June Meeting Round Up + Good News

We had a wonderful June meeting filled with fabulous news and inspiring talks!

Last month, Angie Fox spoke about How to Quietly Make Six Figures in Indie Publishing which brought out a ton of RWASD members, hungry for knowledge.

In her talk, Angie discussed how to make a good living and spend time doing what we love to do – writing.  Being a “slower writer” she gave the low down on how you can be successful even if you’re not releasing a new book every 90 days.

She discussed:

  • Writing Smart- Write what you love. Series books sell each other, and how novellas and boxed sets can drive up your sales.
  • Marketing Smart – You don’t have to be everywhere or spend every dime on marketing. All you need is 20 minutes a day on Facebook or Twitter. And Newsletters will help drive your sales
  • Career Structure – Decide who your are, don’t follow trends, and put a good team in place.
  • And Future Planning – Indie publishing is always changing. Even if you don’t follow trends, you can use them to get noticed.

Angie lives by the 80/20 Rule: you get eighty percent of your results from about twenty percent of your effort. Make every effort count! Be smart about your time and energy behind your management strategies.

Next up was Lori James and Cassi Carver from All Romance eBooks giving us Tips From a Booksellers Perspective and How to Make Your Listing Sparkle. These ladies discussed  ARe’s robust search engine and how important metadata is.

A few tips they left us with:

  • Think hard about your key words
  • Don’t undervalue your work. (an average 50k novel sells for about 4.99!)
  • Test your book covers
  • Think about the heat level of your story

Also instead of one, we named FOUR members of the month!

Tameri Etherton, Lisa Kessler, Cynthia Diamond, and Rick Ochocki were honored for all their hard work on May’s Love at the Library event.


Tameri Etherton, Lisa, Kessler, Rick Ochocki, and Cynthia Diamond with president Elect, Tami Vahalik

And the best part of the meeting, Good News!

  • Lisa Kessler’s Harvest Moon is a Finalist in the PRISM Dark Paranormal category. her new book Blue Moon came out on 6/27.
  • Aleigha Siron was in the top 100 of Kindle’s Time Travel romances for an entire month.
  • Rick Ochock won 4th place in WisRWA’s 25th annual FabFive’s contest with his book Out of the Fire.
  • Cynthia Diamond is releasing her 3rd book in the Wyrd Love Series, Dyrad’s Vine on 7/7.

Remember, our next RWA meeting won’t be until August where we will have our after nationals potluck. Until then, have a great RWA Nationals conference and a fantastic month!



The Circle of Support

I have my first solo book signing coming up.

Solo as in all by my lonesome.

In the past I’ve always piggybacked with others at various  at conventions or big meet and greet events. But nope, this one is a real event. With real tables, books, pens, and especially readers.

Needless to say I’ve been a flailing wreck for the last few weeks as this date creeps closer and closer.  But as I bury my anxiety in two gallons of mudslide ice cream (With the chocolate chunks. I spare no expense with my therapy), I am comforted not only by the chocolate, but knowing my that RWASD friends are only a text or phone call away during this.

Just last week as I scrambled to pull together swag I had the horrifying revelation of “I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing.” All my productivity came to a screeching halt as I stared at my scattered piles of buttons and postcards. “I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing.” It just kept echoing in my head like a Gregorian chant.

“I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing.”

Maybe I should have just stuck with receptionist work.

After the paralysis passed, I posted on Facebook in a tizzy. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even use punctuation as I blubbered out how I had no clue what to do, that the sky was falling, and OH MY GOD WHY AM I DOING THIS SIGNING I’M A FRAUD! AAAHHH!

Alright so maybe isn’t wasn’t that bad.

After I vented, I already had a ton of comments from my fellow writers in RWASD. Good comments. Encouraging comments. Writers telling me that I had this, that they were going through the exact same crisis, or tips on what to do. Writers telling me to email them and they’ll give me a check list, telling me what to expect, or to take a deep breath because it was all going to be alright.

Writers telling me that yes, you are a writer and yes, you were going to succeed.

I had found my tribe. And they want me to succeed.

I started to breathe again.

