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



Events

Sex With Strangers Book Fair Interview: Nicolette Pierce

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 authors, Renaissance asked them questions related to the various issues and conflicts presented in the play SEX WITH STRANGERS by Laura Eason. Here is the sixth interview of the series.

Nicolette PierceNicolette Pierce
Romantic Suspense Writer

Award-winning author Nicolette Pierce is a member of The Authors Guild, Moraine Writers Guild, and Romance Writers of America. She is the prolific author of the romantic suspense Nadia Wolf, Mars Cannon, and Metal Girls series, as well as the spin-off character novels that accompany the series.

 

RTW: What attracts you most about writing romance novels or the romance genre in general? 

Nicolette: I love men. They intrigue me and it’s fun to explore them through writing. My pen is law, but it’s exciting when they try to break the rules.

 

RTW: Is having your latest novel optioned for a movie something that interests you? And what do you think would be up and down sides to someone making your story into a Hollywood movie or Hallmark movie of the week?

Nicolette: That would be an interesting experience, but I’m not currently knocking on Hollywood’s door. Several fans have said they could see my books up on the big screen, yet would they maintain their flavor? I’m not sure. I rarely say no to opportunities, and that would be an amazing one.Melting Point by Nicolette Pierce

 

RTW: Do you let other people read your writing before you submit it to a publisher or an agent? 

Nicolette: Yes. I feel it’s important. I’m in a writers group and when they are through pulling my work apart, then I give it to my mom. “They” say not to give your work to family or friends because they won’t be honest with their feedback. “They” haven’t met my mom. I think she might have an evil streak in her. But I value the feedback immensely. In the near future, I might start using beta-readers as well.

 

RTW: Are you traditionally published or self-published? What do you think are the pros and cons of self-publishing?

Nicolette: I am happily self-published. That’s not to say I don’t look for growing opportunities, but I’m not stunted with self-publishing either. The path is my own, which I like very much. Pros: The sky is the limit? Nope. Not even the sky can hold you down. You are your own boss and make your own decisions. Your success or failure is completely in your hands. Cons: It’s a lot of work and a few learning curves to navigate.

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Sex With Strangers Book Fair Interview: Mia Jo Celeste

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 members of WisRWA. As an advance introduction to the authors, Renaissance asked them questions related to the various issues and conflicts presented in the play SEX WITH STRANGERS by Laura Eason. Here is the fifth interview of the series.

Brenda Nelson-DavisMia Jo Celeste
Dark Worlds Ripe for Redemption
Mia Jo Celeste is from a family of English teachers and authors. After fifteen years as an English for Language Learners teacher, she is trying her hand at writing. She has completed four fantasy novels, the first of which is published by Wild Rose Press. She lives in Milwaukee with her husband and sons.

 

RTW: In the play, the character Olivia partially blames the failure of her first book on her editor’s choice in covers. How important do you think covers are to a book’s success or failure?

Mia: I believe readers really do judge books by their covers and that a compelling cover can pique a potential buyer’s interest. When my publisher hooked me up with an artist, I sent her all kinds of pictures of period gowns. I wanted to have my heroine facing off evil in a to-die-for dress and that’s exactly what I got.

RTW: Have you ever received a bad review? If so, how did you handle it? Did it ever discourage you or make you question your worth as a writer?Other Than by Mia Jo Celeste

Mia: When I first started writing, I entered a lot of contests. I would stew over critical comments from judges. One fall I entered the same 25 pages in five contests. In one contest, the pages earned an incredibly low score. In two others, they received an average score and in two others they reached first or second place with almost perfect marks. I wondered how the exact same words could inspire such diverse results? I finally figured out that writing is art and readers’ reaction to art is subjective. Opinions vary. When I get any review, I remind myself—opinions will vary.

RTW: What would it mean to you to see your book for sale in an airport terminal shop?

Mia: I’m really looking forward to this experience. I hope it happens soon and for me it’ll be a measure of success. When it happens, my friends and followers should be prepared to see pictures and selfies of me with the book. No doubt, I’ll tweet and blog about it.

RTW: Do you let other people read your writing before you submit it to a publisher or an agent?

Mia: Yes. I believe that writing is communication and I regularly ask critique partners and readers for feedback to make sure my writing conveys the message I want to get across.

