Keeping up with the times… by Christine Bush

All of a sudden, I’m reminding myself of my grandmother. Uh oh.

My grandmother used to talk so much about how things were in the “good old days”, and as a kid, my eyes would roll back in my head. She talked about motorcars that had no turn signals, and the fact that only one family on the block had a phone.   An ice box was actually an ice box.  She wrote thank you notes on nice smelling pink paper, with an aged ink pen.

These things were perfectly fine.  Why, oh why, do they have to change?”

She spent the older years of her life very baffled by television remote controls (“Where’s the wire? How does this contraption work?”), credit cards (“How does that little card know how much you have in the bank? Don’t they need to see the money?”) and froze at even the sight of a computer. ( “What WILL they think of next?”)

We smiled at her questions, and spoke (ok, sometimes condescendingly) about how old folks have so much  trouble adapting to the new.  They just can’t “keep up with the times.” Sigh

Onward, upward,we must embrace the inventions and improvements of our society.

I wrote my first three books on a turquoise blue portable manual Olivetti Underwood typewriter that had been a graduation present.  Black ribbon. No correction function. Maybe I was high on the smell of white out.  The lovely sound of each key hitting the paper (except the “e” which was a little off, but who cares), and swinging the little bar to return the carriage after each line.  Honest.  Three books. I loved that typewriter.  You had to REALLY want to write to finish a book like that.  Sigh.

When I discovered my first writing group, I thought I was in heaven.  Every month, I LONGED to go to the meeting, desperate to meet and visit with other creative minds. There was no way to communicate realistically in between. Long distance was expensive.  No such thing as email back in those early days.  We all just showed up.  In person. Sigh.

“These things were perfectly fine.  Why, oh why, do they have to change?”

Onward, upward, we must embrace the inventions and improvements of our society.

So I did. Today I love my computer, survive by email, cell phone, and plastic.  Haven’t I kept up with the times so far?  Sigh.

Now book trailers? Kindles? On line workshops? Blogging? I panic.

The knowledgeable young ones smile at my questions (ok, sometimes condescendingly) and tell me I have to adapt to the new. Technology is here to stay.  I must CONTINUE to keep up with the times.

So I will.  I will try to stop sounding like my grandmother quite yet.  But I have to admit, there is still this panicked  little voice echoing in my head.  “What WILL they think of next?”

But meanwhile, I’m blogging.  How about you?

Good Luck by Cris Anson

Ah, Friday the 13th. Generator of bad-luck legends and B movies. To me the date has meant good luck ever since I met my husband on one of those star-crossed days a long, long time ago.

So okay, we only had some twelve years together before he died, but I was fortunate enough to be struck by Cupid’s dart twice and I spent another twenty-two years with Real-Life Hero #2 before he, too, passed.

But as I muse on this humongous circle from then to today, I realize that this date has been good luck for me, in the way making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear is good. Unlikely, but good. Because of that first traumatic loss way back when, I began a diary wherein I raged at God and the world, where I poured out my heart and transferred all my emotion from brain to pen to page (yes, this was before I owned a typewriter, never mind a computer).

One day I looked back at all I had written and realized there was a story there. Somewhere. A story that, having bought a used IBM Selectric (remember them? With the bouncing ball of type?), I began pulling out of my brain. Elite 12 type much smaller than the Courier 10 of traditional submissions, 512 pages’ worth squeezed 27 lines per page—probably in the neighborhood of 130,000 words, but who knew to count?— I shipped it off with a feeling of accomplishment.

Can you say “crushed”? I was, when I promptly received a rejection, saying it sounded like…a diary. A story needed a beginning, a middle and an end, it said, and yours had nothing but rambling. Unsaid was, “and don’t bother us again.”

After crying and moping for several days (“this is REAL LIFE! A story doesn’t get any more emotional than this!”) I noticed the local community college offered a writing class, so I paid my tuition and went. Talk about eye-opener. When I read parts of this rejected masterpiece to the class, one of the critiquers said, “I was bored.”

