WisRWA Calendar

Apr 05
2019
WisRWA 2019 Write Touch Conference
Mark your calendars for the 2019 Write Touch Conference April 5-7, 2019 at the Milwaukee Hyatt in beautiful downtown Milwaukee. The conference will feature Maya Rodale as keynote speaker, and Lisa Cron as one of the headliners. Registration is now open.

Meeting Times

Oct 20
2018
Milwaukee
9am-11:30 at the Mayfair Mall (Garden Suites Community Room, lower level), Wausatosa

Goal, Motivation, Conflict

See the calendar tab for more details.
Nov 07
2018
Green Bay
11:30-3 at 1951 West 1951 Bond Street in Green Bay

2019 Planning Meeting

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Nov 10
2018
Wausau
10-12:00 at Marathon County Library 300 North First Street in Wausau

2019 Planning Meeting

See the calendar tab for more details.
Nov 17
2018
Milwaukee
9am-11:30 at the Mayfair Mall (Garden Suites Community Room, lower level), Wausatosa

2019 Planning Meeting

See the calendar tab for more details.

WisRWA Newsletter



Romance Writing

Promotion Thursday – October 2018

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

Melonie Johnson‘s exclusive cover reveals for Smitten by the Brit and Dared by the Bad Boy, books 2 and 3 in her Sometimes in Love series will take place on October 24th on the USA Today’s Happily Ever After page.

Helen Johannes‘s guest post on her favorite heroine is up at Coffee Time Romance’s Authors Dish for the month of October.

Barbara Raffin will be presenting a program at the Kress Family Library in DePere, WI on October 20, from 10:30 a.m. to noon. The presentation will be a hands-on workshop on utilizing the lesser-used senses in your writing. Book signing to follow.

Barbara M. Britton will be at the “Meet the Authors” fundraiser for the Brookfield Public Library on Saturday, October 20 from 10 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. She will be selling and signing her books.

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Promotion Thursday – September 2018

It’s Promotion Thursday for March. Check out where you can find our WisRWA authors this month.Promotion Thursday - October Edition

Helen Johannes is over at Coffee Time Romance & More sharing her writing advice.

 

 

 

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A Thinking Writer’s Love

A heart coming out of a headMany years ago, when I had published just one book, I attended an RWA conference for the first time. Of course I was awed by the many writers with long lists of books and awards, with the appropriate fame to go along. You know, the fan girl persona so many of us get at RWA events.

One of these star authors, a woman I admired for her novels and promotional accomplishments, spoke at an informal session, where several panelists were trying to define the ingredients of a good love story.  Let’s call my celebrated star Fiona, in case she’d want anonymity. The conversation snagged on the lack of  romances made into films.

“I know why,” Fiona said. “Because love happens in your brain. It’s no action movie theme.”

Then she broke into laughter. “Let me tell you a story,” she went on.  “A few weeks ago, I needed to have a new computer connection installed in my office.  The workman arrived and started crawling around on the floor under my desk.  Then the phone rang, and it was an interviewer from a major newspaper. I didn’t dare ask her to call back.  So I sat near my desk and answered her questions, all about the emotional side of love stories and how the brain is the primary sex organ.  I finished the interview and hung up about the time the workman crawled out from under the desk, his tasks completed.

“’Listen, lady,’ he exclaimed, “I don’t know about you, but my brain is definitely not my primary sex organ!’”

The entire room of romance writers erupted in raucous hilarity. You can be sure I have continued to read almost every book Fiona publishes.

But this topic is still worth considering for every story we try to write. How does an author express her characters steps along the way toward that goal we all seek, a meaningful and reciprocal relationship? The inner dialogue, the outward evidences of passion, the evocative looks of concern…we must make them come alive in the mind of the reader.  And it all happens in the brain! And must be related in words and reflected in conflicts that force those characters apart…to make life-changing choices that enable their love.  And how are those choices made? Why, in the brain of course.

A few years ago, I read five or six novels in a row that used the word frisson (French for shiver, usually a thrilling one) to describe “that” feeling. By the third or fourth time I read it, the word just irritated me.  But I think I used it once too, and I hope my readers didn’t have the same reaction.

I wonder if Fiona’s computer installer would describe the reaction of his primary sex organ as a frisson?

What do you think? Is the brain the primary sex organ in your WIP?

Victoria Hinshaw has been published since 1983. Her latest short story will be released soon in From Florida With Love: Moonlight and Steamy Nights, an anthology produced by the Southwest Florida Romance Writers, Vicky’s winter chapter. Visit Victoria at her website, at her blog or on Pinterest or Facebook at Victoria Hinshaw – Author.