That support is what I love about RWASD. Yes, my dues pay for great classes, meetings, and other perks but its the support that overwhelms me. I always thought I’d be an outsider when I joined, but right out the gate these wonderful writers have been cheering me on. Having that circle of support has kept me pushing forward. Not just pushing forward, it makes me want to pay it forward too. Nothing feels more awesome then seeing someone in our group succeed. RWASD has become a bit of a secondary family; a group of like minded writers who I can go to for help or to help. Knowing they are there for me has made my venture into writing a lot less terrifying and a lot more hopeful.

RWASD is my circle of support  and I am extremely grateful to have every single one of them.

Meet the Chapter Mates: Tessa McFionn

Author picThis month’s Meet the Chapter Mates features our current RWASD treasurer, Tessa McFionn.  Tessa not only writes paranormal romance but has a ton of other talents including a wicked sense of humor.

You can find out more at her website: TessaMcFionn.com


Tell us a little about yourself! Who are you? What do you write?

Hellooooooo! So, I’m Tessa McFionn. I’m a Gemini and I like long walks on the beach. Okay, so that last part might be a stretch. I write paranormal and sci-fi romance.


When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Well, like most published authors, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. Be it little kid poetry or high school journalism, I ran the gambit. But it wasn’t until about seven years ago, in a rather dark period in my life, when I seriously picked up the pen again. I finished the first draft of Spirit Fall and it sat on a virtual shelf for years until a good friend talked me into sending it out. That was back in Fall 2013 and Spirit Fall hit the public December 2014.


What does RWASD mean to you?

Oh wow. That’s a great question. The amazing camaraderie, the support, the chance to get honest feedback and spend an afternoon with inspirations writers. It has been such a godsend to me. It’s wonderful to be able to openly talk about the writing world and to get insight and advice. I just love it all.


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

Time. Hands down. I have a full-time day job which has a tendency to leak into my freeSilly selfie time as well. So, I have to carve out writing time whenever I can and it can be frustrating when the only time I can find is so late in the day that my brain refuses to function. But I do cherish my weekends and spend most of that time glued to my laptop.


What attracted you to the genre you write? Why does it speak to you?

Super easy. I love make believe. If it was fantastical, I loved it. I still do. I remember my mother reading The Hobbit to both my brother and me when we were kids and Fantasia was my favorite movie at age five. Read Dracula at a very early age and my mother also bought me Dune and An Interview with a Vampire when I was in junior high. So, when I started my own writing, it seemed natural for my stories to be infused with elements of other worldliness.


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

LOL! Weird, huh? I love hunting for locations in various neighborhoods. Found a really creepy looking gated house in San Francisco. Hanging on to that one for someone. As for weird things, I have a horror short inspired by a leaky faucet. I guess since I consider myself as weird, all these things seem normal to me. 😉


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

Oooh. There are so many and I feel lucky to say that I’ve been blessed and have had opportunities to met and talk with several of my inspirations. So, of the ones I haven’t met, it would be Anne Rice. I met her at a book signing back in 1994 but that was before jumping off the deep end into the writing pool. Now, I would love to talk to her about the craft.


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

Follow your gut; you’re on the right path! During this time, I was transitioning out of a toxic relationship and returning to the person I love. So I would tell myself to keep going.


Dual coversTell us about your latest novel!

YAY! I’d love to! So, I’m working on the third installment on my currently published series. This goes way beyond a trilogy since the fourth Guardian is already waiting less than patiently for me to get to his story. But in this tale, we move out of California to the Windy City. Here we meet immortal Guardian Sebastiani Cristofano Lamberhetti, or Bastian, an Italian Renaissance assassin who isn’t the cuddliest of guys out there. It’s got intrigue, slimy mobsters, a beautiful singer, gambling and a crazy stalker. And of course, lots of vicious fight scenes and hot, steamy sex.


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

With pleasure 😉

“Not blonde.” Bastian whispered half to himself and Miranda raised her gaze. Her deep sapphire orbs, hazy with passion, shifted to include a trace of expected rejection. The combination of her flushed ivory cheeks, piercing blue eyes and mahogany tresses was sheer perfection.

