Meet the Chapter Mates: RW Richard

8192010[1]Welcome to this Month’s Meet the Chapter Mates! If you’ve been going to our meetings, chances are you’ve met RW Richard (aka Bob). Bob is a warm, welcoming gentleman who is always quick with a smile.
His blog, Romance: The Male POV is updated every week!
Tell us a little about yourself! Who are you? What do you write?
I’ve been nicknamed The Romantic Novelist by one of my fans and I think I’ll keep the tag.I grew up in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Graduated from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia with a BS in Physics and an MBA in management/marketing. I worked many years as an engineer.
I’m a chess master and master swimmer. Love aerobics at the gym and walk my two dogs every day. Am an artist (paint and sketch primarily).

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

My eighth grade teacher thought I had some talent and my Physics professor at St. Joseph’s U. thought I might want to try writing after I penned a lab report about how I also burned down the lab. It took me until I wrote my master’s thesis at NBC and got a story contracted to realize that I’d eventually write full-time.
 
What does RWASD mean to you?
RWASD is the portal I found through Helen Kay Dimon’s course at the community college to come out of the cold and into the hot. The friendships and support are invaluable.
 
What is the biggest challenge you have faced on your journey to becoming a writer?
So far, it’s the disappointment of spending more than I make at it. Which makes writing a hobby until… I apply myself diligently and hope that those who do read my stories enjoy them. So far, so good.
 
What attracted you to the genre you write?
I enjoy great movies such as Sleepless in Seattle or You’ve Got Mail and great books like Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Natural Born Charmer. I prefer Romantic comedies in books like Mary Leo’s Stick Shift. I also like Janet Evanovich and Jeffery Deaver to name a couple. Why does it speak to you? I’m attracted to matters of the heart because I feel that love is man’s most important feature.
Where is the weirdest place or what is the weirdest thing that inspired an idea?
I rescued a dog who turned out to be half wolf. He inspired me to write POE AND MEabout how dogs came about before domestication (when wolf and man where equal partners). Basically, the entire story flowed right out of me (from him) plus a lot of research.
 
How does romance speak to you as a male writer?
Oh my God, I love women. I can’t think of a more apropos subject to address. Certainly, no other genre comes close to harnessing my heart and mind.
If you could go back 20 years ago, What advice would you give yourself?
 I would have to reject quitting my job as an engineer to finish my NBC project because the salary I made helped my two daughters grow into productive and loving women. However, I would have given up chess sooner to start writing part-time.
 Tell us about your latest novel!
My latest novel, Autumn Breeze, is my personal masterpiece. here’s the clip from Amazon:
Autum Breeze is available on Amazon.com!

Autum Breeze is available on Amazon.com!

On the morning of 9/11, a fourteen-year-old genius’s mother disappears. Her beloved father had been murdered years before. She’s now without parents. She resolves to get a new mom and dad and have them adopt her, before she is deported to Trinidad. For new mom, she selects her BFF (best friend forever), a New York City detective. For new dad, she selects the handsome spy who is investigating her BFF. The investigation was the girl’s fault. She had predicted the terrorist attack to her BFF. Her BFF, in turn, won’t give up her source, which makes the spy investigating her consider the detective as the possible predictor. Unbeknownst to the girl, a terrorist is also trying to find out who the predictor was, so he can silence him or her forever. Now, the girl is fighting to stay in the country, trying to make two people who hardly know each other, fall in love, get married and adopt her, while she is playing a most dangerous game of hide and seek with the terrorist to not only protect her life but also the life of her best friend.

The story, as it progresses, delves into how the City of New York responded to 9/11 by establishing an anti-terrorism task force, in which the girl’s BFF and the spy play important roles.
On the journey, the girl learns that love is earned, sometimes with a heavy price.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
After the required wandering around, Frank got down on one knee next to an engagement ring case. His eyes bore into hers turning her into Jell-O. “I’m so in love with you, sweetheart. Would you consider marrying me?”“Rise, my gallant knight.” She couldn’t wipe a huge grin off her face if she tried. This klutzy way of proposing was so him. Although he had a lot to learn about romance, his heart, the only important part of true love, was all hers.
Everybody in the store [Tiffany, NYC] displayed the most ridiculous ‘ah-faces.’

