WisRWA Calendar

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

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

Register now under the Conference tab!

Meeting Times

Apr 05
2017
Green Bay
11:30-3:00 - 1951 West Restaurant,1951 Bond St, Green Bay

PERSONAL BRANDING: We all know about product branding - Nike's “Just Do It,” for example - but have you heard about personal branding? Gini Athey will present a Five-Point Personal Branding program and suggest ways to connect it to our writing and promotion of our books.
Apr 15
2017
Milwaukee
9:00-11:30 - Mayfair Mall (Garden Suites Community Room, Lower Level)

PITCH PRACTICE with Literary Agent Abby Saul of Lark Group, who will share some tips, dos and don’ts, as well as insider info on romance trends. Tighten up your pitch for the May Conference in Green Bay. Get feedback on your opening hook and your query letter. Whatever you need, Abby can give insight from her end as a publishing partner. Bring your first page, your latest query letter, and your pitch.
Apr 15
2017
Wausau
11:15-1:15 - Vino Latte

WHAT'S THE SECRET TO MAKING A ROMANCE NOVEL POP? The answer is mystery, suspense, and tension, using a wide range of tried-and-true, nuanced techniques that can spice up any story and keep readers turning pages and coming back for more.
Apr 29
2017
Chippewa Falls
10:00-12:30 - 29 Pines @ Sleep Inn & Suites

STRENGTHENING OUR WORDS for Better Storytelling - We exercise our muscles and feed our bodies healthy foods (most of the time). But what about our brains? What about our writing skills? Stronger words make for a stronger story which makes for better sales. So join us for a discussion on this important topic!

WisRWA Newsletter



Fab Five 25 – Surprise #2

FabFive 25

The Fabulous Five Contest is almost open for entries!  We’re so excited about it that we just had to announce our last surprise!

Every entry entered in the contest will be put into a drawing for a critique by an industry professional of their Fab Five entry (whether they final or not).  Each industry professional will critique one entry.

We are honored to have the following industry professionals offering their time and talent for this drawing:

  • Meredith Rich, an editor at Bloomsbury Spark
  • Carly Silver, an editor at Harlequin
  • Mallory Brown, an agent at Triada US Literary Agency

Winners of the critiques will be announced on April 16, 2016 at which time their Fab Five entries will be sent to one of the industry professionals.  Should they wish to see more of the entry they critique, they will ask for it in their critique.  Critiques will be returned to the winners by late May.

We are hoping to add to the list above so watch this space for more news.  For any questions about the Fab Five contest or any of our 25th anniversary surprises, please email the Fab Five contest coordinator, Molly Maka (fabfivecontest@gmail.com).

Lastly, if you are entering the contest, don’t forget to let us know by using the hash tag #FabFive25 on Facebook and Twitter.  Thank you for helping us celebrate!

Jan

01, 2016 | Members, Readers | comment |

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Fab Five 25 – Surprise #1

FabFive 25

In the spirit of celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Fabulous Five contest, we have a couple of surprises in store.  We are delighted to announce the first one.

For each entry into the contest, you have a chance to win a free registration (does not include lodging, food or travel expenses) to the October 8, 2016 WisRWA Workshop in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.  Details on that event are forthcoming, but if you have any interest in going, please check the box to opt-in for that drawing on your entry form.

The winner will be announced on June 1st, 2016.

Dec

26, 2015 | General | comment |

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Fabulous Five Contest

FabFive 25

It’s time to celebrate!  The Fabulous Five contest turns 25 in 2016!  We’re working on a couple of fun surprises to ring in this anniversary.  Until we can share those surprises, we will share our amazing line-up of final judges!

