WisRWA Calendar

Nov 01
2017
WisRWA 2017-2018 Renewals
Renewals for the upcoming year begin November 1, 2017. Any renewal that is received after January 15, 2018 will be incur a $5.00 late fee. Click the Join tab to renew your membership. Please direct any questions to WisRWA Secretary, Stefanie Dowell.
Oct 06
2018
WisRWA 2018 Fall Workshop
Mark your calendars for the 2018 Fall Workshop on October 5-6, 2018 at the Grand Lodge Waterpark Resort, Rothschild, WI. For more information, click the Workshop tab.
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. More details to follow!

Meeting Times

Dec 09
2017
Chippewa Falls
10:00-??

Chippewa Falls Area Holiday Party

Bring a dish to pass and a gift worth no more than $15 if you wish to participate in the exchange. There will be a contest to see who can write the best 100wd story to go with a picture to be provided in advance. There will be a prize for the best entry as voted on by the group. Please contact Jane Yunker, Chippewa Falls Area Contact for more details.
Dec 13
2017
Green Bay
11:30-??

Green Bay Area Holiday Party

Bring a dish to pass and a gift worth no more than $15 if you wish to participate in the exchange. Please contact Mary Grace Murphy, Green Bay Area Contact, for details
Dec 16
2017
Milwaukee
12:00-3:00 pm

Milwaukee Area Holiday Party

Bring a dish to pass and a gift worth no more than $15 for the gift exchange. Please contact Jennifer Rupp, Milwaukee Area Contact, for details.
Jan 13
2018
Chippewa Falls
10-12:30; Deb’s Café, 1120 122nd Street, Chippewa Falls

Transitions: Scenes, Characters, Time

Winter is here! A cold wind is blowing, snow is falling, and ice makes walking out your own front door hazardous. There’s no better time to hunker down where it’s warm and WRITE, WRITE, WRITE! Bring examples, both good and bad, from what you’re reading and be prepared to discuss why it does or does not work.
Jan 20
2018
Milwaukee
11:00-2:30; Mayfair Mall (Garden Suites Community Room, Lower Level)

Up Close and Personal: Achieving Intimacy through Voice and Deep POV with Heather Luby

Point of view isn’t just an element of storytelling—it is the foundation of any captivating story. Diving into a Deep POV and utilizing the tools of narrative voice is how we thrust our readers into the minds of our characters and push them into the fictional dream. In this fast paced, hands-on workshop, you will learn the key elements necessary to write immersive, voice driven prose. Come prepared to learn how character, dialogue, and voice work in tandem with Deep POV to leave your reader emotionally spellbound. It is recommended you bring 1-2 sample chapters of your own work for hands-on learning.

WisRWA Newsletter



Sex With Strangers

Sex With Strangers Book Fair Interview: Molly Maka

During the run of its 30th season premiere SEX WITH STRANGERS, Renaissance Theaterworks will shine a spotlight on Wisconsin authors. On Saturday, October 28th the company will host a Mini Book Fair in the Studio Theater lobby of the Broadway Theater Center from 3pm to 10pm featuring Wisconsin-based authors and members of Romance Writers of America (RWA). As an advance introduction to the organization and its authors, Renaissance conducted a series of 8 interviews. This final interview is with Molly Maka, Vice President of Communications on the WisRWA Board of Directors.

Molly MakaMolly Maka
Author of World War II Romance and a 1940’s Girl at Heart

Molly Maka is an author of World War II romantic fiction actively seeking publication. When she isn’t writing about happily ever afters on the battlefield, she can be found going on adventures with her husband and young son, sharing her love of vintage clothing and traditional wet sets, time traveling through historical reenactments, thanking any veteran she comes across (especially of the Greatest Generation variety), and singing in the stratosphere. She also proudly serves as a volunteer and Bombshell with the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight.  She serves as WisRWA’s Vice President of Communications.

 

RTW: What is WisRWA and when was it established?