Before you go, any advice to give to the new writers out there?

Make sure you are invested in what you write and that it flow first from your heart with all the education, technique, logic and energy your brain can contribute. Never stop learning.

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April Meeting Roundup + Good News!

Another impressive monthly meeting happened this past Saturday, featuring our special guest speaker, Colleen Thompson. Colleen is a RITA-nominated author of twenty-six books, the most recent release being Lone Star Survivor (Harlequin Romantic Suspense). A former teacher and prolific writer, she spent the day with the members of RWA-SD sharing her knowledge on two very important topics.

In our morning session, she offered advice for reinvigorating those sagging middles of stories that have lost their initial oomph. Some of her tips:

  • Raise the stakes.
  • Compress the timeline.
  • Skip the boring parts.
  • Make the characters’ goals tied to their greatest weaknesses.
  • And when all else fails, “put another bear in the canoe.”

In the afternoon, she told us all how to “get out of our own way” with a motivational discussion about all those ways in which writers can be our worst enemies, and ideas on how to overcome self-criticism, procrastination, and perfectionism. I filled my notebook with a number of Colleen’s inspirational quotes, but my personal favorite?

“Make peace with your doubt.”

As always, we handed out our monthly awards. The Members of the Month were Judy Duarte, Jill Limber, Teresa Carpenter, and Christine Locksy for their stellar contributions to the California Dreamin’ conference.

Our Attagirl recipient was Golden Heart winner Shoshana Brown:

Attagirl Winner Shoshana Brown (l), pictured with Tameri Etherton.

Attagirl Winner Shoshana Brown (l), pictured with Tameri Etherton.

And let’s not forget to celebrate all the good news our members shared:

  • Tameri Etherton published two books this month: Developing Cassandra (as Niki Hart) and The Temple of Ardyn.
  • Cynthia Diamond published Siren’s Song (Wyrd Love Book 1).
  • Demi Hungerford published the first book in The Bowman’s Inn Anthology, a short story titled “Another Shot”.
  • Georgie Lee has a new release from Harlequin Historical, A Debt Paid in Marriage. She also entered The Courtesan’s Book of Secrets into the Maggies.
  • Beverly Nault’s The Kaleidoscope (Wild Rose) is available on pre-sale, with a May 13th release.
  • Jackie Lee Allen’s The Rogue’s Revenge will be released in May.
  • Michele Barber sent a synopsis and first three chapters to Brenda Chin.
  • Regan Walker’s The Red Wolf’s Prize was nominated for a RONE Award. She also has a new release, To Tame The Wind, a prequel to the Agents of the Crown trilogy.
  • Sydney Sterling sent a partial request to Brenda Chin, and entered Writer’s Digest’s Self-Published Book Awards.
  • Pamela Moran has short stories published in the Sexy to Go anthologies, Volumes 1, 2, and 3. She’s also published Gavin’s Woman, A PSI Sentinel Novella.
  • Ann Siracusa released All for a Dead Man’s Leg and All for a Fist Full of Ashes in print.
  • Shirley Wilder released Too Many Cooks and Fly Me in print.
  • Marie Andreas released The Glass Gargoyle.
  • Kristin Rockaway was a finalist in Pitch Madness.
  • Lotchie M. Burton released Nothing’s Sweeter than Candy in January.

Congratulations to all our members on their spectacular accomplishments, this month and every month!

Don’t let a month pass by without attending an RWA-SD meeting. Next month, we’ll have a visit from the famous Jennifer Ashley. Check this space for more information about May’s meeting in the forthcoming weeks!

Awesome classes offered through and taught by RWASD.

One of the greatest perks of being a part of RWA is access to the many fantastic classes offered. I know I’ve taken advantage of many of them since joining. There are thousands of  instructors ready to share their knowledge right at our fingertips!

But did you know that RWASD also hosts some fantastic classes?

Here are some classes brought to you by RWASD!

