Tag Archives: Wisconsin Romance Writers of America

Chandler County – “Missing the Crown Jewels”

Missing the Crown Jewels

Last week another book in the Chandler County stories was released by my friend and fellow Wisconsin Romance Writers of America member, Val Clarizio. Missing the Crown Jewels is book number five in the series.

I enjoyed reading this book. Val has a way of taking two wounded characters and have them work through their problems to find love. Along the way, they need to find out who is harming a Kentucky Derby horse. A big thumbs up from me.

Missing the Crown Jewels can be found and purchased in several places:

Amazon: http://a.co/96MPq2E
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/missing-the-crown-jewels-valerie-j-clarizio/1125729459?ean=2940154203811
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/missing-the-crown-jewels-a-chandler-county-novel

Tag Line: Sometimes it takes a bit of chaos to sort out one’s life.

Blurb: After a devastating divorce, Peyton Crown is finally surfacing from a dark hole of despair. She finds herself hoping for a new life with Mason ‘Storm’ Starr, her brother’s best friend.

Storm’s intent is simple: hide in the quiet confines of his best friend’s family horse ranch in Kentucky. The perfect place to sort out his life after walking away from the Army, and fight his internal demons. His solitude is interrupted by his buddy’s little sister. The chemistry between them is off the charts, and he willing surrenders the battle.

The Crown family begins receiving threats, just weeks before the Kentucky Derby. The overprotective men in Peyton’s life vow to keep 24/7 tabs on her and the family’s prize horse—Prince Bourbonville—a hopeful for the next Triple Crown. Circumstances arise that threaten to keep Peyton and Prince away from the derby, but Storm and her brother Coach are determined they’ll attend, no matter the sacrifice.

About Val and where to find her:

Val Clarizio

Valerie Clarizio lives in romantic Door County Wisconsin with her husband and two extremely spoiled cats. She loves to read, write, and spend time at her cabin in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

She’s lived her life surrounded by men, three brothers, a husband, and a male Siamese cat who required his own instruction manual. Keeping up with all the men in her life has turned her into an outdoors enthusiast, of which her favorite activity is hiking in national parks. While out on the trails, she has plenty of time to conjure up irresistible characters and unique storylines for her next romantic suspense or sweet contemporary romance novel.

Author’s Social Media links

Website/Blog: https://valclarizio.wordpress.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Valerie.Clarizio/

Facebook Street Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/clarizioscronies/

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/valerie-j-clarizio

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VClarizio

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/100928949465109415957/posts

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/valerieclarizio/

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bn6QoD

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Valerie-J.-Clarizio/e/B00A87RJVS/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_8?qid=1476915213&sr=8-8

 

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Interview with, S.C. Mitchell: Science Fiction Romance Author

S C MitchellToday I have Steve Mitchell, writing as S.C. Mitchell. Steve’s ninth book, “Hearts in Orbit, Volume 2: Pirates of the Dark Nebula” was released on July 1, 2015. It’s a science fiction romance set in the far-flung space traveling future, continuing the series’ course across a galaxy filled with love and adventure.

Steve grew up an avid reader of comic books, science fiction and fantasy literature. He’s been writing stories for over thirty years. In 2010 he left his job as a computer desktop support specialist to pursue his passion for writing full time. He is a member of the Romance Writers of America as well as the Wisconsin chapter.

As a writer of paranormal and sci-fi romance, fantasy, and science fiction, Steve crafts unique and wondrous worlds where his characters explore, romp, and fall in love. Whether traveling through dark, demon filled dimensions, the edge of wild space, or ancient mythological heavens, his heroes and heroines, guided by their adventurous hearts, discover hidden strengths on their pathway to enduring love.

Steve and I received our first contracts with Soul Mate Publishing at the same time. His first book with them, “Son of Thunder” was released in February 20, 2013, while mine, “Riding for Love” was released on April 30, 2013. Steve’s short story, “Valentine’s Day Canceled,” and mine, “The Valentine’s Day Proposal,” were both included in Soul Mate’s Valentine’s Anthology, “My Sexy Valentine,” this past February.