I was crushed. Again.

So began a long journey to publication. Twelve years of assiduously applying butt to chair, of joining writers’ groups and critique groups, of form-letter rejections (one recipient even sent back my SASE with a stamped “No thanks” on the envelope and nothing inside), then of more personal rejections like “Send me the next thing you write”, and finally, ACCEPTANCE!

Everyone’s path is different—through life, to publication. What I’ve learned in both cases, every aspiring author has probably heard time and time again. Never. Give. Up. I gave up writing at least two dozen times, both before and after The Call. Ask KQ.

By the way, I’m still giving up. After #2 beloved died, I didn’t write for two years. Couldn’t get excited over some fictional person’s problems or love life. Then I felt strong enough to retire from my day job, which had given me a reason to get up every morning, and I slogged through another year of…nothing. Oh, sure, I read 226 books in 2008, but didn’t start writing again until the sun began shining longer into the afternoon last month and I realized I must have had Seasonal Affective Disorder (blame anything except myself!). So now that Spring is almost here, I have no excuse.

Yes, to those who may think to ask. Yes, I’m finishing Rolf’s story (the youngest of the Thorvald brothers in my DANCE series). Yes, I’m writing a novella of a scandalous triangle set, of all places, in 1693 Massachusetts Bay Colony. Yes, I have a heroine and an inciting incident for the son of my hero in SECOND BEST and will get to Cliff’s story soon.

For I have come full circle. I’m writing again, I’m out in the world and looking for love again, and Friday the 13th seems a good time to talk about it. Because luck is what you make it.

—Cris Anson’s DANCE series for Ellora’s Cave consistently garnered five-star reviews. Her latest releases, for Cerridwen Press, feature twin brothers: FIRST TO DIE (an “Outstanding Read” from Simply Romance Reviews and a “Golden Blush Recommended Read” from Literary Nymphs Reviews) and SECOND BEST (five bookmarks from Wild On Books). Read more on her website, www.crisanson.com or at www.myspace.com/crisanson

How Today’s Headlines Can Become Tomorrow’s Historical Romances By Debra Mullins

I’ve always subscribed to the theory that writers are like sponges. We absorb the world around us, whether that means the news reports or the song on the radio or the couple at the next table in the restaurant who look as if they are having a fight. As writers, we take that one little headline or line from the song or body language of that couple, and we add to it. Expand on what we have observed with the writer’s favorite question “What if…”

 

Humankind is an ever evolving race in the way we do things, and yet with each stride we take, beneath the surface there is a hard-coded core of unchanging beliefs that have driven people since the beginning of time. This is why soap operas can stay on the air for twenty years or more, or why genres in books and movies cycle around. How many times have you heard this: “Well, that’s not selling very well right now, but hang on to it because it will be back again.”

 

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

 

People love and live and want the same things now as they did centuries ago. Everyone wants to be loved. People want security, to know they can live their lives without fear of losing their homes or not being able to feed their children (a challenge in today’s economy). And if something terrible happens to a person, our fast-paced twenty-first century culture helps us recognize the problems more quickly—and we have different tools with which to deal with them.

 

I write historical romances. The bulk of my work has taken place in the Regency time period in England. So how can I get ideas that are fresh and contemporary yet can be reflected in the historical time period where my stories take place?

 

Back to good old What If.

 

A few years ago I got an idea from a well-publicized news story about a kidnapping. The young girl in question was recovered alive, and it was clear she had been through a horrible ordeal. Yet every time I saw her on the news, she was smiling. My first thought was that if she was able to smile like that, she must have a great therapist helping her work through the trauma of her abduction—and thank God for that. I mean, how could she have begun to heal without people who knew how to guide her? What if there were no such thing as therapists? How would she have coped?

