WisRWA members are invited to join an exclusive private tour of the Newberry Library in Chicago. Organized by Maureen Welli, area coordinator for the Milwaukee Area, the tour should have something of interest for historical romance writers, and everyone else too. Members who’ve had the chance to visit the Newberry in the past have raved.
The Newberry Research Library is a world-renowned independent research library. It offers an extensive non-circulating collection of rare books, maps, music, manuscripts and other printed materials spanning six centuries.
The tour, scheduled for Saturday September 17th, is open to all WisRWA members, although only the first 25 to sign up may attend. The tour begins at 10:30am. Members will travel by coach bus, which will leave the Milwaukee area by 8:30am.
Those interested in joining the tour must contact Maureen (firstname.lastname@example.org) by August 5th.
Congratulations to WisRWA member, Melonie Johnson on being named a 2016 Golden Heart finalist with her contemporary romance manuscript, SOMETIMES YOU NEED A SEXY SCOT.
We asked Melonie to share with us a little about her story. She said:
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?
Here is her inspiration and her plans for the story:
This book started with one scene, the image of a guy in a kilt (good start, right?) and a girl finding him in a secret passageway of a castle. But unlike the time travel scenarios in many of my favorite romances, this hot Highlander is not what he seems.
SEXY SCOT is the first of five planned books in The Sometimes Series about five friends. The stories in this series follow each friend’s journey to her happily ever after, and all the trials and triumphs encountered along the way. While books 2 – 5 are not finished, they have character sketches and are plotted using beat sheets in the style of Save the Cat! The stories for these girls came to me all at once, and they’ve been living in my head for so long now I feel like I really know each of them…like they are my friends for real!
Best of luck at Nationals, Melonie! We’ll be rooting for you!
WisRWA member Molly Maka, self-proclaimed 1940s girl, writer of historical romance, and a veteran of historical reenactment, will be presenting her secrets to the Milwaukee area on Saturday, June 18.
As a ten-year veteran of historical reenacting of various time periods, Molly brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her presentation on how historical reenacting can enhance your writing. She will demonstrate how, through reenacting, you too can create identifiable and relatable characters based in a historical context, and establish and capture the nuances of the time period of your characters’ worlds. And she’ll explain how getting involved in historical reenacting can help you get in touch with the past.
We caught up with Molly before she started pin curling her hair for the next Stars and Stripes Honor Flight to ask her a few questions leading up to her presentation.
Molly: Believe it or not I always had a penchant for dressing historically. I remember one year I asked my grandmother if she had any of her 1940s clothes because I wanted to be a 40s girl for Halloween. That might have been the first time. Another year I dressed as a colonial girl off to a ball. When I saw the gorgeous Elizabethan court dresses at the Bristol Renaissance Faire the summer after I graduated high school, I knew I had to get involved. In 2006, my dream was realized when I joined the cast of the Guild of St. George. From there I learned of other time periods people could reenact and my involvement in different eras sort of evolved from there.
Molly: I have several that I tend to favor. Let me put it back to you: Which one do you all think is my favorite and why? Go ahead and answer in the comments. I’ll give a prize on Saturday to a randomly selected commenter. And, of course, I’ll reveal the answer.
Molly: That’s tough because, even if I don’t plan to write about something, I still look for opportunities to try new things in a historical context, if only for the experience of trying it out. You never know when you can use something. My biggest bucket list item right now is to learn how to drive a World War II-era Army jeep. And I’ve had plenty of interesting adventures I’m still planning to write about. I’ll be talking about some of the best ones on Saturday.
Molly: Right now I would have to say it’s a toss-up between my post war aluminum and lucite box purse and an adorable vintage navy blue dress with navy and red polka dot accents. It fits like it was made for me. Who knows, I might just have both of them with me on Saturday.
Molly: Absolutely. I’ve got some great stories. Of course, you’ll just have to wait until Saturday to hear them.
Many thanks to Molly for sharing a little bit about herself and her passion. We’re so looking forward to her presentation: The Historical Reenactor Who Writes: How Touching the Past Can Enhance Your Story. Please join us in Mayfair Mall Community Room (Lower Level) on Saturday, June 18th at 9 AM. We hope to see you there!
Photo Credit: Claire Noonan Photography
In October, the Chippewa Falls area will host the WisRWA 2016 Workshop, “Fall into Fiction” and celebrate our area’s 20th year. We are excited to have Candace Haven lead us through “Plotting Your High Concept Ideas” and “Fast Draft and Revision Hell”. In the theme of plotting aids, I would like to share why developing character sheets is an excellent tool and resource. I am also attaching “Character Profile Sheet” for your use.
Just imagine if you name your character Chloe and you spelled it two different ways in your book Chloe and Khloe because you were getting caught up on the Kardashians? What if your heroine’s nose appears as pertly turned up, and later as a button nose? Your hero’s eyes could appear as blue as the deepest reach of the ocean’s depth and later as blue as a Robin’s egg?