Son of ThunderI thoroughly enjoyed Steve’s story, which prompted me to purchase and read “Son of Thunder,” also an excellent story. Since we are both members of the Wisconsin Chapter of the Romance Writers of America, we get to visit at least once a year. This past February Steve and his wife traveled to my neck of the woods and participated in my Romance Author’s Valentine’s Day event. I hope he can join us again next year.

Welcome to my blog, Steve. I’m sure my readers will enjoy getting to know you today.

Thank you, Tina.

Who or what inspired you to write? I’ve always been a storyteller, but have atrocious handwriting. A typewriter, and lately a computer, offer me a way to write and actually read what I write. My early influences are J.R.R. Tolkein and Anne McCaffrey. I spent many summers reading and re-reading “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings.”

Steve's writing space

Steve’s writing space

How long have you been writing? Did you stop and start, or write continuously during this time? About 35 years ago, after finishing Tolkien’s Lord of the Ring I was inspired to write an epic fantasy. I dusted off my old manual typewriter and dug in, finishing a completely wretched novel in about five years. Over the next few decades I continued to work on it and started numerous other literary efforts. Real life, of course, intruded and I gave up and restarted multiple times. Then five years ago I decided it was time to get serious about this “writing thing.” I quit my job and started writing seriously. I started out self-publishing four novellas. When I finished my first true novel, Son of Thunder, I submitted it to a number of publishing houses. In 2011 I received an offer from soul Mate Publishing. I’ve been with them ever since, and have published two additional novels and contributed to a short story collection.

How do you handle rejections? Horribly at first. In my early floundering years I received rejections from some of the best publishers in the world. But I’ve developed a thicker skin. You have to in this industry. Rejection is just part of the journey. I remember having a student at a talk I was giving how I handle rejections. I actually had my rejection folder with me (before the days of e-mail rejections). I showed the class the folder and told them I was proud of each and every one. They showed I was writing and working at my craft. This always surprises people.

What do you do to keep yourself from giving up? This is not a problem I experience. The stories keep bubbling up in my head and I have to get them down or I lose them. I think I would keep writing even if I never published another story.

How did you choose the genre you write? I came into romance writing from a love of comic books/science fiction/fantasy. It’s where I started out writing, so staying within that genre is easier and more fun. I’ve played around with some contemporary erotic romance as well under a pen name and self-published a few short stories, but it’s the strange and fantastic that seems to pull me most.

MySexyValentine1800 PRINT (LARGE)Are there any genres you wouldn’t write in? I have a great love of and respect for historical romance writers, but I don’t think I would ever venture into that genre. There’s just too much research needed to stay in whatever century the story is set. Finding out when the zipper was invented or how to phrase things within the vernacular of the era would drive me nuts. I prefer to just make things up. I’m not sure how you can make up all those worlds and make them seem real. A true talent.

Do you enter contests? Do you find them helpful? Have you won any? I enter a few, but not many. Son of Thunder did come in 2nd in the WisRWA Write Touch Contest, and I’ve entered Pirates of the Dark Nebula in some currently running contests. I think wins help authors a bit and are definitely encouraging. Especially if the judges give advice.

Do you have a critique partner or group? Are they helpful? How? I have worked with a number of wonderful critique partners over the years. It’s always valuable to get someone else’s view of my work before I present it to the public (or even my editor). I’m currently working with two wonderful critique partners, Helen Johannes and Sarah Hegger, both amazing authors in their own right and not shy about telling me that what I’ve written is pure crap. We all need those kind of people in our lives.

Do you have a day job? I used to work as a computer desktop support specialist. Five years ago it became financially viable for me to give it up to pursue a writing career. Money gets a bit tight sometimes, but I’ve never regretted the decision. I have a two-year technical degree in electronics that I have never used.The Blarmling Dilemma 805

Tell me about your family and friends reactions to writing romance. I have a wonderfully supportive family. Thank goodness. I dabbled in erotica for a bit under a pen name and kept it secret for a while, but I’m not very good at keeping a secret. Most of my family and friends know. As a guy I get a real range of reactions, most of them disbelief when people find out I write romance.

