WisRWA Calendar

Apr 05
2019
WisRWA 2019 Write Touch Conference
Mark your calendars for the 2019 Write Touch Conference April 5-7, 2019 at the Milwaukee Hyatt in beautiful downtown Milwaukee. The conference will feature Maya Rodale as keynote speaker, and Lisa Cron as one of the headliners.

Registration is now open. Click the Conference tab for more information.

Meeting Times

Mar 16
2019
Milwaukee
10 – 12:30 at Red Oak Writing Studio 11709 W Cleveland Ave. West Allis

Write in a cinematic way with Christine DeSmet

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Mar 23
2019
Chippewa Falls
9:30-11:45 at Deb's Cafe, 1120 122nd St, Chippewa Falls, WI

Indie Publishing vs Traditional: Pros and Cons

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Apr 03
2019
Green Bay
11:30-3 at 1951 Restaurant, 1951 Bond Street, Green Bay, WI

World Building for Fiction Writers

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May 01
2019
Green Bay
11:30-3 at 1951 Restaurant, 1951 Bond Street, Green Bay, WI

Querying

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May 11
2019
Chippewa Falls
10-12:30 at Deb's Cafe, 1120 122nd St, Chippewa Falls, WI

Pinterest and Bookbub

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May 18
2019
Milwaukee
10 – 12:30 at Red Oak Writing Studio 11709 W Cleveland Ave. West Allis

Is a Developmental Editor for You?

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WisRWA Newsletter



Of Plagiarism and Piracy

I have been writing for a long time. (My first history book came out in 1998) I have 27 books in print, am an award-winning, Amazon best-selling author. But I’ve been struggling lately. Struggling with all the things going on in the writing world, making me wonder why I do what I do – other than the fact that I love creating stories. And it seems each year things are getting worse.

First, we have to deal with Amazon taking down reviews, eliminating KindleWorld, changing the way we publish our books with them, and just plain making it difficult for authors to make a living.

Last year there was the whole “Cockygate” fiasco, where an author thought she should be able to copyright a word, with a couple other writers following suit. And some who think they can copyright an idea. Thankfully they didn’t win. But it was another hoopla taking us away from our writing.

Plagiarism has been around probably since the first and second writers put words or symbols to paper, rock, or whatever their medium was. Well-known authors have plagiarized other well-known authors. Unknown authors have done it. Authors who proclaim to write best-selling books, only to find out most, if not all, of them were copied from many, many authors and then blame it on ghostwriters. How can you even call yourself an author if you don’t even write your own material?

It has been said that we should be honored that someone thinks so much of our work that they want to copy it. Honored? More like angry. It’s our work, not theirs. Again, thanks to readers, they seem to always get caught. But it’s one more thing for authors to worry about. Are these words I’m putting together sounding like someone else’s? Is the story I’m writing too close to someone else’s? Is my title just like another, or several other ones? Will someone come after me because I’ve used the same character names in my books as in theirs? Will someone think I’m writing about them?

Book pirating has been around since e-books came into being. It was only a matter of weeks after my first romance came out, that I was told by a reader that she’d seen my book on a site for free. I was shocked. How did this happen? Why did it happen? What can I do about it? Thankfully, this book was a traditionally published one and my publisher handled it. But, once again, it showed up on another site. Dealing with it as an indie author is another whole matter.

One book pirate recently said he was doing authors a favor by offering up our books for free, since if a reader likes a free book, they may then purchase your others. How does that work when all our books are on pirated sites? And it’s not just us unknown authors this is happening to. Nora Roberts, Christie Craig, Linda Lael Miller, Kat Martin, just to name a few. Even Michelle Obama has been pirated.

It seems as soon as you request your books be taken down and they’re removed, they pop back up again. Or if a pirate site is removed, another one is created by the same person. It’s frustrating, irritating, and outright stealing by readers.

On one site, I have one book listed, on another two, and those the ones I know about. The one book has been viewed 652 times. It doesn’t say if it’s been downloaded that many times, but let’s say it has been. I figure I’m out over $2,600. I don’t even want to think about how much I’ve lost from other sites. And think about someone like Nora Roberts. Almost her entire list of books is on one site. She must be out millions.

