WisRWA Calendar

Meeting Times

Jun 07
2017
Green Bay
11:30 - 3:00; 1951 West Restaurant,1951 Bond St, Green Bay

Covers and Conference Review, by Lily Silver: A book cover is the first thing your reader sees. It makes them either pick up your book to read more or pass it by for another. Lily will share design insights on what works and what doesn’t work on book covers. Challenge for those attending: bring an example of a book cover you absolutely hate!
Jun 10
2017
Chippewa Falls
10:00-12:30; 29 Pines at Sleep Inn & Suites, Eau Claire

The Cure for Writers' Block: It’s something we all suffer with from time to time. Writer’s block! And we all have our own way of overcoming it, or maybe some of us don’t yet. So join us on the 10th and share your method for beating that bully, or learn a new one from someone else!
Jun 10
2017
Wausau
9:00 - 12:00; Terrace Room at the Jefferson Street Inn, 201 Jefferson Street, Wausau

Exploring the Creative Process. Guest speaker Roxanne Rustand will share her routine of creating a story in an interactive program that will give each author a chance to explore and perhaps expand and enrich their own Creative Process.
Jun 17
2017
Milwaukee
9:00-11:30 am at Mayfair Mall (Garden Suites Community Room, Lower Level)

Book Launch Parties and Other Marketing Roll Out Tips: Barbara Britton and Mia Jo Celeste have both launched books this year.  They will share what they have learned about events both virtual and actual.
Jul 05
2017
Green Bay
11:30 - 3:00; 1951 West Restaurant,1951 Bond St, Green Bay

Stacey Joy Netzel will walk members through creating a rough outline for a book before starting the first draft using the craft book Romancing the Beat, Story Structure for Romance Novels, by Gwen Hayes. She will use one of her recent books as an example, and give members time to create an outline for their own book.
Jul 15
2017
Chippewa Falls
10:00-12:30; 29 Pines at Sleep Inn & Suites, Eau Claire

Brainstorming: Have you ever sat at your computer and stared at the blank screen (or blank paper, if you’re old school), your head empty of any kind of idea of what to write next? Of course you have, we all have! Come join us as we brainstorm how best to brainstorm.
Aug 05
2017
Chippewa Falls
10:00-12:30; Please contact area contact, Jane Yunker (jane.yunker@gmail.com) for the location

Join the Chippewa Falls WisRWA group for our annual potluck meeting when we plan our 2017-2018 schedule and celebrate all-around fun. Let us know if you plan on joining us so we can get a head-count on food. Bring a dish to pass, ideas for the coming year, and a desire to have a good time.

WisRWA Newsletter



Romance Writing

Book Launch Parties: The Hows and Whys

WisRWA members, Mia Jo Celeste, author of Other Than, and Barbara M.  Britton, author of Providence and Building Benjamin, will be talking about book launch parties (both actual and virtual) at the June WisRWA meeting in Milwaukee. Jennifer Rupp asked them a few questions about their first year as published authors.Brenda Nelson-Davis

 

Jen: Brenda and Barbara, you’ve both released your debut novels within the last twelve months. Did it come as a shock how involved you would have to be in the marketing of your own book?

Brenda: Yes. Although I’d heard a lot about marketing, taken some classes and been a blogger for years, I was surprised about the time and financial commitment. That said, I like marketing—something I never imagined I would.

Barbara: Yes, definitely. Publishing has changed so much since I started my journey ten years ago. I knew I would have a hand in marketing my books, but I didn’t know I would be the driving force behind getting the word out about my novels.

 

Barbara M. BrittonJen: About how much time per week do you spend actively marketing, engaging in social media, updating your website, blogging, etc.?

Brenda: It varies. Usually I check Twitter and Facebook every couple of days and I’ve been trying to appear in cyberspace a couple of times a week, either on my blog or someone else’s. For me, it’s a lot like student teaching. Because so many tasks are new, they take longer to figure out and complete, but I’m sure that I’ll get faster and I’ll figure out which tasks are the most important to complete.