Does your family read your love scenes? My wife admits to skipping through some of the love scenes, though she does that in most romances. I know other family members have read my books, but the love scenes have never come up in our discussions of the book with the exception of cautioning others listening that they have to read it and not think about who wrote it.

What happens when you get a story idea? It really depends on where I am in my current work-in-progress. I like to at least get something down so I don’t lose the idea and can come back to it. My computer file system is full of half-baked ideas. Have you ever had a “plot bunny” where you get an idea and you can’t stop thinking about it until you write it out? Far too often an idea will hijack me from my current work-in-progress. It’s frustrating sometimes, but I hate to let them go. I have a zombie romance pulling at me right now. I wouldn’t even know where to begin writing one of those.

Another view of Steve's creative corner.

Another view of Steve’s creative corner.

Who are your favorite authors? What do you like to read? My earliest influences would have to be Anne McCaffrey, J.R.R. Tolkien, and R. A. Salvatore. Sherrilyn Kenyon and Nora Roberts were my introduction to romance. Current favorites include Sarah Hegger, Collette Cameron, Amy Sandas, and (of course) Tina Susedik. Aww, you’re so sweet!

What is your Work In Progress? I’m currently working on the long-put-off sequel to Son of Thunder entitled Daughter of Darkness. I’m happy to be back in the world of my Norse gods and hope to have the novel out before the end of the year. I have to say that science fiction is not on the top of my list to read, but since reading you books, I’ve changed my mind. I’d be in line to read that one.

I was happy to have you here today.

Thanks, Tina.

You can find Steve at:
Blog: http://scmitchell.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSCMitchell
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorSMitchell
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007D0Z1MW

PiratesofthedarknebulaKeep reading for the blurb and excerpt of “Pirates of the Dark Nebula.”

“Protecting the most dangerous secret in the galaxy means taking it, and the woman who holds it, into the deadliest cesspit in the galaxy’s outer rim.”

Blurb: It can’t fall into the wrong hands.

Luna Callista holds the key to a galaxy changing new technology. Captured by a ruthless band of deep-space pirates, she’s rescued by a man filled with dark secrets of his own. Who is Rik Mazar?
Galactic protector or rogue pirate?

After three years undercover among the Brotherhood of the Dark Nebula, Rik Mazar isn’t sure what side of the law he’s walking. In a world of murder and betrayal, his life goes on the line every day. But, protecting Luna Callista means putting his heart in as much danger as his hide.

A rusting service droid, a Ferang fortuneteller, and a ship full of back-water refugees are their only allies, as two hearts go into orbit to save a galaxy in peril.

Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Pirates-Dark-Nebula-Hearts-Orbit-ebook/dp/B0109O7VMQ/

Excerpt:
“Harvey, run a check of all ship’s systems. We’re moving in the wrong frackin’ direction.” What the hell is going on?
The droid shuffled toward the maintenance control, his metal feet clanking on the titanium deck. Humanoid in design, her mechanical companion was more than just a computerized machine, programmed to serve. Harvey was her friend. Could his memory banks even register how much he meant to her?
While Harvey checked out the ship’s systems, Luna scanned the area around the ship, looking for anything that could be causing the issue. This deep space sector, a warp hub, should be empty. It charted between systems.
There’s nothing here.
She’d come out of warp and was lining up her next hyper-jump when the problems started. If she couldn’t get to that next jump point, she couldn’t safely leave the sector. A warp starting at the wrong point could thrust her ship through a star or space debris. Dangerous at the least, and probably suicidal.
She pushed once again on the thruster control, but it wouldn’t budge. It was already maxed.
Behind her ship, sensors picked up an anomaly. Polar fluctuations without a gravitational field.
What the hell?
She threw the rear visual up on monitor. There was something wrong . . . different in the space behind her ship. Like a shimmering deeper ebony against the blackness of space.
Her heart skipped a beat as a Vega class starship appeared out of the nothingness. No warp signature. No jump claxon. As if the ship had been there all along, but she just hadn’t been able to see it.
Cloaking shields? Tractor beams? This was science fiction stuff.
Gooseflesh crawled up the back of her neck.

