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. Click the events tab for more information.
Nov 12
2018
NEW! WisRWA's 1st Virtual Meeting: Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone
WisRWA member, author, and editor Cheryl Yeko will present 'Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone,' a virtual meeting covering a variety of topics including overcoming shyness, co-writing, and working with editors/critique partners. Bring your questions and join us for some helpful tips on how we can step outside our comfort zones to get the results we're looking for!

For more information, click the calendar tab.

Meeting Times

Nov 07
2018
Green Bay
11:30-3 at 1951 West 1951 Bond Street in Green Bay

2019 Planning Meeting

See the calendar tab for more details.
Nov 10
2018
Wausau
10-12:00 at 2510 Restaurant, 2510 Stewart Ave, Wausau

2019 Planning Meeting

See the calendar tab for more details.
Nov 17
2018
Milwaukee
10-12:30 at Red Oak Writing Studio 11709 W. Cleveland Ave., West Allis, WI

Sharing Writing Hacks and Eighty-Six Its

See the calendar tab for more details.
Dec 17
2018
Milwaukee
6 PM at 2321 W Cumberland Court, Mequon, WI

Holiday Party

See the calendar tab for more details.

WisRWA Newsletter



Romance

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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Five Spins on Traditional Conference Advice

Logo for RWA Nationals 2018 conference

www.rwa.org

My neighbors are blowing stuff up in the cul-de-sac while my dog cowers under a chair, so that can only mean one thing: it’s July, and conference time is almost here. As the fireworks settle down and the picnic leftovers run out, romance writers everywhere are preparing (aka getting mani/pedis) to head to the annual national conference hosted by Romance Writers of America.

I’ve attended five RWA national conferences: as a wide-eyed newbie in 2013, a chapter president in 2014 and 2015, and a Golden Heart ® finalist in 2016 and 2017. Now, as I get ready to attend my sixth “Nationals” this year, with my shiny new PAN pin on my badge, I thought it would be a great time to share a few things I’ve picked up along the way.

I know. Articles about how to prepare for conferences abound. They spring up on the internet this time of year like mattress sales (what is it about patriotic holidays and selling mattresses, anyway?). So why should you keep reading this one? Well, remember how agents and editors are always saying they want “the same, but different?” This is kind of like that. I’m going to take five traditional pieces of conference advice, and add a little something different, my own little spin, collected over the five years I’ve attended Nationals.

Picture of Melonie Johnson with water bottle

Stay hydrated!

  1. Drink Lots of Water: Hotels are H2O vampires, sucking all moisture from the air, your body, hair, and soul. Well, maybe not the last one. But it sure feels like it sometimes. It is important to hydrate often. Carry a water bottle. Refill it at the stations set up in workshop rooms. My spin: if you plan to spend any time at the bar (and I hope you do, it’s one of the best parts of going to cons), pace yourself by having a glass of water between cocktails. I won’t suggest how many drinks to have, you know your own limit (mine is two, yes, it’s sad) so if the conversation and drinks end up flowing late into the night, I maintain an air of fun for myself by drinking water out of a wine glass.
  2. Carry Business Cards: You’ve followed all the advice and spent way too many hours designing the perfect business card. Now you have 500 of the darn things and can’t wait to unload them. But shoving your card at people isn’t the best way to network. My spin is to ask other people for their business cards. You’re in line for coffee or waiting for a workshop to start. Strike up a conversation with the person next to you. Ask them where they are from, what they write…and then ask if they have a card. Nine times out of ten, they do, and will be freaking delighted someone asked for one! And nine times out ten, they will reciprocate and ask for yours. It’s a win-win. PS: if they don’t ask for yours, you can politely offer them one, but don’t be salty about it or you’ll have lost all that feel-good networking mojo.
  3. Pack Strategically. Historical romance author Erin Knightley has a fabulous video on packing for conferences. I take it a step further and put my packing cubes inside vacuum-seal bags that suck all the air out. Why? They shrink, so I have more room in my suitcase, obvs. But also, they keep everything dry. I will never forget at my first conference, a NYT bestselling author had nothing to wear because her suitcase had been left on the tarmac in a downpour, and all her clothes got soaked, many ruined.
  4. Yes, many writers are introverts, and during the conference feel pressured to pretend to be extroverts.
    Picture of cute shoes with painted toenails

    The traditional conference pedi.