Barbara: I feel I do some sort of marketing every day because of social media. Certainly I am more involved right before, during, and after a release. With Pelican Book Group, I have an e-book release date that is different than my print release date. Twice the fun—and work. I would say my average is 5-10 hours a week.

 

Jen: Now that you’re a published author, do you write with more confidence?

Brenda: I hope the adage “practice makes perfect” works. Because I write more, I’m more comfortable writing and, God willing, my writing is getting better.

Barbara: Yes and no. I feel I have the basic craft of writing down pat, but doubts plague me as a published writer. I’m thinking my work isn’t good enough, or my success was a fluke. I have to silence those nasty voices and tell myself that I am writing solely for myself. If no one sees my book, that’s okay. I’ve enjoyed writing it and learning through my research.

 

To hear more from Brenda and Barbara, please join us at the Mayfair Mall (Garden Suites Community Room, Lower Level) on June 17 from 9-11:30 AM. It’s sure to be a great time.

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WisRWA Goes to UntitledTown!

Yes, you heard correctly, WisRWA had the privilege to participate in UntitledTown‘s first ever Book and Author Festival. The festival was held in Green Bay, Wisconsin  from April 28th through the 30th.

UntitledTown promotes book cultures and books of all kinds including but not limited to graphic novels, children’s books, romance novels, mystery, and non-fiction books of any kind.  Over the course of three days, attendees had the opportunity to attend readings, discussions, workshops, and panels in several locations in downtown Green Bay. The majority of these events were open and free to the public.

UntitledTown WisRWA Panel

WisRWA Members Mary Jo Scheibl, Virginia McCullough, WisRWA President Lisa Romdenne, Mary Grace Murphy, Valerie Clarizio and S.C. Mitchell presenting at UntitledTown

WisRWA Members Mary Jo Scheibl, Mary Grace Murphy, Virginia McCullough, Steve Mitchell, Lisa Romdenne and Valerie Clarizio presented A Giant Among Genres: A Look at Romance and Women’s Fiction

A panel of local members of the Wisconsin Romance Writers of America (WisRWA) will talk about the ongoing popularity of romance and women’s fiction today. According to book sale statistics, romance consistently leads the genres in sales year after year, and women’s fiction is a major and growing genre in its own right. Romance writing is also the most misunderstood of the genres, but it’s extremely diverse, ranging from inspirational/religious fiction to the steamy/erotic. It can be contemporary, historical, mystery/suspense, or paranormal/fantasy. We’ll answer all questions about our genre, discuss our journeys to both conventional and indie publication, and tell others how they, too, can successfully write and publish romance.

The panel was held on the Saturday morning of the festival at the Kavarna Coffeehouse. We filled the room! Okay, it may have been a small room, but we filled it with readers and writers, and some potential new WisRWA members. The audience asked questions in regard to our writing journeys and processes. Though the panel lasted a little over an hour, the time flew by so quickly it felt like five minutes.

After the panel, we grabbed some lunch and then shot off to the book signing event which was held at the Broadway Center (Old Fort Square). Readers meandered among the rows and rows of tables of writers. During the signing, an older gentleman stopped by and started talking to me and Virginia.  As we spoke with him, he shot us that silly grin that men sometimes flash when they talk about romance books and make mention that romance isn’t their thing. Admittedly, I felt a bit miffed by his dismissal of the romance genre, but I kept my smile in place as he moved past me and Virginia and made his way to Mary Grace and Mary Jo. Oddly, by the time he finished speaking with Mary Jo, he’d pulled out his wallet and purchased a book from her. Are you now wondering what Mary Jo said to this man to change his tune about romance books in a matter of fifteen minutes?  If so, you’ll have to ask her the next time you see her because I don’t knowJ

UntitledTown did an excellent job putting together this event. It was well organized and well attended by both readers and writers.

