Writer’s of America, a group that supports writer’s, both published and unpublished in Romance of all sub-genres. I’ve been a member of both since 1995
This year was WisRWA’s 30th birthday. Liz Steiner and Liz Czukas were the co-coordinators and did a fantastic job. The entire three days was run smoothly and efficiently – not to mention with a lot of humor. WisRWA Conference birthday cake

IMG_8994This was the first year I was able to participate in the author book signing event, since “Riding for Love” is now in paperback. Even though attendance in the book signing was low, I enjoyed talking with my fellow WisRWA authors. Made the time go faster.

Not sure what I was laughing about, but I know i had fun.

Not sure what I was laughing about, but I know i had fun.

There were four fellow Soul Mate Publishing authors in attendance, Cheryl Yeko, Jevenna Willow, Steven Mitchell and myself. Besides being published with them, Cheryl is an acquiring editor for Soul Mate. We’re proud that Steven Mitchel took second place in WisRWA’s Write Touch Reader’s Awards in the Futuristic/Fantasy/Paranormal/TT Category with his book, “Son of Thunder.”

Cheryl Yeko

Cheryl Yeko

With Jevenna Willow

With Jevenna Willow

Steven Mitchell

Steven Mitchell

Steven's award.

Steven’s award.

Bob Rogers, writing as Jean Barrett and now as Jean Thomas, was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Bob is the author of nearly 30 contemporary and historical romances. He's been a member of WisRWA since 1997.

Bob Rogers, writing as Jean Barrett and now as Jean Thomas, was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Bob is the author of nearly 30 contemporary and historical romances. He’s been a member of WisRWA since 1997.

The speakers were not only informative, but interesting. The editor and agents who attended to take pitch appointments were approachable and fit in with our members as if they belonged. I didn’t pitch this year, but one of our members, Peg Strand, did and got requests for the first three chapters of two of her books. We were all excited and proud for her.

Usually we have our conference very year, but every other year attendance is down due to a large conference in Chicago called Spring Fling. This year the board (I’m a member) decided to hold our annual conference every other year, in the years opposite Spring Fling. On the off years, we will hold a one-day workshop.

Next year’s conference should be a doozy. WisRWA is partnering up with Barbara Vey’s Readers’ Appreciation Luncheon. Barbara started this only three years ago, and it has grown in proportions unseen in conferences. Sixty authors, many NYT bestsellers, attend, giving readers a chance to meet and greet their favorites. There are nearly 70 authors on her waiting list to participate in future years. With 500 readers in attendance, tickets sell out within days. WisRWA will participate in the luncheon as well as having workshops. We are hoping our WisRWA authors can participate in the author book signing – myself included.

Shari Anton (Left) and Barbara Vey.

Shari Anton (Left) and Barbara Vey.

In 2016 my local WisRWA writers’ group will host a workshop in our neck of the woods. Even though it’s two years away, we’re already tossing around ideas – where to hold it, when to have it (feedback from our southern friends is to have it in the fall when the colors are in their full glory) and which speaker or speakers to invite. This last one will be a tough one to decide, but we do have time.

Jade Lee, Author of many, many Historical Romances

Jade Lee, Author of many, many Historical Romances

Amy Atwell, Author and one of our speakers.

Amy Atwell, Author and one of our speakers.

Agents, Leah Hultenschmidt and Rebecca Sherer

Agents, Leah Hultenschmidt and Rebecca Sherer

So, it was a successful weekend, one I always look forward to. As usual, I came back fired up ready to buckle down and get to work on my current work-in-progress. Now I can only hope I get tickets to Barbara Vey’s luncheon next year.
Till the next time.


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Day One of Romantic Times Convention 2014

Day One of the Romantic Times Convention is in the history books – well mine anyway. A lot of walking. A lot of talking. A lot of fun. My roommate, Beth, finally arrived from her extended stay in Dallas, early evening on Tuesday. She was exhausted, but we went to a restaurant in the French Quarter.