Historical

Elle Keck, Avon

Abby Saul, Browne & Miller Literary Associates

Inspirational

Raela Schoenherr, Bethany House

Claudia Cross, Folio Literary Management

Paranormal/Fantasy/Futuristic/Time Travel:

Chris Keeslar, Boroughs Publishing Group

Laura Zats, Red Sofa Literary

Romantic Suspense

Amy Stapp, Tor Books

Lane Heymont, The Seymour Agency

Series Contemporary (Long/Short)

Alexandra Sehulster, St Martin’s Press

Rachael Dugas, Talcott Notch Literary Services

Single Title

Lydia Sharp, Entangled Publishing

Jessica Watterson, Sandra Dijkstra Agency

Women’s Fiction

Kate Seaver, Berkley Publishing Group

Carly Watters, PS Literary Agency

Young Adult/New Adult

Elizabeth Lynch, HarperCollins

Whitley Abell, Inklings Literary Agency

We are just two weeks away from opening the contest up for entries.  So, start polishing up your first 2,500 words and enter!  Not only will you receive great first round feedback from three judges, but you could be one of five finalists to move onto the final round.

And, watch this space for more information about how we plan to mark this milestone.

 

Dec

20, 2015 | General | comment |

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LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT

AP_McCullough

Dear WisWRA Friends,

We’re now in the thick of the holiday season, with all its celebrations, including the WisRWA area group holiday gatherings scheduled in the next weeks. This also happens to be a time of year when many of us assess where we’ve been and where we want to go. So it is with WisRWA itself.

Since we’re in our membership renewal season, we can take a look at what we’ve been up to and make some goals for our next year. In addition to expanding our membership over the past year, the WisRWA board and the organization’s many volunteers have been taking care of some basics, while also planning exciting new programs and spreading the word about WisRWA.

If you haven’t already done so, take a look at our beautiful new website, www.wisrwa.org. In addition to being the face of WisRWA for visitors to the site, the site is designed to provide members with:

  • a calendar of events for all the areas
  • a blog open to everyone’s contributions
  • regular updates on WisRWA’s two contests, workshops, and conferences
  • links to all WisRWA’s social media sites

For the first time, WisRWA’s website has a “Members Only” section, and we’re just beginning to develop its potential. But, for example, if your area has had a great program with valuable handouts, then why not post them so all of us can benefit?

The idea for a members’ knowledge bank goes back a few years, but we finally have the first version of “Who Should I Ask?” posted in our Members Only section. A benefit of membership, “Who Should I Ask?” allows an easy way for WisRWA members to be resources for each other—our first line of research. But it’s only a start. Take a look at the directory and feel free to email me (vemccullough@earthlink.net) with questions about contributing to this section and helping us expand it.

WisRWA has also been a prominent presence at various events for authors and the writing community in Wisconsin. In November alone, WisRWA members from all over the state created and served on five panels at the NEW Book Festival at UW Waukesha. We fulfilled our purpose of promoting our romance genre, along with WisRWA. The Green Bay Area Group members served as panelists and while also spreading the word about WisRWA at an all day reader-author event at the Kress Library in DePere.

In the coming year, we’ll continue looking for opportunities to promote WisRWA, the romance genre, and all our authors/members at writing-related events across the state. I think of us as a kind of traveling WisRWA road show. We can’t predict the results of our efforts every time, of course. Still, there’s something wonderfully uplifting about being part of this romance writing community and proudly representing our genre at various gatherings. (And it’s a great way to spend time with our writing pals!)

Continuing WisRWA’s outreach goes hand in hand with our plans to create special programs designed to lure us out to area groups other than our own. I’d like to see 2016 become known as the “year of the caravan,” the year we made a point of traveling to other areas groups to take advantage of enriching programs. Let’s use our membership in this great organization for the simple pleasure of being in each other’s company and learning from each other.

So, watch our website and social media for information about outreach opportunities and programs designed to help us develop our craft and promote our genre.

Meanwhile, thanks for continuing to be a member of this dynamic organization. Your board is working hard, and we need the help and support of every member. As for me, being WisRWA’s president continues to be one of the great privileges of my life.

Virginia

 

 

 

Dec

03, 2015 | Members | comment |

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The FabFive Contest Needs You!

FabFive

The WisRWA 2016 Fabulous Five contest is in need of your help!  Please consider volunteering your time to serve as a category coordinator.  At this time we only have 2 coordinators out of 8 needed.  If we do not have the help needed, we will not be able to have the contest go forward.  If you are unsure if you would be a good fit, please reach out to the category coordinator, Molly Maka, with any questions you may have.