 

That little ‘what if’ question led to a book called JUST ONE TOUCH, about the daughter of a wealthy duke who was kidnapped but recovered alive. She coped by holing up at her father’s estate and never going out on society, but when her father learns he is dying, he must arrange a marriage for her so he knows she will be cared for when he is gone.

 

Modern headline, historical story.

 

My upcoming release (TO RUIN THE DUKE, June 2009) creates a historical story from another modern topic—identity theft. The Duke of Wyldehaven has been sequestered at his estate for more than a year, mourning the deaths of his wife and unborn child. Called to London to attend the funeral of a friend, he discovers that someone who closely resembles him is impersonating him—running up bills in his name, causing scandals and—as he discovers when the heroine enters the story—fathering children! So identity theft is alive and well in the Regency time period.

 

Again, modern headline, historical twist.

 

Ideas are all around us. We absorb them naturally due to our natures as writers. But if you write a genre that is not taking place in today’s contemporary place and culture, you can still use these ideas.

 

Maybe the guy impersonating your character is actually the same man, but from the future. Now you have a paranormal story. Or maybe my guy was replaced with a clone or an alien being for your science fiction book. Or maybe the person stealing his identity (and his face!) is a thousand year old demon who plans on killing everyone in town—for your horror novel, of course.

 

With the right twist, anything can lead to a story!

BIO:

Debra Mullins is the award-winning author of eleven historical romances for Avon.  She has been writing seriously for seventeen years and recently signed a new contract with Avon for two more historical romances. Read an excerpt of her new book at www.debramullins.com.

2009 March Member News

Dianne Gerber, writing as Autumn Jordon, is proud to announce that first novel, a romantic suspense, HIS WITNESS (working title) and recently sold to The Wild Rose Press, is a finalist in the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart contest. Please visit her at www.autumnjordon.com where you can sign up for her quarterly newsletter.

Caridad Pineiro is pleased to announce that FURY CALLS was a Fresh Fiction Fresh Pick! and was featured on every page of the Fresh Fiction website on March 20th. In addition, FURY CALLS has been receiving rave reviews, such as: Vampire Romance Books: “Ms. Pineiro has done an amazing job of blending suspense with the vampire genre. Her tale keeps you reading not only because of the chemistry between Meghan and Blake, but also to find out how they are going to neutralize the threat that surrounds them.” The Book Pedler: “In Fury Calls, Piniero has given us a story of true, bittersweet emotion. She has given us a novel where the characters on the page are so alive, they seem to live and breathe off of the pages.”

Shobhan Bantwal has just received the cover for her September release, The Sari Shop Widow from Kensington Publishing.

Amy Heffernan has joined the world of blogging. Visit her first blog post! http://alheffernan.blogspot.com/
Chris Redding has had her first Authors Day on her blog. The author was Harry Ramble (www.harryramble.com) author of Sex Offender Lives Here. Chris is looking for authors who are interested in being a guest blogger. Please contact Chris privately if you are interested.

Joanne Timrum, writing as Joanna Aislinn, has just received the cover for her Wild Rose Press Release, No Matter Why.

Coffee Cup Romance reviewed Elaine Charton’s Pandora’s Justice, gave it 5 coffee cups and noted “Wow! What a great book. Action, romance, cute kids, all that is missing is the puppy. The characters are well honed and pull you into their story to ride along for one heck of an adventure. The storyline just races along, making you try to turn the pages faster. I totally enjoyed this story and all it had to offer and I am sure many other readers as well. Wonderfully done, Ms. Charton.”

Caridad Pineiro is rounding up items for a Liberty States Fiction Writers donation to the annual Brenda Novak Diabetes Auction. This is a great opportunity to not only donate to a worthy cause, but get your name out there for the thousands of people who bid on items in the auction. The deadline to send in your information is April 15th so please e-mail Caridad with the items you wish to donate. You can reach Caridad at cpsromance@att.net.

