WisRWA Calendar

May 19
2017
2017 WisRWA Conference
May 19 - 21, 2017
Green Bay, Wisconsin

Featuring best-selling authors Christie Craig, Virginia Kantra, and Sarah MacLean.

Register now under the Conference tab!

Meeting Times

Jun 17
2017
Milwaukee
9:00-11:30 am at Mayfair Mall (Garden Suites Community Room, Lower Level)

Book Launch Parties and Other Marketing Roll Out Tips: Barbara Britton and Mia Jo Celeste have both launched books this year.  They will share what they have learned about events both virtual and actual.

WisRWA Newsletter



Congratulations to Melonie Johnson, Golden Heart Finalist!

WisRWA would like to offer their congratulations to member, Melonie Johnson, for finaling in RWA’s contest for unpublished writers, the Golden Heart Contest.  We chatting with Melonie about her manuscript, Sometimes You Need a Sexy Scot, and what it’s like to be a finalist.  Our fingers will be crossed for her in July when the winners are announced.


 

Melonie Johnson

Melonie Johnson

When a gorgeous guy (in a kilt, no less) literally falls at the feet of “Twitter Babe” Cassie Crow, she does what any American girl on her dream vacation would do: throws caution to the wind and locks lips with the sexy Scot. But when she realizes her hot Highlander is actually the creator of a UK Internet prank show, Cassie fears if the clip of her getting punk’d by a Scottish hunk goes viral, she can kiss her ambition to become a serious broadcast journalist goodbye.

Logan Reid’s star is on the rise. Under consideration to be picked up for a television series in the states, Logan knows this latest stunt is guaranteed to rack up the views he needs to knock his numbers out of the park. When the unwitting player in his perfect pitch cries foul, Logan vows to see the prank go live, even if he has to chase the Yank with the smart mouth and hot lips across the pond to seal the deal. Turns out, the joke’s on Logan once he realizes he’d risk his fifteen minutes of fame for a chance at a lifetime with Cassie. But with her career on the line, is Cassie willing to risk the same?

If any of that sounds familiar—that’s because it is. SOMETIMES YOU NEED A SEXY SCOT was also a GOLDEN HEART® finalist in 2016. To be honest, last month, when my phone rang the morning of RITAGH call day, I wasn’t excited (ok, I was a little excited…it was Alyssa Day on the line!), I was relieved. I had been very unsure about entering the same title in the Golden Heart two years in a row. Yes, the story had undergone revisions after I signed with my agent last spring (Pamela Harty of The Knight Agency), but still, as a previous finalist, did my story deserve another turn on the dance floor? A few things convinced me—the main one being my fellow 2016 finalists who strongly encouraged me to re-enter Sexy Scot. As an unpublished author (who wasn’t even on submission yet) I had nothing to lose (except my $30 entry fee) and everything to gain by entering again. So, I plunked my thirty bucks down and sent my Scot in.

Now I can say I’m thrilled to be a finalist again this year. The best part about being a Golden Heart finalist is the community of authors created within each year’s class. I’ll call it a sisterhood, since both groups I belong to (2016 and 2017) are all females, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. Our ages range from our 20’s to 60+. We are from all over the country…all over the world. I have Golden Heart sisters in Canada, England, New Zealand, and Australia. After this year’s finalists were announced, last year’s GH winner for Contemporary Romance called to congratulate me—from Sydney! I’m still very connected to many of my GH16 sisters (the Mermaids) and often reach out to them for advice and support, and offer it as well! Having the opportunity to form similar bonds with another fantastic group this year…like I said, it’s the best part of being a finalist.

I am looking forward to heading to the conference this summer, even if my hair isn’t (I’m a curly girl and Orlando in July…hello, humidity!). It’s Disney World—a place of magic—where dreams come true. The happiest place on earth is the perfect place to celebrate romance, and the promise of a happy ever after. Hope to see you there!


WisRWA’s 2017 Contest Winners Announced!

Wisconsin Romance Writers of America is delighted to announce the final rankings of both of our contests.  We would also like to offer our congratulations to the winners.  Winners were announced May 20, 2017 at the Awards Luncheon during the Write Touch Conference.