    I’m an extrovert at heart, so this isn’t a problem for me. But if talking to strangers gives you hives, don’t be afraid to use the introverts’ tried and true method of talking to strangers: the internet. Engage in social media while at the conference. Use hashtags like #RWA18 and #RITAGH to post about the conference and share fun pics or nuggets of workshop gold. And maybe you will run across fellow introverts tweeting via the same hashtags and can strike up a conversation that way (and perhaps turn that into an in-person convo at the bar?).

  5. Schedule Downtime. Introvert or extrovert, over the course of the long conference days we all, as one of my RWA roomies put it, “run out of nice.” For some, recharging batteries means escaping to a dark, quiet hotel room for a nap. For me, I like to go outside for a few minutes and get some fresh air and hopefully a bit of sunshine. Whatever gets your nice levels back up to working levels, take some “me time” and don’t feel like you have to do everything, see everyone, be everywhere.

There you have it! If you are headed to Denver, I hope to see you. Look for me at the bar, I’ll have a wine glass in my hand, and there’s a decent chance it will be filled with water.

Melonie JohnsonAward-winning author Melonie Johnson—aka #thewritinglush—is a two-time RWA Golden Heart® finalist who loves dark coffee, cheap wine, and expensive beer. And margaritas. And mimosas. And mules. Basically any cocktail that starts with the letter m. She met her future husband in that most romantic of places—the mall—when they were teenagers working in stores across the hall from each other. Today, they live happily ever after in the magical land midway between Chicago and Milwaukee with two redhead daughters, a dog that’s more like a small horse, and a trio of hermit crabs. After earning her Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude from Loyola University Chicago, Melonie taught high school English and Theatre in the northern Chicago suburbs for several year. Now she writes smart and funny contemporary romance and moonlights as an audiobook narrator under the pseudonym, Evelyn Eibhlin. Watch for her contemporary romance debut, THE SOMETIMES IN LOVE series, coming summer 2019 from St. Martin’s Press. Melonie is represented by Pamela Harty of the Knight Agency. A Star Wars junkie and Shakespeare groupie who quotes both Yoda and the Bard with equal aplomb, you can visit her at at her website and find her on Twitter and Instagram at @MelonieJohnson.

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New Release Tuesday – June 2018

NewReleaseTuesday2

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

 

Book Cover for Spirit Shattered by Tessa McFionn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spirit Shattered by Tessa McFionn

 

Book Cover for Kinky Briefs Cinque by Seelie Kay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kinky Briefs Cinque by Seelie Kay

 

The President's Wife by Seelie Kay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The President’s Wife by Seelie Kay

 

Forged Souls Saxton by Jevenna Willow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forged Souls of Amathus: Saxton by Jevenna Willow

 

 

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Insights Learned From Birthing A Book

I spent nine years getting ready to birth a book. I would have preferred it take nine months, but everyone’s publishing journey is different. I like to think I gained some wisdom after surviving my debut launch. Wisdom I will share with all of you.

A good friend of mine debuted her first novel in March. She was busy planning for the big day. Blog posts. A party. Popping champagne. I think I startled her when I told her she wouldn’t have a launch day, she’d have a launch year. Yep! Once that novel goes live on Amazon, you will be banging the promotional drum for the rest of your life, or at least one year. We place pressure on ourselves for “the day” and we need some hoopla, but authors need to be connecting with readers and increasing discoverability for months, not days.