What if your book becomes the first in a series? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to hit up your digital file saved on your first book and make sure you didn’t give a character a mother in the next book who was mentioned as deceased in the first? Or in your second book, what if you give wheat glossy strands on a girl’s head, when she had ink black whirling strands in the first?
What if confusion and panic clouds your head when your first book quickly becomes a family dynasty line of serial books? Would it not be great to remember you have your character’s own Debrett’s within their character sheet and you can see who married whom or is first cousin of who so they don’t commit incest?
What about relationships? It would be nice to remember your character’s first wife’s name so he doesn’t date another lady with the same name…or maybe that itself can be part of your plot…. hmmmm?
Where did your character go to finishing school and who are her best friends? Which one is secretly evil, plotting to take away your character’s popularity? Who’s the goody two shoes who too repressed to tell on her?
Perhaps you tattoo your villain with a gang banger tat and latter you say it’s a portrait of his dead sister, not to mention you forgot what piercings you put exactly where?
Can your character sheets become tools for your plot line or time line sources? Yes indeed. Nothing is better than to be a pantser, but, really, do you want to have one of your gay characters to be mentioned as a husband first when later they aren’t married but partners? Yikes.
Here is a great tool developed by my former group in Cleveland which can be kept in your digital file you keep on each character for your book. Feel free to print out copies if you feel writing everything out is your style.
Happy writing to you as your characters lead you through their wonderful adventures!
Writer of a Regency Historical
Chippewa Falls area member of WisRWA since 3/2015
WisRWA V.P. of Programs
By Tina Susedik
Most people, writers anyway, have heard of the terms plotter and pantser. It’s a question we are asked many times – are you a plotter or pantser? It’s a personal preference with one not being better than the other.
Heavy plotters, those that map out each chapter, each scene and character to the point where the book is nearly finished when they are done plotting. I once knew someone who plotted her books in so much detail, she was able to write her chapters in random order. I simply couldn’t understand how she did it.
I rather wish I was one of those writers, or at least a bit of a plotter, but I’m not. I’m a pantser. After coming up with an idea, and fleshing out my characters, I start writing, letting the story flow as my characters learn about each other. I tried plotting once, but I became frustrated when my characters decided not to do what I kept explaining I’d plotted for them. Darn characters won. Maybe I have to go back and re-write more than a plotter would have to, but I’m a much happier author.
The reason I’m blogging about this topic is because of the fall workshop the Chippewa Falls Area is hosting on October 8th in Eau Claire. Candace Havens is our speaker. The morning session is titled: “The Book Map: Plotting Your High Concept Ideas.” I’m anxious to see if she can teach me to be more of a plotter.
Beth James and I had the pleasure of meeting Candace at The Romantic Times Convention in Las Vegas last month. She is a delight and is looking forward to coming to Eau Claire and meeting everyone. After visiting with her, both Beth and I don’t know when she has time to sleep. Candace is one busy woman. An amazing fact: At the time we met with her, she had 7,800 emails to go through from all the jobs and projects she’s involved in. I feel overwhelmed when I have 200!
I hope to see all of you in Eau Claire on October 8th – or 7th if you come the night before for the pizza party and book signing. Maybe we can have a panster/plotter discussion over a few drinks.
Tina has been a member of WisRWA since 1994 and started the Chippewa Falls Area twenty years ago in October. She is a multi-publisher author, a member of PAN, and has served on the WisRWA board as Area Contact and newsletter editor.
Written by: Valerie Clarizio
I had the privilege to attend an awesome event at the Fox Cities Book Festival, and lucky for me, the author speaking was one of our very own WisRWA members. Not only did Gini Athey, author of The Shops on Wolf Creek Square series, take us on an imagination tour of the square, she also provided tips and tricks to writing a series. Her presentation captivated the twenty -five or so members in attendance, and she added a little humor for some laughs as well. After listening to Gini’s presentation, I’ve come to realize that I’m not the only author who hears voices and forgets that my characters are not actual living beings. LOL
Of course, I couldn’t leave without buying a copy of the first book in the series, Quilts Galore, and as soon as I’m done writing this post I’m going to crack it open and make the journey to The Shops on Wolf Creek Square!
WisRWA is pleased to announce the finalists for the 25th Annual Fabulous Five Contest.
Congratulations to all! The finalists are listed in Alphabetical order, and *** indicates a member of WisRWA. Winners will be announced on June 1, 2016.