I can’t understand why people think it’s all right to steal these books from us. I’d never, ever take money from their pocket or paycheck, yet that is what they are doing.

My bulletin board.

I’ve been thinking about what to do to keep my spirits up and keep writing. I have to remind myself that I love, love, love creating plots and putting characters in interesting situations. I have to remind myself how far I’ve come since I started this journey.

I have a bulletin board in my office where I have a lot of sayings, pictures, awards, etc. posted. Yesterday, for the first time in a long time, I started reading some of the sayings. Here are a few of them:

“Don’t let someone who is no longer in your life, continue to run your life.”

“You are never given a dream without the power to achieve it.”

“It’s always too early to quit.”

“Every day is a good day…some are just better than others.”

“Some succeed because they are destined to. Most succeed because they are determined to.”

“To thine own self be true. Write every day.”

“A professional writer is one who didn’t quit.”

These are good reminders to keep going. Never give up, no matter what outside forces are against us. Keep writing, my dears.

by: Tina Susedik

Tina Susedik is an award-winning, Amazon best-selling, multi-published author with books in both fiction and non-fiction, including history, children’s, military books and romances. Her favorite is writing romance stories where her characters live happily ever after. Tina also writes spicier romance as Anita Kidesu. She lives in northwestern Wisconsin where winters are long, summers short, and spring and fall beautiful.

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New Release Tuesday – February 2019

Congratulations to the following WisRWA members on their new releases this month.

My Racy Reverse Harem Book Club by Lina Jubilee

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The Write Touch Conference is “Write” Around the Corner!

This exciting conference weekend in Milwaukee is coming up so fast it’s making my head spin.

There will be so many opportunities to meet your writer squad, rejuvenate your writing spirit, learn your craft, relax and discuss your passion for writing and love of storytelling!

Storyteller, Lisa Cron is excited, too!

We are so happy to introduce everyone to Lisa Cron, author of Story Genius and Wired for Story.

Lisa Cron’s writing intensive kicks off on Friday morning April 5th at 9am. Originally, Lisa’s intensive was scheduled only for the morning, but she loves talking about writing and to writers. So Lisa is going to work with writers all day at this workshop.  All day!

We’ll kick off the intensive at 9 am and go until 4:30 pm on Friday April 5th. As we don’t want anyone to suffer from information overload, we’ve planned a coffee break in the middle of the morning and afternoon sessions and a lunch break from 12-1:30 pm.

If all day is just too much for you, relax. You can jump in and participate in the intensive in the morning or afternoon, whenever you’re most comfortable or most inspired!

There will be plenty of time to meet Lisa, talk about writing with her, work on your own writing and ultimately, you’ll become a better storyteller!

Here’s the description of Lisa Cron’s intensive so you’ll have a solid idea of what to expect when attending the workshop:

WHAT YOUR READER REALLY WANTS: 8 STEPS TO WRITING AN IRRESISTIBLE NOVEL (OR MEMOIR, SCREENPLAY OR SHORT STORY)

“Every writer wants two things: to tell a story that hooks readers and never lets them go, and to find a way to accomplish that without going through the long slog of endlessly writing draft after draft. This workshop will give you actionable ways to meet both goals. Instead of rooting around in your “plot” for the story, you’ll unearth the key elements specific to your story that will then create the plot, bring it to life, drive it forward, and give it meaning. These elements have little to do with the surface events or “writing well” and everything to do with what we’re hardwired to respond to in every story we read (turns out the brain is far less picky about lyrical language than we’ve been lead to believe).  You’ll be able to zero in on what your story is actually about before you write word one, or if you’re in the midst of your umpteenth rewrite, before you write another word. You’ll not only produce a more powerful novel, chances are you’ll drastically reduce your rewrite time.”

For more information about the conference, Lisa Cron’s intensive, and to register, click here.

by: Tricia Quinnies, Write Touch Conference Coordinator


Combat Writer’s Block with an Idea Factory

If you’ve ever experienced the heaviness of writer’s block, you know you’ll never want to stare at a blank page, without an idea, ever again, period.

Let’s learn from the bad times and turn them into something good. Here are a few tips I use to build an idea factory, when writer’s block may hit again.

