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.

2019 SPEAKER CALENDAR

March 19, 2019Gerry Bartlett: Writing and Editing for the E-Book Market

The Internet has changed publishing forever and authors must change with it. More books are sold as e-books than as paperbacks these days, even if you are one of the lucky few who get a contract from a traditional publisher. Reading devices range from a large tablet to a smart phone and all of your books must be tailored to the new formats.

What does that mean? Best-selling author Gerry Bartlett will share the tricks she’s learned as she’s worked her way from her first paperback sale in 1998 to a couple of three-book series for Kensington’s digital lines this century. Feeling brave? Email one page from your work-in-progress to Gerry at gerrybartlett@verizon.net. She will be happy to take her red pencil to your page and see if you need some of the remedies she’s learned during her journey. Warning: Tough love but you will get your page back without public humiliation. Perfect prose? Expect high praise indeed.

Bio: Gerry Bartlett is the nationally bestselling author of the Real Vampires series, featuring Glory St.Clair, a curvy vampire who wishes she’d known she’d be stuck in that full-figured body when she was turned in 1604. Gerry is a native Texan and lives halfway between Houston and Galveston. She has an antiques business there and in Alvin. This former teacher freely admits to a shopping addiction. You can see her purse collection on Pinterest as proof.

Would she like to be a vampire? No way. She’s too addicted to Mexican food and sunlight. Want to try something without fangs? Gerry also writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense for Kensington. Look for the Texas Heat series: Texas Heat, Texas Fire and Texas Pride, available wherever e-books are sold. Texas Lightning, the first in the Lone Star romantic suspense series set in Austin, is her latest release. The bestselling prequel Real Vampires: When Glory Met Jerry (Real Vampires #13), is also available now. You can keep up with her latest news or sign up for her newsletter at http://gerrybartlett.com or follow her on Facebook, twitter or Instagram.

April 16, 2019 — Christina Delay “The Right Writing Retreat Can Change Your Career”

Join writing retreat maven Christina Delay as she leads you on a journey through the different kinds of writing retreats and how a retreat can change your writing career. You’ll go home with information about how to make a retreat work best for you, how to find and evaluate which is right for you, and some goodies to make sure your evening is relaxing and you go home refreshed and rejuvenated– Hey! That kind of sounds like a writing retreat!

Christina Delay is a multi-award winning author represented by Deidre Knight of The Knight Agency. Her stories focus on flawed characters who live on the fringe of society while trying to find their path forward.

Christina is also the hostess of Cruising Writers and the brand new Creative Wellness Retreats. When she’s not cruising the Caribbean, she’s dreaming up new writing retreats to take talented authors on or giving into the demands of imaginary people to tell their stories.W

Author Website, Cruising Writers

June 18, 2019– Kristina Oliphant/Emma St. Clair “Niching Down for Success”

Learn why niching down can e helpful to your bottom line and also to your craft! You’ll get tips on how to research inches and what to look for in terms of covers, tropes, categories, and keywords, PLUS how to market within your niche.

Kristen Oliphant holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is the host of the Create If Writing podcast. She was named one of the Top 25 Social Media Power Influencers in Houston for 2017-2018. A self-professed email nerd, she wrote the book Email List Made Easy for Writers and Bloggers and writes sweet romance under the pen name Emma St. Clair. When not writing or thinking about writing, she is wrangling her five kids and watching Arrested Development with her husband.

Author Website, Facebook, TwitterJ

July 16, 2019 Cindy Vallar “Who Were the Real Pirates and Privateer?”

Imagine a deck of cards where instead of numbers and suits, each shows a man or woman easily identifiable as a pirate. After all, we know what they looked like, right? Just take a look at Peter Blood in Captain Blood, Long John Silver in Treasure Island, and Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean.

A second deck consists of words we commonly use instead of “pirate.” Surely, you’ve come across a story with a pirate who’s called a corsair, or a buccaneer, or a sea dog, or a privateer. They all mean the same, don’t they?

Then there’s a third deck, so we can mix and match what our pirate has or wants. These are pictures of buried treasure, black schooners, wooden legs, eye patches, vibrant parrots, walking the plank, and black flags.

We have all the elements we need to write our tale. We just pick a card from each deck and let our imagination spin a swashbuckling tale of high seas adventure spiced with romance, danger, and unexpected twists. But will our portrayals be realistic or mired in myths?