The Lies Always Get You in the End by Kiersten Hallie Krum

Mining Ideas from the Strangest of Places

Whenever one reveals oneself to others as a writer, inevitably the question arises: Where do you get your ideas?

Me? From lying to other people.

This is how my first manuscript began.

I was part of a women’s choir at my undergraduate college. One year we kicked off the new school year with a retreat weekend. The Friday night games were to begin with an icebreaker designed to introduce the old and new members to one another.

This involved pre-retreat prep. We were to write down one thing about ourselves that wasn’t well known and turn that item in to the choir president (Melody – no pun intended) prior to the weekend. Melody made a list of all these traits and passed it out sans names. We were then to go around the room asking only one question of each person until we could match up every item on the list to its owner.

I could not think of a single applicable trait. There were things that no one knew about me, but that was deliberate. All safe options failed to seem pithy enough for submission. Frustrated with my delay, Melody finally ordered me to make one up.

On the night in question, I avoided the whole matter by hiding in the kitchen helping Melody cook an Italian dinner that had ended up being delayed and overly involved. (Quick tip: never deny promised food to a group of hungry women. Not. Pretty.) We cooked and sweated and laughed a lot that night, no small bit of which was Melody needling me about my fib. This inevitably bit us in the butt when our friend and fellow kitchen helper, Heidi, posed a genuine question.

What exactly had I written down?

Melody was no help, suspiciously hiding her face in the fumes of a saucepot, and I finally had to admit that I had spent the previous summer hitch-hiking cross-country, hanging out with various bikers and truckers along the way. In the fall of 1991, as a conservatively raised 19-year-old sophomore (oh, so long ago), anyone who knew me would know that this was a patently absurd notion. Melody (who did know me) snorted from her position at the stove. Heidi, always ready to believe the best of people, took my blatant fiction as truth.

“Wow,” she said. “I bet you met a lot of really interesting people.” I remember pausing to check that she was serious. How could she not know I was making it up? When I realized that she was indeed sincere, I had a quick second to decide whether to confess my creative license or just go with it.

I went with it.

Me: Yeah, I did. There are real people underneath all that leather and tattoos. It really taught me not to judge a book by its cover. (I kid you not the “book…cover” cliché is a direct quote.)

Heidi: I can totally see that.

At this point, Melody stuck a plate in Heidi’s hands and sent her out of the kitchen.

Melody (to me): You are very bad.

Me: I can’t believe she bought that.

Melody: Are you going to tell her the truth?

Me: Where’s the fun in that?

Melody: You are going to hell.

Thing is, the more I thought on it, the better an idea it became for a short story. But since I never wrote anything short in my life it wound up being more of a novella. I submitted it to the literary magazine at school and they rejected it (my first rejection!) as they should because it was terrible. But I kept at it – mostly when I should have been studying – and it evolved into a novel and about ten years later I finally finished it.

It was still terrible.

Now I’ve returned to that first, earnest manuscript to reshape and redevelop it into a viable story. My 1991 self may be long gone but that initial idea is still valid and has served as a starting point for characters whose stories still plague me to tell. I also feel a faint wobbly obligation to Heidi to make something real from her naïve belief in my deception. It helps that today’s me writes better than my younger incarnation, though I have become, over the years, much better at lying. Which is bad; lying is bad, BAD I say.

Ahem.

Ideas can come from all kinds of different places. I can’t always rely on a handy icebreaker to clue me in, so I keep a folder of interesting news items that strike a chord with me. Reading wedding announcements and obits can offer good hooks, too as I’ve only recently learned. I look around at my world and mine ideas from it. The eccentric admin at work, the woman trudging up a short driveway with a large, blue, overfilled cloth bag hooked over her shoulder that I drove past on the way to work, that absurd trip to buy a Christmas tree; all those things that you just can’t make up. Make something up from them instead. Keep a notebook in your purse or pocket and jot down the things or events that linger. Life offers all kinds of launching points for writers.

Dive on in.

