Getting to Know Your 2016 Board Members

2016 is right around the corner, and with a new year comes a new RWASD board! For those of you who aren’t already acquainted with our incoming board members, here’s a chance for you to familiarize yourself with their faces and get to know a little bit about them.

Tameri Etherton, President

Tameri is the award-winning author of the Song of the Swords fantasy series. As a born storyteller, Tameri grew up inventing fictional worlds where the impossible was possible. It’s been said she leaves a trail of glitter in her wake as she creates new adventures for her kickass heroines, and the rogues who steal their hearts. She lives an enchanted life in Southern California with two dogs, a finicky cat, her two grown children and her very own prince charming.

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Tami Vahalik, President-Elect

Tami writes contemporary romance with a kick and a twist that includes the sports world. Her stories are inspired by her time on the field as a certified athletic trainer. In other words she takes care of boo boos and owies that can and can’t be seen, then writes about them. It’s all fair game. Each story she writes has at least one real life incident. Can you figure out the reality from the fantasy? You might be surprised.

Eleanor Nystrom, Secretary

Eleanor Nystrom writes paranormal romance with badass heroes and badasser heroines. She is thrilled to be next year’s secretary.

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Tessa McFionn, Treasurer

Tessa McFionn is a very native Californian and has called Southern California home for most of her life, growing up in San Diego and attending college in Northern California and Orange County, only to return to San Diego to work as a teacher. Insatiably curious and imaginative, she loves to learn and discover, making her wicked knowledge of trivial facts an unwelcomed guest at many Trivial Pursuit boards. When not writing, she can be found at the movies or at Disneyland with her husband, as well as family, friends or anyone who wants to play at the Happiest Place on Earth. She also finds her artistic soul fed through her passions for theater, dance and music. A proud parent of far too many high school seniors and two still living house plants, she also enjoys hockey, reading and playing Words With Friends to keep her vocabulary sharp.

Lisa Kessler, Vice President, Programs

Lisa has been a member of RWASD since 2009. Since then, she’s had 11 books published, with 3 more due to come out in 2016. In our chapter, she has served as President, VP of Programs (twice), and Publicity Chair. She also worked on the California Dreamin’ Conference board. When she’s not writing, she sings professionally and teaches writing courses online as well as at San Diego Writer’s Ink in Liberty Station.

Cassi Carver, Vice President, Programs

Cassi writes spicy urban fantasy, contemporary romance, and paranormal romance. She lives in sunny Southern California with two dogs, four kids, varying numbers of pet chickens and tropical fish…and one very patient husband. When Cassi isn’t busy plotting or writing, she enjoys reading, gardening, horseback riding, spending time with family and friends, caring for pets, volunteering at the local animal shelter, drinking copious amounts of Diet Dr. Pepper, and watching sappy movies that deliver reliably happy endings.

Kristin Rockaway, Communications Director

Kristin is a native New Yorker who spends her days writing contemporary romance and women’s fiction. Her latest novel placed second in the 2015 Orange Rose Contest for Unpublished Writers, finishing first in the Women’s Fiction with Romantic Elements category. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son, and planning her next big vacation. RWA is an important part of her life, and she’s thrilled to be able to serve on the board this year to give back to the organization that has given so much to her.

Diane Kennedy, Hospitality Director

Diane is a native San Diegan who joined RWA and the San Diego Chapter in 2014 while in the midst of writing her first novel, a contemporary YA romance.  She’s happy to say that she completed the manuscript and made PRO this year.  Now her work is focused on final polishing and word-tweaking so she can go to Nationals in July with the confidence to pitch her debut novel. Along with being a writer, she is the proud mom of a grown up son and daughter, the grandmother of two beautiful granddaughters and one darling baby grandson who fill her life with joy.  She is also the bride-to-be of the perfect man for her; proof that we’re never too old to find our true love.

Cindy Kinnard, Outreach Director

Starting her adult life as a theater nerd, Cynthia earned her Masters of Fine Arts in Costume Design and worked as a designer for many years. But her first love since childhood was telling stories. After some encouragement from a couple of authors, she decided to go down the rabbit hole and write paranormal romance. When not telling tales about hot dragons and werewolves with tight behinds, Cynthia is an SCA geek and an amateur artist. She loves costume dramas, horror films, zombies, steampunk, pirates, historical costumes, RPG games, Indiana Jones, bright colors, and LUSH. Cynthia resides in sunny San Diego, California with her husband Max, two cats of varying intelligence, and a ton of goldfish.

Rachael Davish, PRO Liaison

Rachael Davila, writing as Rachael Davish, has been a member of RWA-San Diego since 2012. Joining the board as the newsletter editor, she’s held the position of treasurer and co-PRO liaison. With Laura Connors, she will continue as co-PRO Liaison for 2016. When she’s not handling her board and family responsibilities, she’s writing contemporary romance with touches of paranormal.

Laura Connors, PRO Liaison

Laura has been a member of RWASD since 2012 and is grateful for this organization. She has acted as the hospitality chair for a year and a half and is about to take over membership responsibilities. An ADD writer, she has 15 books in progress in such categories as Historical Fiction, YA, fantasy, paranormal and contemporary. Her completed manuscript, Sea of Fate has placed third in multiple contests and second in FF&P’s On The Far Side. She has always wanted to be a writer, but it wasn’t until she met the amazing people at RWA that she found the courage to try. Some of her best friends belong to RWASD and she can’t imagine her life without it.

Jillian Stone, PAN Liaison

Multi-published, national award-winning author Jillian started out as an advertising creative. And her career did seem to suit her as she won many national ad awards including the Clio and the New York Art Director’s Club Gold. What more could she ask for? Create her own worlds? Become goddess of her own universe? Yes! So, she began to write fiction. Her Victorian Romantic Suspense novel AN AFFAIR WITH MR. KENNEDY (The Gentlemen of Scotland Yard series) won the Romance Writers of America 2010 Golden Heart Award and sold to Pocket Books. Her steamy paranormal detective novel, THE SEDUCTION OF PHAETON BLACK sold to Kensington Brava. Jillian lives in Southern California and is currently working on a sexy horror zombie novel serialized in the Sexy to Go anthologies, as well as the sequel to her erotic contemporary novel, THE DO IT LIST.

Ava Blackstone, Webmistress

Ava writes contemporary romance. She is a winner and two-time finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® contest, and has published five short romance stories in Woman’s World magazine. She loves reading, traveling, cooking, hiking, eating, and sleeping (not necessarily in that order). Her first romance novella, Marriage: Impossible, will be available in January.


3 thoughts on “Getting to Know Your 2016 Board Members

  1. This board is fabulous! Well, heck, all our boards are awesome. RWA SD is super lucky to have so many excellent people stepping up to volunteer. 2016 is going to rock hard for our chapter and it’s all due to these terrific ladies. Thank you!

  2. Love reading about you all – your accomplishments, your genres, and your funny quirks! Love Ava’s book title, Marriage: Impossible – so funny!! 😀

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