Collect ideas as they flow. You may be on vacation, at a restaurant, in bed at 2 a.m., and plot ideas, conversations, scenes, and characters are falling at your feet. Write them down right away! Grab a pad of paper, record thoughts on your voicemail, send yourself an email or text. Don’t let those great ideas slip away. You’re a writer, those ideas are interesting to you, they will be interesting to your readers.

For example, I was filling my soda cup at a fast food restaurant when a young girl stepped up next to me. The way she moved with grace and confidence reminded me of the main character of a story I was working on. I went back to my table and recorded my observations, her hair color, the way she moved, how she dressed.

Here’s another example. I was at an art museum and a strange exhibit captured my attention. The folk-art I studied that day became the background of a story. I hurried to the museum coffee shop to write down the essence of the exhibit. What attracted me to it. How I felt about it. How it looked. Then I searched websites for more information. I still have those notes and refer to them as I edit.

Eavesdrop. When you hear an interesting conversation, tune your ear to the cadence of the discussion. Everyone knows that one person who uses unique turns of phrase, or thinks differently than anyone else. Channel them the next time you are stuck in a rut and need to add new patterns to your dialog.

Seek your characters in magazines, newspapers, or the internet as you move through your day. Cut pictures of your characters out of department store ads when you find them. Download photos. Hang them on a wall where you write, along with their bios.  When you need inspiration, take a good long look at the pictures again.

Watch for situations that are stranger than fiction. What happened to your co-worker, neighbor, children? Does your friend have a litany of stories about her bad dates? Ask her if you can borrow some for your next book.

Immerse yourself in research. Search websites for more information about the setting of your story. If it’s set in a Victorian era home, tour one near you. Record your impressions.

Ask questions. When you find someone knowledgeable about the subject of your book, like that historic home, talk to them. When they go on a tangent, follow it by asking questions. They’ll likely bring up a tidbit of information no one knows about, but it would be perfect for your story. Maybe there was a secret tunnel that used to connect a barn to the home’s cellar. Is that the way your main character snuck into the home on that fateful night?

Now that you’ve got raw material to work with, peel back the onion. While your ideas are still fresh, ask yourself why the person in the ad captivates you? Is it his stormy eyes, his wavy hair? What part of the old house interested you most? The hand carved furniture? The exquisite fireplace mantel? The patterned wallpaper? What would it be like to crawl though the secret tunnel?

Take time to write down details as they appear in your life. Don’t let them go. Save them so that the next time you experience writer’s block, pat yourself on the back. You now have an idea factory ready to propel you forward.

by: Laura Dritlein

Laura Dritlein is a former freelance reporter for local newspapers and magazines. She is currently working on editing two novels with the goal of publishing them. She is constantly in search of new characters and story ideas.


New Release Tuesday – January 2019

Congratulations to the following WisRWA members on their new releases this month.

Succubus Heart (Succubus Sirens Book Two) by Lina Jubilee

Beneath the Assassin’s Touch by Katherine Hastings


Book Review Etiquette

It’s happened to every reader. You have the weekend off. Rain is pouring down. The coffee pot is sputtering, and those tantalizing smells seduce you to crawl under a blanket and pick out your next great read. So, you hop online, go to your favorite bookstore and start scanning those covers. One calls out to you, so you click, excited to see what it’s about. The blurb looks exciting, you’re ready to buy, but you decide to glance at all those reviews just a short scroll away. Five stars. Not bad! You read a few sentences in and… gasp! They just revealed the plot twist! Ruined the ending! Stole the joy you would have gotten from uncovering it yourself. The horror! Now that the plot is revealed before you even opened the first page, you back out and buy another book.

As a reader, I’m infuriated when someone’s spoiler review appears without warning. As a writer, I’m sad for the author who will no longer get the sale of that book from me, and perhaps more books if I enjoyed it and sought out the rest. All because a reviewer didn’t realize they had broken proper book reviewing etiquette.