By the way – something not too many people know about me?

I alphabetize my cash money.

Kiersten Hallie Krum is a pre-published writer of romantic suspense fiction. During the daylight hours, her secret identity works as a pharmaceutical advertising editor and a back cover copy writer of romantic fiction. She anxiously awaits the right agent/editor to make her dreams come true. Read more of Kiersten’s thoughts on writing and the world around her at www.twolftshoes.blogspot.com.

The Shifting Popularity of Genres by Melinda Leigh

Lately I’ve done a lot of thinking about the shifting popularity of fiction genres. Do they reflect the current social condition? Or do people simply need a change now and then?

Are paranormals popular because people are seeking an escape from their whole world? Does it take more of a fantasy element for people to get out of their own heads during stressful times? I’ve also heard on various loops/blogs that comedy is making a comeback. I assume in tough times, people have a harder time getting a good laugh. I

I’ve always loved comedy, even the most inane. My mother-in-law loves movies and books about people dying of diseases. You’d have to duct tape me to the chair to keep me in the same room.

In horror, I’ve always chosen movies and books with supernatural, bordering on silly, creatures and villains. My brain thinks it’s okay to be scared by things that don’t exist. My favorite is Lake Placid. Gotta love a forty-foot crocodile that takes a wrong turn and accidentally migrates into a lake in Maine. But Friday the 13th? No way. That could actually happen. I don’t need anything else to keep me up at night.

Does anyone else have rationality for the type of entertainment they like best? And does it change based on your personal situation?

Melinda Leigh is an award-winning, yet unpublished, writer of mainstream-leaning romantic suspense novels.

http://www.melindaleighauthor.com/

Dreams and Desires by Lois Winston

Dreams. Desires. We all have them. What are yours? Ever think what you’d wish for if someone handed you a magic lantern and a genie popped out? I have.

Wish No. 1 — To Rule the World.

If I ruled the world, there would be no hate, no wars, no poverty, no violence or crime of any kind. But the chances of me getting elected Queen of the Universe are pretty slim. Darn it!

Wish No. 2 — To Have Lots of Money.

Bill Gates or Warren Buffet type money. Not because I want a yacht or lots of bling or a penthouse in Manhattan (okay, being a diehard city girl, I’d really like a penthouse in Manhattan but there’s no way that’s ever going to happen given the price of NY real estate, not to mention the state of my 401K, thanks to the market meltdown!) No, I want lots of money so I can give it away to people in need. Unfortunately, very few of us authors make enough money to quit our day jobs, let alone have discretionary income to donate anything substantial to worthy causes.

Wish No. 3 — To Make a Difference.

Which brings me to the reason for this blog. When I come across something I can do that doesn’t involve writing a check so small my contribution seems meaningless, I jump at the chance. Such was the case when I was asked to contribute to Dreams & Desires.

Dreams & Desires is a series of anthologies that have been published the last three years by Freya’s Bower. All of the net proceeds — that’s 100% of the profit — from the sales of the anthologies go directly to battered woman’s shelters across the country. I am proud to have taken part in all three anthologies to date. Dreams & Desires, Volume 1 benefited a shelter in Florida, and Dreams & Desires, Volume 2 benefited a shelter in California. The proceeds of Dreams & Desires, Volume 3, this year’s anthology, will benefit St. Bernard’s Battered Woman’s Shelter in New Orleans. This shelter was recently rebuilt after sustaining heavy damage from Hurricane Katrina.

Did you know that 95% of abuse victims are women? Every year four million women are assaulted by their spouses or partners. When Freya’s Bower invited me to participate in the Dreams & Desires anthologies, I jumped at the chance to add my voice to a cause that will help break the cycle of abuse. By doing something I do all the time — writing — I can MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Wish No. 3 can come true. I know it’s a small step, but no goal is reached without taking that first step. Maybe the money raised will only help one person break the cycle of abuse, but that will be one less abused person, and that’s a huge achievement.

