Category Archives: RWA

Gearing up for the Baltimore Book Festival

It’s a mere eleven days until the Baltimore Book Festival–September 25-27th–where my writing chapter the Maryland Romance Writers is hosting three days of speakers on our own stage at the Inner Harbor. Two of my fellow authors are featuring a number of those authors on their blog in the coming days. Hop on over to Toni Decker Books to meet:

Nancy Weeks

Loni Lynne

Jay Crownover

I’ll be updating this post as Toni and Kira present more authors.

Click here for the day-by-day, hour-by-hour schedule for Maryland Romance Writers at the 2015 Baltimore Book Festival. I’m not on a panel, but will be at our information table on Friday. Hope to see you there!

Shout out!

Congratulations to my friend Donna S. Frelick on the release of her debut novel Unchained Memory!

D Frelick_ Book Launch Party 2

Donna and I met at RWA Nationals during a get-together of science fiction romance writers, but discovered we live fairly close, so I was able to attend her Book Launch Party.

D Frelick_reading 1


D Frelick_signing 1


D Frelick_signing 5_w: L Wanrow

and of course, photo ops! Fun, fun, fun, and so well-deserved. Donna was an RWA® Golden Heart® Double Finalist in 2012 in the Paranormal category for the first two novels in her SFR Interstellar Rescue series.

Find Donna at; blogging at; and on Facebook at Unchained Memory is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


My RWA14 Conference Round-up


What’s it like to attend a conference with 2500 other writers? I can only speak from my experience with the Romance Writers of America National conferences:

Exhilarating, educational and exhausting.

San Antonio, TXThough a week has passed since the latest—the 34th—held in San Antonio, my head is still reeling with new ideas. Most writers leave very inspired to implement learned skills and techniques. Because I followed the conference with visiting relatives, I’ve experienced more of a reflective period. I’ve caught up on sleep and listened to additional recorded workshops—ones I couldn’t get to because so many are offered—and thought about what I heard, rather than diving into writing again.

When I first joined RWA, I attended craft workshops to improve my writing, and career Elevator wrapssessions to learn about the publishing business. Over the last three years, workshops targeted at self-publishing have increased. This summer, many well-known names in independent publishing presented, appeared on panels, or offered question and answer sessions: Bella Andre, Barbara Freethy, Marie Force. Hugh Howey was in attendance. (I’m going to be very embarrassed if he presented and I missed it!) Three authors, Eliza Knight, Angie Fox and Deanna Chase, presented ‘How to Quietly Make Six Figures in Indie Publishing’ to a mid-sized room packed with women in business casual sitting in every seat and on the floor.

I wish I had taken photos of the audiences. Romance writers, including more men than in previous years, are re-thinking their roles in book publishing.

Industry-focused presentations included: ‘What Good is an Agent?’, ‘Is There a Case for Traditional Publishers and Agents?’, ‘Indie Success with No Publishing History’ and ‘The Hybrid Author.’ iBooks, Amazon, Kobo, CreateSpace, ACX and Audible held open houses.

Jennifer Jakes and Kimberly Killian of the Killian Group

Jennifer Jakes and Kimberly Killian of the Killian Group

I can’t even begin to list the workshops on social media and marketing. I took advantage of sessions such as how to vet an independent editor, formatting, developing your brand, and cover design.

Tiffany Yates Martin presenting 'Get It Edited'

Tiffany Yates Martin presenting ‘Get It Edited’

I talked and questioned and listened. In every venue—especially the bar—an excited buzz about publishing strategies lurked. Not just getting an agent, or submitting to an editor, hoping a story would be picked. But how to manage your work in the clouds of digital press.

It’s a growing publishing world out there, writers. And the instruction book is open!

Upcoming Long Island Luncheon

An invitation landed in my email this last week for The Long Island Luncheon. For unagented writers within the northeast US, I would highly recommend this networking function–it’s a manuscript pitching function. I attended last year and had success and fun.

My words of advice? Do your homework ahead of time. Know who represents what, and what the editor or agent looks like. And don’t arrive hungry! Sounds ironic, I know, but you can’t pitch while eating. I missed the entire champagne and hors d’oeurves spread, but garnered a number of requests in that mingle time.

Here are the details and contacts. Good luck everyone!

The Long Island Romance Writers announce their
16th Annual “Shining the Light on Romance”
Agent/Editor Luncheon

Friday, June 7, 2013
Noon to 4 p.m.
In the beautiful new Somerley Room
The Inn at Fox Hollow, Woodbury, New York

We’re pleased to host this year’s luncheon speaker
Lou Aronica
Best-selling author and editor
Publisher of The Story Plant and Fiction Studio Books
Former publisher at Avon and Berkley

Please join the members of the LIRW, other editors and agents, and writer guest of all different genres from all over the Northeast for a delicious and elegant afternoon full of mingling and networking.

