MEETINGS / SPEAKERS

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Houston Bay Area chapter #30 of Romance Writers of America meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 pm at the Kirkmont MUD Building, 10102 Blackhawk Rd., Houston, TX 77089. See map.

Meetings begin at 7:30 PM, with social time starting at 7:00 PM.
Join us for dinner first at 9ers Grill, at the intersection of Blackhawk Road and Beltway 8.

UPCOMING MEETING

June 19, 2018 — Cheryl Etchison Smith

Building a Series

Time and time again, research has proven the voracity of romance readers. Hook them with one book and they’ll be back for another, and another, and so on. Buzz around new releases that are part of a series often garner the attention of new readers, ultimately sparking a boost in backlist sales since many prefer to start from the beginning. But while writing a series might be the right marketing strategy for your story, there is major pitfall to consider– repetition. No one wants a reader to put down a book because the characters sound just the same or the conflict is identical to another book in the same series. 

In this interactive workshop, we’ll discuss the various types of series and create a framework using tropes, themes, and worldbuilding that appeals to the most detailed of plotters, but still allows pantsers a significant amount of freedom.

Bio: Cheryl Etchison graduated from the University of Oklahoma’s School of Journalism and began her career as an oil and gas reporter. Bored to tears and broke as hell, it wasn’t long before she headed for the promise land of public relations. But that was nearly a lifetime ago and she’s since traded in reporting the facts for making it all up.  Currently, she lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and three girls.

Her novel ONCE AND FOR ALL: AN AMERICAN VALOR NOVEL has been named by Romance Writers of America® (RWA) as the 2017 Best First Book, and was a Rita Award finalist in the Contemporary Romance: Mid-Length category.

COMPLETE 2018 SPEAKER CALENDAR

January 16, 2018 — Cheryl Bolen (There’s Gold in Those Subsidiary Rights)

CANCELLED DUE TO ICE STORM / RESCHEDULED FOR MARCH 20, 2018


February 20, 2018 — Nicole Flockton

Kindle Worlds and All Things Amazon

In this workshop Nicole Flockton will guide you through the steps of writing in one of Amazon’s Kindle Worlds. From finding the right world that fits your writing style to making sure your work compliments the world created by the origin author. Whether to release in an official author launch or release on your own. Making sure you’re still true to your author brand. At the end of it you’ll not think, but know you can write a Kindle World.

Bio: On her very first school report her teacher said ‘Nicole likes to tell her own stories’.
It wasn’t until after the birth of her daughter and after having fun on the community board of eharlequin.com that she finally decided to take the plunge and write a book. She writes sexy contemporary romances, seducing you one kiss at a time as you turn the pages. She enjoys taking two characters and creating unique situations for them. Apart from writing, she’s busy looking after her very own hero – her wonderfully supportive husband, and her two fabulous kids. She also enjoys watching sports and, of course, reading.

  • Website: http://www.nicoleflockton.com/
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NicoleFlockton
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/NicoleFlockton

March 20, 2018 — Cheryl Bolen

There’s Gold in Those Subsidiary Rights   RESCHEDULED

Cheryl Bolen, a publishing veteran who has sold to New York publishers and who has blazed a trail as a successful indie author, will offer tips on how authors can strike gold with the audio and translation rights to their books. Authors who hold onto those rights are in a position to make more money in audio and foreign editions than they’ve made with the English print and eBook editions.

Many authors are venturing into audio and translations in a big way — and without a penny’s investment on their part. Cheryl will explain the easy processes involved in expanding into audio and foreign translations at the September meeting.

Bio: Since being named Notable New Author for 1997, Cheryl Bolen has published more than 35 books with Kensington/Zebra, Harlequin, Love Inspired Historical, Montlake, and independently. She has broken into the top 5 on the New York Times and hit the USA Today bestseller list. Her 2005 One Golden Ring won Best Historical, Holt Medallion, and her 2011 My Lord Wicked was awarded Best Historical in the International Digital Awards, the same year her Christmas novella was chosen as Best Novella. Her books have been finalists for other awards, including the Daphne du Maurier, and have been translated into eight languages. She’s also been the number 1 bestselling historical romance author in Germany.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and English from the University of Texas and a master’s degree from the University of Houston. Her favorite pursuits are reading diaries of dead English women, traveling to England, and watching the Texas Longhorns play football and basketball. She and her recently retired professor husband are the parents of two sons. One is an attorney, the other a journalist.

Facebook: http://fbl.ink/Facebook


April 17, 2018 — Abigail Owen

Organizing Your Writing Life

 
Are you overwhelmed by everything you have to remember as an author? Social media and marketing a constant struggle? Do you have handouts and notes from workshops and never use them but would like to someday? Even your email inbox is crazy? This workshop will give you tried and true methods for staying on top of your email, craft notes, social media, and marketing as an author. We’ll primarily focus on Gmail & Microsoft OneNote as tools to help you get organized (including an overview on how to use OneNote). Materials can easily be translated to other email and note-taking methods.
 
