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 events tab for more information.
Nov 12
2018
NEW! WisRWA's 1st Virtual Meeting: Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone
WisRWA member, author, and editor Cheryl Yeko will present 'Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone,' a virtual meeting covering a variety of topics including overcoming shyness, co-writing, and working with editors/critique partners. Bring your questions and join us for some helpful tips on how we can step outside our comfort zones to get the results we're looking for!

For more information, click the calendar tab.

Meeting Times

Nov 07
2018
Green Bay
11:30-3 at 1951 West 1951 Bond Street in Green Bay

2019 Planning Meeting

See the calendar tab for more details.
Nov 10
2018
Wausau
10-12:00 at 2510 Restaurant, 2510 Stewart Ave, Wausau

2019 Planning Meeting

See the calendar tab for more details.
Nov 17
2018
Milwaukee
10-12:30 at Red Oak Writing Studio 11709 W. Cleveland Ave., West Allis, WI

Sharing Writing Hacks and Eighty-Six Its

See the calendar tab for more details.
Dec 17
2018
Milwaukee
6 PM at 2321 W Cumberland Court, Mequon, WI

Holiday Party

See the calendar tab for more details.

WisRWA Newsletter



FOCUS When Writing Your Short Story

Girl sitting cross legged, typing on her laptopAs the author of twenty-three short stories ranging from 3,000 to 40,000 words that have been published over the last seven years, I am often asked “Is there really a market for short stories?” The answer is YES – and that market is growing! (By the way, I’m going to use the term “short story” throughout this piece to describe any story under 50,000 words. There are more technical terms, such as novella and novelette, but we won’t get into that today.) There is a growing market for short stories as more people are looking for a story they can read in an hour or two. They want to read a full story all at once when they have some spare time—not read a chapter today, find themselves too busy to read for a week, and then try to pick up with chapter two. Enter the short story. Not only are there dozens of indie publishers out there publishing short stories of various lengths, but traditional publishing houses are jumping on the bandwagon as well. Hachette, Avon, and Harlequin all have imprints that publish these fun-sized romances.

We’ve established that there is a growing market for short stories. But why should you write one? If you’ve never published before, I think short stories are a great place to start. When I first started writing, I tried and failed to finish numerous full-length romances. However, the first time I tried my hand at writing a short story, not only was I able to complete it, but it was accepted for publication! Short stories are a great way to build your self-confidence while you develop your writing style on a smaller scale. For published authors, there are a number of reasons to write short stories as well.

The word focus next to a magnifying glass

  • Struggling with your current novel or feeling a bit of writer’s block? Take a break to write a short story and come back with a fresh view. This can also be a great technique to “get away” from your completed novel before diving in to editing.
  • It’s a great way to keep momentum going between novels and keep your name fresh in people’s minds. Instead of waiting two or three years for your next book, they can read your short stories in the interim so they don’t forget about you.
  • Short stories are great for free reads and giveaways. Maybe there’s a deleted scene from your last novel that you think your fans would love, or maybe a side adventure (or backstory) for one of your characters. Put it in a short story as a gift to your readers!

Writing a short story is different from writing a full-length novel. My best advice is to think FOCUSED when writing a short story. You’re not giving your readers a distant view of a forest; give them a detailed view of one tree. Many authors make the mistake of thinking “short” or “simple” and get unsatisfying results with their short story. Sure, I could retell Titanic in 10,000 words, but it’s going to read like a Wikipedia page, not a love story. You need to FOCUS on one part that still tells a story—such as Jack and Rose having a horrible dinner together with the upper-class folk before escaping to dance the night away.

When writing a short story, you just don’t have the time or space to flesh out complex internal and external conflicts and resolve them in a way that’s satisfying to readers. For Happily Ever After stories, your characters have probably met previously; it’s less believable if your characters meet, fall in love, and get married in 5000 words. If your characters are meeting for the first time, you’re probably writing a Happy For Now story. You are going to have few, if any, secondary characters; these characters do not get their own plots in short stories. FOCUS on the romance, less on the external conflict or other characters. Be selfish and put your couple in the spotlight; let them steal the show! I once heard that if a novel is a journey, a short story is an experience. Go start your experience today!

 

Kayla Bain-VrbaBy: Kayla Bain-Vrba

Kayla 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.


Promotion Thursday – January 2018

Promotion Thursday - October EditionIt’s Promotion Thursday for January. Check out where you can find our WisRWA members this month.

 

Laurie Winter will be signing her books at The Book Store in Appleton on January 19 from 4-7 p.m.

Molly Maka will be speaking about her experience as an historical reenactor and historical romance author at the February meeting of the MKE Creatives on February 7 from 10-12.

 


Get Ready To Enter The Fab Five Contest!

