As we embark on a new year, and inaugurate a new NECRWA Board, let’s take this month to talk about what makes for a good beginning. Incoming NEC President Jackie Horne will lead a full-group discussion about the best beginnings for romance novels, and for your local RWA chapter. For the first half of the discussion, bring your favorite opening sentence from a romance novel, and an opening sentence from your current work in progress, to share with your fellow writers. For the second half, bring your thoughts about how your new Board can best make NECRWA work for you—-ideas for monthly meeting workshops, conference goals, web site design, advocacy for the romance genre, and any other suggestions for how NECRWA can best serve your needs as a romance writer.
Information on NECRWA meetings
A workshop for writers who want to create scorching hot dominant heroes while still incorporating real-life BDSM community values. There are complex and valid reasons why female readers may choose to fantasize about a range of non-consensual scenarios in romance novels, from the classic “kidnapped into a sheik’s harem” to the currently popular “fated to be an alpha werewolf’s mate” and “met a billionaire who won’t take no for an answer.” But I feel it’s very important to distinguish between fantasy scenarios and depictions of real life. These fantasy archetypes are “safe” fantasies for women to indulge precisely because they are NOT real life. But how do real-life BDSM doms fit in the pantheon of romance archetypes? In the real BDSM community, doms who come across as pushy assholes or stalkers rarely last. This workshop will explore the intersections between what romance readers and real-life submissives are looking for in heroes and doms, and how romance writers can bring realistic depictions of domination and male dom personas into their work. I’ll present the results of surveys I took of both BDSM lifestyle submissives and avid romance readers which showed many parallels and a few surprising contrasts.
Cecilia Tan is “simply one of the most important writers, editors, and innovators in contemporary American erotic literature,” according to Susie Bright. RT Magazine awarded her Career Achievement in Erotic Romance in 2015 and their prestigious Pioneer Award. Tan’s BDSM romance novel Slow Surrender (Hachette/Forever, 2013) also won the RT Reviewers Choice Award in Erotic Romance and the Maggie Award for Excellence from the Georgia Romance Writers. She is the author of many books including the Magic University Series, Secrets of a Rock Star series, and Daron’s Guitar Chronicles, several collections of short stories, and even some nonfiction books on baseball. In 2017 she will launch a new urban fantasy series at Tor Books entitled The Vanished Chronicles. She lives in the Boston area with her lifelong partner corwin and three cats.
Bestselling author Dee Davis worked in association management before turning her hand to writing. She is the author of over thirty novels and novellas, including her newest, Cottage in the Mist and the A-Tac series. When not frantically trying to meet a deadline, Dee spends her time in her Connecticut farmhouse with her husband, and Cardigan Welsh Corgis.
Thinking about wading into the waters of self publishing? Just snagged your rights back? Looking for the next indie trend?
Megan Frampton, an author as well as Pronoun’s Author Community Manager, shares her experience with Pronoun, a free self-publishing platform that take the mystery and confusion out of self publishing. She’ll give an overview of the essential steps in self publishing a book, and explain the digital tools available to all authors, and answer questions about the traditional-to-hybrid transition. She’ll also discuss how authors who choose not to publish with Pronoun can take advantage of their analytic tools and what Pronoun’s community site, The Verbs, offers to authors of all types and genres.
Megan Frampton grew up in a remote town in New Hampshire where she devoured every book of fiction in her well-read parents’ library. An English literature major at Barnard College with double minors in political science and religion, Megan wrote and edited reviews for a music industry magazine for fifteen years. Eventually, she became editor-in-chief and went on to develop conference programs for the industry. She worked as the community manager for Heroes and Heartbreakers, a romance novel website and now works for Pronoun. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son. She has written Contemporary Romance for William Morrow as Megan Caldwell and Historical Romance for Random House Loveswept under her own name. She has just concluded the Dukes Behaving Badly series for Avon and is working on her next series.
Are you stuck in your manuscript? Searching for new ideas? Anxious to talk to other writers about what you’re working on? We’ll breakup into small groups on June 26 and talk about our work. It is not necessary to bring pages, but do so if you think it will be helpful. Just be prepared to talk about your work or help someone else brainstorm theirs.