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Sex With Strangers Book Fair Interview: Barbara M. Britton

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 members of WisRWA. As an advance introduction to the authors, Renaissance asked them questions related to the various issues and conflicts presented in the play SEX WITH STRANGERS by Laura Eason. Here is the second interview of the series.

 

Barbara M. BrittonBarbara M. Britton
Award-Winning Author of Romantic Adventures from Ancient Israel to Modern Day USA

Barbara Britton was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, but currently lives in Southeastern Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. Barb writes romantic adventures for teens and adults in the Christian fiction and mainstream markets. She enjoys bringing Bible characters to light in her stories. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America, and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. Barb has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. You can learn more about her books on her website.

 

RTW: In the play, the character Olivia partially blames the failure of her first book on her editor’s choice in covers. How important do you think covers are to a book’s success or failure? Have you always been happy with your editor’s choice for your cover?

BARBARA: Covers can make or break a book. Olivia is right! Most readers do not know that covers are specific to genres. Vampire romances will be shaded in black, white, and red hues and have a dark feel. I write Biblical fiction, so my covers are attractive women wearing head coverings. Also, the author usually has no say in their cover art. Gasp! I was fortunate that I love my covers. The president of my publisher designs them herself and she does amazing work.

 

Building Benjamin by Barbara M. Britton

RTW: Do you let other people read your writing before you submit it to a publisher or an agent?

BARBARA: You bet I do. Every writer should have one or more critique partners to review their work. Before an agent or editor reads a manuscript, an author should have beta-readers scour the entire manuscript for errors, plot holes, and character development. Its best to have several eyes on a story before it goes to a publishing professional. Writing contests are excellent sources of feedback too.

 

RTW: How important are reviews to writers and why?

BARBARA: Reviews help readers understand if a book will fit their reading preferences and that is beneficial. Unfortunately, the number of reviews a book receives has become the end all for getting books noticed by certain companies. Marketing tasks and creating discoverability have been added to the writer’s busy life. So, if you like a book, please review it. This leaves more time for a writer to write.

 

 

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Sex With Strangers Book Fair Interview: Anna Durbin

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 members of WisRWA. As an advance introduction to the authors, Renaissance asked them questions related to the various issues and conflicts presented in the play SEX WITH STRANGERS by Laura Eason. Here is the first interview of the series.

Anne KennyAnna Durbin
Author of charming tales of the Beau Monde.

Anna Durbin is the author of charming tales of the Beau Monde. Having grown up reading sagas of chivalry and romance, she began crafting her own elaborate stories in her imagination at a young age. It was only natural that she would one day write them down. Her first novel, King of Swords, was a 2012 Golden Heart® finalist. For more information on Kings of the Tarot series, visit Anna’s website.

 

RTW: In the play SEX WITH STRANGERS, the main character Olivia is wounded by a devastating review of her first book and abandons a promising career. Have your ever received a bad review? If so, how did you handle it? Did it ever discourage you or make you question your worth as a writer?

ANNA: I once submitted a couple of chapters of an unpublished manuscript to a contest and had a judge tell me she hated the hero and heroine—couldn’t stand either of them. In fact, she told me she hated them so much that she wouldn’t have completed reading the submission except that she had to fulfill her obligations as a judge. It was pretty harsh, but when I got over the initial hurt—because it did sting a little to have her be so nasty—I smiled. I laughed even, thinking that if I was able evoke that strong of a response (good or bad) from a reader, then I was able to hit them on some emotional level (good or bad) with my story. And besides, it’s all subjective. That same manuscript was a finalist in another national contest.

 

RTW: What attracts you most about writing romance novels or the romance genre in general?King of Swords by Anna Durbin

ANNA: To me, romance is all about living vicariously through the heroine (or hero). If the author is very good, I feel transported into the story, into the very heads of the leading characters. It’s the greatest form of escapism that I can imagine and one that I enjoy immensely. Even more than a movie!

 

RTW: Have you ever felt dismissed because you write romance vs “serious” fiction? Have you ever been tempted to use initials to disguise your gender as a writer?

ANNA: I was at a non-romance writers’ conference a couple of years ago where everyone was asked at the beginning of the session what genre they wrote. And nearly everyone said “literary fiction.” When I answered that I wrote “romance,” the leader of the session gave me such a look of derision and outright disgust that I thought I might be asked to leave. As to whether I’ve ever considered using my initials to hide my gender, I haven’t, though I do think there is a bias among some readers of literary fiction that men are somehow “better, more serious writers” than women who write romance.