Fab 5 Contest BadgeWith the Fab Five contest set to open in just a few days, it’s time to announce our final round judges. We’re also excited to announce that as an added bonus this year, entrants who opt-in on their entry fee will be entered into a drawing to win a FREE registration* to our one day workshop Unlock Your A Game featuring Heidi Cullinan on October 6, 2018.  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.

Fab Five judges the first 2,500 words of the manuscript. The contest is open to unpublished writers.  For more information about the Fab Five contest, please see our Fab Five contest page.

And now, without further ado, here’s our lineup of categories and judges for 2018:

Contemporary Alycia Tornetta, Entangled Publishing
Ann Leslie Tuttle, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret
Historical Norma Perez-Hernandez, Kensington Publishing Corp
Nikki Terpilowski, Holloway Literary Agency
Inspirational Nicola Martinez, Pelican Book Group
Julie Gwinn, Seymour Agency
Paranormal/Fantasy/
Futuristic/Time Travel:
Mackenzie Walton, Carina Press
Samantha Wekstein, Writers House Literary Agency
Romantic Suspense Kristine Swartz, Penquin Random House
Cori Deyoe, 3 Seas Literary Agency
Women’s Fiction Margaret Johnston, Sourcebooks
Agent TBD
Young Adult/
New Adult
Ashley Hearn, Page Street Publishing
Veronica Park, Corvisiero Literary Agency

 

*The winner receives one free registration to the workshop. All other travel costs are at the expense of the winner.

New Release Tuesday – December Edition

NewReleaseTuesday2

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 this month.

 

A Christmas Kind of Perfect by Christine Schimpf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Christmas Kind of Perfect by Christine Schimpf

 

A Touchdown to Remember by Seelie Kay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Touchdown to Remember by Seelie Kay

 

The Wrong Groom by Maggie Rivers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wrong Groom by Maggie Rivers

 

Z-Bot by S.C. Mitchell Book Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Z-Bot by S.C. Mitchell

 

Mrs. Clause and the Moonstone Murder by Christine DeSmet cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mrs. Claus and the Moonstone Murder by Christine DeSmet


Phyllis Piano: Ten Things I Learned as a New Author

While long-published authors put my meager knowledge to shame, I did learn a lot in the last year. Needless to say, getting attention for a novel with all the competition for attention is a tough assignment. Here are the most important things I learned during the process of getting my first novel published.

Writer using computer and taking paper notesThe writing is the fun and easy part.  Right now, I am still promoting my first two books, editing my third, writing my fourth and partnering on a non-fiction project.  There is so much work involved in all these that has nothing to do with writing—there’s a web site, social media (see below), PR plans, book events and planning, essays to help promote the books (you are reading one), “tip sheets” to help sell your book; meeting with book clubs……I could go on and on.  You must use every skill you have—and develop new ones—to promote your book to the widest audience.

It’s a year-long process after writing your book. Lots has to happen from the time you finish your book until it is published.  For me, the process began when I sent my final manuscript to my publisher in December, 2015. There are two windows for traditional publishing: spring or fall.  As time was short to accomplish everything, we chose the fall cycle for my first novel.  Even with that, the final title of my book had to locked down by March 1 with the cover design well underway.  I know more about the cycle now and released my second book in August of this year because the timing fit perfectly with the PR plan.  Choose the most advantageous time to publish your book.

Summarizing your book in one paragraph is the hardest thing to do.  I failed at this, miserably!  My friend and established author, Kris Radish, stepped in to help me. It is so hard to tell the story of your book in so few words without giving away key elements, but it is exactly this summary that attracts readers to your book on every platform there is, especially Amazon (more on that below). Work hard to create the fewest words to describe your work. Your short book summary is its biggest selling point.

Amazon is the big gorilla.  I certainly knew this before becoming an author, but I now have personal experience with the biggest name in books. I learned that establishing an Author Central page on Amazon was critically important, and I did this by “claiming” my book as part of my page creation.  My husband is English and we have tons of family and friends in England, so I wanted to make it easy for them to purchase my book, so I claimed my book on Amazon UK as well. Amazon can change the price of a book any time they want, and they did bring the retail price down on my book as part of the pre-sale. Amazon is king, so take advantage of it, but understand how it works.

Social media is king.  As publishing is so fragmented, using social media to get the word out about your book isn’t a “nice to do,”  it’s a “must do.”  This means as a writer you must develop new platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. and connect your own web site to social media tools.  Luckily, I knew a bit about social media through professional and personal experience, but I learned a ton more because of my book.  Get familiar with social media and use its power to promote your book every day.

