WisRWA Calendar

Jan 01
2018
2018 Fabulous Five Contest Opens for Entries
Are you an unpublished author? Consider entering the 27th Annual Fabulous Five contest. Polish and submit your first 2,500 words (word count is firm!) to one of seven categories. Your entry will be reviewed by three preliminary round judges. The top five finalists in each category will move onto the final round where their entries will be judged by one agent and one editor. The contest opens for entries January 1st.

For more information, click the contests link on the navigation bar.

***As an added bonus, every entrant who opts in will be entered into a drawing for a free registration to the October 6 WisRWA Fall Workshop featuring Heidi Cullinan. All entrants will be entered into a drawing to receive a detailed critique from a WisRWA published author. Number of critiques is TBD at this time.***
Feb 12
2018
Stop Dissing Romance! Panel at Boswell Book Company
Join WisRWA at Boswell Book Company on February 12 at 7 PM for a presentation on the romance genre and its role in the publishing industry by a panel of Publishing Professionals. Bobbi Dumas, a freelance writer, book reviewer, romance advocate, and founder of Read a Romance Month will moderate. More information to follow.
Feb 15
2018
Last Day to Enter Write Touch Readers Award Contest
February 15th is the last day to submit your entries for the 2018 Write Touch Readers Award contest. All print books must be received that day. E-entries must be submitted by 11:59 PM CST.

For more information: http://wisrwa.org/contests/contest-write-touch/
Mar 01
2018
Last Day to Enter Fabulous Five Contest
March 1, 2018 at 11:59 PM CST is the last day the Fab Five Contest will accept entries. Entries cap at 35 entries per category and all entries received after the deadline will be returned.

For more information: http://wisrwa.org/contests/contest-fab-five/
Oct 06
2018
WisRWA 2018 Fall Workshop
Mark your calendars for the 2018 Fall Workshop on October 5-6, 2018 at the Grand Lodge Waterpark Resort, Rothschild, WI. For more information, click the Workshop tab.
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. More details to follow!

Meeting Times

Feb 07
2018
Green Bay
11:30-2:00; 1951 West, 1951 Bond Street, Green Bay

Ins and Outs of Novellas

Green Bay Area member, Kayla Bain-Vrba will share her process on how to write a novella.
Feb 10
2018
Chippewa Falls
10-12; Volume One, 205 N Dewey St, Eau Claire

Social Media for Writers

Karissa Zastrow will speak on “Social Media for Writers”. Her presentation will focus on tips and tricks to help you use the most popular social media platforms to promote your writing without burning hours of your precious writing time. Check our event on the Wisconsin Romance Writers of America Facebook page and let us know if you are attending!
Feb 10
2018
Wausau
10:00 - 12:00; Marathon County Library, 300 North First Street, Wausau WI

Pacing Dialogue and Action Scenes - Your Story at Your Speed

Pacing is moving your story forward smoothly, at your speed. Not everyone wants a bucolic amble, either. The goal of this workshop is to help you take control of your writing pace – to make your story travel at the pace you want, so that you can tell the story you want to tell.
Feb 17
2018
Milwaukee
9-11:30 AM; Mayfair Mall (Garden Suites Community Room, Lower Level), 2500 N Mayfair Rd, Wauwatosa

WisRWA Milwaukee Writing Circle Hosted by Milwaukee Area member, Tricia Quinnes

Get ready to write! We'll have a write-in day with sprints and brainstorming help as needed.
Mar 07
2018
Green Bay
11:30-2:00; 1951 West, 1951 Bond Street, Green Bay

How to Write a Series

Green Bay Area member, Lily Silver will share her process on how to write a successful series.
Mar 10
2018
Chippewa Falls
10-12:30; Deb’s Café, 1120 122nd Street, Chippewa Falls