“I’m sorry. I know that gentlemen prefer blondes.” Her seductive voice carried a tinge of sadness. Cupping her face, he placed a tender kiss on her lush lips, a light brush to tide him over.

“You are beautiful, tesorina. Never be sorry for who you truly are.” He slid his mouth along her jaw, licking his way to her tempting lobe. “And for the record, I don’t prefer blondes.” Twirling his tongue around the slender shell of her ear, he breathed hotly against her skin. “Nor am I a gentleman.”


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

Don’t give up!!! If you truly believe in your words, you will find an audience who believe in you enough to love your stories. One of my amazing chapter mates, Lisa Kessler, gave me some awesome advice that I truly believe needs to be shared. “Being an author is a marathon, not a sprint.” Be ready for the long haul but never give up.


Two Fantastic Classes from RWASD!

Feburary is fast approaching and so are some new classes to help you stretch your writing muscles. Be sure take advantage of your RWASD membership and get that discounted rate. Classes are open to non-members as well so even if you’re not a member yet, you can still participate.

Take a look at what we have to offer!

To register for any of our classes, head on over to  http://rwasd.com/training/index.html


Self-Publishing 101 for the Confused and Terrified

Date: February 128th, 2016

Instructor: Kitty Bucholtz

Cost: RWA San Diego Chapter members: $20 Non-members: $25

Interested in self-publishing but terrified you won’t be able to learn all the steps? Willing to learn new things but confused about where to begin? If your answer is a resounding “Yes!” then Self-Publishing 101 for the Confused and Terrified is the class for you.

Kitty will walk you through the process, from how to start your business to how to get your book up for sale to how to promote yourself and your work. You’ll learn about the business side including tax issues, how to find a cover designer or how to create a cover yourself, how to double- and triple-check your work for errors before publishing, and the least complicated way to create an ebook and upload it to the most retailers. By the end of the class, you will know if this is the path you want to take and, if so, how to make it happen in 2016!

Bio: Kitty Bucholtz writes superhero urban fantasy and romantic comedy, often with an inspirational element woven in. After she earned her MA in Creative Writing, she decided to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher, forming Daydreamer Entertainment and self-publishing her first novel in late 2011. She loves to teach writing workshops online and in person, and she’s the founder of Writer Entrepreneur Guides and the WRITE NOW! Workshop.


Developing Stronger Characters through Journaling

Date: February 821st, 2016

Instructor: Catherine Chant

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

While exciting events in a book may entertain you, it’s really the characters that grab the your attention and hold it on the page. Strong characters pull you in and keep you invested in the story, turning those pages. Creating a strong character comes from understanding who this imaginary person is inside and out, not just on the surface, and conveying that to the reader. Journaling is a fun way to dig deep enough below the surface to unlock your character’s hidden secrets and bring that character alive on the page.

At the end of this workshop, you will have a better understanding of what makes your main character tick, what drives your character through the story, and how conflict affects character growth and change. You’ll get inside your character’s deepest thoughts and fears to discover what’s missing from his/her life and how to use this to drive your story’s plot to a satisfying conclusion.

The workshop includes exercises with every lesson designed to strengthen the concepts discussed, including several short writing exercises.


Bio: Catherine Chant is an active member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) and a Golden Heart® finalist. She worked for fifteen years at Boston College as a computing & communications consultant before becoming a full-time writer and online educator. She is the author of a rock ‘n’ roll time travel series, available at Amazon and other online retailers. She has also written two Vampire Diaries novellas for Amazon’s Kindle Worlds program, and is working on the next young adult novel in her Soul Mates series. She teaches several online workshops for writers throughout the year. You can learn more athttp://www.CatherineChant.com.


Meet the Chapter Mates: Joel Dorr


Joel white shirtJoel Dorr is a born storyteller, athlete, and a complete delight to talk to. He has a deep love of the craft and is always eager to share a story or two.  You can find more information about his work at www.JoelDorr.com


Tell us a little about yourself! Who are you? What do you write?