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New Release Tuesday – August 2018

NewReleaseTuesday2

Congratulations to the following WisRWA members on their new releases this month.

 

 

Cover for When the Dead People...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the Dead People Brought a Dish-to-Pass by Christine DeSmet

 

Red River Crossing by Maxine Douglas

 

 

 

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Fuzzy Genre: Figuring Out a Market for my Story

Write what you know, right? Then it’s only natural I’d choose psychic phenomena to weave into a plot line.

I’m fascinated by weird stuff—those who foresee the future, life after death, reincarnation. I’ve savored several psychic reading appointments in my lifetime. I’ve experienced the ‘awe’ of Long Island Medium Theresa Caputto up close at Treasure Island Casino. I’m glued to her reality television show and take copious notes. On top of this, two friends in my immediate locale actually have a psychic gift. How lucky is this, huh?

Drum roll: My romantic suspense manuscript is completed. Or is it?Romantic Suspense Silhouette of a couple

I submitted the first fifty pages and the synopsis of Roll Over, Play Dead to a publisher for a critique that I’d won at auction at the Milwaukee WisRWA conference. She liked it. Really liked it, but commented from what she’d read, I had not written a romantic suspense but more of a cozy mystery. Would I be interested in reformulating my manuscript into a cozy?

With that nibble, I said yes! And then said to myself (and others in my Chippewa Falls chapter), exactly what is a cozy mystery?

From a little research, I found it’s similar to the old Columbo television show, or to Murder She Wrote. One main character (amateur) solves the crime. Clean language for the most part. No sex.’

Ack! What? No boy meets girl with interest in his eyes? Or a psychic medium that is attracted to a hunky male cop, but her life and her goal don’t work with his? No fun under the sheets? A cop who can’t say much more than ‘darn, we lost him?’ Not realistic in my mind. Not what I enjoy reading. Not what published author Ann Simas writes. Her books are the best.

Re-writes, Peggy. Back to editing this manuscript to hone in on the growing love relationship, adding more conflict and characters, more herrings and a little sex.

There’s gotta be a fuzzy genre publisher somewhere—or a market that offers the reader an amateur sleuth who gets entangled in romance along the way.

Maybe I should ask a psychic.

Peggy StrandBy: Peggy Strand

A former reporter/editor-now retired-Peggy Strand is editing her completed romantic suspense featuring a psychic medium, a detective, and a ghost dog who gives clues like treats for humans.

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Fleshing Out Characters: Using an Unusual Resource

Astrology researchI generally have a good handle on my characters before I begin their stories. But there comes a point during my writing and/or plotting that I’m looking for details about the character, something to help me focus their personalities or flesh them out. That’s when I turn to  Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs and Love Signs.

Yes, they are astrological signs books. But, this article is not about creating characters based on their astrological signs. I simply find Linda Goodman’s descriptions inspiring. Often times, I even get physical features from her writings.

EXAMPLE: Linda describes Librans as being “full of curves, rather than angles.” Or they have a “bright lilting laugh” and “that Venus smile has enough candle power to transfigure even plain or downright homely features—literally, not figuratively.”

Descriptions like that inspire me. How about if you got a plain-Jane heroine? Now you have an idea how to make her beautiful.

Pisces she describes as having eyes that are “liquid, heavy-lidded, and full of strange lights” and “you’ll usually find more dimples than wrinkles.”

She writes that Scorpios have “husky voices” and Aquarians have a “marked nobility of profile”.

LOOKING FOR SOME CHARACTER TRAITS?

How’s this for a common romantic hero whatever his zodiac sign? “Don’t expect this man to bare his soul when he first meets you. Cancerians never confide in strangers, and there are certain things even their best friends don’t know.” Sound like a mysterious hero to you?

Check out a few more.

There’s an “inner core that belongs only to him.” “Love is not a strictly physical relationship with this man. He hears more, sees more, and feels more through his senses than others do. This man uses the word “if” like a smoke screen. “If I loved you, we could….” Your heroine will have to learn to “blot out the word if.” I don’t know about you, but I think I just fell in love with this guy.

Anybody got a character who goes around patching things up between others? Check out a Libra for details.

Is your heroine strong and independent? Might she have a secret regret that she wasn’t born a man? Don’t let that secret desire fool you. This girl has a slow seductive walk. She looks “seductive in jeans, jodpurs or baseball shoes. And she’s the one with the husky voice.”