The publishing world has changed dramatically since I first put pen to paper. Thousands of books are placed on Amazon every year. Some authors don’t need to work on discoverability because everyone knows their name and is waiting breathlessly for their next novel. The rest of us have to build our reach organically. Is it work? Yes? Can it be fun? Most of the time.

How do you get readers to know you have a book in the digital world? First, you have to know who your readers are and where they hang out. I write Christian

fiction. I make a point to be on Christian blogs a couple of times a month. I will also guest on podcasts about writing topics or topics that connect me to readers. I survived breast cancer and I talk about that aspect of my life since it intersects with launching my debut novel. Readers may not be able to relate to writing a book, but they probably know someone who battled cancer.

I didn’t know any podcasters when I signed my first contract. I met podcasters at writing conferences and on Christian publishing loops. Opportunities abound in writing communities.

Have you visited your local libraries? Not to check out books, but to ask them to buy your books. Repeat after me, “The reference librarian is my friend.” Libraries don’t return books to your publisher. When they buy a book, it’s sold for life, or until it’s placed in the Friends of the Library sale. Walk into your local library and introduce yourself. This is your homework for the week. Hand the librarian a sell sheet and politely ask them to purchase your book. Would your book sell well in a different region of the country? Call a few libraries in that geographic area.

Also, visit local bookstores. Even those “Big Name” stores. You are a local author and customer. If you won’t ask them to carry your book, send a relative. My mom is one of my best marketers.

Don’t sweat your launch day. Enjoy the experience and be proactive every month to reach your readership. That first year will fly by.

Barbara M. BrittonBarbara M. Britton lives in Southeast 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 is published in Biblical fiction and enjoys bringing little known Bible characters to light in her Tribes of Israel series. Barb is a member of the 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.

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New Release Tuesday – May 2018

NewReleaseTuesday2

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

 

Book Cover for The Substitute Wife by Cici Cordelia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Substitute Wife by CiCi Cordelia

 

Book cover for Love, Unexpected by Virginia McCullough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love, Unexpected by Virginia McCullough

 

Cover of Fangs and Fins by Amy McNulty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fangs & Fins (Blood, Bloom, & Water Book One) by Amy McNulty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Succubus Lips (Succubus Sirens Book One) by Lina Jubilee

 

 

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New Release Tuesday – April 2018

NewReleaseTuesday2

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

 

Book Cover of Phaze by S.C. Mitchell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phaze by S.C. Mitchell

 

Book Cover of Loving a Hero by Cheryl Yeko

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loving  a Hero by Cheryl Yeko

 

Book Cover of After All by Laurie Winter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After All by Laurie Winter

 

Cover for Betting the Scot by Jennifer Trethewey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Betting the Scot: Highlanders of Balforss Book 2 by Jennifer Trethewey

 

 

 

 

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Promotion Thursday – April 2018

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

Barbara Raffin will present a writing workshop on Using the Underused Senses and be signing books at Kress Family Library, De Pere, WI on April 14th at 10:30 AM-11:45.

Lois Greiman will be signing her books at the Minnesota Horse Expo April 27-29.

S.C. Mitchell will be at UntitledTown on April 21.

Sara Dahmen will be presenting at the Chanticleer Author Conference April 19-22. She will also be hosting a book event/reading on April 25 from 3-4  at Craft Books.

Valerie J. Clarizio, Virginia McCullough, Kira Shayde, S.C. Mitchell, Lisa Romdenne and Mary Grace Murphy will be at UntitledTown presenting a panel entitled  A Look at the Romance Genre and Women’s Fiction – The Genres that Outpace Themselves Year After Year.

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New Release Tuesday – March 2018

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 this month.

 

The Shopkeeper's Secret by Nancy Sweetland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Shopkeeper’s Secret by Nancy Sweetland

 

To Discover a Divine by Tessa McFionn book cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Discover a Divine (Rise of the Stria Book One), by Tessa McFionn

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