The following agents will attend:
Becky Vinter (Fine Print Literary)
Stephany Evans (Fine Print Literary)
Alexandra Machinist (Janklow & Nesbit)
Stephanie Lieberman (Janklow & Nesbit)
Kathy Green (Katherine Green Agency)
Jennifer Mischler (Literary Counsel)
Frances Black (Literary Counsel)
Julia Bannon (L Perkins Agency)
Shira Hoffman (McIntosh & Otis, Inc.)
Jita Fumich (Folio Literary)
Lyndsay Hemphill (ICM Partners)

The following editors will attend:
Lori Perkins (Riverdale Avenue Press)
Deb Werksman (Sourcebooks)
Treva Harte (Loose Id)
Stacy Abrams (Entangled Publishing)
Pat Brigandi (Entangled Publishing)
Erin Molta (Entangled Publishing)
Guillian Helm (Entangled Publishing)
Julia Mianecki (Penguin Group)
Katherine Pelz (Berkley)
Kristine Swartz (Berkley)
Marlene Castricato (Crescent Moon Press)
Chelsea Emmelhainz (Avon/Harper)
Latoya Smith (Grand Central Publishing)
Mercedes Fernandez (Kensington)

Please see our website for more information, to register, and for ongoing updates as the event draws near. Or if you have questions, you may contact us at

For those who’ve attended in the past, we look forward to seeing you again – and if you’re new, we hope to meet you!

2013 Long Island Romance Writers Luncheon Co-Chairs: LynneRose Cannon and Gwen Petrarch

Long Island Romance Writers, Inc.
RWA Chapter 160
“Shining the Light on Romance”

An Editor / Agent Networking Luncheon

With two chapter mates I ventured north to Woodbury, NY for the Long Island Romance Writers Annual Luncheon. This networking event in the glass-ceilinged waterfall room of the Inn at Fox Hollow brought together about 25 editors and agents with twice as many writers for an afternoon of pitching.

Energy and spirits were high. I was pleased to find the industry professionals eager to talk to writers and very approachable for pitching. The atmosphere made the afternoon fly by with pitching, friendly discussion and good food. Add in a very insightful talk on the past and changing future of the publishing industry by Angela James, Executive Editor of Carina Press, and the afternoon was well worth our long travel.

In the excitement of the day, I forgot to take any pictures, but LIRW member Dawn Berkoski graciously offered to share these, which she posted on LIRW’s blog. Luckily, she had snapped one me at our table. I’m in the back row on the left.

She even caught me pitching my science fiction romance, Passages, to Angela James and Christopher Keesler–at the same time. As I said, this was a fantastic event to attend.

Please visit Dawn’s June 12, 2012 post for a more complete view of this great venue.

Finally a Bride Award

My first place win in the Finally a Bride Contest was recognized at the 2011 RWA Nationals Conference during the Oklahoma Romance Writers’ award ceremony. I received an engraved cake serving set, suitable for celebrating when I finally get the call.

Not wanting to wait, I used them to serve cake to my writing friends.

While we got lovely pictures of the chocolate cheesecake, a NYC must-indulge fare from Juniors, I guess we for got to snap any photos of the party. But it was great!

The coordinator of Oklahoma RWA’s Finally a Bride Contest called today to tell me Seaside Sorcery placed first in the YA category! I’m so excited! Here are the other 2010 winners. Congratulations to all. We’re invited to the awards ceremony at RWA Nationals this summer.

2010 Winners/Finalists

Mainstream with Romantic Elements:

1st (TIE): Courage and Azaleas – Claudia Shelton &

Oak Moon – Laura Templeton

2nd: Falling for You…Again – Kathy Coatney


1st: Lady Vice – Wendy La Capra

2nd: Embracing Scandal – Suzanne Webb

3rd: Deception – Jennifer Beane


1st: A Cry in the Night – Terri Weldon

2nd: Healing Moon – Lyndee Henderson

3rd: Beach Rental – Grace R. Greene

Paranormal/Time Travel/Futuristic:

1st: Inhale – Kendall Grey

2nd (TIE): Night Walker – Lisa Kessler &

Red – Mary SeRine

3rd: The Devil Made Me Do It – Ruth Kaufman

4th: Just Beyond the Garden Gate – Dawn Marie Hamilton

Series Contemporary:

1st: Music City Seduction – Robin Covington

2nd (TIE): Hawaiian Heat – Diane Garner &

The Magic Man – Paula Stelluto

Romantic Suspense/Single Title:

1st: Scent of Fear – NJ Litz

2nd: Mississippi Blues – D’Ann Linscott-Dunham

3rd: Last Chance – EJ Brighton

Young Adult:

1st: Seaside Sorcery – Laurel Wanrow

2nd: Magic of the Dance – Robin Haseltine

3rd: In Mage We Trust – Heidi VanLandingham

The Daphne Finalists List



Orchard County Killer by Deborah L. Kaufman

His Reluctant Witness by Christine Keach w/a Lexi Connor

Rescued by D’Ann Linscott-Dunham

Kira’s Keeper by Jan Schliesman

Blue Ridge Fear by Robin Weaver


A Lady’s Revenge by Tracey Smith w/a Tracey Devlyn

Her Secret Flyboy by Jeanne Dickson

Vengeance is Mine by Linda Friar

Deception by Jennifer Beane

Sweet Enemy by Heather Snow


Illusion of Safety by Dianna Benson

The Shadow of Heaven by C.J. Eernisse Chase

Nightshade by Debra E. Marvin

Submerged by Dani Pettrey

The Peacock Throne by Lisa Karon Richardson


Last Wishes by Caroline Dunsheath

Last Chance by writing team Ann Fischer & Linda Baxter

Hearts of Darkness by Ciara Stewart

Lost Paladin by Tracy St. Hilaire

Passages by Laurel Wanrow


He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not by Lena Diaz

In For a Penny by Kathy Franklin

Misdirection by Linda Lovely

Safe in Enemy Arms by Joan Swan

From Baghdad with Love by Gail Zerrade


Insight by Polly Iyer

Death Benefits by Arlene Kay

Nearly Departed in Deadwood by Wendy Kunkle-Munk w/a Ann Charles

Pineapples in Peril by Cheryl Linn Martin

Solstice of Death by Robin Weaver

The winners and placement of each unpublished subgenre will be announced on
July 29th in ORLANDO!!! at KOD’s Death by Chocolate. Congratulations to
the finalists, to the entrants, to the judges and to our hardworking
coordinators. Stay tuned for the Published side of the contest as we
announce later on in May.

So there it is folks. According to one of my chapter mates at MRW, the finalists are seated with with the final round judges at the party. KOD is providing finalists’ ribbons to wear on our conference name tags and asking for a picture to be used in a yet-un-named manner. What a nice set of ways to be recognized and treated; the contest and chapter organizers have done an excellent job. Thank you, Donnell Ann Bell, Daphne Coordinator, and all the volunteers working with the contest and award ceremony.

I’m in a blog – someone else’s!

What fun!  One of the first writers I met at a RWA Nationals conference has featured me in her blog post today . Eliza March and I met in the lobby while I was trying to spot an agent from whom the computer had bumped my pitch appointment. We were so new, I had no idea you received a confirmation of the appointments. We chatted and connected and then I dashed off because I spotted the agent–who kindly gave me the opportunity to pitch to her on the spot. But among 2000 writers we did find each other again, a number of times, and we keep in touch.  Please visit Eliza and her fellow bloggers at Romantic Hearts and Sexy Tarts. I hope to visit her in Nashville at the 2010 RWA National Conference, an eleven hour drive from the DC area.

To Shorten a Synopsis …

… there is no better inspiration for a writer than a contest page limit to force one to look at what you thought was a perfectly good synopsis, and ruthlessly cut it. Add to that limit the contest’s drop-dead deadline, and you are set!

Can you tell I entered another contest? Waited until the last day, because I knew I had a great synopsis I’d used this fall to enter the On The Far Side. Passages placed second in that contest. I’ve just been through a series of critiques with the first third of the manuscript through the fantasy chapter critique group and knew the pages were polished to be even better than before.

So I sat down, in the morning mind you, on the last day to enter the Washington Romance Writers Chapter contest, The Marlene. This is one of my local chapters, so I’d been hearing about the contest at monthly meetings. I’d glanced at the rules; I knew the entry was 35 pages, manuscript and synopsis.

But then I read the rules.

First bulletted point: One electronic copy of a synopsis (up to 5 pages) and the beginning of the manuscript not to exceed 35 pages total for synopsis and manuscript pages.

You guessed it; mine was six pages. Six full pages.

Like most writers, I never initiate work on my synopsis voluntarily. But, I tell you, I had decided to enter this contest, to see how my changes would fly and to support my chapter. So I buckled down right there.

Luckily I was already at my favorite Starbucks, with my venti (and BTW, I had to go verify the spelling of that; my MAC dictionary defined it as an opening that allows air, gas or liquid to pass out of or into a confined space. Yikes.) custom recipe hot chocolate, half consumed, and I was ready to go. Er, cut.

My edits took the better part of two hours, leaving a strong five page synopsis. I re-read the pages and put together my entry for the Fantasy/Futuristic and Paranormal category.  I also entered Wildflowers and Winged Boys in the YA category.  I’ve spent the last two weeks revising the start of this novel, but that’s another story.

The final judges for both my categories are of interest to me, and an author critique is awarded to each winner:

Paranormal: Final Editor Judge: Katherine Pelz, Berkley

Critique Author: Gwyn Cready (, 2009 Rita winner for Best Paranormal Romance

Young Adult: Final Editor Judge: Emilia Rhodes, Simon Pulse

Critique Author: Carrie Jones (

It’s weird, but entering contests always gives me a little rush of satisfaction. I think I’ll go check and see what else is out there to enter.

And hope I don’t have to shorten that synopsis to three pages!

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