Last night I was on a message forum where a well-known author came on and she was devastated a reviewer put the who-dun-it in the first review of her new release. Ouch. Not only is that devastating for an author who worked hard to craft a story and unveil information to you piece by piece, it’s sad for the readers who will no longer get to enjoy the surprise that one reviewer got to experience. On that post, author after author, and reader after reader came forward with similar sob stories. And as a reader who won’t read a book that’s been spoiled, I felt awful knowing authors will inevitably lose sales because of it. And the saddest part? Most of these were five-star, raving reviews. Reviewers who enjoyed the book and wanted to support the author by taking the time to write a review had accidentally cost them sales and caused them heartache as well as ruined the experience for those who would read it after them. It was then I realized, maybe people just don’t understand book review etiquette. Maybe we just need to spread the word! So, after polling authors and readers, we have compiled the list of things you should and shouldn’t do when you review your next read.

1) Review that book

This is a post about etiquette, yes. But it’s important to remind people just how much your reviews help support authors. The good, the bad, and the ugly. We want your opinion and your feedback. Your reviews boost book sales and help rank. If you enjoyed a book, give the author the biggest gift you can… your review. But when you do, just be mindful of other eager readers who want to enjoy the surprises.

2) A Book Review is not A Book Report

No one is quite sure how this came to be, but when writing a review, people don’t want a play-by-play of the book. They want to know your overall thoughts on story, craft, and characters. Let them learn the play-by-play as it’s intended… by reading it. A review that reads like Cliff’s Notes is most definitely laced with spoilers and the bottom line is no reader wants to know that stuff before they read a book. Do you?

I’m going to put two reviews below as an example.

EXAMPLE BLURB:
When a handsome swordsman comes to Camelot, he discovers the one thing he can’t battle away… his feelings for the beautiful Guinevere. Their growing passion for one another could destroy them both, and they must each choose between their loyalty to their King or loyalty to their hearts.  But when Arthur’s old enemy returns with a vengeance, it’s up to Lancelot to put aside his feelings and fight beside his king to defend not only Queen Guinevere, but all of Camelot.

Proper Review:

Wow! This book has all the feels. It’s a gripping historical romance novel filled with action, adventure, and romance. The writing is beautiful. I practically felt like I was back in Camelot. The characters were wonderfully crafted, and I rooted for them every step of the way. The pacing was perfect, and I had trouble putting it down. I loved this book and highly recommend it for anyone who wants to get on an emotional roller coaster and never get off!

Improper Review:

This book starts in Camelot and Guinevere is betrothed to the King. She really seems to love him, but then she meets Lancelot, his newest knight. After she’s kidnapped by King Arthur’s enemy, Arthur sends Lancelot to find her and they end up succumbing to their love. She cheats on her husband with Lancelot and when he finds out he’s devastated. Eventually she chooses her husband over Lancelot and he’s banished, but when Arthur dies at the end she gets to be with Lancelot after all. It was a great story and I highly recommend it.

Can you see the difference? One reads like a book report while the other tells us nothing to spoil the story but tells us how the reader FELT about the book. And that’s the most important part! Did you like the story? Too fast? Too slow? Could you identify with the characters? These are all very safe things to address, and they are actually helpful to potential readers. But let’s leave those book reports back in High School.

3) If it’s not in the blurb, don’t put it in the review

This is the safest way to make sure you don’t ruin a book for anyone else. Blurbs are carefully crafted to give away just enough info to make a book enticing, but not too much to take away the fun of discovery a reader gets to enjoy when they read a new book. When writing a review, I’m careful to never disclose anything specific the blurb hasn’t already told us. I don’t add in plot twists, endings, who-dun-it’s, or anything you wouldn’t have gotten from the blurb.

In the two reviews above, you’ll see in the first one no spoilers were leaked but you still got an idea of my feelings on the book, as well as an idea of what it’s about. It’s action, adventure and romance. Emotional. Hard to put down. In the second one, I told you exactly what happens! As a new reader, when you open that book you already know many of the major conflicts AND you even know how it ends. As a reader, if I read that first review, I would put that book in my cart. If I read the second review, I would shout curses at that reviewer for ruining a book it sounds like I would have loved. I would back out without buying it and go find another book. So, when you review, if it’s not in the blurb, find a way to get your point across without revealing any additional information.