Wouldn’t you like to make a difference, too? You can by purchasing a copy of Dreams & Desires. And as an added bonus to contributing to such a worthy cause, you’ll be rewarded with 16 great short stories by some of today’s rising authors (in alphabetical order): Shobhan Bantwal, Marci Baun, Jenna Bayley-Burke, Mychael Black, Amanda Brice, M.E. Ellis, Gemma Halliday, Candace Havens, Babe King, Bonnie Kinsey, Adelle Laudan, Susan Lyons, Debbie Mumford, Kari Lee Townsend, Lois Winston, and Barbara Witek. The forward was written by multi-published crime fiction and true crime author Carol Anne Davis.

My contribution to the anthology is I’ll Never Fall In Love Again!!!

Chloe Bradford is so unlucky at love, she’s sworn off men for good. She’s even embroidered a sampler to remind herself, lest she feel tempted to stray back into the landmine field of dating. Then she spends a long night in a hospital emergency waiting room…

For links to purchase either an e-book version or paperback copy of Dreams & Desires, Vol. 3 or any of the previous volumes, please go to www.loiswinston.com .

And may all your own dreams and desires come true.

* * *

Award-winning author and literary agent Lois Winston has published humorous, cross-genre, contemporary novels, romantic suspense and non-fiction essays. She also writes mysteries, women’s fiction, and middle grade books, often drawing upon her extensive experience as an artist and crafts designer for her source material. Visit her at www.loiswinston.com.

2009 February Member News

Penelope Marzec is pleased to announce that Crescent Moon Press reissued IRONS IN THE FIRE, her paranormal novel. IRONS IN THE FIRE is a Nominee for Best Small Press Paranormal.

Caridad Pineiro is pleased to announce that FURY CALLS, her March 2009 release from Silhouette Nocturne, received 4.5 stars from Romantic Times Bookclub which said, “Piñeiro infuses her vampires with very human feelings, making her paranormal story seem realistic. It’s a great read!”

Jacquie Rogers’ DOWN HOME EVER LOVIN’ MULE BLUES won the The Romance Studio 5-Heart Sweetheart and the book was featured on the TRS homepage for the week.

Pearl Wolf’s TOO HOT FOR A SPY, a March release from Kensington Publishing, received 4 Stars from Romantic Times.
Shobhan Bantwal will be signing copies of her two books, THE FORBIDDEN DAUGHTER and THE DOWRY BRIDE on March 7 at 2 pm at the Classics Bookstore, 117 South Warren Street. Trenton, New Jersey 08608.

The New Jersey State Council on the Arts honored 26 individuals with 2009 Artists Fellowships at its meeting Tuesday at the Union County Arts Center in Rahway. LSF Writer member Writer Pamela Burke of Middletown received a perfect score in the prose category from the panel of judges and received a fellowship from the organization.

Please visit with Cheryl Solomini at one of her upcoming events!
Tuesday, February 24, 7:00 PM
Murder at the Beach (book-signing)
273 Pineapple Grove Way Delray Beach, FL; (561) 279-7790
Friday, February 27, 11:00 AM
“Getting Press Coverage” (workshop leader)
Saturday, February 28, 3:15 PM
“Humor in Mysteries” (panelist)
Sleuthfest, the South Florida mystery conference;
DEERFIELD BEACH HILTON 100 Fairway Drive, Deerfield Beach, FL
Saturday, March 14, 2:00 PM
Monmouth County Library (discussion and book-signing)
125 Symmes Drive, Manalapan, NJ 07726
Wednesday, April 22, 7:00 PM
Bound Brook Library (discussion and book-signing)
402 E. High Street, Bound Brook, NJ 0880

Luci Weston’s HERE WE ARE . . . WITH LUCI’s blog entry was selected for inclusion in the January 31 issue of Blogger’s Best Carnival, edited and compiled by Karen of WriteFromKaren. The Carnival includes topics on “Life, Love, Children, Writing, Family” and more, by bloggers from all over the blog-o-sphere.
Melinda Leigh is thrilled to be listed as a finalist in Casablanca Author’s Perfect Pitch contest for her novel, Tempted.