***denotes WisRWA member

Fab Five Contest for Unpublished Writers

WisRWA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 Fab Five Contest:

*** denotes WisRWA member

Contemporary

First Place
Monique Headley – Hard Lessons

Second Place
Christina Hovland – Things I Wish I’d Known

Third Place
Belinda Brooks – Home Again

Fourth Place
Kate Courtright – Time and Again

Honorable Mention
Kate Courtright – You are Love

Historical

First Place
Abigail Wilson – The Secrets Within the Tower

Second Place
Elizabeth Everett – The Rescue of Lord Grange

Third Place
Carol Potenza – Second Choice

Fourth Place
Avery Cove – Fragile Hearts

Honorable Mention
Elizabeth Everett – The Seduction of Mrs. Smith

Inspirational

First Place
Sharee Stover – Believable Lies

Second Place
Pattie Stockdale – The Measure of a Memory

Third Place
Kathryn Barker – Catch a Falling Angel

Fourth Place
Izzy James – The Shopkeeper’s Widow

Honorable Mention
Angela E. Arndt – The Beekeeper’s Daughter

Paranormal

First Place
Paige Helton – Witch’s Veil

Second Place
Chris Westwater – Wolfling

Third Place
Anne Reed – Dark Matter

Fourth Place
Kat Turner – Magical Thinking

Honorable Mention
Chel Chavez – The Heir of Erois (Book 1)

Romantic Suspense

First Place
Jeanine Englert – Lovely Digits

Second Place
Barbara Forlenza – Forbidden Paradise

Third Place
Barbara Forlenza – Beyond Paradise

Fourth Place
Lori Matthews- Hit & Run

Honorable Mention
Kelly Duff*** – Tame My Racing Heart

Women’s Fiction

First Place
Linda J. Truesdell – The Mending Time

Second Place
Debbie Archer – Pocket Change

Third Place
Wendi Dass – Liebling

Fourth Place
Kristi Rhodes – The Tropical Transformation of Joanie Weston

Honorable Mention
Vicki Volden – Both

Young Adult/New Adult

First Place
Riley Darkes – Serving Time

Second Place
Rachel Berens-VanHeest – A Gift of Crows

Third Place
Laura Cumbie – From Here to There

Fourth Place
Christine Gunderson – Covenant Park

Honorable Mention
Monica Headley – Off the Rails

 


 

Write Touch Readers Award Logo

 

Contemporary – Long

First Place
Melynda Price – Fighting For Control

Second Place
Dawn Tomasko – Tides of Hope

Third Place
Babette de Jongh – Angel Falls

 

Contemporary – Midlength

First Place
Sara Dahmen*** – Wine and Children

Second Place
Sierra Hill – Sweet Girl

Third Place
Valerie Clairizio*** – Family Forever

 

Contemporary – Short

First Place
Stacey Joy Netzel*** – Spring Dreams

Second Place
Joanne Dannon – Wanting Mr. Right

Third Place
Brenna Ash – Second Chances

 

Erotic Romance

First Place
Jade Chandler – Enough

Second Place
LaQuette – Lies You Tell

Third Place
Suzanne Eglington – She’s Got The Jack

 

Historical

First Place
Margaret Mallory – Claimed by a Highlander

Second Place
Vonda Sinclair – Highlander Unbroken

Third Place
Amy Sandas*** – Luck is no Lady

 

Inspirational

First Place
Laura Scott*** – Shielding His Christmas Witness

Second Place
Aubrey Wynne – Paper Love

Third Place
Mary Bentley-Lloyd – Pirate’s Treasure

 

Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance Theme

First Place
Robin Perini – Forgotten Secrets

Second Place
Kate Forest – Interior Design and Other Emotions

Third Place
Bev Pettersen – Millionaire’s Shot

 

Paranormal/Time Travel/Fantasy

First Place
Marissa Doyle- Skin Deep

Second Place
Marie Johnson – Birthright

Third Place
Marie Johnson – Ancient Ties

 

Romantic Suspense

First Place
Abbie Roads -Hunt the Dawn

Second Place
Tara Wyatt – Necessary Risk

Third Place
Vicki Tharp – In Her Defense

 

Young Adult

First Place
Tricia Cerrone – Glisten

Second Place
Katherine Fleet – The Secret of Letting Go

Third Place
j. leigh bailey – Guyliner


How I Cobbled Together An Audiobook: Part 1

Now that I have an audiobook, I thought I’d share how I did it. My process won’t necessarily work for everyone, and that’s OK. But hopefully, reading about my experience will provide you the confidence and willingness to at least get started in the process!