Bonus: These methods and tips can also be helpful in your personal and professional lives aside from writing!
 
This workshop is delivered as quick-hitting tips & tricks with the help of real-time, practical examples.  Attendees are encouraged to take away 2-10 tips that work with where they are in their business and personal styles. Attendees will be given a handout with all the tips listed in an easy bulleted format. In addition they will be given a link to OneNote templates already set up for authors to help them get started.
 
The workshop is broken into the following topics:
  • Email Management
  • OneNote Basics & Getting Started
  • Social Media Management
  • Note Taking For Later Use
  • Querying
  • Book Ideas/Book Bible
  • Editing Lists
  • Release Day Planning
  • Audience Requested Topics & Additional Q&A

Bio: Abigail Owen is an award-winning paranormal and contemporary romance author with 10+ years experience both self-published and traditionally published. She also brings 20+ years experience in web design, project management, business analysis, and editing, as well as an MBA. Prior to becoming an author she developed an “organization skills” workshop which she delivered to employees at Intel while working there as a sales analyst. Abigail applied her techniques to her writing life, resulting in this workshop specific to authors. She LOVES organizing almost as much as chocolate, and hopes you’ll get some new tricks out of it that will help you in your own journey!

  • Website: http://www.abigailowen.com/
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/abigail.owen.12

May 15, 2018 — Dana Pittman

 

Building Your Author Email List on Any Budget

Whether traditionally or self publishing, creating, nurturing, and growing an author email list is vital to your publishing career. In this workshop, we will focus on growing your email list with any budget. Specific topics include: newsletter swaps, newsletter list builders, content ideas for engaging your readers, and an affordable technique to boost your open rates.

Bio: Dana Pittman writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and sweet romance laced with strong women and stronger men. My happily ever afters are meant to inspire. So, if you’re looking for a page turner that will leave you blushing, with your heart racing, and lying to yourself about reading “just one more chapter” then grab a book one (or all). She has published, or had a story featured in, over twelve books. 


June 19, 2018 — Cheryl Etchison Smith

Building a Series

Time and time again, research has proven the voracity of romance readers. Hook them with one book and they’ll be back for another, and another, and so on. Buzz around new releases that are part of a series often garner the attention of new readers, ultimately sparking a boost in backlist sales since many prefer to start from the beginning. But while writing a series might be the right marketing strategy for your story, there is major pitfall to consider– repetition. No one wants a reader to put down a book because the characters sound just the same or the conflict is identical to another book in the same series. 

In this interactive workshop, we’ll discuss the various types of series and create a framework using tropes, themes, and worldbuilding that appeals to the most detailed of plotters, but still allows pantsers a significant amount of freedom.

Bio: Cheryl Etchison graduated from the University of Oklahoma’s School of Journalism and began her career as an oil and gas reporter. Bored to tears and broke as hell, it wasn’t long before she headed for the promise land of public relations. But that was nearly a lifetime ago and she’s since traded in reporting the facts for making it all up.  Currently, she lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and three girls.

Her novel ONCE AND FOR ALL: AN AMERICAN VALOR NOVEL has been named by Romance Writers of America® (RWA) as the 2017 Best First Book, and was a Rita Award finalist in the Contemporary Romance: Mid-Length category.


July 17, 2018 — Gail Dayton

Dialog as Action

Details TBA.

Bio: Gail Dayton began telling stories when she was five, when Bambi came home with her from the movies, but she didn’t write any of them down until she was in fourth grade–a story about a cat. She discovered fairy tales not long after that, and her horizons expanded.

A RITA finalist for Best First Book in 2002 with Hide-and-Sheikh, a contemporary series romance from Silhouette Desire, Gail won the Aspen Gold award for Her Convenient Millionaire (another Desire), and was a Prism Award finalist for The Compass Rose. She won the Best Fantasy Prism Award the next two years, for The Barbed Rose and The Eternal Rose.

Gail lives with her husband, youngest son, and granddog Dolly the Princess Pitbull, on the Texas Gulf Coast, two blocks from the beach. The problem with living at the beach is that you have to LIVE at the beach. You still have laundry and housework and such, only with sand. However, the beach makes up for it.

For more information about Gail, see her Amazon page at: https://www.amazon.com/Gail-Dayton/e/B001IU0W9A


August 21, 2018 — Kerrelyn Sparks

Stop the World, I Want to Make a New One!

Every time you develop a story, you are building a world.  Whether it’s a Regency ballroom, a contemporary office boardroom, or futuristic intergalactic game room, you are building a complicated world that you hope your reader will love. Kerrelyn presents an extensive guide to help you with the task. Great world-building skills can turn a good story into a great one!

 

Bio: Although Kerrelyn is best known (so far) for the Love at Stake series, which has hit as high as number 5 on the New York Times list and 22 on the USA Today list, she hopes her readers will love The Embraced as much as they did her merry band of vamps and shifters.

Kerrelyn lives with her family in the Greater Houston area of Texas. You can visit with her on Goodreads or her Facebook page, where she does a monthly contest. On Twitter, she posts as @KerrelynSparks.