Val Clarizio

Valerie Clarizio is the current Treasurer for WisRWA. She writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels.  Valerie has placed in the Celtic Hearts Romance Writers Novellas Need Love, Too! contest and WisRWA’s Write Touch contest.

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New Release Tuesday – May 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.

 

Mail Order Brides of Oak Grove Book Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mail Order Brides of Oak Grove by Kathryn Albright (and Lauri Robinson)

 

The Marshal's Bride Book Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Marshal’s Bride by Maxine Douglas

 

Heart Mates Book Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heart Mates (Pull of the Moon) 2nd edition by Mary Hughes

 

A Photograph of Love Book Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Photograph of Love by Tina Susedik

 

 

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WisRWA’s 2017 Contest Winners Announced!

Wisconsin Romance Writers of America is delighted to announce the final rankings of both of our contests.  We would also like to offer our congratulations to the winners.  Winners were announced May 20, 2017 at the Awards Luncheon during the Write Touch Conference.

***denotes WisRWA member

Fab Five Contest for Unpublished Writers

WisRWA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 Fab Five Contest:

*** denotes WisRWA member

Contemporary

First Place
Monique Headley – Hard Lessons

Second Place
Christina Hovland – Things I Wish I’d Known

Third Place
Belinda Brooks – Home Again

Fourth Place
Kate Courtright – Time and Again

Honorable Mention
Kate Courtright – You are Love

Historical

First Place
Abigail Wilson – The Secrets Within the Tower

Second Place
Elizabeth Everett – The Rescue of Lord Grange

Third Place
Carol Potenza – Second Choice

Fourth Place
Avery Cove – Fragile Hearts

Honorable Mention
Elizabeth Everett – The Seduction of Mrs. Smith

Inspirational

First Place
Sharee Stover – Believable Lies

Second Place
Pattie Stockdale – The Measure of a Memory

Third Place
Kathryn Barker – Catch a Falling Angel

Fourth Place
Izzy James – The Shopkeeper’s Widow

Honorable Mention
Angela E. Arndt – The Beekeeper’s Daughter

Paranormal

First Place
Paige Helton – Witch’s Veil

Second Place
Chris Westwater – Wolfling

Third Place
Anne Reed – Dark Matter

Fourth Place
Kat Turner – Magical Thinking

Honorable Mention
Chel Chavez – The Heir of Erois (Book 1)

Romantic Suspense

First Place
Jeanine Englert – Lovely Digits

Second Place
Barbara Forlenza – Forbidden Paradise

Third Place
Barbara Forlenza – Beyond Paradise

Fourth Place
Lori Matthews- Hit & Run

Honorable Mention
Kelly Duff*** – Tame My Racing Heart

Women’s Fiction

First Place
Linda J. Truesdell – The Mending Time

Second Place
Debbie Archer – Pocket Change

Third Place
Wendi Dass – Liebling

Fourth Place
Kristi Rhodes – The Tropical Transformation of Joanie Weston

Honorable Mention
Vicki Volden – Both

Young Adult/New Adult

First Place
Riley Darkes – Serving Time

Second Place
Rachel Berens-VanHeest – A Gift of Crows

Third Place
Laura Cumbie – From Here to There

Fourth Place
Christine Gunderson – Covenant Park

Honorable Mention
Monica Headley – Off the Rails

 


 

Write Touch Readers Award Logo

 

Contemporary – Long

First Place
Melynda Price – Fighting For Control

Second Place
Dawn Tomasko – Tides of Hope

Third Place
Babette de Jongh – Angel Falls

 

Contemporary – Midlength

First Place
Sara Dahmen*** – Wine and Children

Second Place
Sierra Hill – Sweet Girl

Third Place
Valerie Clairizio*** – Family Forever

 

Contemporary – Short

First Place
Stacey Joy Netzel*** – Spring Dreams

Second Place
Joanne Dannon – Wanting Mr. Right

Third Place
Brenna Ash – Second Chances

 