Below, please find the duties of a contest coordinator:

Fab Five Category Coordinator Duties

Each Fab Five Category Coordinator receives ten to thirty-five contest entries by email, checks them for proper format, logs them in, and later performs various sorts and summaries before whisking them off initially to the first round judges and later the final round judges.

During the entry submission period (January and February), only an hour or so of time would be required each week for handling incoming entries.  A flurry of entries always comes in over the last couple days, just before the contest submission deadline, and a few extra hours are required at that time for handling them.  After that, look for about five or six hours preparing and submitting batches to the first round judges.  March is spent looking for returned, graded entries from those judges and filing them.  That doesn’t typically take a lot of time.  Finally, four or five hours are needed in early April, ranking entries and forwarding the top five to the final round judge.  After that, in May, expect a few hours as final judges’ ranked entries are returned.

The Fab Five category coordinator role best suits a person who is comfortable with a computer, is organized, pays good attention to detail, and is good at meeting deadlines.  A coordinator must also be responsive to email questions.   The overall contest coordinator will set up an email loop for category coordinators.  This will be used for sharing helpful hints on how to handle the job, and also to help coordinators when issues arise.  The contest coordinator will also send detailed instructions to all category coordinators for handling each phase of the contest.  Additionally, everything is logged and kept online through a shared Google drive account.

Serving as category coordinator presents an opportunity to meet and network with other writers.  Also, you will have access to critiques of all entries in your category.  By reviewing these, you might pick up tips that may be useful in honing your craft.  Finally, you will work directly with the final round judges – one editor and one literary agent – and they will know you on the day you send queries out for your own novel.

When volunteering to serve as category coordinator, please be aware that if you decide to enter Fab Five, you cannot be a category coordinator in the category you intend to enter.

If interested or if you have questions, please contact Molly Maka (Fab Five Contest Coordinator) at FabFiveContest@gmail.com.

Thank you for your consideration!

Nov

30, 2015 | Members | comment |

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Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books (SEW)

Written by Tina Susedik.

I’ve been to quite a few book signings over the years, not to mention conventions. This past weekend, on November 6th & 7th, I participated in the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books (SEW) in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Fellow author and friend, Beth M. James and I met in Eau Claire, transferred all my goodies to her vehicle, and headed south on I-94.Tina Susidek selling 11 6 15

With all the gabbing we did, the three and a half hour trip went fast, and before we knew it, we were winding our way around the streets of Waukesha trying to get to our hotel. We could see it, but our directions were rather funky so we had to use our “expert” navigational skills.

That evening there was a reception at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha for authors and presenters for the next day’s event. There, Beth and I came across P.J. Fiala and Val Carizio. Neither of us had spent time visiting with them, and found them to both be delightful women. Patti’s knowledge of marketing was invaluable to us. Val’s stories had us in stitches.Val Clarizio selling 11 6 15 2

Dasha Kelly, Friday night’s keynote speaker, followed the reception. Her speech was humorous as well as enlightening. She read from some of her works and talked about working with young people. I believe it inspired all of us authors to write and help others to write.

After the speaker, we met Val and Patti again, spending several hours talking, eating, and having a few drinks. Saturday dawned bright and early. Since my panel as at 9:00, I had to be at the university at 7:30. People were scurrying around getting ready for the event. WisRWA authors had our own room where all our panels were held for day. Beth and I put up our new signs and set out brochures, pens, and pads of paper for those interested in our group.

The tables set aside for WisRWA authors were way – and I mean way, way, way – down a hallway. Originally my table was the last in a long row of tables. When I came back from my panel, my wonderful friends and fellow WisRWA authors had rearranged our area so we were next to and across from each other. It made for a much more cozy setting for us. We were able to talk with each other easier, too.Beth James Selling 2 - 11 6 15

The schedule had each of us at our signing tables for a half an hour after our panels, but after Virginia McCullough talked with the organizer, we were able to keep our tables up all day. It was so much fun meeting and visiting with new authors and those interested in our books.

At the end of the day, we all felt we represented WisRWA well. I know I talked with several authors who’d never heard of us and took our brochures to join our group.

