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!
Announcing the WaterSedge Poetry Chapbook Contest Judged by Ohio’s Poet Laureate, Amit Majmudar
The WaterSedge Poetry Chapbook competition is hosted by Writer’s Relief, Inc. The chapbook contest runs until May 25, 2016. The winning poet will receive a $500 cash prize; publication of the poetry chapbook in both print and e-book formats; Amazon distribution for Kindle and print; and 25 free copies.
Details are included in this 2-minute video. Click on the image below:
The contest is limited to poetry chapbooks 24 – 48 pages in length, and the entry fee is $20. For complete contest submission guidelines, visit http://writersrelief.com/watersedge-poetry-chapbook-contest/.
We’re thrilled and honored to have Ohio poet laureate Amit Majmudar judge our poetry chapbook contest.
Majmudar is the author of two novels and several poetry collections. He was a finalist for a Poetry Society of America’s Norma Faber First Book Award, and his poetry was selected for a Donald Justice prize. His most recent collection of poems, Dothead, was published on March 29. Majmudar’s poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry Magazine, and The Antioch Review. His work has been featured in several anthologies, including Best of the Best American Poetry, 1988-2012.
Since 1994, the Writer’s Relief office has been located a stone’s throw from the New Jersey Meadowlands: a large ecosystem of wetlands in the metropolitan region and an important bird habitat. The water sedge is one of several endangered plant species struggling to survive in this environment.
The efforts of water sedge to flourish despite difficult odds seems kindred in spirit to poets hoping to successfully publish their poetry books and chapbooks in an uncooperative publishing environment. With the WaterSedge Poetry Chapbook Contest, we hope to help poets thrive and succeed.
Watch the video for the WaterSedge Poetry Chapbook Contest information. Click HERE!
Thank you for helping us to spread the word about this exciting new opportunity for poets. If you have any questions, please reply to this email or call us toll free at (866) 405-3003.
My name is Beth James and I’m the Chippewa Falls Area contact person. I’m happy to announce that the WisRWA – Chippewa Falls Area will be hosting this year’s Fall into Fiction, One-Day Workshop on Saturday, October 8, 2016. Our featured speaker is Candace Havens, a bestselling author who is also an editor, journalist, and reviewer. She’ll teach us how to plot our books, create a fast draft, and shake us up with revision hell. The workshop will be held at The Plaza Hotel in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Additional information and registration is available on our WisRWA website. Please check it out because we have a book signing and pizza party for Friday night as well.
The Chippewa Falls Area is pretty excited to host our first workshop. Our group has eight active members, and we meet once a month. Our normal meeting spot is at Deb’s Café between Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls. One of our members lives in Tennessee, and we “Skype” with her via computer video conferencing. Two members, including myself, drive an hour to attend the meetings, while five members live in the area.
I’ve been a member of RWA since 2004, and I joined WisRWA in 2009 when I moved to Wisconsin. WisRWA has five area groups around the state, and Peg Strand, a current and long-time member, was the contact for the Chippewa Falls Area at the time I joined. She was wonderful and made me feel welcome from the moment I walked into the library where they initially met. I was excited to join WisRWA back then and I still love attending our meetings, retreats, and conferences with a wonderful group of people.
The Chippewa Falls Area has other long-time members and they include Tina Susedik, Maureen Welch, and Deb Waite. Tina started the Chippewa Falls Area group and has been a member of WisRWA for over 22 years. In fact, we’re celebrating our area’s 20th anniversary this year. We’ve had other members who’ve come and gone, and ones who are new, including Jane Yunker and Danielle Johnson. For all the members, past and present, WisRWA is a steadfast group of writers/authors who share the passion of writing romance stories, learning about the trade, and making new friends. This is proof that WisRWA is an important part of our lives and one that we treasure dearly.
I hope that we’ll be able to see you at the Fall into Fiction Workshop in October. Register early! We look forward to hosting the event and meeting all of you there.
Beth M James – Chippewa Falls Area Contact
We’re pleased to congratulate our own WisRWA Member, Karen Marcam, for being a Golden Heart finalist for her story, Saving Columbine Ranch. I asked Karen to tell me a bit about her story, here’s what she said.