Friends and family rule.  They know you and want to help, so give them the tools.  I did mailing lists of all the folks I know in cities where I did book events; I sent a customized email to key friends and family about the book and how to buy it; I asked a few friends for their early thoughts and asked them to review my book on Amazon or Goodreads.  I used Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to keep contacts informed of good reviews and awards and issued calls to action.  You’ll be surprised at some of the folks who step up to help you. The people who know you well are best suited to help promote your book.Two women sharing on their phones

Be bold.  To get your book out there, you have to take some risks. Unfortunately, many don’t work out, but if a few do, you may hit the jackpot in promoting your book. I sent my book to some well-known authors, reporters and others in the movie industry, and this hasn’t paid off in a big way yet.  A few months before my book came out, I sent an email to a small, local magazine about publishing a notice about my first novel.  They did a whole story with a sidebar about the book, and I ended up on the cover!  Make a lot of shots on goal in promoting your book, as you never know which one will result in great exposure.

Incorporate what you know and love into your book promotion.  I spent more than thirty years in corporate communication, so I wrote an essay that was published in an industry newsletter about how my career helped me become an author. I love to cook, bake and travel, and, of course, write, so I incorporate all of these into my book promotions, connecting across social media platforms.  Make promoting your book fun for you.

It’s never enough or totally done.  Here’s the bad news:  promoting your book is never over, you just move on to the next one.  Here’s the good news: my publisher tells me that it takes two or three books before an author can get established, so each subsequent book brings attention to earlier works, which can result in additional sales. Never give up on bringing your work to the world as your efforts today could pay off well down the road.

It’s all on you.  Whether you are working with a publisher or self-publishing, you are the one who needs to do the lion share of the work to get your book out there. You must do something every day to bring your work to the world. I was lucky that my publisher had great people who taught me about the book business, but at the end of the day, it was up to me. Quick story:  I had my screening mammogram recently and got into a conversation with the technologist, and she bought my book!  She asked me to talk to her son, an aspiring fantasy writer, and I did. Engage and put yourself out there; you are the best ambassador for your work.

Phyllis PianoPhyllis Piano spent more than 30 years working in Fortune 500 companies, serving as an officer and chief communication officer in several. Her first novel, Hostile Takeover: A Love Story, was published in October 2016, and received the Gold Medal in Romance at the 2017 Independent Book Publishers Association Ben Franklin Awards and first place in Fiction: Romance at the 2017 Independent Press Awards. Her second, Love Reconsidered, was published in August, 2017, and was a finalist in the 2017 Best Books Award.


New Release Tuesday – November Edition

NewReleaseTuesday2

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 this month.

 

Tying the Scot by Jennifer Trethewey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tying the Scot by Jennifer Trethewey (DEBUT!)

 

Jerusalem Rising by Barbara M. Britton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jerusalem Rising by Barbara M. Britton

 

Sweet Devil by Lois Greiman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Devil by Lois Greiman

 

For Queen and Country by Kayla Bain-Vrba

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Queen and Country (part of the The The Victor Anthology) by Kayla Bain-Vrba

 

Missing my Heart by Tina Susedik

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Missing My Heart by Tina Susedik

 

(Sur)real by Melissa Haag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Sur)real by Melissa Haag

 

Blood's Song by Tempeste O'Riley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blood’s Song by Tempeste O’Riley

 

Loving Winter by Lyn Cote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loving Winter by Lyn Cote

 

Permanently Yours by Paisley Kirkpatrick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Permanently Yours by Paisley Kirkpatrick

 

Hunt Mates by Mary Hughes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hunt Mates by Mary Hughes

 

Cattleman's Bride by Maxine Douglas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cattleman’s Bride by Maxine Douglas

 

 


Don’t Be Ordinary: A Look at Creativity

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
William Blake by Thomas PhillipsAnd a heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an Hour

William Blake (1757-1827) (English poet, painter and engraver) is one of the earliest and greatest figures of Romanticism. He emphasized individual, imaginative, visionary and emotional creativity. He privileged imagination over reason in the creation of both his poetry and images, asserting that ideal forms should be constructed not from observations of nature but from inner visions. He declared in one poem, “I must create a system or be enslaved by another man’s.”

When I was a teenager my father gave me the talk. Not the one on sex, the one on being an individual. I remember his words like he spoke them yesterday and I am sure I might have dared to roll my eyes like my daughters did when I gave them the same speech. “If your friends jumped off the roof, would follow them? Be an individual, be unique, and do what you think is best for you.” I’m not sure he didn’t regret these words at some time in his life because I took them literally and have never followed the crowd.

What I get from Blake’s thoughts is that you should create what’s important to you. It doesn’t matter if it’s writing a story, picking up a paint brush, taking photos, creating quilts, putting together culinary delights, etc. Creativity is the key. Learn who you are. Do something that makes you unique. Don’t mindlessly follow the crowd. After you are gone, it will be your legacy – an inheritance Be creativefor your children and friends.

I grew up in a home where artistic talent was everywhere. My mother was not only an award-winning oil painter, but taught herself to play the organ, and also sewed and did needle work. My daughter Kellie inherited her painting talent. Having their artwork proves Blake’s theory. They are no longer with us, but their essence is. I take great comfort in that.