Blending Emotional Arcs and Conflict

 Date: May 4 – 31, 2015

Cost: $20.00 (RWA-SD members) / $25.00 (non RWA-SD members)

Instructor: Kat Duncan

Open to: All

Please register at http://rwasd.com/training/index.html

This workshop explores the elements needed to show a character’s emotional arc from opening page to ending scene. You will learn techniques that enable you to tug at a reader’s heartstrings. How and when to launch into emotional introspection and when not to. Blend emotion and story conflict and learn when and how to emphasize each. Manage your characters’ emotions by learning how to manipulate your readers’ emotions. Entice your readers to follow your characters’ emotional upheavals and revelations without giving readers a reason to toss the book aside out of boredom or toss it in the trash out of anger. Workshop includes lessons on showing versus telling, emotional triggers, emotional language and creating emotional phrases. Worksheets, templates and published excerpts and examples will be used to explain the techniques.

Instructor Bio:

Kat Duncan is a creation extremist who is doing her best to identify human creativity and free it from captivity, one student at a time. As a young child, Kat once tried to confess the telling of her stories to her parish priest because she thought they fit the definition the nuns gave for telling a lie. With her lies fully sanctioned and blessed by church authorities, Kat writes stories to entertain and enlighten. She is a Fulbright Scholar who spent a year in West Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Kat has a Master’s Degree in Education and over a dozen years of experience teaching students from elementary through college and beyond. Her stories span a range from realistic historicals to quirky suspense.

Setting & Description As Character

Date: May 4-17, 2015

Instructor: Eilis Flynn

Cost: RWA San Diego Chapter members: $15/Non-members: $20

Open to: All

Please register at http://rwasd.com/training/index.html

What lingers in your mind when you finish a great story? Sometimes it’s the hero or the heroine. Sometimes it’s the crisp, crackling dialogue that made you laugh out loud (sometimes in public, embarrassingly enough) or bawl (also sometimes in public, definitely embarrassingly enough). And sometimes, whether you realize it or not, it could even be—gasp!—the setting.

Every part of a story can be memorable and stick in the minds of the reader. Setting is an unappreciated factor in so many stories, but without it, truly memorable stories could fall flat. Setting and description can be very, very memorable. Every story has a setting, and it’s a character in its own right. Setting and its description has a voice of its own, and it needs to be heard. Believe it or not, the setting of your story should be as well-defined as any of your human characters, and certainly something that you remember after you finish the work, writing it or reading it. How can you make the settings of your stories so memorable that it lingers in your readers’ minds as much as the hero and the heroine and the dialogue?

Think of weather, rain as miserable as mud or snow soft and deadly. Think of climate, always hot and sticky and humid. Think of seasons, whether summer or spring. Think of the lamppost always shining in the eternal snow in Narnia at the beginning of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (where it’s always winter but never Christmas). Think of Rochester Hall, with the image of the window at the top of the house where the insane first wife is kept in Jane Eyre. How many of you think of that when you look at big houses with an attic window? All of it comes together to shape your story and sticks in your imagination. In my workshop, we’ll look at setting and how important it is in building your story, and we’ll look at how yours can stick in your readers’ imagination, long after they’ve finished the book.

Instructor Bio: 

Eilis Flynn has worked at a comic book company, a couple of Wall Street brokerage firms, a wire news service, and a magazine for futurists. She’s also dined with a former British prime minister and a famous economist, can claim family ties to the emperor of Japan and the president of a major telecommunications company, and met her husband when he asked her to sign a comic book. She’s written romantic fantasies and futuristics and comic books, as well as articles on finance, mortgage-backed securities, and precious metals. Her most recent book, Wear Black, was cowritten with historical romance author Heather Hiestand and is available at most online retailers. She’s also a professional editor with nearly 40 years of experience. She can be reached at eilisflynn@aol.com.

Also, our own members teach as well! Here are two classes class taught by our members Georgie Lee and Helenkay Dimon.