Cindy sifts through the myths to uncover the truth about pirates and privateers. She will explore why individuals became pirates or privateers, who’s who on their ships, the rules governing them, what individuals they interacted with or encountered, and what maritime life was like for the real pirates and privateers of yore.

Bio: A retired librarian, Cindy Vallar began researching pirates in college while working on The Rebel and the Spy, a historical novel involving Jean Laffite and the Battle of New Orleans. She is the Editor of Pirates and Privateers, a monthly column on the history of maritime piracy that is now in its nineteenth year. She also reviews piratical and maritime fiction and non-fiction books, and maintains an annotated list of the best piracy and maritime sites on the web. For fourteen years, she wrote “The Red Pencil,” an editing column profiling authors and comparing pieces from their published novels with early drafts of those works, for Historical Novels Review. She is also a freelance editor and historical novelist. She belongs to the Historical Novel Society, Historical Writers of America, the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors, the Laffite Society, the Louisiana Historical Society, and the National Maritime Historical Society. She invites you to visit her award-winning web site, Thistles & Pirates (http://www.cindyvallar.com/), to learn more.

August 20, 2019– Rachel Osborn/R.R. Born “Tackling the Self-Marketing Monster: Finding Unique and Unconventional Ways to Sell You and Promote Your Book”

All the things tried and tested to help get an author’s name out there before your book is published, as well as along the way to the book launch.

Bio:  I started writing short stories in fourth grade and continued to write screenplays & make short films while in film school at Long Island University.  I worked as a Production Coordinator on court TV shows like Judge Alex & Cristina’s Court and has worked as a Second Assistant Director for local commercials and various cable shows. I worked many years in television, but never stopped writing. Never without a pen and pad, stories were always being composed.

Website, Facebook

September 17, 2019 — Carrie Pulkinen “Cheap and Easy Graphics for Banners, Ads and Memes”

This workshop will present simple graphics design techniques, including font and color selection as well as advice on how to place everything within the image to make it more appealing and catch people’s attention. Also: online programs that allow authors to make their own graphics and mock-ups for free or at a low cost

Bio: Carrie Pulkinen is a multi-award-winning author of paranormal romance. She also has a degree in Media Studies and taught high school yearbook classes. But after ten years of teaching other people how to write, she decided to stay home with her kids and write her own stories in her free time. When she’s not writing or reading books about writing, you’ll find her reading paranormal romances, thrillers, romantic suspense, YA, and middle grade fantasy. You can find her books in ebook and paperback formats, and she has several new projects in the works.

Website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Bookbub

October 15, 2019– Delia Latham “What Lies Beneath”

Think of your book as an ocean. To the surface swimmer, the ocean is just a vast, moody expanse of water and waves. The casual viewer will never see, feel, touch—experience—the reality of the deep blue sea. A whole new world. A massive universe of: Life. Beauty. Wonder. Terror. Chaos. And more.

Surface point of view cheats the reader out of the best part of reading a novel: the ability to feel the depth of emotion—love, hate, sorrow, joy, life—that the author probably intended to convey. She won’t experience the story…and she will find another book…one that lets her slide beneath the skin of the characters and feel the very beat of their hearts.

Come with me. Let’s go deep beneath the shallow surface.

Bio: Delia Latham and her husband Johnny live in beautiful East Texas, where a shamefully pampered Pomeranian named Kona allows them to share her home. She writes inspirational romance that almost always includes a touch of the divine in the form of angels or angelic activity, thus her tagline of “Heaven’s touch in earthly tales.” A former newspaper and magazine contributor, Delia has also freelanced projects to public relations firms and magazines; compiled, edited, and designed cover art for various Kindness Incorporated projects; and sold greeting card verse. Many of her short stories, articles, and devotions can be found online. When she’s not writing, she designs cover art and marketing materials for other authors.

November 19, 2019– Kerrelyn Sparks “Double Your Hooking, Double Your Fun!”

Reel them in with your opening hook, then leave them squirming with a closing hook– this is the dual purpose of great hooks!  Kerrelyn will list ten ways to develop that all-important opening hook, giving examples of each.  Then, she explores different end-of-chapter hooks that will keep your readers up till the wee hours of the morning, loving your book and cursing you!

Bio: Apparently, Kerrelyn Sparks has issues with reality. After writing 16 books about vampires and shifters, Kerrelyn has now completely gone off the deep end and wound up on another planet.  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.


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