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Perseverance – Interview with Julia Lightbody

IMG_4723 (2)One of the things I wanted to do with my blog was interview unpublished writers to find about their journeys to publication. I’d wanted to do several a month, but after the first interview with Deb Waite a few months ago, I’ve only received a few interviews back. So now I’ve decided to do one a month. Then with the work and release on my two children’s books, “Uncle Bill’s Farm” and “The Hat Peddler,” I haven’t had time to write and post the interviews. Well, it’s time to get started.

This month I’m featuring Julia Lightbody, writing as Ava Black. Julia is a fellow member of the Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. Unfortunately we’ve never met, but I hope to remedy that at our next conference in April. After reading this interview, I believe you’ll learn how to persevere in whatever you do.

Julia, who or what inspired you to write? Lust, pain, victory and release beg me to write. So often, the daily monotony of ‘average’ weighs heavy on my brain, and I can’t help but crave something more than scooping dog poop from the neighbor’s yard and washing endless loads of laundry, something that frees creativity and chains boredom. Writing is that ‘something more.’ Its escapism, fantasy, perfection, and the only endeavor I can get away with while working full-time and raising kids (Olympic Gold Medal Figure Skater is too time consuming). As for who inspired me to write, Alfred Noyes wins the honor. In second grade, Mrs. Corrigan assigned us to write or copy our favorite poem and read it to the class. That night after school I ran home and dug Childcraft Volume Two from the living room bookshelf and copied The Highway Man. While scribbling away with a dull Number Two, something in my brain clicked. Since that day, I’ve always written—poems, short stories, diaries, novels. I haven’t read that poem in a long time and looked it up. I forgot what a tragic love story it is.

How long have you been writing? Did you stop and start, or write continuously during that time? Writing is like breathing, it never stops, well, unless you have babies and are working full-time and going to night school, then it stops. But it picks up once the babies are off to elementary land and the degrees are earned. My most productive writing years are now, midlife, because I have the desire, skill and time, and money to hone the craft. Writing ain’t cheap. Purchasing computers, attending conferences, hiring editors, all comes at an unaffordable price for a young family paying daycare and vet bills. But the time and dedication necessary to complete a manuscript are free, and something anyone who wants to write can afford. IMG_4721

Have you submitted a manuscript? I’ve submitted three, all have been rejected…over two-hundred times. The first rejection letter I received crushed my spirit for days, but not my will to write. I remember heading to the mailbox after work, wondering if today was the day I’d receive my SASE from Writer’s House (a top NY literary agency who represents clients like J.D. Robb and Lisa Jackson ), complete with contract inside. What waited was a three sentence ‘thanks but no thanks’ dis that sent me into a tailspin. How could they reject such art? How could they not offer critique? How could they slaughter my dream? Easily. Most agents get hundreds of submission monthly and are looking for strong voices, characters and plots. My art had none of those and although I loved writing, I didn’t love continuity, rhythm, and cohesiveness. Since that rejection letter, I’ve learned to love them. I admire your commitment to our craft. Many—if not all—other writers would have given up long ago, yet you keep persevering. I know someday I’ll be doing an update saying you are published.

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????How do you handle those rejections? Rejections is raw and painful and personal, or at least it was until I researched rejection and learned it’s the first step to success. Stephen King’s first four novels were rejected, but his fifth sold. The name of that novel was Carrie. Rejection can’t define your skill or dream, it can only force you to hone craft and reevaluate details. In the beginning, after I opened rejection emails and snail mails, I’d crawl into bed and cry while swearing to burn my manuscript, but once I wiped the tears and studied models of winning query letters and synopses, I threw on the big-girl panties and broke out the editing pen. As cliché as it sounds, failure helped me succeed. This past year, I’ve received 10 full reads and 10 more rejections, however the rejections now come with critique and commentary such as “The writing is wonderful, but not for our audience,” or “The premise and characters are compelling, but my new-client list is full.” Rejection still stings, but now the sting is from a honey bee, not a box jellyfish. It’s part of the business, and something all writers need to accept. YOU WILL BE REJECTED. Last month I received a rejection letter, promptly threw it out, turned on the computer and kept writing. You have such a wonderful outlook on this topic. I like to tell students I talk to that rejection only makes you a better writer. I’m proud of my rejection file. The day I received an actual rejection letter that wasn’t a form letter, I knew I was improving.