All-in-all, I thought this was a wonderful day. Getting together with WisRWA members is always fun. We have a great, supportive group. I heard over and over how we are not in competition with one another, but need to support each other. And it’s true. Thank you SEW and WisRWA for a day I’ll never forget.Group at SEW 11 6 15

Nov

22, 2015 | Members, Readers | comment |

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WisRWA attends the Kress Family Library Event!

In the spirit of taking advantage of every opportunity to promote WisRWA, a few members from the Greater Green Bay Area Group took part in the Reader & Author Fair 2015, held Nov. 14. Sponsored by the Kress Family Branch of the Brown County Library, this afternoon-long event drew well over 100 people, who attended panels and browsed the numerous displays from authors, publishers, writing organizations, and companies that provide author services. Well-known novelist, St. Norbert graduate, and Madison resident, Erin Celello (Miracle Beach & Learning to Stay) gave a keynote address. It immediately struck me that this was an all-Wisconsin event, and drew participants primarily from our Northeast Wisconsin region.

Val Clarizio, Patti Fiala, and I displayed our WisRWA “stuff” and chatted (pretty much nonstop) with attendees, while also having a chance to sell our books. For me, the best part of these events always involves “talking shop” with people who are either writing, or yearn to, or sometimes have partially completed manuscripts and want to know what to do next. We each answered dozens of questions focused on everything from the many faces and nuances of today’s romance market, RWA/WisRWA, our publishing methods, and even inquiries driven by curiosity about the ups and downs of the “writer’s life.” (Many WisRWA members addressed the same kind of issues at last week’s SEW Book Festival held at UW Waukesha. We had a terrific lineup of panelists at that event, too.)

WisRWA was well represented by others in our GB area, too, and showed our broad reach. Mary Ann Rivers and Ruthie Knox had a table featuring their publishing house, Brain Mill Press, and were insightful members of the publishing panel; Mary Grace Murphy displayed her culinary mysteries with the Wisconsin Writers Association and Nancy Sweetland had a table with her books with the Green Bay Writers Guild. TitleTown Publishing and other companies offering publishing services drew considerable interest, too. The afternoon ended with a poetry reading by members of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets.

Our Green Bay members also had a chance to meet Nicolette Pierce, a WisRWA member who lives in the Milwaukee area. And thank you, Nicolette for posting photos on your blog: http://www.happilyeverafterthoughts.com/2015/11/authors-authors-authors.html

I’m aware that WisRWA members often participate in various community events, and frankly, we sometimes debate their value for both WisRWA itself and individual authors. Yes, it’s true, we know what it’s like to have only a trickle of people at various author events, and to put it mildly, book signings don’t always attract the crowds we hope for! But, that said, I consider representing WisRWA—standing in for all of you—as the best part of being the current president of the organization. We never know what will happen after a conversation, however brief, about romance writing and the value of advocacy organizations for romance authors. We can’t predict what will come of a seed we plant.

Going forward, I encourage all the area groups to keep looking for opportunities to showcase WisRWA and all our wonderful authors. And remember, you don’t stand alone—our leadership is behind you. I sure wasn’t alone yesterday, not with Val, GGBA’s co-contact, and Patti, WisRWA’s VP of Communication, for good company.

So, thanks Patti, for alerting us to this opportunity, and WisRWA also thanks the Kress Library, first for hosting this kind of event, and second, for including us. It was great fun.

Virginia

Nov

17, 2015 | General, Members, Readers | comment |

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Congratulations

Linda Olson’s An Improper Pursuit, finished third in the 2015 Put Your Heart in a Book Contest, Historical Category.

Nov

13, 2015 | Awards, Members | comment |

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New Release – Danny’s War

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000037_00021]

PJ Fiala has released her fourth book, Danny’s War.  Published on October 30, 2015.

Nov

03, 2015 | General, Members, New Releases, Readers | comment |

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THE LORD OF DRUEMARWIN is announced as a winner!

We’ve just learned that our member, Helen Johannes’s book, THE LORD OF DRUEMARWIN is the winner of the Pages From the Heart published author FFPT contest in the Paranormal/Fantasy/Futuristic/Time Travel Division.

Congratulations Helen, we’re proud of you.

Nov

02, 2015 | Awards, General, Members, Readers | comment |

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