 

 

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Sex With Strangers Book Fair

WisRWA is teaming up with Renaissance Theaterworks in Milwaukee to host a mini book fair on October 28th in and around the performances of Renaissance Theaterworks’ production of Sex with Strangers.

From Renaissance Theaterworks website: “When frustrated forty-ish novelist, Olivia, meets fast-talking, twenty-something, blogger and memoirist, Ethan – known more for his sexual prowess than his prose – she worries that she will become just another chapter in his little black book. Their funny and passionate union blurs the lines between rewrites, romance and royalties – proving you can’t judge a book by its author. Sex with Strangers was one of America’s top ten most produced plays from 2014-2016. In addition to playwrighting, Laura Eason is also a producer/writer for the Emmy Award-winning Netflix series House of Cards.”

Eight WisRWA authors will take part in the signing, and we’ll have other WisRWA members on hand to answer any questions about WisRWA that we can.  The authors participating are:

Barbara M. Britton
Mia Jo Celeste
Sara Dahmen
Anna Durbin
Bobbi Groover
Mary Hughes
Nicolette Pierce
DC Thome

BookFairPoster[2]

 

Starting tomorrow, each week, we will feature a Q&A with one of the authors.
Sex with Strangers runs October 20-November 12, 2017 but WisRWA will only be there on October 28th.  Come support local theater and local authors!  For more information, visit Renaissance Theaterworks.

Hope to see you there!

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WisRWA Rocks Wisconsin Rapids

WisRWA Panel at MacMillan Library in Wisconsin Rapids
Three WisRWA authors, Beth James, Amy Sandas, and Tina Susedik, presented a panel on romance writing recently, at the MacMillan Library’s Fine Arts Center in Wisconsin Rapids. The panel was moderated by Eric Norton, who is both the customer service manager for the library, and an editor for Publisher’s Weekly. Tina Susedik shared her thoughts on the evening.

The evening was cold and windy, and so the attendance was lower than we’d expected. But that turned out to make for a more intimate, comfortable event. Instead of sitting at the table set up for us on the stage in the theater, we sat on the edge of the stage, making us eye level with the attendees. We were able to showcase our books as we talked and after the presentation.

The audience had many questions for us and everyone participated. Rather than a typical Q&A or lecture, the evening was more free-wheeling discussion, with the audience and authors all asking questions of each. Audience members included fans, aspiring romance authors, and even one an avid reader who had never previously read any romance. Lori Oestreich, another WisRWA member, also came to support us. It was great to see her smiling face.

We talked about the publishing world – both self and traditional. Our panel had experience in both worlds, and could offer insights into both. Other topics included creating characters, plotting vs. pantsing, what makes a romance, the part setting plays in stories, why we write romance, and how we edit our stories, and people’s impressions of the romance writing world. We talked and answered questions for an hour and a half.

A question from the reader who had never read a romance cut to the heart of the genre. She asked, “If all romances have to have a happy ending, and you know that, then why read a romance?” Amy Sandas’s response was perfect. She pointed out that it’s not unlike reading suspense or mystery novels. We know that the bad guy is going to caught in the end, yet we still read them. What’s important to the reader is the way the story is written and the journey to the end. That’s what makes the experience of reading the novel so satisfying.

Afterward, the conversation continued. A number of people attending were interested to learn more about WisRWA and RWA. And they were glad to have a chance to talk with experienced authors about their own ventures into romance writing. This is one of the best parts about being an author, and we were glad they braved the weather to come out to talk with us.

Tina Susedik/ Anita Kidesuby WisRWA Member Tina Susedik
As a child, Tina always had stories floating around in her head, but had no idea those stories could be put down in book form. One day her brother (yes, her brother) introduced her to Kathleen Woodiwiss’ The Flame and the Flower. Tina’s first romance, Riding for Love, was released in the spring of 2013. Visit Tina at www.tinasusedik.wordpress.com

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Writing and Social Media: An Interview with Rochelle Melander

Rochelle Melander -WriteNow CoachAuthor, professional certified coach, and teacher Rochelle Melander has helped thousands of people overcome writer’s block, write more, turn their ideas into books, navigate the publishing world, and use speaking and social media to reach their readers. She’s the author of ten books, including the National Novel Writing Month guide—Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (and Live to Tell About It).  She will be the featured speaker at the Milwaukee area meeting on January 21, 2017.  Milwaukee Area Contact, Jennifer Rupp, spoke with Rochelle about social media and it’s importance to a writer’s platform.