Representatives of Instafreebie (https://www.instafreebie.com/) will give a workshop on using their service to build your audience by giving away free copies.
If you write historical romance, part of what you are selling is the chance to live in someone else’s skin. Maybe your character is Marianne, a half-Jamaican hotelier seduced by a spy during the Crimean War; or Laura, a diplomat’s daughter who rescues a wounded American Marine in the Boxer Rebellion. Either way, flat descriptions from encyclopedias won’t cut it. You need to mine primary sources for the convincing details of everyday life. Where else will you learn how Marianne chased off a thief with her rusty horse pistol, primed only with coffee? Or how Laura saved her favorite white pony from becoming dinner for starving Americans in Beijing? This workshop is designed to introduce the writer to primary sources: how to find them, how to assess their reliability, and how to keep track of the information within them. The emphasis will be on free resources found online, including books, memoirs, newspaper articles, magazines, maps, photographs, and note-taking software. Any period of study is possible, but the best online materials are found for the eighteenth through twentieth centuries, including Regency, Victorian, Edwardian, British India, and American Western periods.
Jennifer Hallock is the author of the Sugar Sun Series, historical romance set during the Philippine-American War. She has lived and worked in the Philippines, but she currently writes at her little brick house on a New England homestead—kept company by her husband, a growing flock of chickens, and two geriatric border collie mutts. She spends her days teaching history and her nights writing historical happily-ever-afters. Before the internet made it easy, Jen worked as a fact-checker for several academic publications. She also researched and published an article on human trafficking for a peer-reviewed journal. These days she teaches generations of history students how to write research papers, and she has even helped a handful of these teenagers get their own work published.
This year, agents and editors at our conference will be reading the five pages in which your hero and heroine meet. Even if you’re not pitching, this is a great chance to get some feedback on this important moment in your book. Bring five copies of the first five pages where the heroine meets the hero.
Prior to her writing career, author Jen Malone was the New England Head of Publicity and Promotions for 20th Century Fox and Miramax Films, charged with creating localized, grassroots campaigns to compliment the mass marketing efforts of the studio. In this seminar, Jen draws on those strategies to discuss outside-the-box techniques authors can employ to get their title noticed in a cluttered marketspace. We’ll examine why the target audience influences most of the marketing decisions and unique ways to specifically reach those readers. Finally you’ll be shown examples of marketing campaigns that managed to create that elusive “buzz” and examine ways you can do the same for your title!
Jen Malone writes books for tweens and teens, including At Your Service, the You’re Invited series, and the forthcoming The Sleepover with Simon & Schuster, as well as Map to the Stars and the forthcoming Wanderlost with HarperCollins. She is a former Hollywood marketing exec who once spent a year traveling the world solo, met her husband on the highway (literally), and went into labor with her identical twins while on a rock star’s tour bus. These days she saves the drama for her books. You can learn more about Jen and her titles at www.jenmalonewrites.com.
Are you confused when we talk about “voice” in writing? Editors say it’s what they’re looking for, and agents say it can make the difference between a mid-list and a best-selling career. It’s often defined as “a writer’s personality on the page,” but how do we put it there? Is it something natural, organic, or something related to our writing craft?
This workshop will explore the integrated writing elements that make up voice, such as style, tone, and content (each with its own sub-elements) and what choices we make that affect our voices. We’ll analyze recognizable samples of strong writing voices, and through discussion and exercises, map out some ways to strengthen our own voices for greater writing success.
Award-winning author Gail Eastwood started writing stories as soon as she learned to string words together on paper. After detours into journalism and rare books, she finally found her path writing “traditional” Regency romances acclaimed for pushing the genre’s boundaries with emotional depth and innovative plots. Published by Signet and twice nominated for Romantic Times Magazine’s Career Achievement award, Gail had to put writing on hold to deal with family health issues, but honed her teaching skills in the interim. Now she is back doing what she loves best, but still enjoys helping to nurture the writing gift in others. Most of her backlist is now available and she has new books in the works.