Stuffing bags

Stuffing bags

The next morning, authors from Soul Mate Publishing got together to stuff our goody bags for our Reader program set for today. None of us had never met in person, so that was fun.

IMG_8762Beth and I donated a bag for the RT Club room for their raffle. We used a Wisconsin theme, with everything in it made in Wisconsin, including Packer and Leinenkugel items, candy and wine. We had a little trouble keeping the bag upright while we wrapped it in cellophane. It looked a little worse for wear by the time it got to the Club room. There are more bags 100 things up for raffle. On Friday, we will get to have our picture taken with the person who wins the bag.

Beth and myself.

Beth and myself.

I went to several workshops, gave out a lot of my swag and met a lot of new people.

The highlight was the evening event. After standing in line for a long time, feeling the cold front coming through, hoping the rain would hold off, we were finally boarded buses and taken to Mardi Gras World. After spending some time in a large room made to look like a swamp, we were herded over to a large building. As we walked, a band played Cajun music, and jesters dance among us. Once in the warehouse, the amazement began. The building is filled with old props from past Mardi Gras parades. You can’t even imagine the size of these things.
A band lead a parade of floats filled with the authors from the publishing houses that sponsored the event. They threw beads and candy. I had so many beads, my neck began to hurt.

I took tons of pictures with my cell phone, but I haven’t been able to transfer them to my laptop. I tried e-mailing them to myself, but both Beth and I are having problems with our apps on our phones. At this moment, she is getting more and more frustrated trying to get into her Twitter account. I’ve learned my lesson and will make a point of taking my “real” camera with me to these events

So, on to Day 2. This morning at 11:15, seven of us Soul Mate Authors will be hosting our reader program. The first 100 will receive a goody bag. Since none of us have ever done anything like this before, it should be interesting. Wish us luck.
Until tomorrow.

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Thursday Threads – Debut Release for Anne B. Cole

SoulsEntwined_805x1275Souls Entwined
A Paranormal Romantic Suspense
Scheduled to Release April 30, 2014
By Soul Mate Publishing
Heat Level: Sweet Romance

Buy Link:

Souls Entwined is Anne B. Cole’s debut release, combining sweet romantic suspense, time travel, and paranormal elements in a New Adult novel attractive to a wide range of readers.
In addition to writing, Anne teaches preschool and is raising three very active teenagers with her husband of twenty-two years. Her love for making fresh baked goodies, running, hiking, historical fiction, and her three pet cats continue to be her inspiration while she pens the sequel to Souls Entwined.

When a cursed family heirloom sends Gretta Dobbs back in time, a hunky construction worker, Sam Daggett, suddenly finds himself love struck and joins her adventure. Their souls entwine within the bodies of young lovers on a Greek island in 1829, where they begin to unravel the mysteries behind Gretta’s ring all while avoiding a bloodthirsty pirate who is determined to seek revenge. Gretta and Sam must find the secrets needed to save her and her relatives from an afterlife in purgatory and return to their own lives—or risk becoming prisoners of the past, continuing the evil cycle of the ring’s curse.

From Chapter Two

Not a sound was heard as Sam’s eyes snapped open. Under the branches of the downed tree, Purple Shorts began to stir.

“Sorry, are you okay?” Sam gently lifted his weight off her.
“I think so,” she replied faintly. Sam released his hold on her shoulder, amazed her face wasn’t scratched. He wondered how bad he appeared.

“Do you think you can stand?”

She nodded. Together they rose to their feet, easily stepping out from the tangle of branches. Eyes growing wide, she began to sway.

“Sit,” Sam commanded, steadying her.

“No, look!” She pointed.

Sam gazed over his shoulder. His mouth fell open. Beneath the tree, their bodies lay, motionless.

“Are we . . .” Purple Shorts began, but Sam shook his head slowly.

Before she could say more, he interrupted, “I don’t know. Do you feel—”


He scanned the area for help. Everything around them was still, as if they were watching a movie and someone hit ‘pause.’ No wind, no sound, no movement. He flinched when cold fingers clutched his hand.
Squeezing gently, he lifted her hand in front of their faces. “Can you feel this?”