As someone who comes from a production background in television and radio, I know I have a bit of an advantage over where to look for voices and what kind of talent I am looking for. I’m no expert, but I have some working knowledge and connections that I’d be glad to share. I am happy to talk to any of you lovely authors about your questions on how to get into audiobooks.

Not everyone’s journey to creating an audiobook is the same. There are a lot of pre-packaged studio and narrator options available to indie and self-published authors, and while I’m not going to Headphones with bookslist them all here, a simple Google search will turn up a majority of those choices compiled in one place. An excellent starting source is this article by Allison Schiff on the Publisher’s Weekly blog.

When deciding to produce your book into an audiobook, you need to decide what kind of voice you’d like to have narrate it. Unless you understand studio time and are willing to pay fees for access, I highly recommend you don’t sit at home and record this on your computer yourself. It will result in poor quality audio that will likely be rejected by most outlets. This leaves you with looking for voice talent.

You must know the following:

  1. Approximate age of your narrating voice
  2. Gender
  3. Whether you want any accents used
  4. Voice variety (such as whether you want multiple actors to voice different characters, or have one voice over (VO) actor play parts by changing his or her voice).
    • The more voices you use, the more expensive this project becomes, not only in the need to pay more talent, but the additional scheduling and studio times you may need
  5. Voice quality (youthful? mature? melodious? dry?
  6. Be prepared, unless you’re shelling out a bunch of money, to allow your VO artist some artistic license. They may not read one sentence the way you always envisioned it in your head. Micromanaging will get pricey, and also frustrating for everyone involved. This is not unlike getting your book made into a movie. The director and other actors will have their own way to portray your characters and you wouldn’t get much of a say unless, say, you’re Diana Gabaldon.

Voice Over Microphone with Computer Once you know what you’re looking for in a VO actor, you may start to search. Some authors prefer to work with a one-stop-shop such as ACX with Amazon, or other larger production houses. They’ll have some great talent voices for you to choose from. I preferred to have more control over my choices as well as my production (as well as save some money).

I also wanted to use non-union talent because it gave me, the “buyer,” far more purchasing power and say in pricing. Union talent will have required costs for their time and set prices for their hours. They’ll also retain some license over the finished work, usually getting a percent of the profits of the audiobook sales in perpetuity (that’s fancy speak for forever). Without the “in perpetuity” clause, you may have to re-up their contract with you after a given number of weeks or months, which can result in a re-negotiation of their pay-out. I’ve worked with the likes of John Corbett and others when it comes to licensing voice overs and it’s a big paperwork headache. A lot of people need to get paid (by you) to have access to a union voice after the usage time has run out.

Thus, I went here to search for non-union voices. They have a ton! The trickiest part is listening to so many and making sure you pick someone who doesn’t sound too much like someone who makes happy-go-lucky cereal commercials for a living. You want someone who is going to take your project seriously and invest some time into it. I find it helps to close my eyes, stop thinking, and really let the voice hit me viscerally as I listen to each one. Go back and re-listen to them several times, giving yourself a few days to digest.

After you’ve created your book project, you can allow people to bid on it, or you can ask your favorite voices to bid. I did a little of both, and was very happy when my first choice said she was in! We signed a very simple contract and I received all rights in perpetuity to the finished audiobook, and gave her a single, one-time flat rate (it came in under $600 for a 85K word book). I did give her a substantial cash tip of $150 afterwards for all the additional work she did on the book, and because I hope to work with her again in the future.

You’ll be listening to the book through at least twice – the first time to listen for errors, and the second time to make sure they are all caught – so plan for many hours of sitting and taking notes. It goes faster than you realize.