September 18, 2018 — Elizabeth Holland

Building Community: How to be a Great Beta Reader or Critique Partner

As writers, it’s incredibly important that we build community. Otherwise, this art we pursue can prove to be a lonely endeavor. Yet there is a lot of ambiguity around how to grow with, and support other writers. Here are concrete tips for being a great beta-reader or critique partner.

Bio: Elise Holland is the editor of 2 Elizabeths, a literary magazine focused on short fiction and poetry, with an emphasis on romance and women’s fiction. She’s written for Writer’s Digest, Jane Friedman, DIY MFA and Darling Magazine. When she’s not curled up with her laptop either writing or editing, she can usually be found spending time with her sweet husband and very feisty Chihuahua. 

Website: https://2elizabeths.com/


October 16, 2018 — Sara Neiss

Lie like a Champ—the Secret to Giving Good Setting

Remember when you were little and you lied to your parents? (Don’t shake your head, you know you did!)
A good lie requires just enough detail to make your lie believable, but not so much that someone has time to really think about what you’re saying.
Setting is like lying.
Don’t shake your head at me– we’re writers. We lie for a living.
To lie, I mean, to develop setting, you need to strike the perfect balance of visual detail without crossing over into unneeded exposition. Mood, characterization, emotional response—setting has a hand in all of it.
Give setting a purpose to fulfill. Whether that purpose is coming up with a reason you’re home three hours past curfew and smelling like a Vegas line dancer (anyone?) or getting the reader fully invested in your story.
Bring in a scene or chapter from your WIP, your computer or notepaper and pen to do some hands-on work! 
 

Bio: Sara Neiss is an adjunct professor of English at both San Jacinto and Lone Star College, who likes to think of cursing as an art form. She has her master’s in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University in England, which allowed her to float her way through her degree in a pint of cider. Sara has worked as a journalist and teacher. The former allowing her to write a food column as well transcribe fascinating police reports, the latter giving her summers off. 

Her recently finished manuscript, Space Junk: Houston, We Have a Hottie, has won several awards, including First Place for Contemporary Romance in The Orange Rose. (NOMINATED FOR A GOLDEN HEART!!)
She is currently working on a steamy category romance for Harlequin’s new Dare line, requested by one of their editors, as well as toiling away on the second book in her NASA series.
Between chasing her two kids, cuddling her puppy and loving on her husband (her willing partner in her sex scene experiments), Sara finds all the inspiration she needs for her romance.
 
 

November 20, 2018 — Elizabeth Essex

Building Character with Word Choice

Elizabeth Essex’s class will present six techniques for building vivid, memorable characters that jump off the page of your novel and into your readers’ hearts and minds, including visualization, world-building, emotional truth, dialog and rhetorical devices.
 
Bio: Elizabeth Essex is the award-winning author of the critically acclaimed Reckless Brides historical romance series. When not rereading Jane Austen, mucking about in her garden or simply messing about with boats, Elizabeth can be always be found with her laptop, making up stories about heroes and heroines who live far more exciting lives than she. Her books have been nominated for numerous awards, including the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, and RWA’s prestigious RITA Award, and have made Top-Ten lists from Romantic Times, The Romance Reviews and Affaire de Coeur Magazine. Her fifth book, A BREATH OF SCANDAL, was awarded Best Historical in the Reader’s Crown 2013. Elizabeth lives in Texas with her husband, the indispensable Mr. Essex, and her active and exuberant family in an old house filled to the brim with books.
 
 

PREVIOUS SPEAKERS

January 17, 2017 — Julie Glover (Using Grammar to Enhance Your Voice)


February 21, 2017 — Entangled editor Robin Haseltine (The Secret to Writing Romance that Sells)


March 21, 2017 — Tracy Goodwin (Indie Publishing – be bold, be brave, and realize your potential)


April 18, 2017 — Jennifer Bray Weber (Got Alpha? — what makes heroes larger than life)

 

May 16, 2017 — Gerry Bartlett and Nina Bangs (That Critical First Impression)


June 20, 2017 — Susan Muller (Digging deep–Enhancing your manuscript with deep POV)


July 18, 2017 — Shana Galen (How to Get the Most Out of Any Conference)


August 15, 2017 — Kristi Gold (on Dialogue)


September 19, 2017 — Jami Albright (How to Have a Successful Book Launch


October 17, 2017 — Julia Justiss (Keeping Track of Your Story — a hands-on workshop)


November 21, 2017 — Mary Lindsey/Marissa Clarke (Whose Story Is It Anyway? – a hands-on workshop)


December 19, 2017 — Annual Christmas Party


February 20, 2018 — Nicole Flockton (So You Think You Can Write A Kindle World)


March 20, 2018 — Cheryl Bolen (There’s Gold in Those Subsidiary Rights)


April 17, 2018 — Abigail Owen (Organizing Your Writing Life)


May 15, 2018 — Dana Pittman (Building Your Author Email List on Any Budget)


 

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