When I make a personalized quilt, each one grows from my own creativity. I can’t explain the joy I receive in making them and then hearing the squeal, feel the hug, or see the happy tears when they are received. Six of my Paradise Pines Series stories and five of my stories in my Northwoods Series are published, and there are five more to come. Now that I have books published, I have a second contribution to romanticism. I love that word now that I know what it means. I’m searching for more ways to continue doing it.

 

AP_KirkpatrickAn RWA member for almost eighteen years and WisRWA member for three, Marlene Urso (w/a Paisley Kirkpatrick) is published in historical romance. She lives in Lincoln County with her husband. She served as event coordinate for Sacramento Valley Chapter for thirteen years, which included setting up monthly meetings and welcoming members to the meetings. She has been a member of several online chapters, including From the Heart where she’s been membership chair for the last fourteen years. She is getting acquainted with the Wausau area chapter members and enjoys the monthly meetings. Marlene has always enjoyed doing volunteer work because it gives her a chance to give back to the industry that helped her to achieve her dream of being a published author.


Promotion Thursday – November Edition

Promotion Thursday - October EditionIt’s Promotion Thursday for November. Check out where you can find our WisRWA authors this month.

 

Lois Greiman will be signing her books at the Canterbury Arts and Crafts Fair in Shakopee, MN from November 9 to November 12.

Barbara Raffin will be signing her books at the Holiday Craft Fair at Holy Spirit Catholic School, Norway, MI November 18 from 9 to 5 and November 19 from 9 to 3.

 


New Release Tuesday – October Edition

NewReleaseTuesday2

 

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.

 

Fantasies R Us by Roxi Romano

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fantasies R Us by Roxi Romano

 

After the Wedding by Carol Voss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the Wedding by Carol Voss


Sex With Strangers Book Fair Interview: Molly Maka

During the run of its 30th season premiere SEX WITH STRANGERS, Renaissance Theaterworks will shine a spotlight on Wisconsin authors. On Saturday, October 28th the company will host a Mini Book Fair in the Studio Theater lobby of the Broadway Theater Center from 3pm to 10pm featuring Wisconsin-based authors and members of Romance Writers of America (RWA). As an advance introduction to the organization and its authors, Renaissance conducted a series of 8 interviews. This final interview is with Molly Maka, Vice President of Communications on the WisRWA Board of Directors.

Molly MakaMolly Maka
Author of World War II Romance and a 1940’s Girl at Heart

Molly Maka is an author of World War II romantic fiction actively seeking publication. When she isn’t writing about happily ever afters on the battlefield, she can be found going on adventures with her husband and young son, sharing her love of vintage clothing and traditional wet sets, time traveling through historical reenactments, thanking any veteran she comes across (especially of the Greatest Generation variety), and singing in the stratosphere. She also proudly serves as a volunteer and Bombshell with the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight.  She serves as WisRWA’s Vice President of Communications.

 

RTW: What is WisRWA and when was it established?

MOLLY: WisRWA or Wisconsin Romance Writers of America is the state charter for the national organization Romance Writers of America founded in 1982. The mission of WisRWA is to promote excellence in romantic fiction, to help writers become published and establish careers in their writing field, and to provide continuing support for writers.

Whether a beginning writer, or a seasoned, award-winning author, WisRWA supports writers through every stage of their careers. We hold monthly meetings with professional development workshops on writing craft and publishing (traditional and indie) in four areas across the state – Chippewa Falls, Green Bay, Milwaukee, and Wausau. The groups offer encouragement, industry and marketing information, and educational and critique opportunities.

Every year WisRWA hosts either an annual conference or intensive workshop where writers can learn, network, and meet with editors and agents. We also hold two writing contests each year, one for published and one for unpublished writers.

 

RTW: What does WisRWA do for local writers?

MOLLY: Some of the many benefits include:

  • Access to agents and publishers.
  • Networking with other writers.
  • Workshops on writing craft and the publishing industry.
  • Regular meetings in four locations throughout the state.
  • Matches writers with critique partners.
  • Contests for published and yet-to-be published authors.
  • A research database of subject-matter experts to help you with your character development.
  • Conferences and retreats packed with industry professionals, workshops, and opportunity.
  • Support you in every stage of your career!

RTW: Can anyone join?

MOLLY: WisRWA membership is open to any RWA® member in good standing and costs only $25 per year. You must be a member of the national organization to join, but writers of all genres are welcome and can benefit from what WisRWA has to offer.

 

RTW: If a person just wants to see what it’s all about can she/he come to a meeting and check it out?

MOLLY: If you are curious about whether WisRWA is right for you, we welcome you to attend one of our meetings as our guest. Guests are welcome to attend two meetings before being asked to join.  Please check out the calendar on our website for more information.

Photo Credit: Darlene Martin