“I can start by telling you it is a historical novel called “Saving Columbine Ranch.” It’s the first story I wrote and is the “story of my heart.” It has been through many painful revisions over the years as I learned my craft, so that makes it especially joyful to final with this particular story.”
By: Lianna Hawkins
The first romance story I read was Shanna by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. I recall my mother telling me it was one of her favorite love stories. I was a young teen when I snuck Shanna from my mother’s shelf and hid away reading the book that would inspire me not only as I read it, but for many years as I grew into a writer. I read the beautiful, crafted words that swept me off into another world. It was as though I was there, living the adventure. As readers, we not only fall in love with the story, but the characters and the author as well. And to this day, I savor the first delicious words I read as a fresh romance story unfolds beneath my fingertips. I sigh as my world falls away and I escape to another time, a time where happily ever after is merely pages away.
Written by: Nancy Sweetland
Happy St. Pat’s day to all us wannabe Irish! Actually, according to my grandmother, I’m a bit Irish (very little bit, but her maiden name was Boyle, so maybe she wasn’t kidding).
Thought you might be interested in a blog post from BookBrowsing that came out this morning. Here it is: MARCH 17, 2016: If you’re not scared you’re not trying hard enough…by Nancy Sweetland
Good morning! I’m delighted to be a guest here and hope to give you something to think about as you head back to your computer and your work in progress. Going through my email today I ran across a great blog by Nick Stephenson, whom some of you may know as a coach and teacher. I always read through anything he feels important enough to comment on, and I often come away with a new idea, a different perspective and sometimes even the possibility for a plot.
What I came away with today was two comments that hit home. I’ve been mulling over them; perhaps you will, too: 1) “If you’re not scared, you’re not trying hard enough.” And, 2) “You don’t have to be THE BEST.”
These gave me pause. The first, about being scared of doing the work I really want to do, reminded me of how many times I have found myself discarding an idea for a story, poem or even a novel because of what the ramifications might be if my (friend, mother, neighbor, son…) read it in print. I know the subject in question would be good work because I would be so invested in it. It’s my darling, it’s something so dear to my heart…etc. etc. But writing it would be scary. It’s not just that it’s perhaps controversial. It’s that bleeding it out would open me up to criticism, possibly even ridicule. Scary? You bet.
But…maybe I should rethink that. Maybe I haven’t been trying hard enough, reaching far enough. My romance and mystery novels, even my short stories, are, I’m convinced, adequate, maybe even more than adequate. But they don’t dig deep into that murky basement of things I know. Things that might resonate with a reader in a way a mystery or romance never could. Things that won’t likely see the light of publication.
Nick’s second comment about not needing to be the best also hit home. Maybe we don’t write some things because we’re fearful they won’t be good enough. Maybe we’ve worked hard on something that won’t make that top slot, that may just end up somewhere in the middle of the slush pile.
But isn’t that better than being nowhere at all? It’s not the best, maybe, but it’s not the worst, either, and it’s worth the time I spent in writing it. Whether an editor sees its worth, or whether a reader agrees with it, enjoys or hates it isn’t important. It is. It’s real. It’s there, for better or worse. And it’s mine, darn it. It may not be THE BEST, but it’s MY best. For now. And as I grow as a writer, and as a person, my best will grow, too.
“The Perfect Suspect” – coming out soon from Soul Mate Publishing:
Twice divorced and wary about relationships, Jen Wright buys a cabin sight-unseen in far north Wisconsin to get away to write her elusive next novel. She doesn’t expect to find her first ex-husband (but with a reconstructed face) shot to death in the bedroom. She also doesn’t expect to be attracted to handsome Deputy Ross Tyler, recently rejected by his fiancé. Like Jen, he’s unwilling to risk his heart again. Is there a chance for a relationship? Do either of them want one? She’s the perfect suspect and the blustery Sheriff isn’t going to let her forget it. When the murder gun is found in her fan, he’s even more convinced of her guilt. The PI she hires to investigate is killed; his ever-present briefcase is missing. Jen’s sure it was no accident but can’t convince the law. She realizes she’s actually living a good plot for her new novel. Unfortunately, she may have to write it from jail.
Link to my website:
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We’d like to offer our condolences to the family of Sandra Statz in their time of sorrow.