Regency Battlefield Medicine

Class dates: April 20 – May 15, 2015
Cost: $20 non-member, $15 BM member
To Register: https://www.rwa.org/e/in/eid=389

War during the Regency era wasn’t pretty and neither were the wounds and treatments soldiers and seamen suffered in the heat of battle. Even if a soldier survived his injury, there was no guarantee he would live through the many infectious diseases which ran rampant through the military hospitals. Surgeons were ill-equipped to deal with the mass numbers of soldiers in need of treatment and did the best they could with the limited knowledge and tools they possessed.

Battlefield Medicine will take you through the ins and outs of British Army and Navy medicine during the late Georgian and Regency eras. The training and techniques of surgeons, as well as the medicines and pain relief available, field hospital practices and the effects of infection and disease on the healthy and wounded alike will all be explored. Firsthand accounts of military surgeons and their patients will help provide a full picture of medicine in the time before antibiotics or germ theory, as this class examines this bloody, horrific and often fatal aspect of Regency life.

Instructor Bio:

A lifelong history buff, Georgie Lee hasn’t given up hope that she will one day inherit a title and a manor house. Until then, she fulfills her dreams of lords, ladies and a season in London through her stories. When not writing, she can be found reading non-fiction history or watching any movie with a costume and an accent. Please visit www.georgie-lee.com to learn more about Georgie and her books.

More information on The Beau Monde found here.

The Friends of the Valley Center Library Present:
“THE WRITE STUFF”

Streamlined, information-packed fiction-writing and social media workshops given by published author instructors.

Saturday, May 2 – Helenkay Dimon – “Plots are Everything!”
Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00
Place: Valley Center Library, 29200 Cole Grade Road, Valley Center, CA 92082 (maybe carpool?)
Cost: $10.00 per session (donation to the Friends of the VC Library) Coffee, tea and refreshment goodies provided.

Registration: * Pre-enrollment and payment are required. *Class size will be limited. No refunds. Sorry, no walk-ins.
Need more info? Email: linda@lindathomas-sundstrom.com

The Post-California Dreamin’ Conference Wrap-Up

It’s been a week and a half since the California Dreamin’ conference ended, and I don’t know about you, but I’m still floating on a post-conference high. As a first-timer, I arrived at the hotel with wide-eyed curiosity and a hunger to absorb as much information as possible. But I also harbored more than a few worries: What if I didn’t fit in among all the experienced and established authors? What if I bungled my pitches? What if I spent every meal eating all by myself in the corner in an otherwise crowded dining room full of friends and colleagues who didn’t have room for me at their tables?

Well, as soon as I approached the registration desk and slipped that name badge over my head, all my anxiety melted away. Instantly, I felt welcomed into a circle of writers who were genuinely interested in everyone’s long-term career and success, who were eager to discuss their knowledge of business and craft, and who shared my enthusiasm about all things romance-related. Finally, I thought, I’ve found my people.

Here are some of the things that made this conference particularly special for me:

  • The workshops! Topics ran the gamut from effectively managing your time, to navigating the intricacies of publishing contracts, to writing sex scenes that’ll have your readers hot and bothered. Some members of our San Diego chapter ran workshops of their own, including Lisa Kessler, Judy Duarte, Linda Thomas-Sundstrom, Mary Leo, and Kitty Bucholtz. At the end of each session, both my notebook and my brain were overflowing with good ideas.
  • The keynote speeches! Vicky Dreiling and Sylvia Day spoke about their humble beginnings in the field of romance writing and their hard-earned climbs to the top, and offered advice to their fellow writers. Sylvia Day ended her speech with a quote I’ve since printed and plastered to the wall beside my desk: “Dream big. Read often. Plan smart.”
  • The books! To close out the conference, dozens of authors set up shop in the atrium of the hotel for a two-hour book signing. To see photos of our own RWA-SD authors at their signing tables (as well as other photos from the weekend), click through the slideshow below. I, for one, blew my book budget out of the water at this event.
  • The connections! I’m not just talking about agents and editors (though, it was pretty great to get some one-on-one time with them during our pitch and critique appointments, right?). I’m also talking about meeting fellow writers, people who were at every stage of their careers – those who were halfway through their first manuscript, and those who’d already hit the tops of the Best Sellers lists. All of us were united through our same goal of publication, and our need to share our stories with the world. I made friendships at this conference that I hope will last for years to come.