BLEND CLASHING PERSONALITY TYPES?

Zodiac symbols

Take a lesson from the Scorpion female who “can’t excuse weakness in a man.” She looks for “ambition and courage.” She “wants a mate who can dominate her and make her proud.” Pit her against a Pisces male sign who never “recognizes that the tide is at its flood even when it sloshes over [his] feet” and you’ve got trouble. It isn’t that he’s weak. “He may just linger too long on a fading, silver star, and miss the bright sunlight of success.” Yet, Goodman’s Love Signs book lists these two signs as a successful mating.

Why? The powerful attraction of opposites. They’re both generous to a fault, but he with everyone and she with only family and friends. She talks everything out. He’s not about to reveal anything until he’s got it all worked out.

Even though it will be hard for these two to be completely honest with each other, they will quickly guess each other’s games then pretend they haven’t guessed. Leaving something unspoken adds a mystical quality to their lovemaking.

NEED A PLOT POINT?

Surprise. The scorpion may come on strong, believing she can swallow this poor little fish…but whether in a contest of wills or one of surprise, the fish will spring the last surprise. Could this be a black moment?

Above all, these two characters are “infinitely aware of each other,” even when onlookers would swear the two didn’t notice each other. I consider that infinitely aware part the key to a sensual romance.

This is just a sample of how I use Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs and Love Signs to inspire me in my creation of characters I hope my readers will fall in love with.

Now, I encourage you to go forth and search out your own odd resources for fleshing out your characters.

Headshot of Barbara RaffinBy Barbara Raffin

Blessed with a vivid imagination, award-winning author Barbara Raffin creates stories and adventures where she can explore her love of words and the human psyche. Whether a romantic romp or gothic-flavored suspense, her books have one common denominator: characters who are wounded, passionate, and searching for love. Her current work is a contemporary/contemporary suspense series about the St. John Siblings and their friends.

 

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New Release Tuesday: July 2018

NewReleaseTuesday2

Congratulations to the following WisRWA members on their new releases this month.

 

Book Cover for In the Assassin's Arms by Katherine Hastings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Assassin’s Arms by Katherine Hastings                  DEBUT!       

 

Book Cover for Missing Innocence by Tina Susedik

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Missing Innocence by Tina Susedik

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Rewriting is a gift, not a chore

Rewriting is a gift - WisRWA

Two years ago I got a great gift from a friend. Robyn Peterman had struck it big with a series of wacky supernatural romances and had her own Amazon Kindle World—Magic and Mayhem—and invited me to write a series of spinoff novellas “in” that world.

It was a privilege to be associated with the authors in her world—and a blast to participate in it. The only time I’ve ever had more fun as a writer than when I was writing the first three Incompetent Witch books was when I was writing the fourth and fifth.

And then, Amazon announced it was ending Kindle Worlds.

Amazon was technically the publisher, but Kindle Worlds books could not be sold outside the U.S., and authors could not run promotions or offer print and audio book versions. Robyn generously returned all rights to her authors, though, which means I can now do all of those.

The catch? I had to remove all traces of her wonderful settings and characters. I’d only incorporated a few of her characters, opting to rely on my own in a neighboring village of my own creation. Think of how folks from Hooterville might run into the ladies of Petticoat Junction while shopping in Bug Tussle. Easy-peasy, right?

Kind of.

I made a “scrub list” and found that there was more to change than I had first anticipated. Where would my heroine Prudenzia get the advice she’d gleaned from Robyn’s Zelda? How could I rethink Robyn’s notion that bright red hair signifies a witch whose special power is to heal shapeshifters?

Since Prudenzia is The Incompetent Witch—and a failure at healing arts—I’d given her mostly jet-black locks, with strands of red here and there. I did some research and was delighted to learn that in many societies, people with red hair have long been associated with witchcraft—in general. So fixing references to red hair required only minor tweaks.

Still, there was more to do than fire up the ol’ search tool and make spot changes. I started at page 1 of Book 1 and tackled issues as they arose…and found myself doing things that should be part of any effective rewrite, such as:

  • Reassigning tasks or dialog to eliminate functionary characters who appear only briefly, making the surviving characters stronger and simplifying the story.
  • Reshaping and streamlining scenes to eliminate redundancies and pick up the pace.
  • Replacing dull words with more descriptive ones.
  • Maximizing opportunities to ramp up mystery, conflict, humor and romance.