4) Write the review you would want to read

Having a hard time coming up with a review that isn’t a book report? Try to think about what you wish you would have known before you started it. Without giving away too much, try to help the next readers decide if this is the right book for them. Do you hate cliffhangers, and it ended in one? Tell us that! Don’t tell us what the cliffhanger was but tell us you were disappointed it requires you to purchase book two in order to get the ending. Do you love sex scenes and this writer did a fantastic job? That’s a great thing to add and can help readers decide if they want a book with steamy sex scenes or not. Was it too violent for you? Say that. Readers who like violence in books will purchase it, and it will steer away those who don’t have a taste for it. These are all things that can help you write a book review that actually helps guide buyers and doesn’t ruin the book for the people who read it.

5) Use Spoiler Alerts

If you decide you absolutely must write a review that includes info not already in the blurb, please PLEASE write in all caps at the very top of your review *SPOILER ALERT!* This gives any readers who like to be surprised plenty of warning to flip past your review and not have a book experience ruined.

That’s it! Those are the five simple rules to writing a review that will have both authors and readers singing your praises instead of cursing your screen name. Your reviews are SO IMPORTANT and we want to encourage you to come forward with how you felt about our books. But just be mindful when doing so and let the readers who come after you share in all the joy of discovering a story the way an author intended. Let them share in your surprise.

by: Katherine Hastings

Katherine Hastings loves love. It’s why she writes romance novels. Getting lost writing a romantic adventure is one of her favorite pastimes. When she’s not on an adventure with her characters, she can be found at her home in Wisconsin snuggling her husband, two Boston Terriers, and the world’s naughtiest cat. Two things make Katherine want to leave her happy home these days… going for rides on her dressage pony or floating at the beach in her big inflatable raft. Writing her novels while floating in the lake is one of her ultimate pleasures… that and Fried Wisconsin Cheese Curds, of course.


The Discipline of Writing and the Fear of Failure

As the new year begins, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. One of the toughest things about becoming a writer is discipline. We all know a book doesn’t write itself and no matter how much praying we do, the words don’t always come. I have been writing a long time…well, sort of. I spent the first five years of my writing career talking about writing, researching, taking classes, attending conferences, perfecting my first three chapters and a synopsis, but I never finished a book. 

I used to blame my lack of productivity on my day job, my family, my dog, the neighbor’s dog, anyone and anything, instead of myself. Slowly, but surely all the writers in my critique group became published authors, while I kept on pretending that someday I would write a great book.  Even after publishing seven books and having others manuscripts looking for a publisher, I still struggle with sitting down to write.

Don't wish for it, work for it

Often what keeps me back from writing is fear of failure. I’m a sensitive sort and every time someone gives me a bad review or a rejection letter lands in my inbox, I crawl in my closet (literally) with my favorite candy (right now it’s peanut M & M’s), but the key is: I always crawl back out. And that’s the answer.

God says in the Bible we should not fear anything. (I write Christian fiction, so yeah, you’re going to get some God from me.) Not everybody is going to love me or embrace what I write, but that’s okay. If you put yourself out there you will be rewarded. Maybe it’s becoming a contest finalist, an email from a fan, a publishing contract or a hug from your hubby or the kids. Whatever it is, remember your talent is a gift. So use it!

Tips on how to finish a book:

  1. Keep a log of how many words or pages you write each day.
  2. Set a goal and tell someone who can hold you to it. (i.e. I will finish this book or these many pages by…)
  3. Carve out a writing time each day and stick to it. (Start with a half hour and work from there.)
  4. Exercise (Yes, taking a walk or doing a few sit ups gets the blood flowing and the brain working.)
  5. Remember, writing time is not plotting, research or marketing time. You can plot a new book when you have finished this one.

So stop reading this post and go write!

P.S. I’d love to hear your favorite writing strategy, email me at Oliviarae.books@gmail.com

Olivia Rae headshot

Olivia Rae is an award-winning author of historical and contemporary inspirational romance. She spent her school days dreaming of knights, princesses and far away kingdoms; it made those long, boring days in the classroom go by much faster. Nobody was more shocked than her when she decided to become a teacher. Besides getting her Master’s degree, marrying her own prince, and raising a couple of kids, Olivia decided to breathe a little more life into her childhood stories by adding in what she’s learned as an adult living in a small town on the edge of a big city. When not writing, she loves to travel, dragging her family to old castles and forts all across the world.

Olivia is the winner of the New England Readers’ Choice Award, the Golden Quill Award, and the American Fiction Awards. She has also been a finalist in many other writing contests, including the National Readers’ Choice Awards and the National Excellence in Romance.


