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



General

Sex With Strangers Book Fair Interview: Mary Hughes

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 third interview of the series.

 

Mary HughesMary Hughes
Strong Men. Stronger Women

Mary Hughes is a lover of stories that crackle with action and love. A mother, a flutist, a binge-TV-watcher of NCIS, Elementary, and Wynonna Earp. She writes wickedly funny romantic adventures and scorching hot paranormal romances, fast-paced reads with challenging heroes— and resilient heroines who aren’t afraid of a challenge.

 

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?

MARY: Oh yeah, cover art is vital. It’s the story’s clothes, the mood lighting, the rich red color that tells a consumer the story apple is ripe. Even the title font plays into the promise, flowing script for high fantasy, jaggy for a tale of suspense, quirky for comedy. It’s the first taste of what kind of story is to come, and make no mistake, we do judge a book by it!

 

Night's Caress

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?

MARY: Yes, bravely on the outside and screaming on the inside, and yes. Anyone who says bad reviews don’t hurt emotionally is lying. Although some bad reviews are actually good for the author. A box set I was in had a two-star review complaining there was too much sex. The very next reviewer said (I’m paraphrasing), “I read the two-star review, and I’m so glad I did…because I love sex! I snapped this puppy up!”

 

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

MARY: I love the spark that brings two people together. It’s so much fun watching them try to figure out what’s going on. I’m truly inspired by the work and the meeting of minds and hearts that goes into making a real couple. But when it comes right down to it, I love romance best because I’m a huge sucker for a happily-ever-after ending, lol.

 

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New Release Tuesday – September 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.

 

Bad Boy Billionaire's Lady

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bad Boy Billionaire’s Lady (Billionaire Ever After anthology) by Mary Hughes

 

Night's Caress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Night’s Caress  by Mary Hughes

 

Kinky Briefs Thrice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kinky Briefs, Thrice by Seelie Kay

 

Joshua's Prayer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joshua’s Prayer by Oliva Rae

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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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Narrating the Book: An Interview with Brian Gill

Professional narrator and actor, Brian Gill, will be at our September meeting to talk about the audio book process, answer your questions, and give you a sample of how your work would soundBrian Gill 2 narrated. So, bring a couple pages of your work-in-progress with you. I’ve known Brian for many years. He is an outstanding actor, excellent narrator, and a dazzlingly charming man. Please come and meet Brian at the MKE WisRWA meeting Saturday, September 16th at 9am in the lower level of the Mayfair Mall.

– Jennifer Rupp, Milwaukee Area Contact

What special skills do you think make you a successful narrator?

I’ve been a professional stage actor for over 20 years, which is a definite help.  I’ve also always had a good ear for dialects and the ability to jump back and forth between several different accents quickly. That is immensely helpful when I’m narrating a book where the author wants a more neutral narrator voice (say for example my own with no accent), then I’ve got a leading man who is British, a leading lady who is French, and a foil who is older and Scottish.

Do you ever get to chat with the author about their vision of the characters?

I will usually receive a character breakdown which gives me the basics along with any tricky pronunciations. Usually all communications are through email, though there’s also been the odd Skype call.

Have you ever gotten completely lost in a story you are narrating?

There was one book I narrated called Wrong Place, Wrong Time by David Purlmutter that was a real nail biter. It was a true story about a hair-raising misadventure he got drawn into when he was a younger man.

Voice Over Microphone with ComputerYou’ve narrated romance novels. Is there anything different required for the romance genre vs. say a thriller?

I’ve found that all of the books I’ve narrated, which include fantasy, non-fiction, noir, and science fiction, share more in common from a narration point of view than differ from each other. I know that I’ll need to use my narrator/storyteller voice for the exposition, then pull out all the stops for the character voices, which includes sometimes an arsenal of accents. Other than that, it is “simply” finding the right tone, pace, and drive for the story telling.