Erotic Romance

First Place
Jade Chandler – Enough

Second Place
LaQuette – Lies You Tell

Third Place
Suzanne Eglington – She’s Got The Jack

 

Historical

First Place
Margaret Mallory – Claimed by a Highlander

Second Place
Vonda Sinclair – Highlander Unbroken

Third Place
Amy Sandas*** – Luck is no Lady

 

Inspirational

First Place
Laura Scott*** – Shielding His Christmas Witness

Second Place
Aubrey Wynne – Paper Love

Third Place
Mary Bentley-Lloyd – Pirate’s Treasure

 

Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance Theme

First Place
Robin Perini – Forgotten Secrets

Second Place
Kate Forest – Interior Design and Other Emotions

Third Place
Bev Pettersen – Millionaire’s Shot

 

Paranormal/Time Travel/Fantasy

First Place
Marissa Doyle- Skin Deep

Second Place
Marie Johnson – Birthright

Third Place
Marie Johnson – Ancient Ties

 

Romantic Suspense

First Place
Abbie Roads -Hunt the Dawn

Second Place
Tara Wyatt – Necessary Risk

Third Place
Vicki Tharp – In Her Defense

 

Young Adult

First Place
Tricia Cerrone – Glisten

Second Place
Katherine Fleet – The Secret of Letting Go

Third Place
j. leigh bailey – Guyliner

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Q&A with Abby Saul of The Lark Group

Abby Saul of The Lark GroupIn April, the Milwaukee Area will be hosting literary agent Abby Saul from The Lark Group at our meeting. With the May conference in Green Bay (which will be fantastic) right around the corner, Abby’s help with tweaking and practicing our pitches, queries, and openings, is timely.

Here’s a chance for us to get to know Abby a little better before the meeting.

Q: Your website indicates that the Lark Group is an agile and editorially focused agency. What does that mean to authors?
A: We work quickly to help our authors present the best product possible. As a new and small agency, The Lark Group is able to experiment, quickly pivot to new opportunities, and help our authors find new paths (in their writing, in the way they publish, in the way we get their books in front of editors). But the quality of the book remains paramount, and that’s where our editorial focus comes in! I’ve gone through at least two rounds of editorial revisions with all of my clients’ manuscripts, addressing big and small things, to help make their books the best they can be. So what does that mean for our authors? It means they know they have a true partner helping them get a truly excellent book published. (It also means it’s easy to get me on the phone!)

Q: Why is it advantageous to work with an agent rather than directly query a publisher?
<strong:A: Most obviously, many publishers won’t accept unagented submissions – without an agent, you can’t even get your manuscript read! Houses that do accept unagented submissions will often put those submissions at the bottom of the pile, prioritizing projects that come in from agents. So an agent helps you get your project into the house for consideration. But it goes much deeper than that.

It’s my job as an agent to know what editor is looking for what kind of project, and thus create a submission list that’s tailor-made to your project. It’s also my job as an agent to negotiate your contract (and keep the business arrangements as much in your favor as possible), to be your advocate in all things (editorial changes, marketing plans, cover design, etc), and to be a force to be reckoned with in terms of you getting paid and helping manage your author brand. It’s also my job to have foreign, audio, and film/tv contacts to sell subsidiary rights for your books. Going it alone can work for some authors, but those business and industry pitfalls (contract traps, late payments, figuring out who to contact in Germany, the force of a whole publishing company worrying about itself instead of you, and so on) can be tremendously daunting for most authors, and that makes it easy for unrepresented authors to make unnecessary mistakes. An agent is your partner in all aspects of this business, and is there to advocate (always!) for you.

