WisRWA Calendar

Meeting Times

Oct 07
2017
Green Bay
9:30 - 3:00; Comfort Suites, Green Bay

Join Green Bay members for a FREE Saturday workshop with Colleen Belongea. Colleen is a former LT. for the Green Bay Police Department, she is a Criminal Justice Instructor for NWTC, as well as a State of Wisconsin DOJ Instructor certified to teach in the LE Academy. Colleen will present the following workshops: 1. Women and Law Enforcement…why they get into LE, why they leave, promotions, etc. How to survive in the field, how to build a career in the field, what are quick career killers for women; 2. Defense and Arrest Tactics; and 3. Law enforcement responses & a LE officer’s perspective on the changes in society and challenges for officers. Detailed schedule forthcoming.
Oct 14
2017
Wausau
10:00-12:00 at Marathon County Library (2nd Floor Small Conference Room), 300 N. 1st Street, Wausau, WI

Marketing Continued. Learn how BookFunnel Bundles and Instafreebie can help you with marketing your book.
Oct 21
2017
Milwaukee
9:00-11:30 am at Mayfair Mall (Garden Suites Community Room, Lower Level)

Polish and Submit Workshop with Cheryl Yeko: Bring your query letter drafts, summaries, author bios, elevator speeches, pitches - whatever you would like to polish. We'll take a look at the whole process of submission and how to keep track of what you send out, the responses, and how to accept a rejection and move on.
Nov 01
2017
Green Bay
11:30 - 3:00; 1951 West Restaurant,1951 Bond St, Green Bay

Planning Meeting for 2018 Area Programs
Nov 11
2017
Chippewa Falls
10:00-12:30; 29 Pines at Sleep Inn & Suites, Eau Claire

Successful Storylines: Bring examples of your favorite, or least favorite, storylines. Why did this one work and that one did not? Are you having trouble with the storyline in your current project? Maybe we can help you brainstorm a fix. If you come away with nothing more than a good time with a group of fun ladies, you win!
Nov 18
2017
Milwaukee
9:00-11:30 am at Mayfair Mall (Garden Suites Community Room, Lower Level)

Planning Meeting for 2018 Area Programs and First Page Feedback We will be laying out strategy for our 2018 Programming Calendar for the first hour. Bring your ideas and be prepared to brainstorm about what would make for valuable seminars/presentations/talks/workshops. The second half of the meeting will be First Page Feedback. Bring the first page (or first 300 words) of your work-in-progress to read to the group. Members will offer comments about two things that they liked or worked well and one thing that might need improvement. In the past, this has provided our members with a nice boost to their confidence!

WisRWA Newsletter



Awards

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.

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2016 WisRWA Chapter Service Award

Virginia McCullough and Gini Athey- 2016 WisRWA Chapter Service Award RecipientsThe WisRWA Chapter Service Award is an award that WisRWA gives out to members who have shown exemplary service to our organization often going above and beyond the call of duty for WisRWA.  Members are nominated and sent to the Chapter Service Award chair or chairs who will read through the nominations and choose the winning recipient or recipients. The committee received many nominations and were quite pleased to see all the ways our members are serving the chapter.

To serve is to give above and beyond what is expected.  This year, we are fortunate to who have two members whose service stood out to the committee.  The women who earned the 2016 Chapter Service Award have certainly done that for the many years they have been members of WisRWA.  They were both nominated by multiple members, which made the decision of who to vote for so very easy.  Congratulations to Gini Athey and Virginia McCullough.

Here is what your fellow members had to say about our two recipients:

Gini Athey

Gini Athey first joined WisRWA in the 1980s. She has been active in the chapter in some capacity nearly every year since. She has served as area contact for the Green Bay area. She chaired the Write Touch Readers Award contest in 2004 and 2005, and again in 2010, and helped write the extremely thorough and helpful procedures that have guided chairs of that contest ever since. She is once again co-chairing the contest, stepping in when help was needed, and acting as the driving force for making sure deadlines were hit so contest results would be ready for the conference. Within the Green Bay area group, she volunteers to present programs or serve on a panel at least once each year, and has also been a judge for the Fab Five contest. She volunteers at chapter conferences, and is currently coordinating the 2017 conference book signing. As active a volunteer as she is, she is also appreciated for her behind-the-scenes efforts on behalf of members. Described as a “quiet volunteer,” Gini is recognized as someone who makes new members feel welcome, or sends private notes of congratulations or encouragement to other members, and who regularly calls attention to milestones and achievements among our members.