Brian J Gill is a professional stage actor with twenty years of experience, ten of which as a member of Actor’s Equity Association. Gill has performed regionally and internationally and is currently working as an adjunct theatre professor. He collaborates with Griffin Audio Media to produce high quality audio books. You can hear audio sample of Brian J Gill here.

If you’re interested in learning more about Brian’s work and about audio books please join us in Mayfair Mall Community Room (Lower Level) on Saturday, June 18th at 9 AM. We hope to see you there!

 

Jennifer Tretheweyby: Jennifer Rupp

Jennifer Rupp is the Area Contact for Milwaukee Chapter of WisRWA. She writes under the name of Jennifer Trethewey. Cassie Hanjian of Waxman Leavell Literary Agency in New York represents her Highland House historical romance series. Jennifer has placed in the SOLA Dixie Kane Memorial Contest, Indiana’s Golden Opportunity Contest, and WisRWA’s Fab Five Contest. She’s a member of Wisconsin RWA, a PRO member of RWA, Red Oak Writing Studio, and Wisconsin Writers Association.

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New Release Tuesday – August Edition

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.

 

Frontier Want Ad Bride by Lyn Cote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frontier Want Ad Bride by Lyn Cote

 

Maxine Douglas Simply To Die For 200x300

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simply To Die For by Maxine Douglas

 

Love Reconsidered by Phyllis J. Piano

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love Reconsidered by Phyllis J. Piano

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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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Promotion Thursday – July Edition

siteiconIt’s Promotion Thursday for July. Check out where you can find our WisRWA authors this month.

Sara Dahmen will be presenting at RWA Nationals in Orlando, Florida on Friday, July 28th from 2:00-3:00 PM during the 20/20 Expert Hour: Historicals. She will be discussing the Historical Kitchen: A meaty look at the roles and power of women in the kitchen: how their status and the era affected the foods they prepared and impacted their world.

Maxine Douglas will be at A Weekend with the Authors in Nashville, TN July 13-16.

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Social Media: Keeping Your Audience Engaged

Social Media Sharing TreeWhen posting on a page, Facebook provides amazing analytics. Under the insights “tab,” you can see your audience reach and engagement for each post. I have over 3500 Facebook followers and it’s near impossible to get more than a 1.8k organic “reach” on my posts (that means my post only reaches half of the users who followed my page). Sure, I could boost a post (pay to have it reach those users), but I’ve found that organic is just fine IF I pay attention to day-to-day user engagement.

User engagement is when someone clicks or comments on the post. That statistic is the other important listed number in the Insights tab. Keeping a higher engagement number plays into your reach.

How does one keep user engagement high? Post content that the encourages users to comment/respond. Think outside the author role. Honestly, my random, weird thoughts tend to really catch people’s attention.

Some of my best post to date:
Muffins vs. Cupcakes
Matched or Mismatched socks?

Social Media IconsThose were the complete posts. Three words and four words. That’s it. A close runner up would be the time I asked, “What is the most annoying sound in the world?” Not only did my audience engage, they entertained the heck out of me.

I quickly learned that keeping a mix of fun, interactive posts versus promotional posts meant that the promotional posts would have a better reach. Here’s an example of a post that did reach 3.7k users without needing to pay for a boost.

As you can see in the post, I ended it with a fun call to action. “Friends don’t let friends miss deals…Please share!” The post received over 71 shares which helped the post surpass my page’s organic reach of 3k at the time.

In addition to a mix of content, post often, but not too often. I’ve seen pages that post daily or even hourly and have observed that do not help engagement, but hurts it. The perfect mix that I’ve found so far is every other to every third day. However, different readerships might have different needs. Be willing to play with your content and posting schedule to find what works well for you. And, keep in mind that social media is constantly changing. What works today may not work tomorrow.

What have you found that works well?

Melissa Haag

by: Melissa Haag

Melissa Haag lives in Wisconsin with her husband and three children.  An avid reader she spent many hours curled in a comfortable chair flipping pages in her teens. She began writing a few years ago when some ideas just refused to be ignored any longer.

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