Fear of Writing and Publishing: Success and/or Failure

Is fear holding you back from realizing your dream? Are you afraid of the writing/publishing process, afraid of failing after all your best efforts, or, yes, even afraid of actually succeeding? Then this discussion is for you.
Mar 10
2018
Wausau
10:00 - 12:00; Marathon County Library, 300 North First Street, Wausau WI

The Nitty Gritty Down & Dirty – Truth About Writing the Break-out Block-Buster Novel

A fun guide to plotting: Why start from scratch and reinvent storytelling? This workshop is a guide that reveals the structure and elements in huge bestsellers. We will see how successful authors break out by satisfying readers’ needs.
Mar 17
2018
Milwaukee
11:00-2:30; Mayfair Mall (Garden Suites Community Room, Lower Level), 2500 N Mayfair Rd, Wauwatosa

Get Ready to Indie!

WisRWA Member, Nicolette Pierce will share details about self-publishing. Find out if self-publishing is right for you, when to know if you're ready and many more things surrounding this type of publishing.

WisRWA Newsletter



Promotion Thursday – September Edition

PromotionThursday2

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

Sandy Goldsworthy will be at 2017 Penned Con in St. Louis, MO September 29-30. Penned Con is a conference where authors and readers are brought together for the chance to mingle, have fun, and raise money for Autism. See your favorite author and meet some new ones at the 4th annual conference in this two-day event. For more information visit their website.


Sex With Strangers Book Fair

WisRWA is teaming up with Renaissance Theaterworks in Milwaukee to host a mini book fair on October 28th in and around the performances of Renaissance Theaterworks’ production of Sex with Strangers.

From Renaissance Theaterworks website: “When frustrated forty-ish novelist, Olivia, meets fast-talking, twenty-something, blogger and memoirist, Ethan – known more for his sexual prowess than his prose – she worries that she will become just another chapter in his little black book. Their funny and passionate union blurs the lines between rewrites, romance and royalties – proving you can’t judge a book by its author. Sex with Strangers was one of America’s top ten most produced plays from 2014-2016. In addition to playwrighting, Laura Eason is also a producer/writer for the Emmy Award-winning Netflix series House of Cards.”

Eight WisRWA authors will take part in the signing, and we’ll have other WisRWA members on hand to answer any questions about WisRWA that we can.  The authors participating are:

Barbara M. Britton
Mia Jo Celeste
Sara Dahmen
Anna Durbin
Bobbi Groover
Mary Hughes
Nicolette Pierce
DC Thome

BookFairPoster[2]

 

Starting tomorrow, each week, we will feature a Q&A with one of the authors.
Sex with Strangers runs October 20-November 12, 2017 but WisRWA will only be there on October 28th.  Come support local theater and local authors!  For more information, visit Renaissance Theaterworks.

Hope to see you there!


Narrating the Book: An Interview with Brian Gill

Professional narrator and actor, Brian Gill, will be at our September meeting to talk about the audio book process, answer your questions, and give you a sample of how your work would soundBrian Gill 2 narrated. So, bring a couple pages of your work-in-progress with you. I’ve known Brian for many years. He is an outstanding actor, excellent narrator, and a dazzlingly charming man. Please come and meet Brian at the MKE WisRWA meeting Saturday, September 16th at 9am in the lower level of the Mayfair Mall.

– Jennifer Rupp, Milwaukee Area Contact

What special skills do you think make you a successful narrator?

I’ve been a professional stage actor for over 20 years, which is a definite help.  I’ve also always had a good ear for dialects and the ability to jump back and forth between several different accents quickly. That is immensely helpful when I’m narrating a book where the author wants a more neutral narrator voice (say for example my own with no accent), then I’ve got a leading man who is British, a leading lady who is French, and a foil who is older and Scottish.

Do you ever get to chat with the author about their vision of the characters?

I will usually receive a character breakdown which gives me the basics along with any tricky pronunciations. Usually all communications are through email, though there’s also been the odd Skype call.

Have you ever gotten completely lost in a story you are narrating?

There was one book I narrated called Wrong Place, Wrong Time by David Purlmutter that was a real nail biter. It was a true story about a hair-raising misadventure he got drawn into when he was a younger man.