Q: Do you work with self-published authors, or do writers who plan to self-publish still need an agent?
A: I don’t currently have any self-published authors on my client list, but I’ve worked with them in the past. I do strongly believe that the days of a project making it big on the self-publishing side and then being picked up by a Big 5 publisher are over. If you’ve self-published a book, you’ve self-published it. It’s not going to be traditionally published after that. But self-publishing success on the romance side can translate to a traditional publisher being interested in your next work, and that’s where you might want to think about an agent.

Agents are pros at helping authors make career changes, and moving from indie publishing to traditional publishing is a big one. Even if you want to stay on the indie/self-publishing side of the industry, an agent can help you sell subsidiary rights for your work (foreign, audio, film/tv, etc). I’ll also note that a lot of romance authors write fast (it’s impressive!) and more and more authors in traditional deals are publishing on a hybrid schedule: fulfilling their traditional contracts while also pursuing self-publishing (of a different series) on the side. Agents can help navigate having your feet in both pools, and make sure you’re respecting contracts schedules, etc.

Thanks Abby! We’re looking forward to meeting with you in person.
More information

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Chippewa Falls Area April Meeting – Strengthening Our Words

Join the Chippewa Falls area for the April meeting on Strengthening Our Words for Better Story Writing. Not a WisRWA member, but interested in seeing what we’re about? You’re invited to join us too. See all the details below.

WisRWA's Chippewa Falls Area April Meeting

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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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Revisions: Tips to Polish Your WIP

RevisionsIt’s hard, yet it’s the difference between a sale and “not for us.”

James Michener once said, “I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.”

I think that’s where most of us are, which might be why many writing gurus like Anne Lamott encourage bad first drafts, but we won’t talk about those today. Instead, I’ll focus on revision. I’d like to share my top three tips.

First, put some time between your drafts. At least a few days. A week or a month or two might be better. Most of us fall in love with our stories and we need that infatuation to ebb, so we can read our work without the rosy-everything’s awesome glasses. A little time gives us the emotional distance to view work anew and figure out what’s missing and what might need to change.

Second, have someone else read your work before you upload or send it off to be discovered. Critique partners or first readers can catch story inconsistencies and areas that aren’t understandable in your work. They can tell you which characters they connect to or which one they really don’t understand. Also, they can spot spelling or grammar errors.

At a writer’s conference I attended a copy editor admitted that even she makes mistakes occasionally and when she does, she doesn’t let it bother her because she figures it takes an average of sixteen pairs of eyes to get a manuscript to published flawlessness. Your critique buddies can be one of those first sets of editing eyes. Also, one of the best things about having critique partner or group is that you can become great friends.

My third tip is to try for good or very good instead of perfect. Because being human, and not possessing sixteen sets of eyes yourself, a totally perfect scene or manuscript is unattainable. Too much revision may add hours to your tasks and if you’re like me—it’s a buzz kill. It ruins the fun. So, my advice—do the best you can, look your work over a few times and then stop. Good is good enough.

When I’m not writing, I’m teaching, and I fit the one of the instructor stereotypes. I ask my students to re-think their drafts and to revise more than once. Revision and re-evaluating life decisions are themes that frequently appear in my fiction.

Mia Jo Celesteby: Mia Jo Celeste

Mia Jo Celeste comes from a family of writers and English teachers, so it was no surprise that she decided to pursue both careers. She’s an adjunct instructor, who just published her first release, Other Than, your grandma’s Gothic romance gone uber.

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Milwaukee Area February Meeting – Love Scenes with Laura Zats

Join the Milwaukee area as they welcome literary agent Laura Zats of Red Sofa Literary.  Laura will give live critiques of love scenes.  Not a WisRWA member, but interested in seeing what we’re about? You’re invited to join us too. See all the details below.

Milwaukee Area February Meeting

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Chippewa Falls February Meeting – Revisions from Hell

Join the Chippewa Falls Area meeting this month as they tackle Candace Havens’s Revisions From Hell. It will piggy back on what was learned during the January meeting.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.

February Chippewa Falls Meeting - Revisions from hell

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