Purple Shorts nodded.

“I don’t think we’re dead,” Sam whispered, gazing into her blue eyes.

Connect With Anne

To follow Anne’s publishing journey and connect with her, check out her blog site and find her on Twitter and Facebook.




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Thursday Threads – Char Chaffin’s New Release

Yesterday was the release day for Char Chaffin’s new book, Jesse’s Girl. This will be put on my ‘to be read list’ for sure. Congratulations, Char.

JessesGirlTitle: Jesse’s Girl
Heat Rating: Sweetly Sensual
Genre: Nostalgia Romance
Buy Link:


In 1965, Tim O’Malley returns to his home town of Skitter Lake, Ohio, to clear his name and get the girl: Dorothy Whitaker, the love of his life since eighth grade. Blamed for a destructive fire he didn’t set, only Tim and Dorothy know the truth; that Jesse Prescott, Tim’s best friend and Dorothy’s boyfriend, did the deed that changed an entire town. But Jesse died in that tragedy and seven years later, Skitter Lake still honors him as a hero, rather than Tim, the boy from the seedy side of town whose father was a drunk . . . and whose quick actions saved six people from perishing in that horrendous fire.

In trying to set the record straight and finally claim Dorothy as his own, Tim—and Dorothy, too—will discover that in some small towns the legend often outweighs the truth . . . and their family and friends will forever see Dorothy as “Jesse’s girl.”


Dorothy Whitaker. Good Lord, almighty.

Tim had almost crashed his car when he saw her, sitting in the sun with her ice-cream cone. Of all the people in Skitter Lake he figured he’d see, she was at the top of his ‘hope to run into’ list. He’d had to pull over right on the side of the road and look his fill, before summoning enough courage to step out of his car and approach her.

She hadn’t changed a bit. Still the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen, and that included all the California girls he’d met after he moved from Skitter Lake.

In grade school, they’d been inseparable. They’d played together during recess, spun on the merry-go-round, paired off on the seesaw. Dorothy was the first girl he’d held hands with, the first girl he’d ever taken to a Saturday matinee, back in seventh grade. They’d stuffed themselves on popcorn and thrilled to the adventures of Peter Pan. He’d walked her home, shyly brushed her mouth with the briefest touch of his lips. And trembled, needing more. He dreamed that night, how someday they’d be old enough and when they were, he’d kiss her the way a boy kisses his girlfriend
But by eighth grade, Jesse had noticed Dorothy, and after that, Tim didn’t stand a chance.
Well, that was then, and Jesse no longer stood between them.

“You let your cone get away from you.” Was that his voice, hoarse and deep? He cleared his throat, offering the damp towel. Slowly, her hand reached out, and her fingers touched his. The spark between them seemed immediate and powerful, at least to him.

“Thanks.” She wadded the towel and wiped at the stain on her dress. Her downcast face couldn’t hide the flush that rode high on her cheeks. Dorothy had always been a blusher, her creamy skin revealing every emotion. A coil of loose, silky hair slipped over her shoulder as she worked at the smear of chocolate. If anything, the color had deepened over the years. ‘Strawberry blonde,’ he’d heard it called in California, but back in school she’d simply had the loveliest hair he’d ever seen.

Silence stretched between them as he waited for her to raise her head and she seemed hell-bent on fussing with her damp skirt. Finally, nothing remained for her to clean, and she had to look up. She laid the towel on the picnic table behind her, started to speak, hesitated, then her lips curved into a sweet smile. “It’s good to see you, Tim. When did you get to town?”

“About two hours ago. I’ve just been driving around.” He couldn’t take his eyes off her. He had to shove his hands in the pockets of his pants to keep from touching her. “I wasn’t sure I’d see you. Guess I thought you’d have left by now, moved somewhere else.”

She shrugged. “No, I decided to stay. After my dad died, Mom’s health problems got worse. And I work at the bank now. It’s pretty good money.”

Yeah, and it doesn’t hurt that Bob Prescott owns the bank and still thinks of you as his honorary daughter-in-law. The thought tasted bitter to Tim, even after seven years and moving a dozen states away.