Then, make sure you have the files in a few ways – Amazon/ACX asks for each chapter to be sent separately, and has a lot of rules, so when finishing the project, make sure the files comply. iTunesConnect is another publishing option. I also asked for the files in bulk so the book is in two big separate files instead of a bunch of little ones. It’s always nice to have options. You can use online file drops to save your inbox such as DropBox or even Google Drive.

In my next post, I’ll dive into the process of uploading files to ACX.

Sara Dahmen

by Sara Dahmen

Sara Dahmen is the award-winning author of Doctor Kinney’s Housekeeper, a metalsmith, American cookware designer and manufacturer, and a mom. You can reach her @saradahmenbooks or at sara@saradahmen.com.


Promotion Thursday – May Edition

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It’s Promotion Thursday for May. Check out where you can find our WisRWA authors this month.

Tina Susedik is starting a new venture. She will be hosting her own radio show on Authors on the Air starting in June. Her show, “The Book Garden” will feature authors in both fiction and non-fiction. Authors on the Air Global Radio Network has sixteen shows running both live and as podcasts. Tina will be hosting her show twice a month, once as a live broadcast and once as a podcast. She will be looking for compelling, published authors to talk with her on “The Book Garden.” More information as to her start date will be forthcoming.

Stacey Joy Netzel will be participating in the launch party for her new multi-author Beach Brides Series. The launch party runs from 12n-6p EST/11a-5p CST, and Stacey will be co-hosting the hour of 3-4p EST/2-3p CST. Join in for fun, games, and a bunch of prizes!

 


New Release Tuesday! April Edition

Each month, WisRWA will announce the new books our members have published. We call it New Release Tuesday.

Congratulations to the following WisRWA members on their new releases.

Lady Sarah by Lyn Cote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lady Sarah by Lyn Cote

Resurrection by Olivia Rae

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resurrection by Olivia Rae

The Trail to Love  by Tina Susedik

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Trail of Love by Tina Susedik


WisRWA’s 2017 Contest Finalists Announced!

WisRWA is pleased to announce the finalists of both our contests: the Fabulous Five Contest and the Write Touch Readers Award. Congratulations to all!

Winners will be announced on May 20th at the WisRWA Write Touch Conference Awards Luncheon.

*** = WisRWA member

 

Fab Five Contest for Unpublished Writers

2017 FABULOUS FIVE FINALISTS

Contemporary

Belinda Brooks – Home Again
Kate Courtright – Time and Again
Kate Courtright – You are Love
Monique Headley – Hard Lessons
Christina Hovland – Things I Wish I’d Done

Historical

Avery Cove – Fragile Hearts
Elizabeth Everett – The Rescue of Lord Grange
Elizabeth Everett – The Seduction of Mrs. Smith
Carol Potenza – Second Choice
Abigail Wilson – The Secrets Within the Towers

Inspirational

Angela E. Arndt – The Beekeeper’s Daughter
Kathryn Barker – Catch a Falling Angel
Izzy James – The Shopkeeper’s Widow
Patti Stockdale – The Measure of a Memory
Sharee Stover – Believable Lies

Paranormal

Chel Chavez – The Heir of Erois (Book 1)
Paige Helton – Witch’s Veil
Anne Reed – Dark Matter
Kat Turner – Magical Thinking
Chris Westwater – Wolfling

Romantic Suspense

Kelly Duff*** – Tame My Racing Heart
Jeanine Englert – Lovely Digits
Barbara Forlenza – Beyond Paradise
Barbara Forlenza – Forbidden Paradise
Lori Matthews – Hit & Run

Women’s Fiction

Debbie Archer – Pocket Change
Wendi Dass – Liebling
Kristi Rhodes – The Tropical Transformation of Joanie Weston
Linda J. Truesdell – The Mending Time
Vicki Volden – Both

Young Adult/New Adult

Rachel Berens-VanHeest – A Gift of Crows
Laura Cumbie – From There to Here
Riley Darkes – Serving Time
Christine Gunderson – Covenant Park
Monica Headley – Off the Rails