How important do you think Social Media is to marketing your brand or your novels?

Social media provides unique opportunities for writers and readers to connect. Before social media, authors had to travel to bookstores and libraries to meet readers. Fans who lived in remote areas rarely had an opportunity to connect with authors. Social media transformed all of that. Now, anyone can connect with their favorite authors. And writers can build relationships with their fan base. And that’s crucial in today’s publishing world.

Publishers are spending less time and money marketing their books. Indie publishing has flooded the market with books. Authors need to use multiple tools to connect with readers and sell books. Social media marketing is an essential part of any marketing plan.

That said, authors need to use social media in multiple ways. In addition to research and building connections with other authors and publishing professionals, authors can use social media to develop relationships with readers and market their books.

As a coach, I recommend that writers spend more time building relationships with readers than promoting their books. Authors who focus solely on self-promotion can annoy colleagues and readers. And I’ve heard several agents say that a negative social media reputation is worse than none at all.

 

Approximately how much time per week or per day would you recommend investing in Social Media marketing or promotion?

This depends on the writer and their current social media goals. When writers are pre-publication or between publications, I recommend they use social media to:

  • Study their market
  • Learn about their readers
  • Build relationships with readers
  • Connect with colleagues
  • Connect with publishing professionals

During a book marketing cycle, authors might participate in a blog tour, advertise on various sites, run book giveaways, offer freebies to readers, and more.

I recommend that writers set a social media goal for the week or month, depending on what task they’re working on. Then, they can set aside time each day to work on these goals. For a writer who wants to build their platform, I would recommend spending a couple of hours strategizing. Once they have a social media plan, they can schedule time each day to accomplish their goals.

For a writer who is simply building a platform, I think 15-30 minutes a day is a reasonable amount of time to spend connecting on social media. For writers who are in a marketing cycle—promoting a book or other product—they might spend an hour or more a day working on social media. Of course, tools like Hootsuite and Buffer can increase one’s efficiency and save time.

 

How do you reach or convince authors who might resist the use of Social Media?

Most authors resist social media because they feel overwhelmed. They might feel comfortable with one tool, like Facebook, but confused by Twitter or Instagram. I encourage authors to begin by building relationships on a single social media site. Once they feel comfortable on that site and see the results it offers, they’re more willing to try other sites.

 

How has social media helped you?

I’ve been publishing books for a long time, all through traditional publishers. Since social media, my sales have increased and my network has expanded. Readers who were fans before social media have sought me out on Facebook and Twitter and connected with me. I’ve developed new readers around the world through my presence on Twitter and other social media sites. I’ve also been able to connect with some of my favorite authors, building a wonderful network of colleagues.

 

What other kind of work do you do with authors?

My work with authors falls into three categories: supporting their process, strategizing around their product, and editing their work. Many authors come to me because they feel blocked or frustrated by the writing process. They have ideas but can’t find the time to write or overcome their fears and self-doubt. I’ve discovered that there are no blanket solutions. I work with each author to evaluate their situation, understand their particular blocks, and discover a solution that will help them write more. I also work extensively with nonfiction authors who need help planning books that boost their business. Other authors approach me to strategize their publishing and marketing plans. We work together to craft query letters or book proposals, develop a social media marketing plan, and connect with readers. Finally, I also do developmental editing for both novels and nonfiction books, supporting writers in creating books that sell.

 

We hope you will join us for Rochelle’s program on Writing and Social Media. She will be speaking at the Milwaukee area WisRWA meeting on January 21, 2017  in the Community Room at Mayfair Mall.  To learn more about Rochelle Melander, visit her online at writenowcoach.com and follow her on Twitter (@WriteNowCoach).

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Chippewa Falls January Meeting – High Concept Story Writing

Need a cure for the winter doldrums? Come to the Chippewa Falls area meeting in January to discuss Candace Havens’s “High Concept Story Writing,” and strategies for using it in your own projects. This program is open to WisRWA members from anywhere in the state. Not a WisRWA member, but interested in seeing what we’re about? You’re invited to join us too. See all the details below.Chippewa Falls Area Meeting - January 2017

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Fab Five 2017 Final Round Judges Announced

WisRWA Fab Five 2017 Contest

WisRWA’s Fabulous Five Contest will be opening for entries in a few short months. As such, we are pleased to announce our final round judges for the 2017 contest.