I grew up in Montana and Wyoming, where as a young boy, my brothers and I raced by horseback across the grass pastures of my grandfather’s ranch. There is no video game that can match the exhilaration of riding full speed on the back of a galloping horse. With a full access nature pass, I swam, rafted and fished many of the lakes and rivers of Wyoming. Early inspiration hit when I located and walked down the same dirt path Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid used to hunker down in their Hole in the Wall hideout. My brothers and I carried fishing poles, instead of guns, that is when we didn’t have a pretend posse chasing us. I was able to put myself through college playing basketball, getting degrees in Theatre and Broadcasting. Later I began writing and developing stories for film and television, until 2006 when I became the Editor of Dramabiz Magazine, a theatre business management monthly.

How does a writer describe himself–with a story, of course? About 20 years ago, I flew to Wyoming to visit my family. Seated next to me on the airplane, was a gentleman with long, white hair, pulled back in a ponytail wrapped in leather ties with beautiful beads. We fell into an easy conversation telling each other our “stories”. He spoke of his tribe, their history and traditions. I countered with my clan, cowboys and Irish and German ancestors. In true “cowboys and Indians” fashion, the conversation turned to the Battle of the Little Big Horn and “Yellow Hair”. Generations of Dorrs living in Wyoming and Montana heard the stories—and not the kind you read in history books. We had much disdain for George Armstrong Custer, the great injustice the U.S. Government put on the native Indians and the fiction portrayed as historical fact. Finding common historical ground, the gray haired man shared how this too is a story passed down through the generations in his family, in fact some of his relatives died as they fought the American encroachment led by “Yellow Hair.” At the end of our trip, my new friend revealed that he was the official storyteller for the Oglala Sioux Nation. He expressed honor in meeting another tribe’s storyteller, which struck me. He said that I, just like him, was destined to be a storyteller, and that it was my responsibility to pass down my tribe’s history. Years later, I have come to realize what he meant. I have always felt a need to tell stories, as did my father and his father. Ironically, as I reflect back, I remember that I wrote my first play after my father took me to the battlefield at Little Big Horn and explained the truth behind the Indian Nations last great victory. I was in third grade. Who am I? I’m a storyteller from Wyoming.

I just completed my first novel, Those Crazy Notions of Otherwise Intelligent People, a contemporary romantic (dramedy) comedy about making bad choices good again. As a writer in film and television, I never thought of myself as a writer in any one genre because I wrote action, adventure, children, comedy and drama. One day, a friend that I trusted to read my work, asked me if I realized that everything I wrote had a touch of romance in it? When I went back and looked, he was right. Love is powerful. I write about it and all the aspects associated with the feeling. Through my writing, I get to experience it all over again and creating that emotion can be exhilarating or devastating. Many wonderful conflicts arise from being in love and lend themselves to all genres. The most heart wrenching stories of all time, like Doctor Zhivago, use love as the catalyst to propel the story forward.


When did you first consider yourself a writer?

JD BeachI think it was the day I was going down an elevator from a meeting with a management company in Century City (in L.A.). Minutes earlier, my pilot for a television series, called WITNESSED, was optioned. I looked at my producing partner, trying my best to control my emotions as I’m sure they would be captured on the security camera, and asked, “Did what I think just happened, really happen?” When he smiled and shook his head yes, I was convinced that I could truly write, well, a TV script anyway. As the editor of Dramabiz Magazine, I had to interview, write and edit a monthly magazine, which taught me discipline and what to look for in quality writing. Those two experiences gave me the courage to write my first novel.


What does RWASD mean to you?

Always feeling a bit out of place, I would say RWASD feels like “being home.” I’ve never fit in with any one group. I was a basketball player who studied theatre in college. Theatre students disliked athletes and jocks didn’t understand the arts, so I was in the middle somewhere. As a writer, I sort of white knuckled my way along learning what I could from where I could find it through sheer determination. I’ve never established good working relationships with agents because I didn’t want to high concept a package of my work. I chose to work in the background, finding producers who preferred working directly with writers (through layers) to get the project done. But that is a lonely way to go about things. Film and television writer groups were not open or friendly, but rather competitive and secretive. For someone to help you in L.A., they wanted something in return. It was true quid pro quo that usually meant a part or a percentage of your good idea or project. And sometimes, they just took. It wore you down.