I was surprised at some of the “mistakes” I found, since my books are professionally copy edited and proofread. Of course, I have been known to replace mistakes my editor and proofreader find with new ones. Sigh. As an indie author, of course, I’m free to make changes whenever I want to. But in the world of indie publishing, it almost always makes sense to stay focused on the future, especially if your books are selling and getting good reviews

In this case, though, Robyn—and Amazon—have given me a second gift. The chance to rewrite has reinforced familiar lessons that I’ll carry over into Book 6.

Dave Thome has written the Fast Lane contemporary romance series, The Incompetent Witch comedic supernatural romances and stand-alone books including My Fairy Dogmother (coming soon) and See You in Hell under the name DC Thome. He’s also been a newspaper reporter for a long time, had four screenplays optioned, been a presenter at the Writers Institute in Madison and a journalism instructor at Marquette University.

Image source: pxhere.com

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Creating a Hero or Heroine that Captivates Readers

A strong, vivid hero or heroine

I don’t know about you, but I read fiction for the characters and the adventure those characters go through. Like most readers, I want vivid heroes who draw me into their situations and, often when I don’t get into the main character, I put the book aside. But how do writers create those attention-grabbing heroes?

Here’s what some of my favorite writing experts have to say.

  1. First, don’t create a wimp. Follow Jack Bickham’s advice from 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes. “Fiction writers too often forget that interesting characters are almost always characters who are active—risk takers—highly motivated toward a goal. Many a story has been wrecked at the outset because the writers chose to write about the wrong kind of person—a character of the type we sometimes call a wimp.”
  2. In The Key: How to Write Damn Good Fiction Using the Power of Myth, James N. Frey, a writing instructor and author, suggests that heroes have certain qualities that attract readers. Main characters must have courage. Either they start with it or they develop it along the way.
  3. Fictional heroes need to be clever and resourceful.
  4. Also, a compelling hero or heroine has a special talent. Something he or she can do better than anyone else in the story. We’re attracted to competence. We tend to pick doctors, mechanics, restaurant chefs and, yes, even fictional heroes because they perform a skill or set of skills exceptionally well.
  5. Like the previous examples, the heroine in our novels might use her unique talent to make a living and be proficient at her calling.
  6. An appealing hero is also a person who lives by his own rules. He strives to do what’s right in his mind even if others in the story don’t understand him.
  7. An effective main character is the focus of the action and the story. She must take the lead in whatever case she embraces.
  8. In Thanks, but This Isn’t For Us, Jessica Page Morrell, a best-selling author of many books on writing craft, echoes this. She says, “Heroes take charge, take responsibility, and take risks … they’re people of action who speak their minds, kick ass and take names, and, most important, who act when in real life we’d be cowering, or wetting our pants, or scrambling for an exit.”
  9. Further, she goes on to state, “Heroes dare to be wrong.”
  10. Equally important the large-and-in-charge heroine—at the center of the story, should be flawed. She or he has been wounded in the past. Perhaps he’s lost a loved one, been injured or lost his faith. He’s vulnerable and in need of healing. He has an event or a series of events in his past he’s got to work through. This brokenness fuels his current goals, makes him human and enables readers to identify with him.
  11. The hero has to grow and change throughout the story. Often, he strives to become less selfish or self-centered.
  12. She may even sacrifice herself for the good of others. Frey believes that the most compelling heroines motivated by idealism at some point in the story.
  13. Lastly, Frey suggests that the hero should be sexually potent. As Frey puts it, “Creating a mythic character without sexual energy is like bringing the burgers, the buns, and the charcoal to the barbecue, and leaving the matches at home.

I love reading stories that feature intriguing characters and I hope these tips will help you when you write your next tale. Also, if you’ve found the suggestions useful, I hope you’ll consider checking out the resources quoted in this article for further study.

  1. Sources
    Bickham, Jack M. 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes. Writers Digest Bks., U.S., 1998.
    Frey, James N. The Key: How to Write Damn Good Fiction Using the Power of Myth. St. Martins Griffin, 2002.
    Morrell, Jessica Page. Thanks, but This Isnt for Us. Jeremy P. Tarcher, 2009.
    Image Source: Wikipedia

Mia Jo CelesteMia Jo Celeste comes from a family of writers and English teachers, so it was no surprise when she chose to pursue both careers. Recently, her novel Other Than became a double finalist in the 2018 Prism Contest in the Historical/ Steampunk and Best First Book Categories.

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Promotion Thursday – July 2018

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

 

Molly Maka will be presenting The World of the 20th Century: The First 50 Years at the RWA National Conference in Denver, CO on July 19 at 10:40 AM.

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