What do you do to keep yourself from giving up? Every day I want to stop writing, but the truth is, I can’t. Last weekend at Mystery University, a Mystery Writers of America educational seminar, a friend spoke a great quote that sums up quitting writing, “Without writing, there’s just life” That’s about it. I agree. I believe non-writers don’t understand how necessary it is for us to write.

On a different topic—who are your favorite authors? Favorite authors include Maegan Beaumont (Carved in Darkness), Jennifer Hillier (Freak, Creep), and Gillian Flynn (Dark Places, Sharp Objects). Female writers penning gritty tales of flawed heroines battling insurmountable odds and inner darkness trip my trigger because the characters embody life’s hell and humanity while slicing through bullshit with grace. They’re goddesses on a mission to kill, maim, and avenge, and who doesn’t love a good ass-kicking goddess? I love this questions because I always learn the names of new authors to seek out–but so many books, so little time.

Do you enter contests? Have you won any? Every spring the Romance Writers of America and Mystery Writers of America feature a national writing competitions for unpublished authors. I’ve entered both and lost both. I’ve also entered and lost state writing competitions sponsored by regional RWA chapters. The key to not finding a tall bridge and jumping after being eliminated from round one is to remember that results are subjective. After the ms was read, judges mailed score sheets explaining elimination and what one judge scored as nearly perfect, the other scored as deeply flawed. Feedback as explicit as what a contestant receives in competition critique is invaluable and well worth the minimal entry fees. Competitions are a great way to connect with other writers and hone craft. I remember entering a contest with a time travel. One judge’s comment: “This could never happen.” Well, duh! I wanted to tell her how much I loved going back to 1862 the last time I went.

Can you share your work-in-progress? My WIP, Maladapted Behavior, is a psychological thriller featuring a flawed female shrink who enlists her lovers to unravel her patient’s murder. Okay, I just keyed onto the word “lovers.” I think I like this woman already.

book-feather-white-background-42062995What will you do to celebrate when you get a contract? I don’t torture myself with this delusion.

How did you choose the genre you write? I paid attention to the types of book, movies, music, and TV shows I love.

Are there any genres you wouldn’t write? Why? Sci-fi scares the bejeepers out of me. Technology, molecules, time travel and the vocabulary that accompanies those pieces, along with incredibly high word count requirements, are way beyond my skill level. Kudos to Sci-fi writers. Boy, I agree with you on that.

Do you go to conferences and workshops? Conferences and workshops enable blind writers to see. When I started writing, I penned on intuition and emotion, not skill. Conferences and workshops detail methods, techniques, formulas and even worksheets to make the process of finding rhythm, continuity, character arcs and editing feel intuitive instead of learned. Besides serving as an invaluable tool to hone craft, they’re a smokin’ hot opportunity to meet other writers experiencing the same rejections, insecurities, and frustrations as you. There’s no place that I feel more at home (unless I’m actually at home) than at a writing conference. Where else can you have an hour-long discussion about new and creative ways to skin someone you’ve kidnapped? Conferences and conventions are the place to be! They may be expensive, but are worth every cent. Well said. I’ve been attending them for years and learn something each time. Where else can you brainstorm about how to kill someone off and not be looked at like you were a psycho—wait, maybe we are for doing what we do.