RWASD was like walking into a meeting of old friends who insisted you let them into your life, to help YOU make your writing better and the process of self-publishing easier. Everyone is caring, positive and nurturing–sincerely asking what you are working on and sharing information to help. Even from a personal perspective, I felt supported after sharing the ups and downs of my wife’s battle with breast cancer. They supported me while I was tired and struggling to find focus and strength. Finding this group was the best thing I’ve done for myself in many years. I can’t thank everyone enough for their help in my writing and personally.


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

The biggest challenge for me is to remember to make writing daily a priority. It’s a gift to have the ability to create a story in your mind and then translate an idea into words so that others can enjoy your thoughts. Sometimes, I get so wrapped up in life that I miss a day or two of writing. I loose touch with that joy of pushing a story along. It is an adrenaline rush to read what I have written after toiling late into the night. Never knowing if it is reader-ready as I boot up the computer, I oftentimes get excited at reading something special that I don’t remember writing (and no I don’t late night binge drink). On my list of loves, writing has surpassed basketball and sits right below family.


What attracted you to romance? Why does it speak to you?

I can tell you exactly what attracted me to romance and when. I was in the eighth grade and had my first crush. She was sitting next to me, both of our hands resting alongside our legs, fingers barely touching watching a film with really strange dialogue. I was totally caught off-guard and sucked in by the infatuation of Romeo for Juliet. I had never seen the brilliance of ingénue love and replicating it became engrained in my writing DNA. Can you think of a story line without love or romance at the core? Well, a story or movie worthy of your time anyway. It drives motives, good and bad, and intensifies the conflict due to the heightened sense of desire. Plus, sex drives people crazy.


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

I once met a stuntman who was missing his arm below the elbow.One Hour Warriors Among his many jobs, he was a stuntman for the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, Predator, in a scene where they blew the Predator’s arm off. Anyway, I shook the man’s hand and suddenly I got this idea for a children’s action film featuring broken toys that come to life as imperfect super heroes. The toy’s broken body parts were remade with non-lethal weapons, like goo guns, which shot sticky stuff instead of bullets. They only came to life for one hour. The idea developed into a script called One Hour Warriors and was optioned but never made into a movie.


Love Scenes. Steamy or sweet? Why?

C’mon, I’m a guy. Do I need to answer this question? Bring on the heat! Well…after thinking about this a little more, I’m not into hot sex just for the sake of hot sex–I would be too exhausted. But when writing a story, it really depends on the story itself and what feels right. In Those Crazy Notions of Otherwise Intelligent People, I developed each love scene so there is an emotional response true to the characters and that escalates the intensity. Sometimes that intensity isn’t always a good thing. In one love scene, the reader learns the honest feelings of one of the characters, but I find it sexy that sex isn’t good when you can’t connect. I like unexpected love scenes at the point where the character leads can’t take it any more and they must have each other in a vivid and high-voltage experience leaving the reader in need of change of underwear or finding someone to help them with their pent-up needs.


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

I would have liked to have met Michael Chrichton before he passed away. He was a brilliant man (he wrote a novel to pay for medical school for crying out loud) and was able to write novels for all ages with storylines that pushed the envelope of controversy while being entertaining. I miss him and his books.


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

You’ve got potential, kid. Don’t let anyone steal that from you. Stay focused and work harder. Then get some humility.


Tell us about your latest novel!

Those Crazy Notions working Master 120115 copy copyThose Crazy Notions of Otherwise Intelligent People

Ilena Doran is a dedicated therapist with a serious problem, and not the lousy haircut or closet-full of outdated clothing kind. Ilena’s big challenge comes in the small, 7 year-old package of her son, Sammy, traumatized by his father’s death.
Percy Powers is a psychiatrist’s wet dream; a wayward rocket fueled by tequila and hard-wired to locate any party starring scantily-clad women in need of his company. Following a chance meeting with Ilena and Sammy, the morning radio star offers to help the little fella, hoping Ilena might entertain a subtle invitation to have a little adult fun along the way.

From what Ilena has seen and heard from the media, she doesn’t like or trust Percy. She knows the type all too well and her professional instincts scream ‘all Mr. Party Pants really wants is inside her lace panties’.