Entering the Fabulous Five Contest

From the prominent New York Times Best Selling author to the newbie who’s just begun their writing career, one of the scariest things you can tell a writer is that someone is going to judge their work. Sometimes just telling a writer that their work is going to be read sends them into conniption fits.

However, writing contests should be considered in a completely different light. Writing contests are an excellent way to receive constructive feedback on your WIP and (in many instances) get your work in front of industry professionals without having to write a query!

When I finally could dedicate time to writing again, I noticed that I felt more insecure about my writing than I ever had before. I was scared to write the stories I wanted to write. I was scared to put any words on the paper, for fear that they would suck. I almost considered giving writing up as a whole. And then I read a blog post about the pros of entering writing contests. I began researching all the writing contests I could potentially enter.  Ultimately, I ended up submitting two entries into the Fab Five Contest and it was one of the best decisions I made. I took the entire process as an opportunity to grow as a writer. I wanted to know what people thought of my work when they didn’t know it was mine. It was terrifying, but absolutely necessary.

Let me tell you why:

Each final judge reads all five finalist entries. They issue their own feedback form which includes a section for material requests. Essentially, you can get a partial or full request from an agent or an editor without having to write a query and wait months checking and rechecking your inbox. Now, am I saying that entering a contest should completely replace good old-fashioned querying? No. Not at all. Querying is an important process for a writer who wants to publish traditionally, but that’s a blog post for another time. I’m talking about entering contests, specifically the Fab Five contest opening on January 1st of 2019.

For all the benefits discussed, one may suspect that entry fees would break your budget. That is not the case. At $25 for WisRWA members and $30 for non-members, the Fab Five prices continue to be some of the most economical among similar contests. So, for a relatively small fee, you can get expert feedback from published authors and the chance to get your work seen (and maybe requested by) industry professionals. I can say from firsthand experience, entering the Fab Five Contest is worth the price and worth facing the fear of judgement. It just may change your life.

As an unpublished author with no critique partners, joining the Fabulous Five contest proved vital to my journey as a writer. In 2015 I took some time off of writing to completely change careers, go back to school, and get my master’s degree. During those years, I felt well…backed up. I wanted to write my own stories, but time and guilt restrained me. I had papers to write, tests to take, and a thesis to research. How could I take an hour or two to outline a romance novel, when I was barely even sleeping? I couldn’t. There was no time. As such, my mood plummeted, my anxiety spiked, and I was miserable.

My number one reason for entering the Fab Five contest was for the feedback, especially because I don’t really have critique partners. Most authors continue the same patterns from beginning to the end of the book and from WIP to WIP. Chances are the mistakes you’re making in chapter one, are the same ones you’re making in chapter twenty. The opportunity to get detailed and constructive feedback on the beginning of your WIP is invaluable. The Fab Five contest has some seriously qualified first round judges looking at all of the things a potential editor or agent would look for: a catchy opening, believable characters, a conflict driven plot, natural dialogue and active narrative, a sense rich setting, and a unique style. Say you are like me and don’t even realize that you have no dialogue in your WIP until about page five… Don’t worry, the judges will figure it out relatively quickly and tell you in their feedback. Perhaps you are a bit lacking in setting.  The judges will let you know. Maybe your work is absolutely fantastic, but only requires some grammatical tweaks. The judges will let you know that too. The Fab Five first round judges try their very best to give detailed and useful feedback on every entry they read, but even then they don’t always agree. Every judge is different and so are their opinions, which is why the lowest score is always dropped when calculating placement in the category (unless there’s a tie) That info is available in the official rules here: 2019 Fab Five Rules Once scores are complied, five finalists are selected in each category and sent to an agent and an editor for final judging.

This leads me to the second reason for entering: the opportunity to get one’s work in front of industry professionals without having to query first. If you’re anything like me, just the thought of writing a query letter, that may or may not lead to a request, sends you into cold sweats. It’s extremely intimidating to think that a few paragraphs can determine whether or not someone decides how interesting and worthy the project (you spent years trying to perfect) is. Entering the Fab Five contest and being a finalist means that both an agent and an editor are going to read the first 2,500 words of your manuscript! There are no queries or even a synopsis needed to enter, so the judging comes directly from that small snippet of your work. I know that last sentence will freak some people out, but consider this: if an entry finals, it has gone through three other judges who considered it worthy of potentially winning. That means those first few pages are filled with some seriously good writing. That alone is a huge confidence boosting compliment.