Virginia McCullough

Virginia has been a WisRWA member since 2001. Since then she has been an active volunteer within her area and in chapter leadership. One nominator says of Virginia, “I don’t think a year has gone by that she hasn’t volunteered for something.” She has served as area contact. She has chaired the Write Touch contest, and helped create the fantastic procedure manual for running the conference. More recently, she served two terms as WisRWA’s president. Virginia immediately gained the respect of the board, with her thoughtful, calm and insightful leadership. Her approach was to build consensus, and her term saw many successes and innovations, including our new website, and the use of new technology to improve board communications. Virginia is an excellent cheerleader for WisRWA, because she has a strong sense of the history of RWA and WisRWA, and the importance of these organizations to writers and to women. Her fellow members appreciate her can-do attitude, and they also appreciate the genuine affection and care she offers her fellow writers.

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Congratulations to Melonie Johnson, Golden Heart Finalist!

WisRWA would like to offer their congratulations to member, Melonie Johnson, for finaling in RWA’s contest for unpublished writers, the Golden Heart Contest.  We chatting with Melonie about her manuscript, Sometimes You Need a Sexy Scot, and what it’s like to be a finalist.  Our fingers will be crossed for her in July when the winners are announced.


 

Melonie Johnson

Melonie Johnson

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?

If any of that sounds familiar—that’s because it is. SOMETIMES YOU NEED A SEXY SCOT was also a GOLDEN HEART® finalist in 2016. To be honest, last month, when my phone rang the morning of RITAGH call day, I wasn’t excited (ok, I was a little excited…it was Alyssa Day on the line!), I was relieved. I had been very unsure about entering the same title in the Golden Heart two years in a row. Yes, the story had undergone revisions after I signed with my agent last spring (Pamela Harty of The Knight Agency), but still, as a previous finalist, did my story deserve another turn on the dance floor? A few things convinced me—the main one being my fellow 2016 finalists who strongly encouraged me to re-enter Sexy Scot. As an unpublished author (who wasn’t even on submission yet) I had nothing to lose (except my $30 entry fee) and everything to gain by entering again. So, I plunked my thirty bucks down and sent my Scot in.

Now I can say I’m thrilled to be a finalist again this year. The best part about being a Golden Heart finalist is the community of authors created within each year’s class. I’ll call it a sisterhood, since both groups I belong to (2016 and 2017) are all females, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. Our ages range from our 20’s to 60+. We are from all over the country…all over the world. I have Golden Heart sisters in Canada, England, New Zealand, and Australia. After this year’s finalists were announced, last year’s GH winner for Contemporary Romance called to congratulate me—from Sydney! I’m still very connected to many of my GH16 sisters (the Mermaids) and often reach out to them for advice and support, and offer it as well! Having the opportunity to form similar bonds with another fantastic group this year…like I said, it’s the best part of being a finalist.

I am looking forward to heading to the conference this summer, even if my hair isn’t (I’m a curly girl and Orlando in July…hello, humidity!). It’s Disney World—a place of magic—where dreams come true. The happiest place on earth is the perfect place to celebrate romance, and the promise of a happy ever after. Hope to see you there!

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2016 Write Touch Readers Award Contest Winners Announced!

Write Touch Readers Award Contest Logo

The 2016 WisRWA Write Touch Readers Award Winners are announced!  This contest is for books published in 2015. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the contest was not completed in its usual time frame. We are delighted, however, to finally have the winners for this contest.