Voice Over Microphone with ComputerYou’ve narrated romance novels. Is there anything different required for the romance genre vs. say a thriller?

I’ve found that all of the books I’ve narrated, which include fantasy, non-fiction, noir, and science fiction, share more in common from a narration point of view than differ from each other. I know that I’ll need to use my narrator/storyteller voice for the exposition, then pull out all the stops for the character voices, which includes sometimes an arsenal of accents. Other than that, it is “simply” finding the right tone, pace, and drive for the story telling.

Brian J Gill is a professional stage actor with twenty years of experience, ten of which as a member of Actor’s Equity Association. Gill has performed regionally and internationally and is currently working as an adjunct theatre professor. He collaborates with Griffin Audio Media to produce high quality audio books. You can hear audio sample of Brian J Gill here.

If you’re interested in learning more about Brian’s work and about audio books please join us in Mayfair Mall Community Room (Lower Level) on Saturday, June 18th at 9 AM. We hope to see you there!

 

Jennifer Tretheweyby: Jennifer Rupp

Jennifer Rupp is the Area Contact for Milwaukee Chapter of WisRWA. She writes under the name of Jennifer Trethewey. Cassie Hanjian of Waxman Leavell Literary Agency in New York represents her Highland House historical romance series. Jennifer has placed in the SOLA Dixie Kane Memorial Contest, Indiana’s Golden Opportunity Contest, and WisRWA’s Fab Five Contest. She’s a member of Wisconsin RWA, a PRO member of RWA, Red Oak Writing Studio, and Wisconsin Writers Association.


New Release Tuesday – August 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.

 

Frontier Want Ad Bride by Lyn Cote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frontier Want Ad Bride by Lyn Cote

 

Maxine Douglas Simply To Die For 200x300

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simply To Die For by Maxine Douglas

 

Love Reconsidered by Phyllis J. Piano

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love Reconsidered by Phyllis J. Piano


Promotion Thursday – August Edition

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

 

 

Maggie Rivers will be signing books at the Clinton Book Festival in Clinton, IA on August 26 from 10:00 AM to 4 PM


Lyn Cote Inducted Into RWA Honor Roll

Lyn CoteThe RWA Honor roll recognizes RWA members who have a work of romantic fiction that has: appeared on any New York Times bestseller list; appeared on the Publishers Weekly Top Ten bestseller list or any other Publishers Weekly bestseller list based on format, genre, or region; appeared in the top 50 of the USA Today bestseller list; or sold at least 100,000 copies in a single language.

Recently one of our own WisRWA members was inducted onto the RWA Honor Roll: Lyn Cote, for selling over 100,000 copies of a single Love Inspired romance.

An author of more than forty-five books, Lyn’s faith-based romances have been published since 1998. When Harlequin released their new Love Inspired line, Lyn’s breakout novel Never Alone was featured in their very first year. Since then, Lyn’s stories have appeared in the Love Inspired lines Suspense and Historical, as well as being released by Tyndale House Publishers. Regardless of when or where her stories take place, the central message of faith is always there. Lyn says that she hopes her “stories about strong women will transform our thinking about ourselves, God, and others different from us for the better.” Apart from writing romance novels, Lyn has also written articles on the writing process and the CBA (formerly known as the Christian Booksellers Association) market.

Lyn has dubbed herself a “hybrid author,” an author who is both traditionally and self-published. While she continues to publish with houses like Harlequin and Tyndale, she also enjoys the freedom of being able to self-publish stories that editors don’t think will “fit” in the standard market.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Lyn for the WisRWA newsletter.

 

How long have you been writing/published?

I started writing when my daughter was 13 months old and sold my first book when she was about to start high school. That was in the old days before self-publishing. 😊

Can you tell us a little about your first publication experience?