The story is about two people who have ridiculous notions about themselves and others when the truth contradicts what is right in front of them. Sometimes you have to learn to accept help even it if comes from the unlikeliest of places.

I think readers of romance will find the complicated male lead, Percy, to be fascinating and might just break down their stereotypical assumptions of how men think and act when it comes to women, love and relationships. This story is rich with eclectic characters including several strong women, who match wit for wit with the egotistical Percy. The best wit-matcher is Ilena, a warm, loving mom and therapist, who tries to dodge the Percy curveball that is on target to destroy her perfectly, organized imperfect life.


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

Don’t write what you think will sell–write what you love to write. I’m finding the preconceived notion of a man writing romance to be a challenge, but with the support of RWASD (which all new writers should join), I’m learning my way.

Then read everything you can get your eyes on. Write every day.

Upcoming Classes for November!

Speaking from experience, I have nothing but praise for the classes offered through RWASD. Through them I’ve learned not only tricks of the craft but also about the writing business in general, things you wouldn’t learn in an average classroom. For an up and coming novice like myself, these resources have been a gold mind!

Many of them are taught by our own members. We also reach out and find a wide variety of instructors to give you a diverse selection of topics to choose from. Here are a few wonderful classes coming up for November. Sign up today!

Please register at http://rwasd.com/training/index.html for the classes listed below.

Pacing Pride vs. Pacing Robbers

Without proper pace, your stories can sag, drag or just fade away. Proper pace depends on knowing how to make your reader anticipate the next scene, and when to give your reader a moment to take a breath. The workshop will cover in-depth details about the pitfalls of pacing and how to avoid having their pace robbed by certain writing techniques. Participants will learn specific ways to perk up the pace of their novels through grammar styles, setting mood and tone, managing conflict and using point of view subjectively. Includes practical exercises and personalized feedback on participants’ works in progress.

Date: November 229, 2015

Instructor: Kat Duncan

Cost:  San Diego RWA Chapter members: $20 Non-members: $25

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. Webpage: http://katduncanwriting.com Blog: http://storygrannies.blogspot.com.

Character Psychology

What makes your characters the people they are? (Besides you, the author.) Personality-building tools include their birth order, mind-body-heart types and Jungian choices — see how each of those contribute to a character who will naturally come into conflict with your hero, heroine and/or villain, and how to resolve those conflicts or make them even worse!

Date: November 1627th, 2015

Instructor: Laurie Schnebly Campbell

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

Bio: Laurie Schnebly Campbell loves teaching writers about issues that draw on her background as a therapist (and a novelist who beat out Nora Roberts for RT’s “Best Special Edition of the Year”). She’s taught classes at WriterUniv.com and live from London to Los Angeles, about creating characters for naturally intriguing plots. Website:  BookLaurie.com

June Meeting Roundup + Good News

We had a fantastic June meeting with guest speaker, Sara Megibow. Sara is a literary agent at KT Literary where specializes in working with authors in middle grade, young adult, new adult, romance, erotica, science fiction and fantasy. In her inspiring and hilarious talk she told us all about what her job entails. Ten percent of that job involves networking, reading queries, and asking authors for representation. The other ninety percent is all about getting deals for her authors, negotiating those deals, and strategizing for her clients.  Sarah emphasised the importance of format (what  format you release your novel in), distribution (what markets will carry your novel), and subsidiary rights (beyond the novel in audio books and film) in getting a good deal with a publisher.

Awesome swag from some RWASD authors!

Awesome swag from some RWASD authors!

After lunch and a quick Q and A with Sara, it was on to a round of “Speed Dating” with members of our chapter. Linda Thomas-Sundstrom, Cassie Carver, Georgie Lee, Jillian Stone, Lisa Kessler, HelenKay Dimon, and Kitty Bucholtz gave us ten minutes of their expertise on various topics such as, how to be a healthy writer, how to write like a po et, making memorable characters, creating chapter hooks,staying persistent, plotting, and restarting yourself.

Linda Thomas-Sundstrom demonstrates uses for a foam roller.

Linda Thomas-Sundstrom demonstrates uses for a foam roller.