Dianne Gerber, writing as Autumn Jordon, is proud to announce the sale of her first novel, a romantic suspense, HIS WITNESS (working title), to The Wild Rose Press. Please visit her at www.autumnjordon.com where you can sign up for her quarterly newsletter.

    Blurb: Elementary school nurse STEPHANIE BOYD’s ordinary world changes forever when she and her children witness a blood bath. To escape the wrath of the Russian Mafia, she has no choice but to help the FBI uncover the Mafia’s mole inside the U.S. Treasury. While on the run with the handsome agent who is willing to die for them, Stephanie learns the meaning of self-sacrifice and love.

    Agent JOHN DOLTON’s only break in solving the case that cost him everything is a couple of kids and a beautiful widow. But keeping his witnesses safe seems impossible when their every move is foreseen by their enemy. Within weeks, Stephanie and her children soften the loner’s heart and John allows himself to let go of his all-consuming sorrow.

    This time John vows not to fail to protect the family he loves.

2009 January Member News

Lori Avocato just received a gratis copy of The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists because she had several quotes in it The best part: Lori’s name is the same size font as Mary Higgins Clark, Lawrence Block, Jennifer Blake and Suzanne Brockman’s on the front cover. She also has quotes in two recent Wtiter’s Digest books on how to write.

Melinda Leigh is pleased to announce her manuscript, WHERE THERE’S SMOKE, won first place in the Romantic Suspense category of the Missouri Romance Writers of America’s Gateway to the Best contest. Melinda is also pleased to announce that her manuscript, WHERE THERE’S SMOKE, won first place in the Romantic Suspense category of Romance Writers Ink’s Where the Magic Begins contest.

Debra Mullins’s GARLANDS AND GARTERS series, beginning when a wedding planner returns to her native
England to plan a prominent wedding only to have it disrupted when the young bride’s far-too-attractive fiance (believed lost at sea) returns, to Esi Sogah of Avon, in a nice deal, by Lucienne Diver of The Knight Agency.

Caridad Piñeiro’s December 2008 release, SOLDIER’S SECRET CHILD from Silhouette Romantic Suspense,
received 4 Stars from Romantic Times who said ―Soldier’s Secret Child (4) feels like a wonderful dream. . . Cataromance gave the book 4 1/2 Stars from and noted that SOLDIER’S SECRET CHILD was ―Intriguingly suspenseful plus overflowing with conflicting emotions, SOLDIER’S SECRET CHILD is poignantly compelling. In addition, SOUTH BEACH CHICAS CATCH THEIR MAN was chosen as a Joyfully Reviewed Recommended Read for December.

Kathye Quick’s Leadership Class 2008 had to do a community service project, so 14 of us did a Go-Green E-Zine which is now posted on several county and municipal websites, the Somerset County Energy Council, all the Boards of Education in Somerset County, the National Association of Counties and New Jersey Association of Counties. Since it was my idea, I was Project Manager and now our Go-Green Group has won an Award from Somerset County for the E-Zine for Excellence in Planning and
Education. We’re getting it on January 20.

Chris Redding will be offering SHOW UP NAKED, an online course, to the Orange County Chapter from February 16 to March 15. For more information, please visit www.occcrwa.org/classignup.html.

Anne Walradt will perform LOVE LETTERS at the United Methodist Church of Red Bank, NJ, 257 Broad Street, on Feb. 14, 2009, at 7:30 PM. Desserts will be served. Free-will offering.

Lois Winston will be offering PREPARING YOUR MANUSCRIPT FOR THE EDITOR OR AGENT OF YOUR
DREAMS, an online course, sponsored by the Elements of RWA Chapter the first two weeks in March. For more information, please contact workshops@elementsofrwa.com.