MOLLY: WisRWA or Wisconsin Romance Writers of America is the state charter for the national organization Romance Writers of America founded in 1982. The mission of WisRWA is to promote excellence in romantic fiction, to help writers become published and establish careers in their writing field, and to provide continuing support for writers.

Whether a beginning writer, or a seasoned, award-winning author, WisRWA supports writers through every stage of their careers. We hold monthly meetings with professional development workshops on writing craft and publishing (traditional and indie) in four areas across the state – Chippewa Falls, Green Bay, Milwaukee, and Wausau. The groups offer encouragement, industry and marketing information, and educational and critique opportunities.

Every year WisRWA hosts either an annual conference or intensive workshop where writers can learn, network, and meet with editors and agents. We also hold two writing contests each year, one for published and one for unpublished writers.

 

RTW: What does WisRWA do for local writers?

MOLLY: Some of the many benefits include:

  • Access to agents and publishers.
  • Networking with other writers.
  • Workshops on writing craft and the publishing industry.
  • Regular meetings in four locations throughout the state.
  • Matches writers with critique partners.
  • Contests for published and yet-to-be published authors.
  • A research database of subject-matter experts to help you with your character development.
  • Conferences and retreats packed with industry professionals, workshops, and opportunity.
  • Support you in every stage of your career!

RTW: Can anyone join?

MOLLY: WisRWA membership is open to any RWA® member in good standing and costs only $25 per year. You must be a member of the national organization to join, but writers of all genres are welcome and can benefit from what WisRWA has to offer.

 

RTW: If a person just wants to see what it’s all about can she/he come to a meeting and check it out?

MOLLY: If you are curious about whether WisRWA is right for you, we welcome you to attend one of our meetings as our guest. Guests are welcome to attend two meetings before being asked to join.  Please check out the calendar on our website for more information.

Photo Credit: Darlene Martin

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Sex With Strangers Book Fair Interview: Bobbi Groover

During the run of its 30th season premiere SEX WITH STRANGERS, Renaissance Theaterworks will shine a spotlight on Wisconsin authors. On Saturday, October 28th the company will host a Mini Book Fair in the Studio Theater lobby of the Broadway Theater Center from 3pm to 10pm featuring Wisconsin-based authors and members of Romance Writers of America (RWA). As an advance introduction to the authors, Renaissance asked them questions related to the various issues and conflicts presented in the play SEX WITH STRANGERS by Laura Eason. Here is the seventh interview of the series.

Bobbi GrooverBobbi Groover
Historical Romance Author

Bobbi Groover is the author of SEASON OF THE SHADOW and THE INN AT LITTLE BEND. Being an accomplished equestrienne, her love of horses placed her settings in a time when horses were the mode of transportation. THE INN AT LITTLE BEND was Winner of the CBRM Blue Ribbon Award, Winner in the Published Beacon Contest, Finalist in ACRA Heart of Excellence, and a Finalist in the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. For more information and to read reviews and watch the trailers visit her website.

 

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

BOBBI: For me the romance genre is all encompassing. I write in the timeframe of antebellum America, a time when romance was…well…romantic. There was no Internet, no emoji hearts or kisses to send with the tap of a finger. People spoke face to face. Yet in their story there can be mystery, even psychic experiences that they don’t understand and are loathe to talk about. Within the story there can be murder, intrigue and even espionage. Within the wax and wane of the romance, the writer weaves a tapestry depicting the complexities of the lovers’ day to day lives. Is it a ‘romance’ novel? Surely it is but it is not just a story of two people who find love, it is a story of the time in which they live, be it nineteenth century or present day.

What I find most attractive about writing romance is giving the reader a heartthrob or possibly a heartache. I want the reader to care about the characters, to become one with them and miss them when the story is finished. If the characters come alive for the reader, then I’ve done my job as a writer. Bottom line…just because it is classified a ‘romance’ novel doesn’t mean the story isn’t a compelling, page turner as well.

 

The Inn at Little Bend

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?