Fabulous Five Coordinator
2016 FAB FIVE FINALISTS
Mary Carson – Lord Sebastian’s Honor
Jeanine Englert – Love’s Whisper
Karen Miller *** – Saving Columbine Ranch
Linda Olson *** – An Improper Pursuit
Jane Yunker *** – Mary Bishop
Debbie Archer – Written in Stone
Sandi Hoard – A Tarnished Rose
Jackie Layton – Sealed by Love
Rhonda Herren Starnes – If Walls Could Talk
Preslaysa Williams – Coming Home to Love
Brenda Davis *** – Nothing Secret
Lisa Fenley – Rewritten
Lisa Knight – Praetorian Rising
Karen Miller *** – Always Faithful
Cheryl Pitones – Chambered
Susan McCotter – Shimmer
Curtis Ochocki – Out of the Fire
Nicolette Pierce *** – Pocketful of Diamonds
Roi Solberg – The Caretaker
Stephanie Taylor – Shutter
Tanya Agler – Shell of a Chance
Sharina Harris – Fool for You
Melissa Judd – A Venture of the Heart
Stacey Kuhnz – Contained
Kate MacEachern *** – Her Christmas Kisses
Kate Dunn – Time and Again
Stacey Kuhnz – Distraction
Vicky Norton – Breathe
Kellye Nye – Timeless
Becke Turner – Murphy’s Secret
Joyce Hunt – At a Late Date
Brenda Linskey – Confluence
Suanne Schafer – A Different Kind of Fire
Maggie Smith – Where I Belong
Jessie B. Starr – So This is Love
Young Adult/New Adult
Jennifer Dyer – Blue Serenity
Jennifer Dyer – The Donor
Tif Johnson – Camille & Drew
Kimberly Nix – Base Hit
Susan Pochapsky – The Scarlet Mantle
A TIME TO CELEBRATE A WRITER’S BEST FRIEND
By: Virginia McCullough
Back in the 1970s, I worked as an assistant librarian at the Rockland Public Library, in Rockland, Maine. For one week in April, we wore special buttons at work. My favorite was, “Librarians are Novel Lovers.” We wore those buttons during National Library Week, and now the annual celebration of libraries has rolled around again, April 10-16. (April 12 specifically celebrates library workers. My three-year + stint as a library worker coincided with developing my nonfiction writing career, focused at the time on writing articles about women’s issues, family, and children’s lit.)
National Library Week is sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and celebrates all libraries—public, school, academic, and special focus—and those who work in them. Each year, the week has a theme; the 2016 theme is transformation—meaning the power to transform lives in a digital age.
The day I got my first library card is one of my most wonderful childhood memories. We had to be able to write our names on the apricot-peach colored index card, and I remember forming each letter as I printed my name on the signature line. In return I got my very own library card, which meant I enjoyed the same status in that precious building as my parents and older sister. The building itself was memorable—the children’s room had famous murals painted by an artist hired in the WPA (Works Progress Administration) in the 1930s. (Chicago has numerous murals painted in public buildings during that era. I was an adult before I realized how unique they are.) That library also housed the largest collection of Braille books in the city.
My mother was a professional librarian in two different textbook publishing companies, but my small-town library didn’t have money to hire a head librarian with a master’s degree. Still, back in the pre-digital age, she and the four assistant librarians did everything. I was put in charge of inter-library loans and something called “readers’ advisory,” which meant I helped patrons choose books and loaded up bags of books for shut-ins or those living in retirement facilities. (Yes, we delivered books!) We all helped with reference questions, which is how I met many other writers in the area. This library was also a jewel of stone and brick, a Carnegie endowment building and prominent in town.
In 1975, the Maine Library Association’s featured conference speaker was Stephen King. He wasn’t yet as famous as he is today, but King was still an impressive “get” by the meeting planners. He spoke at length about finding solace from problems at home by spending many of his after-school hours at a public library and reading everything he could get his hands on—great preparation for a writing career. He’s not the only person I’ve heard say something similar, including many other writers.
I’m glad we continue to celebrate the value of today’s libraries and those who work in them. I know we have a few such people among our WisRWA membership. I also am grateful for the many changes we’ve seen in libraries over the last couple of decades. Print books, e-books, audio-books, music, movies, and interlibrary loan—and all free.
Years ago, some predicted the demise of libraries, or at least a trend toward irrelevancy. But those predictions were so wrong. Sure, libraries have kept up with the technology of our era, but we still see little kids arriving with their parents for story hour and haul stacks of picture books to the checkout counter—or the checkout computer.
Libraries thrive because they’ve grown and changed with the times. The library in Rockland eventually raised money for a new addition to keep up with the growing population, and my childhood library in Chicago was moved to a beautiful new and bigger facility down the block. Fortunately, the old landmark space became the new home of the famous Old Town School of Folk Music, with all its murals preserved for future generations.
Today’s librarians continue to do what they’ve always done: they serve current readers and create new ones. That’s why I will always think of them a writer’s best friend.
The 2016 Write Touch Reader’s Choice Award Contest is now open. This is a WisRWA-sponsored contest for books published in 2015.
All submissions go through an electronic portal at http://writetouch.submittable.com and books are entered either as PDF or MOBI files. There is a free entry portal for WisRWA members to use to enter their free title; all additional entries from WisRWA members and from non-members should be made via the paid entry portal. The entry fee is $25.00 per title.
Categories will reflect those at RWA National
Contemporary, long 84,000 or more (includes series and single title)
Contemporary, mid-length 56,000-84,00 (includes series and single title)
Contemporary, short 40,000-56,000 (includes series and single title)
Historical, long 89,000
Historical, short 40,000-89,000
Young Adult Romance
New Adult Romance
Fiction with Romantic Elements
Go to http://writetouch2015.submittable.com to enter!