Introduction from the President – Gail Freeman

Sometimes the best ideas come from a carelessly thrown out word or phrase. Something as innocent as a group of writing friends sitting around a table and one of the members saying she had this great idea for a story but… And then we played the writer’s favorite game, “What if…” and Liberty States Fiction Writers was born.

What we envisioned in our first “what if” session was to become our founding meeting, the creation of a place where writers of all genres of fiction could network, learn, and share ideas without boundaries. As a group, we believe that it’s not the type of fiction that you write that matters, but the quality of that writing. It’s not limited to romance, women’s fiction, mystery, horror, thriller, science fiction or any other genre. A romance can have mystery and suspense elements; a science fiction story can contain elements of horror. The world is changing and, with that change, the lines between genre fiction categories have blurred to become simply “commercial fiction.” To us, good writing is good writing. Period.

Our goal at Liberty States Fiction Writers is to create and foster an environment where all writers will have the freedom to express their own individual writing in a format that is unique and special to them. We intend to grow with the changing times, to embrace new ideas and be on the leading edge of the changing market trends, using the latest technology to accomplish that goal.

Four of our founding members have served as President in other writing organizations and many of the other founding members have held positions on the Board of Directors in those groups. We bring with us a wealth of knowledge of what works and how to get things done. And we also bring with us the realization that the greatest strength of any group is the people. For it is our members who will help us learn what they want and need to help us all grow as writers. It is our belief that all of us, no matter what we write, have ideas that will help the others in the group. And maybe, just maybe, those ideas that work for romance, for example, might spark the creative flow for that thriller that is “almost” on paper.

I write historical romance novels. Well, maybe. I have elements of paranormal in my story, so I might write historical science fiction romance. I also have a work in progress that is a romantic comedy but it has elements of chick lit in it and a mystery that has to be solved, so maybe I write chickie comedy romantic mystery. But wait! It has a bonding feature between two of the women characters, so I should add women’s fiction in there somewhere. But I also know that from a publishing marketing standpoint, I have to label this as one thing. That’s how it’s sold. It would be shelved in a particular section of a book store and, last time I looked, there was no Chickie Romantic Comedy Mystery with Women’s Fiction elements section.

As you can see, the line is no longer clear.

At Liberty States Fiction Writers we want to help you learn what it is you write from a marketing standpoint. We want to help you hone your craft so you can create the best story you are able to create and we want to give you the support and encouragement you need, whether it’s because you are suffering from writer’s block or you’ve received a rejection letter or a horrendous score in a writing contest. And we want to celebrate and cheer you on when you finish your manuscript, final in that contest, or sell that book!

So take a few moments and browse through our website. Read some of our articles on writing. Listen to a few of our podcasts. Over the coming months we will be trying new and exciting ideas. We believe in trying. You should, too.

Gail Freeman
President, Liberty States Fiction Writers
Click here to contact Gail
Gail Freeman has been writing for twelve years and is a yet to be published author. Ms. Freeman served as President of the New Jersey Romance Writers for two years and has also served as Vice President, Treasurer, Special Events Chair, and Hospitality and Critique Chair in that organization. On a national level, Gail was one of the founding staff members of the Romance Writers of America’s electronic newsletter, eNotes and served as editor of that publication for a number of years. In 2005, she was awarded the RWA’s prestigious Service Award for her commitment and volunteer efforts. She also chaired the RWA’s 2007 Chapter Newsletter Contest and the 2008 ad hoc committee for reform recommendations and changes to that contest. For the past eight years she has been a member of the RWA Communication Committee. After being out of high school for twenty years, Gail went back to college and obtained her associate degree in accounting. A lifelong resident of the Jersey Shore, Ms. Freeman believes in happy endings and working towards your goals, no matter how long it takes.

A Multi-Genre Fiction Writers Organization

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