Without further ado, congratulations to the winners of the 2016 Write Touch Readers Award contest!
*** = WisRWA member

Contemporary, Long 84,000 words or more (includes series and single title)
A Winter Wedding
by: Brenda Novak

Contemporary, Mid-length 56,000-84,00 words (includes series and single title)
Power Privilege & Pleasure: Queens of Kings: Book 4
by: LaQuette

Fiction With Romantic Elements
Backstretch Baby
by: Bev Pettersen

Historical
The Gunslinger and the Heiress
by: Kathryn Albright ***

Paranormal
Spirit Bound
by: Tessa McFionn ***

Romantic Suspense
Saving Andi
by: Barb Raffin ***

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2015 WisRWA Chapter Service Award Recipients

WisRWA’s Chapter Service Award is all about VOLUNTEERISM. It’s about serving the organization and its members as chapter leaders, such as serving on the WisRWA Board or as an Area Contact.  The award is also about serving in the trenches and volunteering in many different capacities over the time of active membership in WisRWA.

WisRWA remains healthy and strong as a helpful, mentoring professional organization for novice writers as well as published ones because members step up to fill a need when necessary. We have so many ways to serve and each position, small in its scope or large and demanding in its tasks, provides those members who accept the challenge so much more than they give.  For example, name recognition, getting to know much better other WisRWA members, learning exactly what it takes to keep this organization efficient and useful to writers from novice to best seller.

One of the best methods for honing our skills as writers is to interact with other writers. Writing can be very isolating which is why having an opportunity to expand our frame of reference and meet others writers by offering a helping hand where we can provides so much for so little.

The two recipients for the Chapter Service Awards given at the October 8th Fall Writers’ Workshop exemplify all the above characteristics. As past recipients of this award, committee members found making a choice as to which nominee was most deserving of this award very difficult. We were thankful that past practice has, on occasion, awarded two nominees. That was our choice. Both women are continuing to serve WisRWA and its members in the coming year and exemplify what makes WisRWA strong.

The 2015 WisRWA’s Chapter Service Award are Kristin Bayer and Molly Maka.

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Kristin Bayer - 2015 Chapter Service Award RecipientIn 2010, Kristin Bayer joined WisRWA and immediately volunteered when asked to help in various ways. Most significantly was 2013 when she assumed the presidency of WisRWA on short notice because of an unexpected vacancy. She served ably in that position–traveling around the state to visit and get to know members along with mentoring board members, sub-committee members, and general members with questions.

She stayed active on the board as past president giving her expertise to new members. More recently when the chapter had another unexpected vacancy on the board, she stepped forward to handle social media pages and news blasts, the WisRWA website and other communication issues. WisRWA is better for its members because of Kristen’s volunteer character trait.

In the words of her nominators, “she’s effectively filled gaps wherever she’s seen them with her incredible spirit of service.” And, “through her faithful leadership, Kristin has seen WisRWA through uncertain times and made the organization thrive.”

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Molly Maka - 2015 WisRWA Chapter Service Award RecipientMolly Maka has volunteered to help at every conference during her ten-year membership, given workshops on historical reenacting and historical costuming, attends meetings regularly, hosts events in her home, and is a “constant cheerleader for the success of our membership.”

Molly has done a fantastic job as the contest coordinator for the WisRWA Fab 5 contest. She has worked diligently to ensure the contest had the judges it needed (both preliminary and final) to be a success. Her experience as a contest judge, then a category coordinator, helped her gain the expertise to do so.

Recently Molly stepped up to help with WisRWA’s social media and outreach – taking over for a member who abruptly resigned. Molly jumped right in, stepping up to do what she could to strengthen connections within the WisRWA community, as well as build the chapter’s presence on-line. In the past month she once again volunteered and accepted a position on the WisRWA board.

Congratulations, ladies!

Mary Jo Schiebl Kate Bowmanby: Mary Jo Scheibl and Kate Bowman, Chapter Service Award Committee Chairs

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Golden Heart Finalist – Melonie Johnson

Golden Heart FinalistCongratulations to WisRWA member, Melonie Johnson on being named a 2016 Golden Heart finalist with her contemporary romance manuscript, SOMETIMES YOU NEED A SEXY SCOT.

Melonie Johnson

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!

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Golden Heart Finalist – Karen Marcam

Congratulations

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.”

Karen Marcam

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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.

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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.

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