BOBBI: Quite often I have been at a social gathering, meeting new people, and someone asks what I do with my days. (Odd question but people actually do ask.) When I tell them I’m a novelist I can see the interest in their eyes. However, when I tell them I write romance, the interest dies and the smile fades. Their expression clearly states that somehow writing ‘romance’ is not really writing. “Oh, you write trashy stuff.” With that statement, I have been summarily dismissed. “No,” I respond to their blatant disinterest. “I write romance interwoven with an intriguing story.” Depending on the other person’s expression I’ve sometimes even continued. “Are my novels fine classical literature? No. Actually, they are fun, light reading, but with a powerful story and irresistible, heart stopping characters that I hope will grip you to the very last page.” At this point I sip whatever is in the glass in my hand and smile sweetly as any good romantic heroine would do. I love the romance genre and it is ‘serious’ fiction to anyone with a heart beating within them.

I can’t say that I’ve ever been tempted to use initials to disguise my gender as a writer. I’m honored to be a part of the genre. No matter what the gender of the writer, when lovers meet sparks fly. There’s a story to be told, and I feel privileged to present it.

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Sex With Strangers Book Fair Interview: Nicolette Pierce

During the run of its 30th season premiere SEX WITH STRANGERS, Renaissance Theaterworks will shine a spotlight on Wisconsin authors. On Saturday, October 28th the company will host a Mini Book Fair in the Studio Theater lobby of the Broadway Theater Center from 3pm to 10pm featuring Wisconsin-based authors and members of Romance Writers of America (RWA). As an advance introduction to the authors, Renaissance asked them questions related to the various issues and conflicts presented in the play SEX WITH STRANGERS by Laura Eason. Here is the sixth interview of the series.

Nicolette PierceNicolette Pierce
Romantic Suspense Writer

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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Sex With Strangers Book Fair Interview: Mia Jo Celeste

During the run of its 30th season premiere SEX WITH STRANGERS, Renaissance Theaterworks will shine a spotlight on Wisconsin authors. On Saturday, October 28th the company will host a Mini Book Fair in the Studio Theater lobby of the Broadway Theater Center from 3pm to 10pm featuring members of WisRWA. As an advance introduction to the authors, Renaissance asked them questions related to the various issues and conflicts presented in the play SEX WITH STRANGERS by Laura Eason. Here is the fifth interview of the series.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sex With Strangers Book Fair Interview: DC Thome

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 fourth interview of the series.

davethome-350DC Thome

DC (David) Thome lives in Shorewood, Wisconsin. He started writing as a newspaper reporter, then as a self-employed journalist and advertising writer. Now he writes feature stories and has a weekly column on automotive technology called “Gadgets & Gizmos” that runs in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

 

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

DC: Women are more interesting to write about than men. Even books and screenplays I’ve written that are not romances tend to have female protagonists. I’ve fallen in love with four of my female leads, including the heroine of each Fast Lane book. I mean literally fallen in love. With fake people. That I made up. After I was done writing each book, I even went through the dopey, mopey withdrawal that comes after a relationship ends. By contrast, I never feel all that close to my male heroes.

 

RTW: Are you traditionally published or self-published? What do you think are the pros and cons of self-publishing?San Fernando Dreams by DC Thome

DC: All of my novels are self-published, though The Incompetent Witch Series is part of the “Magic and Mayhem Kindle World” of best-selling author Robyn Peterman. She invited me to write novellas that use her books as a starting point and then Amazon publishes them. Experiences I had with Hollywood helped me decide to self-publish. I’d had two agents in L.A. and four of my scripts were optioned by production companies. But every time, the deal collapsed when one guy, the last stop on the way to a paycheck and a career knocked over the whole house of cards. No one can do that with my novels.

 

RTW: How heavily does “New York Times Best Seller” weigh in an author’s favor? Will that sell books?

DC: Stanford University’s Business School concluded that “the majority of book buyers seem to use the Times‘ list as a signal of what’s worth reading.” So even if it doesn’t make me a “legitimate author” in my own mind, it does in the minds of readers. And in that sense, it’s huge. It means you have a built-in audience interested in your next release.

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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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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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