Do you have a critique partner or group? Are they helpful? How? For the first two years I wrote, I didn’t have a critique partner and wasn’t in a group. I wish I had. Sharing work with strangers is scary, but you can only bug your FB friends and close family to read a chapter so many times before they start unfriending you. Currently I’m in a critique group that offers honest advice and support. The most valuable critique unveils aspects of your writing that you didn’t know needed improvement. For example, a fifteen page sex-scene may not be the best way to keep readers’ attention, or a character can’t start a murder investigation on a Monday, go on a Caribbean cruise on Tuesday, and be back with evidence to solve the crime on Wednesday. Timelines are tough to follow if they’re not plotted, and critique partners catch that. They also remind you that you’re not alone in your little world of rejection and failure, you’re in good company and there are people out there that care about that. Next to editing, receiving critique is the most helpful way to grow. I find I learn a lot by critiquing others’ work, too.

Tell us about your writing space: My writing space is a twelve-year-old factory warehouse liquidation special, green corduroy loveseat. It’s covered in dog IMG_4717 (2)fur (of the yellow Labrador variety) and has a few rips in it from the dog’s nails. Generally, I lay on the loveseat, with my feet propped over the arm, laptop placed on my belly atop a pillow and write. Since I work full time and have a six and nine-year-old, I usually write after seven p.m. I get home from work around four, do homework with the kids, cook dinner, clean up after dinner, walk the dog, then write. On the weekends, I cook breakfast, clean the house, wash four or five loads of laundry, then settle in to write. If the kids are too loud, I leave the living room love seat and head upstairs, where I crawl into bed and write in bed. Shutting the door usually doesn’t drown out the noise, but it helps. I write every day. The only days I don’t write are after I’ve finished a manuscript, or if I’m on vacation. If I’ve finished a manuscript, then I give myself about a week of downtime. Writing isn’t a chore, it’s a release, and I look forward to it daily. You certainly are good example to those “writers” who say they would love to write a book—if only they had the time. With your busy, busy schedule, I don’t know how you stay awake on the couch or in bed. I’d be asleep in a matter of minutes.

Thank you Julia for your spending your time with me today. I look forward to meeting you at a conference. Good luck with your writing.

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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
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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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Another Writer’s Conference

I just returned from the Wisconsin Romance Writer’s Conference in Oconomowoc this weekend. I went with a group of my favorite people – my writer friends. Since I’m on the board of directors and had a meeting at two, I left early Friday morning with three ladies in my van. The other three rode in another van. The trip was uneventful except for a lot of gabbing.
After arriving and checking in, I had to go to my meeting and missed the group putting together baskets for the literacy raffle. Last year we ran the raffle, this year we donated twelve of them from our little group of seven women. I was able
join them in the bar after my meeting.

Relaxing with good friends before evening events.

Relaxing with good friends before evening events.

DiAnn Mills, a NYT Best Selling Author, was our speaker after supper, talking about The Power of Emotive Conflict. I was able to spend some time with this gracious, intelligent woman during the conference as she sat and ate breakfast with us both mornings. I also attended her Backstory Workshop.

After a late first night and breakfast Saturday morning, the highlight of the conference was speaker Michael Hauge. Michael is a story consultant, author and lecturer who works with screenwriters, novelists, filmmakers in Hollywood and around the world.
What an incredible two and half hours. I know his Six Stage Plot Structure will make me a better writer. This was just part one of two parts of his lecture. The second was Sunday morning for another 3 ½ hours. Usually when I sit at workshops like this and am bombarded with information, I go home with my brain swimming with stuff I probably won’t use. Michaels’ approach was straightforward, down to earth, made sense and is extremely usable. For the first time in attending conferences and workshops, I typed up my notes after returning home. I didn’t want to forget anything.

Beth James and I with the roses we received for our first book sale.

Beth James and I with the roses we received for our first book sale.

There were other workshops, a book sale for literacy (besides the raffle), a book signing, hospitality time, awards luncheon (where I received a rose for my first sale) and, of course, the time I spent with my good friends. It was fun catching up with other authors that I only get to see once a year. The days were long, both Friday and Saturday going from early morning until late at night, but it was worth the exhaustion.

I look forward to next year’s conference where, hopefully, I will have a few more published books under my belt.

With Jean Staral.

With Jean Staral.

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Filed under Publishing, Romance, Writer's Conventions/Conferences, Writing