As if she could read his mind, Dorothy’s face flamed brighter and she looked away, out over the lake. He didn’t know what the hell to say to her, which infuriated him. Once, a lifetime ago, words flowed between them so easily. Even after Jesse had claimed her, Tim still had these incredible conversations with Dorothy about music, movies, books, dreams. He could tell her about how boxed-in he felt, living on the rougher edge of the blue-collar side of town with a father who thought the world owed him a living, and a mother who silently endured her unhappy marriage.

In turn, she confided the difficulties of life as the daughter of Preacher Whitaker, professional Bible-thumper. Tim knew she’d loved her father fiercely. He also knew her childhood had been knotted up in Christian duty, an often heavy burden for a kid.

Now, Dorothy released a quiet sigh and picked up the soiled bar towel. “Well, I should be going, I suppose—”

“Stay.” He laid his palm on her shoulder, fought a losing battle with the need to caress her baby-soft skin, and ran careful fingers along her slender forearm. When she didn’t move away, he took at as a good sign, and murmured, “It’s been seven long years, Dorothy. We were friends once.” He watched the emotion flicker over her face. “I missed you, a lot.”

She released a broken little sigh. “I missed you, too. But I wasn’t the one who moved away, Tim. I wasn’t the one who left.”

“I didn’t have a choice, you know that.” He bit back the familiar frustration, a feeling he’d thought had finally left him after years away from this town. “I paid the price for leaving. Everyone still blames me. Don’t they?” He caught her fingers, which trembled in his grip. “I paid, and it wasn’t my fault.”

Tears formed in her pretty hazel eyes, and even his instant remorse at hurting her yet again couldn’t keep him silent a second longer. “It wasn’t my fault,” he repeated. “You know it. Hell, Bob Prescott knows it, too.”

“What’re you talking about? What are you saying?” Now her hand pressed against his, holding him steady when he would have turned from her. “What’s Mr. Prescott got to do with anything?”

“Ask him, Dorothy.” Tim gently disengaged her hand and gave it a quick squeeze before he let her go. “I’m in town for a while.” He paused, his gaze roaming over her with a yearning he didn’t attempt to hide. “I’m staying at the boardinghouse. I’d really like to see you.”

He could feel her eyes on him as he headed to his car.

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Swag for the Romantic Times Convention

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost a year since the last Romantic Times Convention and almost a year since Riding for Love was released at the convention. What a year! Yet here I am, starting to prepare for this exciting week.

Several of us Soul Mate Authors are holding a Reader Appreciation Activity. One of the many things we’re doing is preparing 100 goody bags for the first 100 participants. The bags will hold CDs of our books and swag from the authors. If you don’t know what Swag is, it’s all that “stuff” people bring home from conventions, fairs, open houses, etc.

Choosing Swag, for me anyway, was nerve-racking. I’ve come home from the convention with more pens than I’ll ever use in a lifetime, bookmarks, rulers, lip balm, hand lotion, candy, gum, and so on. When I started thinking about what I wanted for my swag, I decided I didn’t want anything that people would eat, put on their lips or take home and throw away. Once something is used up, the author’s information is gone.

I asked the gals from my writers’ group, people at work, and friends what they thought. When I picked out a few items and gave the choices to people, the decision was unanimous. The letter openers finally arrived yesterday.


Before I attended my first RT Convention, I had this image of sedate lovers of romance casually going through books, looking over tables of goodies, removing only those items they wanted to take home. Instead, lines for events form long before the event starts. Readers, writers and librarians swarm to tables grabbing what they can, shoving them in their bags. I’ve seen many women lugging their over-full bags down hallways, their faces showing their exhaustion. I must say I’m no better when it comes to free books – and we get a lot of them. I understand the bags we get this year will have wheels. Yay!

So, it’ll be interesting to see how fast our 100 bags disappear and whether we’ll get stampeded in the process.

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Filed under Reading, Reflection, Romance, Soul Mate Authors, Uncategorized, Writer's Conventions/Conferences