I was at the RWA National Conference in Dallas in 1996 in the only inspirational workshop (the inspirational market was just getting started) and behind me Editor Anne Canadeo announced that Harlequin was opening an inspirational romance line, Love Inspired, the next year. Of course, I suppressed the urge to leap over the back of my chair into her lap. (Decorum with editors is important! 😊) I talked to her afterward and she said what we all love to hear – send me a manuscript NOW. Unfortunately they were only doing contemporary and my Golden Heart final was a historical. However, I did have a contemporary which I sent to her. BUT IT GOT PUT IN THE WRONG PILE – so I didn’t get THE CALL till the next March. My first Love Inspired, Never Alone, #36, came out June 1998.

Are there any awards/recognitions you’ve received over the years that stand out to you?

I am a RWA Golden Heart and RITA finalist, an American Christian Fiction Writers CAROL award winner, two-time National Reader’s Choice finalist, two-time winner of the HOLT, and I was awarded a Romantic Times Award for my book, Dangerous Secrets, set in Wisconsin. The thing that was most exciting of all was an ad in People Magazine for my book Chloe (2005) but I shared that with three other authors. I just never thought I was the People Magazine type – still don’t. 😉

You were an English and History teacher before becoming an author. How has that inspired your stories?

Well, I wish I could say that teaching English has made punctuation easier but it doesn’t because each publisher has its own house style and the Chicago Manual of Style that copyeditors use changes each year. So much for the English teacher part. As for the history part, I am tempted to just do the research but no one pays to read my index cards! That motivates me to get back to writing the story. 😊

Do you have a Biblical passage that keeps you going?

John 10:10 “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” –Jesus of Nazareth

After writing over 45 books, I have realized that each of my books is about the “abundant life” that God wants for us all. What is abundant life and how to gain it? – is core question of all my stories. And to me, giving and receiving love is essential to living abundantly. Why can’t my hero/heroine give and receive love? It’s different for each couple, each love story. I love to break down the barriers that keep them from what God wants for us all.

Any closing thoughts?

I’ve written 46 books now. Frontier Want Ad Bride #45 will come out in August. It’s #4 in my “Wilderness Brides” series set in Pepin, Wisconsin, the birthplace of Laura Ingalls Wilder. #5 in that series, Suddenly a Frontier Father, will come out in February 2018 and that will be my final Love Inspired Historical. You see the publishing industry never gives ANY guarantees. We’re all gamblers without “enjoying” all the flashing lights and wild sounds of a casino. What this means for my career onward, I don’t know. Will I become indie all the way or find a house for another proposal? In the post-Kindle “apocalypse,” all possibilities are open to me. I remain as undaunted today as I was in 1996 when I nearly landed in an editor’s lap. 😊

 

Kayla Bain-VrbaKayla Bain-Vrba has been living in daydreams ever since she was a little girl and writing about them for as long as she can remember. It was her discovery of m/m romance that inspired her first published work at age nineteen. When she’s not writing—or is procrastinating writing—Kayla enjoys spending time with her other half, crafting, and planning things to a tee.


New Release Tuesday – July 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.


King of Swords by Anna Durbin


King of Swords by Anna Durbin


Promotion Thursday – July Edition

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

Sara Dahmen will be presenting at RWA Nationals in Orlando, Florida on Friday, July 28th from 2:00-3:00 PM during the 20/20 Expert Hour: Historicals. She will be discussing the Historical Kitchen: A meaty look at the roles and power of women in the kitchen: how their status and the era affected the foods they prepared and impacted their world.

Maxine Douglas will be at A Weekend with the Authors in Nashville, TN July 13-16.


Social Media: Keeping Your Audience Engaged

Social Media Sharing TreeWhen posting on a page, Facebook provides amazing analytics. Under the insights “tab,” you can see your audience reach and engagement for each post. I have over 3500 Facebook followers and it’s near impossible to get more than a 1.8k organic “reach” on my posts (that means my post only reaches half of the users who followed my page). Sure, I could boost a post (pay to have it reach those users), but I’ve found that organic is just fine IF I pay attention to day-to-day user engagement.