Write Touch Readers Award Logo

2017 WRITE TOUCH READERS AWARD FINALISTS

Contemporary – Long

Babette de Jongh – Angel Falls
Melynda Price*** – Fighting for Control
Dawn Tomasko – Tides of Hope, A Nantucket Romance Novel

Contemporary – Mid-length

Valerie J. Clarizio *** – Family Forever
Sara Dahmen *** – Wine and Children
Sierra Hill – Sweet Girl

Contemporary – Short

Brenna Ash – Second Chances
Joanne Dannon – Wanting Mr. Right
Stacey Joy Netzel *** – Spring Dreams

Historical

Margaret Mallory – Claimed by a Highlander (The Douglas Legacy)
Amy Sandas *** – Luck is no Lady
Vonda Sinclair – Highlander Unbroken

Inspirational

Mary Bentley-Lloyd – Pirate’s Treasure
Laura Scott *** – Shielding His Christmas Witness
Aubrey Wynne – Paper Love

Paranormal/Time Travel/Fantasy

Marissa Doyle – Skin Deep
Marie Johnston – Ancient Ties
Marie Johnston – Birthright

Erotic Romance

Jade Chandler – Enough
Suzanne Eglington – She’s Got the Jack: The Kate and Robert Chronicles
LaQuette – Lies You Tell

Romantic Suspense

Abbie Roads –Hunt the Dawn
Vicki Tharp – In Her Defense
Tara Wyatt – Necessary Risk

Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance Theme

Kate Forest – Interior Design and Other Emotions
Robin Perini – Forgotten Secrets
Bev Pettersen – Millionaire’s Shot

Young Adult

j. leigh bailey –Guyliner
Tricia Cerrone – Glisten
Katherine Fleet – The Secret To Letting Go


Q&A with Abby Saul of The Lark Group

Abby Saul of The Lark GroupIn April, the Milwaukee Area will be hosting literary agent Abby Saul from The Lark Group at our meeting. With the May conference in Green Bay (which will be fantastic) right around the corner, Abby’s help with tweaking and practicing our pitches, queries, and openings, is timely.

Here’s a chance for us to get to know Abby a little better before the meeting.

Q: Your website indicates that the Lark Group is an agile and editorially focused agency. What does that mean to authors?
A: We work quickly to help our authors present the best product possible. As a new and small agency, The Lark Group is able to experiment, quickly pivot to new opportunities, and help our authors find new paths (in their writing, in the way they publish, in the way we get their books in front of editors). But the quality of the book remains paramount, and that’s where our editorial focus comes in! I’ve gone through at least two rounds of editorial revisions with all of my clients’ manuscripts, addressing big and small things, to help make their books the best they can be. So what does that mean for our authors? It means they know they have a true partner helping them get a truly excellent book published. (It also means it’s easy to get me on the phone!)

Q: Why is it advantageous to work with an agent rather than directly query a publisher?
<strong:A: Most obviously, many publishers won’t accept unagented submissions – without an agent, you can’t even get your manuscript read! Houses that do accept unagented submissions will often put those submissions at the bottom of the pile, prioritizing projects that come in from agents. So an agent helps you get your project into the house for consideration. But it goes much deeper than that.

It’s my job as an agent to know what editor is looking for what kind of project, and thus create a submission list that’s tailor-made to your project. It’s also my job as an agent to negotiate your contract (and keep the business arrangements as much in your favor as possible), to be your advocate in all things (editorial changes, marketing plans, cover design, etc), and to be a force to be reckoned with in terms of you getting paid and helping manage your author brand. It’s also my job to have foreign, audio, and film/tv contacts to sell subsidiary rights for your books. Going it alone can work for some authors, but those business and industry pitfalls (contract traps, late payments, figuring out who to contact in Germany, the force of a whole publishing company worrying about itself instead of you, and so on) can be tremendously daunting for most authors, and that makes it easy for unrepresented authors to make unnecessary mistakes. An agent is your partner in all aspects of this business, and is there to advocate (always!) for you.