What about you? How was your California Dreamin’ conference experience this year?

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Meet The Chapter Mates: Marie Andreas

Me headshot 1

Its time for another round of Meet the chapter mates! This month we focus on Marie Andreas, who just released her first book,The Glass Gargoyle, Book One in The Lost Ancients series.

Marie is an awesome lady with a passion for fantasy, fun, and definitely tea.

Let’s find out more about Marie and her awesome new book!

Tell us a little about yourself! Who are you?

That’s a loaded question!  LOL!  I’m a dreamer, I have always told myself stories, whether they be about the cute boy in my math class, or an offshoot of a favorite TV show or book. I do have an evil day job, totally unrelated to writing that reminds me every day why I write.  I also have a Masters in Psychology, but it doesn’t appear to be hindering me in having a normal life, so I mostly ignore it.

What do you write?

I write fantasy, SF, and steampunk with romantic elements- my plots could survive without the romantic element structurally, but they would be without heart.  I always start with my couple ☺.

 

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Another loaded question!  Short answer- last week when my book came out ☺. I had a hard time telling others I was a writer- even though I’ve been doing it a VERY long time.

 

What does RWASD mean to you?

Friendship, support, people who understand what this is all about.  I know I wouldn’t be where I am as a writer without RWASD.

 

What is the biggest challenge you have faced on your journey to becoming a writer?

Self-doubt. It is crippling. When an agent I respected and an editor I also respected, both turned down two different fulls while still saying they loved them, BUT….I turned to self-publishing.  I love it, but it is not an easy path at all.

 

What attracted you to the genre you write?

I grew up reading fantasy and SF- each month my family would troop down to the library and each of us would check out a dozen books- mine were always fantasy/SF. As I grew up I started liking romance books too- so I’ve spooshed them together- sort of a chocolate/peanut thing!

 

Why does it speak to you?

I love going into other worlds and seeing the basic human emotions are still there- even when the characters may or may not be human.

 

Where is the weirdest place or what is the weirdest thing that inspired an idea?

I am sure there were others, but the only one I can think of were the squirrels. I sometimes go writing out and about and one day I was working on the first draft of The Glass Gargoyle while at Balboa Park.  I was under a tree and a very aggressive squirrel harassed me the entire time I was there. He became the army of possessed demonic squirrels who do battle with my drunken faeries.

 

Who’s a writer you would do back flips to meet and why?

Mercedes Lackey- just because of the impact she had on the fantasy genre, and the way she wove in romance in almost all of her stories.

If you could go back 20 years ago, What advice would you give yourself?

Write faster!  LOL!!  I would say believe in yourself ☺.

Can you share a little of your current work with us? 

lost ancients glass gargoyle layers 2_1

The Glass Gargoyle is available now on Amazon!

This is a VERY rough piece from The Obsidian Chimera- the second book in The Lost Ancients Trilogy (coming out in June 2015 ;)).

A dark form leapt up on the bar and got between me and the troll and shoved the dying beast away.

Lean and obviously male, he was wearing a long black cloak with the hood up. Had Alric come back? I wasn’t sure how I felt about that after the way he left me, but I was grateful not to be a pile of smashed digger under that troll’ s foot.

“Alric?” The man that turned, while easily as handsome as Alric, was definitely not him. He reached down to help me stand up on the bar but it was difficult with him trying to be gentle and me sitting like a lump of lead bricks.

He was handsome on a level I’d never seen before—even surpassing Alric. His rich black hair was vibrant and thick and his face could make an angel weep with un-repented lust.

And if those tilted silver eyes and pointed ears where an indication, he was an elf. I’d never seen an elf outside of drawings. No one had. They’d vanished over a thousand years ago.

Before you go, any advice to give to the new writers out there?

Never stop learning- ever.  Never allow others to take or damage your dreams. If someone says “you MUST…” in relation to the writing process, smile, nod, thank them. And run away.  Most importantly NEVER give up.

To find out more about Marie, check out her website MarieAndreas.com and her blog.