Contemporary
Editor: Meghan Ferrell – Tule Publishing
Agent: Rachel Burkot – Holloway Literary Agency

Historical
Lexi Smail – Grand Central Publishing
Lisa Rodgers – JABberwocky Literary Agency

Inspirational
Shana Asaro – Harlequin Love Inspired
Jessica Kirkland – Blythe Daniels Agency

Paranormal
Theresa Cole – Entangled Publishing
Tricia Skinner – Fuse Literary Agency

Romantic Suspense
Tara Gavin – Kensington Publishing Corp
Jennifer March Soloway – Andrea Brown Literary Agency

Women’s Fiction
Caitlin Dareff – St. Martin’s Press
Sarah Phair – Trident Media Group

Young Adult/New Adult
Mekisha Telfer – Simon and Schuster
Shannon Powers – McIntosh and Otis

Coming in to its 26th year, this contest is open to unpublished and self-published writers so long as the entry has never been published before. Focusing on the first 2,500 words of a manuscript, first round judges evaluate the entry on the Opening, Characterization, Plot, Dialogue, Setting, and Style. All judges are encouraged to leave comments on both the scoresheet and in the entry itself. Our contest is known for giving good, thorough critiques no matter what level of the writing journey you are at. The top five finalists in each category move onto the final round where their work is ranked by one editor and one agent. Final rankings are averaged and the winner of each category receives a beautiful Silver Quill Award.

The contest opens on January 1, 2017 and will accept entries through March 1, 2017 at 11:59 PM CST. Categories need a minimum of 10 entries to continue and are capped 35 entries.

Information will be on the WisRWA website under the Contests tab by the end of November. If you have any questions, please reach out to the Contest Coordinator, Molly Maka, at fabfivecontest@gmail.com.

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Lonely vs Being Alone – Fall Into Fiction Workshop

Fall Into Fiction WorkshopWe all know what it’s like to feel lonely. You can be in a room full of friends and family, people you love, and still feel lonely. They can all be talking, laughing, having a good time, and you feel like you’re outside looking in through glass. Being lonely is not the same as being alone.

Being alone is taking a much needed break from everything outside ourselves. It’s going for a long walk. It’s reading a really good book without interruption or making a jigsaw puzzle while watching a movie marathon. We all need a day like this now and then, a day where we can shut out all the worries and concerns of our everyday life. Doesn’t matter how you unwind, the point is we all need to unwind…alone.

As writers we cherish our alone time, hoard it hungrily and protect it with the ferocity of a well-trained watch dog. This is the time we can most clearly hear our characters speak to us. This is the time we can let our muse take over our thoughts, the time we can allow our plot to percolate through our brains and out our fast-typing fingertips. Writers are by nature solitary creatures. Oh, we do seek each other out from time to time to compare notes, share tips of the trade, and to reassure ourselves that we aren’t truly alone because all mankind has succumbed to a zombie apocalypse except for us and we somehow missed it while we were being alone. It’s why I belong to a number of writers’ organizations and critique groups. These are the people who help me remember WHY I write. Conferences and workshops are an excellent opportunity to not be alone.

My Chippewa Falls area of WisRWA is sponsoring a one-day Fall Into Fiction Workshop, on Saturday, October 8th, and I’m looking forward to meeting others who feel the creative urge the way I do. I’m hoping to put some faces to the names.

Come join us at The Plaza Hotel & Suites, 1202 W. Clairmont Ave, Eau Claire to hear journalist, author, and editor Candace Havens speak. In the morning it’s about “The Book Map: Plotting Your High Concept Ideas,” and in the afternoon “Fast Draft and Revision Hell.” (We all know what that’s about, right!?) Arrive early and join us for book signings and a pizza party Friday night.

I hope to see you there, but hurry! Seats are limited and I wouldn’t want you to miss out on this wonderful opportunity to not be “alone” on October 8th.

Find out more about the Fall Into Fiction Workshop, or register online.

Jane Yunkerby WisRWA member Jane Yunker – this blog originally appeared at www.janeyunkerauthor.com.

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