User engagement is when someone clicks or comments on the post. That statistic is the other important listed number in the Insights tab. Keeping a higher engagement number plays into your reach.

How does one keep user engagement high? Post content that the encourages users to comment/respond. Think outside the author role. Honestly, my random, weird thoughts tend to really catch people’s attention.

Some of my best post to date:
Muffins vs. Cupcakes
Matched or Mismatched socks?

Social Media IconsThose were the complete posts. Three words and four words. That’s it. A close runner up would be the time I asked, “What is the most annoying sound in the world?” Not only did my audience engage, they entertained the heck out of me.

I quickly learned that keeping a mix of fun, interactive posts versus promotional posts meant that the promotional posts would have a better reach. Here’s an example of a post that did reach 3.7k users without needing to pay for a boost.

As you can see in the post, I ended it with a fun call to action. “Friends don’t let friends miss deals…Please share!” The post received over 71 shares which helped the post surpass my page’s organic reach of 3k at the time.

In addition to a mix of content, post often, but not too often. I’ve seen pages that post daily or even hourly and have observed that do not help engagement, but hurts it. The perfect mix that I’ve found so far is every other to every third day. However, different readerships might have different needs. Be willing to play with your content and posting schedule to find what works well for you. And, keep in mind that social media is constantly changing. What works today may not work tomorrow.

What have you found that works well?

Melissa Haag

by: Melissa Haag

Melissa Haag lives in Wisconsin with her husband and three children.  An avid reader she spent many hours curled in a comfortable chair flipping pages in her teens. She began writing a few years ago when some ideas just refused to be ignored any longer.

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Roxanne Rustand Visits Wausau Area

Roxanne RustandUSA Today Bestselling Author Roxanne Rustand led a discussion on the Creative Process in Wausau on Saturday June 10th at the Jefferson Street Inn.

During Roxanne’s interactive talk she spoke about what she does in the process of creating new characters and their romance and Happily Ever After. Sparking a lively discussion, she shared several worksheets, such as:

  • Kathy Jacobson’s “Conflict Grid,” which explores many different ways for the the hero and heroine to come into conflict: their long range and short range goals, external and romantic conflicts, conflicts of personality and archetype, the emotional danger which each character faces if he/she gives up the old way of thinking and doing and finally the epiphany that frees them from the past.
  • “Turning Points in Novels, ” which pinpoints what constitutes a turning point, such as:
    • the character has an Epiphany,
    • something very important is revealed,
    • A serious event that happens to characters and causes changes,
    • or a subtle emotional moment that sparks a big reaction,
    • or a small thought-provoking event with a big consequence
    • finally an action or event that shows that the protagonist is evolving.
  • Brainstorming Conflict Chart which asks questions, such as:
    • What things can happen to make the external conflicts worse?
    • Romance conflicts–What steps make things better or worse for the hero and heroine relationship in each scene?
    • How can I add more emotion, more romance in each scene?
    • How can I focus on and develop the stages of attraction in each scene?
  • How to Map the Locales in a series of books

One take away was when “getting to know your characters,” ask them the hard questions. Roxanne got this from a Jill Barnett workshop:

If your character is not coming to you, or you cannot nail the right emotional moment,

Pick a subject from below and write for at least 5 minutes (by timer) and up to 20 minutes.

Use one of the following topics in context with your character:

Pain
Dreams
Anger
Family
Love
Marriage
Birth
Death
Childhood
Hate
The Past
The Future
Needs
Heartache
Shame

Roxanne: “This is one of my favorite ways to find the information that I’m either writing all around or have forgotten in the mad balancing act of plotting and characterization and scene planning and everything else we juggle.”

We thoroughly enjoyed our morning with Roxanne and took away many great tips to help enhance our writing.

AP_CoteUSA Today Bestseller, Lyn Cote is an RWA Honor Roll member and the author of over 35 books. You can find out more about her by visiting her website.