Kitty Bucholtz speaks on restarting yourself.

Kitty Bucholtz speaks on restarting yourself.

Our Atta Girl award went to Jackie Allen for writing through her grief over losing her writing partner and friend, Terry Blain.

The Member of the Month is Jillian Stone for working hard to keep our PALs program entertaining.
Member of the month Jillian Stone (right) with RWASD Vice-President Tameri Etherton.

Member of the month Jillian Stone (right) with RWASD Vice-President Tameri Etherton.

 On to my favorite part of our meeting, our Good News!
  • Laura Connors published The Feast, an erotic short story.
  • Tameri Etherton won the San Diego Book Award for Best Published Fantasy for The Stones of Kaldaar. She is also a finalist in the FF&P’s PRISMs contest with The Stones of Kaldaar.
  • Lisa Kessler is a finalist on the FF&P PRISMs award for Best Novella with Night Angel. She’s also a finalist in the Award of Excellence Co. Romance Writers contest in the Best Paranormal category for Blood Moon.
  • Rick Ochocki earned his RWA Pro pin.
  •  Deborah Reed was a finalist in the Best Published General Fiction category of the San Diego Book Awards, along with her co-author Lisa Shapiro, for their novel, The Chamber and The Cross.
  •  Bob Richard (RW Richard) was a finalist in the Best Published Romance category of the San Diego Book Awards for his novel, A More Perfect Union.
  •  Janet Tait was a finalist in the Best Published Fantasy category of the San Diego Book Awards for her novel, Cast Into Darkness.
  •  Karri Thompson won the San Diego Book Award for Best Published YA novel with Mirror X.

Our winner for June’s Write for the Money is Kristin Rockaway. Congratulations, Kristin! Remember, if you signed up for our next Write for the Money, you have two months instead of one to complete your tasks.

That’s all for the meeting recap. We’ll see you all next time at the August potluck!





Upcoming Classes at RWASD!

We have some amazing classes coming up in the next two months through RWASD. It’s a perfect time to register and take advantage of the fantastic knowledge at your fingertips. I know I’ll be registering for a few.

Check out the four upcoming classes we are offering!

Medicine Before 1840: What you need to know to heal or kill your characters

Date: June 128, 2015

Instructor: Georgie Lee

Cost: RWA San Diego Chapter members: $20 Non-members: $25

Open to: All

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

Radical changes in medicine in the mid 19th century changed the way people dealt with wounds and diseases and helped usher in the age of modern medicine. Before this time, centuries of habit, ancient texts, a lack of understanding about hygiene, germ theory, anatomy and illness dominated treatment and the training of doctors and surgeons.

This class will also offer insight into past medical practices as well as when certain medical techniques and ideas first emerged and could therefore be plausible in a story. We’ll also explore infectious disease, wounds and battlefield medicine using both firsthand accounts and contemporary sources.


A lifelong history buff, award winning author 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. You can connect with her at www.georgie-lee.com.


Scrivener for Writers

Date: June 1-30, 2015

Instructor: Patrick Haggerty

Cost: RWA San Diego Chapter members: $20 Non-members: $25

Open to: All

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

As writers, we’ve all spent time hunched over a keyboard trying to get our thoughts into some word processor. Word processors such as Word and Pages work ok when it comes to writing fiction but their focus is much more on processing your words (layout, font, headers, footers, etc) than on the creative process. Enter Scrivener.

Scrivener is the premier application for the creation of novels, novellas, and like works. It allows you to write your story the way you want and helps you integrate your research, planning, writing, etc. all into one tool. This course will teach you, the writer, how to best use Scrivener for everything from planning your scenes to generating output for your publisher.

Lectures will be presented using recorded videos so you can hear and see as your instructor explains and demonstrates everything you need to become effective with Scrivener. Each lecture will be announced through the email list and will be accompanied by a brief timeline. Students will then be able to use the same forms/list to ask questions, discuss lectures, etc.


After a failed attempt at college and four years in the USMC learning to be a better apex predator, Patrick Haggerty attended Georgia State University where he studied to be an Actuary. Not a very romantic or literary major, but a good paying one. He started consulting on software development and design in 1997 and has spent most of the time since developing and delivering technical training courses for Learning Tree International.