Headshot of Natalie Cana

by: Natalie Caña


Write Touch Conference Speaker Profile: Maya Rodale

I’m tickled pink to meet Maya Rodale next April. So you can meet her too, get out your redsharpie and mark it on your calendar –

Meet Maya Rodale…
The Write Touch Conference
APRIL 4-7, 2019
The Hyatt Regency –Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Maya Rodale

To prepare you for meeting Ms. Rodale, here’s more about this fabulous author. To be fair,listed below are the bits about Maya that I really want to further explore when we meet at the Hyatt Regency in Milwaukee at #WisRWA19.

*What is Maya’s mother’s name? We have to find out and thank her…profusely. As it’sbecause of her mother, who insisted her daughter read romances, Maya now reads,writes and advocates for the romance genre. Thank you, Mrs.____________!

*Penny is Maya’s beautiful dog. As you can see in the picture, Penny is dazzling and she deserves her title as a Lady. How has Penny become so deserving of her title? Inquiring minds, especially those with pets, want to know more about Penny.

*Maya hooked me with, “It has pockets,” the blurb from her latest title, Duchess by Design. How did Maya Rodale tap into my own quirky fashion necessity? How does Maya do it? Get readers to bond with her heroines in less than a nanosecond!

Comment and tell me what your questions are for Maya Rodale! Together, we’ll find out the answers in April 2019.

Duchess by Design came out in November. I plan to hunker down after the holiday season with my copy. In January I will be cozying up with some warm fleece socks, a blanket, a mug of hot chocolate and my trusty soft pants…with pockets.   

All these lovely photos are on Maya Rodale’s website. For more info about #WisRWA’s keynote speaker, visit her website. I promise, you’ll want to meet her at WisRWA’s 2019 Write Touch Conference

Headshot of Tricia Quinnies

Tricia Q.
Daring and Decadent Storyteller


How To Successfully Co-Write

Co-writing is not for everyone. Char Chaffin and I have been friends since 2011, when we both came on board Soul Mate Publishing with our debut novels. We got to know each other virtually, and by the time we met in person at our first romance conference—Atlanta in 2013—it was as if we’d known each other forever. Soon, we both became acquiring editors with Soul Mate, cementing an already strong friendship.

During RWA Atlanta, we’d tossed around writing something together, and after one frenetic brainstorming evening came up with our first co-written book, Rodeo King, which debuted in 2014. We were thrilled when Rodeo King finaled in the 2016 Heart of Excellence Readers’ Choice Awards.

We had so much fun writing together, we decided to keep doing it, and agreed a pen name was in order. CiCi’s first name was easy, since both our names start with ‘C.’ All we needed was a last name. Eventually, we came up with ‘Cordelia’ which means ‘heart,’ and our tagline is ‘Writing From The Heart.’

Co-writing is an exciting adventure, but it also comes with challenges, and is not for the weak at heart. Mutual respect and compromise is the key to a successful co-writing partnership.

Char and I talk on the phone frequently; everyday if we’re working on a project. I’ll bring Char in here and we’ll discuss our writing processes and how they combine seamlessly into our works as CiCi Cordelia.

We’ll answer some of the questions we routinely receive regarding our partnership:

How do you combine your voices?

Since Char’s a heavy plotter, and I’m a total fly by the seat Pantser, it works really well. I’m able to continue with my usual creative process while Char keeps us focused. Plus, I’ve learned to at least outline each chapter which has improved my writing. I just can’t plot too far in advance or I lose the spontaneity of the story.

Char: Writing with someone else opens up a whole new world of compromise. ::grin:: For me, I had to write more on the fly than ever, and Cheryl found herself dealing with my incessant need for outlining. Part of why CiCi succeeds is our ability to meet each other halfway.

Cheryl: True dat. Since I started writing with Char, I’ve learned to plot, just a bit. We do a general outline,so we can stay on track. But the stories never turn out the way we originally plotted them, so there’s still a lot of pantsing going on.