Q: Do you work with self-published authors, or do writers who plan to self-publish still need an agent?
A: I don’t currently have any self-published authors on my client list, but I’ve worked with them in the past. I do strongly believe that the days of a project making it big on the self-publishing side and then being picked up by a Big 5 publisher are over. If you’ve self-published a book, you’ve self-published it. It’s not going to be traditionally published after that. But self-publishing success on the romance side can translate to a traditional publisher being interested in your next work, and that’s where you might want to think about an agent.

Agents are pros at helping authors make career changes, and moving from indie publishing to traditional publishing is a big one. Even if you want to stay on the indie/self-publishing side of the industry, an agent can help you sell subsidiary rights for your work (foreign, audio, film/tv, etc). I’ll also note that a lot of romance authors write fast (it’s impressive!) and more and more authors in traditional deals are publishing on a hybrid schedule: fulfilling their traditional contracts while also pursuing self-publishing (of a different series) on the side. Agents can help navigate having your feet in both pools, and make sure you’re respecting contracts schedules, etc.

Thanks Abby! We’re looking forward to meeting with you in person.
More information


Chippewa Falls Area April Meeting – Strengthening Our Words

Join the Chippewa Falls area for the April meeting on Strengthening Our Words for Better Story Writing. Not a WisRWA member, but interested in seeing what we’re about? You’re invited to join us too. See all the details below.

WisRWA's Chippewa Falls Area April Meeting


Milwaukee Area April Meeting – Polish Your Pitch with Abby Saul of The Lark Group

Join the Milwaukee area for the April meeting. Polish your pitch with Abby Saul of The Lark Group. Not a WisRWA member, but interested in seeing what we’re about? You’re invited to join us too. See all the details below.
WisRWA's Milwaukee Area April Meeting


WisRWA Rocks Wisconsin Rapids

WisRWA Panel at MacMillan Library in Wisconsin Rapids
Three WisRWA authors, Beth James, Amy Sandas, and Tina Susedik, presented a panel on romance writing recently, at the MacMillan Library’s Fine Arts Center in Wisconsin Rapids. The panel was moderated by Eric Norton, who is both the customer service manager for the library, and an editor for Publisher’s Weekly. Tina Susedik shared her thoughts on the evening.

The evening was cold and windy, and so the attendance was lower than we’d expected. But that turned out to make for a more intimate, comfortable event. Instead of sitting at the table set up for us on the stage in the theater, we sat on the edge of the stage, making us eye level with the attendees. We were able to showcase our books as we talked and after the presentation.

The audience had many questions for us and everyone participated. Rather than a typical Q&A or lecture, the evening was more free-wheeling discussion, with the audience and authors all asking questions of each. Audience members included fans, aspiring romance authors, and even one an avid reader who had never previously read any romance. Lori Oestreich, another WisRWA member, also came to support us. It was great to see her smiling face.

We talked about the publishing world – both self and traditional. Our panel had experience in both worlds, and could offer insights into both. Other topics included creating characters, plotting vs. pantsing, what makes a romance, the part setting plays in stories, why we write romance, and how we edit our stories, and people’s impressions of the romance writing world. We talked and answered questions for an hour and a half.

A question from the reader who had never read a romance cut to the heart of the genre. She asked, “If all romances have to have a happy ending, and you know that, then why read a romance?” Amy Sandas’s response was perfect. She pointed out that it’s not unlike reading suspense or mystery novels. We know that the bad guy is going to caught in the end, yet we still read them. What’s important to the reader is the way the story is written and the journey to the end. That’s what makes the experience of reading the novel so satisfying.

Afterward, the conversation continued. A number of people attending were interested to learn more about WisRWA and RWA. And they were glad to have a chance to talk with experienced authors about their own ventures into romance writing. This is one of the best parts about being an author, and we were glad they braved the weather to come out to talk with us.

Tina Susedik/ Anita Kidesuby WisRWA Member Tina Susedik
As a child, Tina always had stories floating around in her head, but had no idea those stories could be put down in book form. One day her brother (yes, her brother) introduced her to Kathleen Woodiwiss’ The Flame and the Flower. Tina’s first romance, Riding for Love, was released in the spring of 2013. Visit Tina at www.tinasusedik.wordpress.com