In 2004, while stuck reading a mediocre book in yet another hotel, Patrick decided to try his hand at writing fiction. He may not be published but these days you are much more likely to find him spending his evenings writing romance, than code. Patrick is an active member of RWAmerica, RWAustralia, RW New Zealand, and is President of the Outreach International chapter of the Romance Writers of America.


Self-Publish Your Way to PAN

Date: July 1-22, 2015

Instructor: Karen Ritter

Cost: RWA San Diego Chapter members: $20 Non-members: $25

Open to: All

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

In this course you will learn:


Can you self publish your way to the NY Times Best Sellers List?


Editor, formatter, cover designer, etc.


Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, ARe, Kobo, Apple, /Googleplay, D2D, etc.


What is it and will it get my book in bookstores and libraries?


Tags, Description, Categories, Distribution, Royalties and much more.


How Do I Get My Book Noticed?

Why would I want to give your book away for Free?

Is 99 cents the new free

BONUS: Should you turn your books into Audible books?

Bio: Karen J. Ritter supports herself as an indie author. She has published five books to date; SANDMAN, NIGHTSCREAM, LAST SCREAM, SPIRITS IN THE TREES, SPIRITS AMONG US. All her books are on bestsellers lists for their genre. She writes under the pen name of Morgan Hannah MacDonald. Her titles are available in ebook and trade paperback as well as audio book. You can find Karen at http://www.morganhannahmacdonald.com.


Geeks and Gamers’ Guide to Worldbuilding

Date: July 6–19th, 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

No matter what you’re writing, you have to make your readers believe in the world you’re writing about. Comic books and video games (and games in general, for that matter) have been particularly successful in doing this. We’ll examine the worlds and universes that comics and games have built, why they work so well (sometimes even across media to film), and how we can use those concepts in our own writing.


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 ateilisflynn@aol.com.

Why I Love RWASD Meetings.

My first RWASD meeting was only a year ago. I was brand new to the writing world, completely clueless and utterly terrified. I only showed up because a professional romance writer I chatted with on Facebook encouraged me to attend.

“Trust me,” she said. “This is one of the best things you can do if you want to become a pro.”

So I sucked it up, put down my money, and went. The drive there was nerve-wracking. I was convinced that I’d be laughed at or worse, ignored. I mean, why would all these veteran authors even acknowledge me? I barely had a manuscript finished!

So many nightmare scenarios ran through my head:

“Oh the newb is here. Ugh. I hate newbs. I bet she doesn’t even have a manuscript.”

“How DARE she invade our space!”

“She was probably born in a barn and raised by goats! We don’t allow goat children at our meetings!”

Alright so, my fear was completely irrational. But my heart was in my throat none the less when I walked through that door.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The warmth I was greeted with was overwhelming. So many welcomes! So many fantastic people introducing themselves! They asked for my name, what I write, and where I’m from…

“Oh you write paranormal? So do I! We need to chat!”

“You should sit here. This is a great place to see the speakers. Do you need a pen and paper for notes?”

“Seriously, you’re going to love these meetings. We’re happy to have you!”

These authors were genuinely interest me? A nobody? Yes, yes they were. Some were beginners like me, some were season vets, some were NY Time best sellers but all of them had a passion for telling stories. That passion was contagious. And all of them remembered their first meeting and how it felt to walk through that door, wanting to soothe that terror.

I dove in head first and never looked back.

RWASD meetings are a wonderful place for support an encouragement. Every time I attend I am reminded on why I chose this career and leave feeling inspired. The camaraderie combined with the excellent speakers and opportunities to talk with agents, best selling authors, and publishing pros give budding romance writers a unique and valuable opportunity to learn not only the craft but the industry.

If you are reading this, and are currently debating attending your first RWA meeting, I will be that encouraging voice on the internet.


Go to the meetings.

Its one of the best things you can do for yourself.

Everyone needs a support system and the people in RWASD are there just for that. And trust me, once you want through that door, you’ll want to keep coming back again and again.

Information on our upcoming meeting can be found here.

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.