Who writes what chapter?

One of us writes a chapter, then sends it to the other for edits. We usually have two or three editing rounds before the chapter is polished enough to move on. Then the other one writes a chapter and we repeat the process.

How do you work out disagreements?

Char: We are both strong writers with strong opinions, so obviously we sometimes come at our basic plot incompletely different ways, whether or not we’ve already set down an outline. We’ve never not been able to talk it out and find common ground we can both accept. I think that’s because we do know each other very well and consequently know when it’s better to cede rather than argue. Also, we understand when a project won’t work for us, the same as we instinctively know when we have picked a winner that will benefit from what we both bring to its creation.

Cheryl: This is where compromise comes into play. Char and I are fortunate that we love the same type of books and don’t often have disagreements. But, we’ve had a few. It’s a delicate balance because usually we are both right, it’s just that we’re having a difference in where we see the story leading. So, we carefully and respectfully work through it, until we agree upon the chapter, and where it’s heading. The best thing about co-writing is that this process leads to a better read, in my opinion.

How do you both settle on genre? Characters? Titles?

Char:  It depends on whether one or both of us have an idea that won’t leave us alone, or whether we’re just chatting on the phone and brainstorming occurs. We both get so excited when we start talking plotting and characters, that often the genre and our hero/heroine creates themselves.As for titles, those can be toughies, but again if we just talk it out together, we find what’s right for our work.

Cheryl: Yeah, what she said . . . ::smile::

Do you use an outside editor and cover art services for your co-written works?

Char: Since we’re both editors, we usually edit each other during the creative process. Cheryl is a great developmental editor, and I’m punctuation-crazed and grammatically anal. Both of us are strong characterization editors. Cheryl handles all the cover artwork, either creating it herself or working with a cover artist to come up with a selling cover.

Cheryl: We edit each other and that seems to work well. I do have a handful of critique partners I run my work through, and they catch a lot of stuff. By the time we finish our stories, they are pretty clean.

Does your writing partnership affect your working relationship as acquiring editors at Soul Mate Publishing?

Cheryl & Char: That would be a yes . . .but only in a good way. Sometime in the fall of 2015, we were chatting as usual, and started toying with the idea of a long-range book/series project we could develop together as editors, written by thirteen different Soul Mate authors. When we presented the idea to Soul Mate Owner and Senior Editor Debby Gilbert, she fell in love with the premise and gave it her professional blessing, and The Soul Mate Tree Series was born. The first book was written by us, under our pen-name, CiCi Cordelia. So, we not only co-write together, we co-edit.

We are currently working on a three-book historical western series, and our co-writing grows stronger with each book.

What advice do you have for those thinking of co-writing?

Char: First and foremost, you need to trust your co-writer. And it helps if you work with an author whose writing is similar to yours. I believe you should go at co-writing for the right reasons. Cheryl and I co-write because we love writing together and we believe the books we create together combine the best of both of us. As mentioned before, compromise is key. You’ll have to find common ground through every aspect of the process and you’ll need to leave your ego at the door, too.

Cheryl: As Char mentioned above,make sure you like and trust your writing partner. That’s key. Then look for someone who complements your work. It’s important to find a writer who makes your own writing stronger.

I do believe Char mentioned she’s anal . . .lol. True. I, on the other hand, am not. So I’m always rushing, wanting to get to the exciting part. That sometimes means leaving out details that would make the scene stronger. And Char sometimes writes with so much detail I find my mind wandering. So I edit her down, and she edits me up, and the pacing of our stories is the better for it. So don’t just look for someone who writes ‘just like you.’ Look for someone who melds with your own writing style to make a great story even greater.

But most of all, have fun!

Cheryl Yeko is an award-winning author and writes Steamy Romantic Suspense with protective alpha men and strong heroines. She also co-writes Sexy Historical Westerns and Hot Paranormal with her BFF, Char Chaffin.

She lives in Wisconsin with her husband Patrick. She loves to read, play piano, and spend time with family and friends. She belongs to several writing groups, including Romance Writers of America (RWA), Wisconsin Writers Association, Wisconsin Screenwriter Forum, and Sisters in Crime.

Dec

19, 2018 | General, Writing Craft | comment |

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