April 15 – Conference round table

Come join fellow chapter members for an open discussion about our upcoming Let Your Imagination Take Flight Conference in late April. No question is off limits. What’s it like to sit with an agent or editor? How should I prepare for my appointment? What should I focus on in terms of workshop choices? Any tips on networking with fellow members? What to wear and what not to tear? Whether it’s your first conference for your tenth, come and join us for a lively discussion about the biggest event our chapter puts on each year – conference!

Board Candidate Bios

The Nominating Committee has received nominations for all board posts other than PAN Liaison (could this be you? If you are interested, e-mail Mary Reiber at [email protected])

Candidate bios will be in the next newsletter and are also right here:

President – Myretta Robens

I have been writing most of my life, but began pursuing publication in the late 90s. I have been a member of RWA and NEC since 2002. I had two traditional regency romances published by Zebra in 2005 (the last year they published this genre). My second book, Just Say Yes, was a RITA finalist. As part of NEC, I have served on the board as PAN Liaison and was acting president for two months during a difficult period. I was on two conference committees as Workshop and Book Fair chair. I was NECRWA webmaster for several years and am again after a hiatus of a couple of years. I hope to be able to continue in this capacity. I am currently working on single title historical romance. I blog at my website, myrettarobens.com, and at Heroes and Heartbreakers. You can find on Twitter as @myretta and on Facebook. I am indebted to NECRWA for its help with my career and for the friendships I have found within it. I hope my service can help the chapter to continue to thrive.


Vice President – Bobbi Ruggiero

My journey to NECRWA has been a fortuitous one. In March of 2010, I began reviewing romance novels for www.romancenovelnews.com, a website started by a friend with a love for the genre and a desire to review these books in the professional manner they deserved. I met some wonderful authors through RNN and quickly discovered that the romance community was a truly special place. Many of these authors happily offered advice and wisdom, and this gave me the courage to start my own romance novel. 

 I joined NECRWA in May of 2011 and from the first meeting knew I had made the right decision. Members were welcoming and more than willing to help out a “rookie.” In a very short period of time, I felt like I had found my tribe. Becoming a chapter member was an important step that took my writing to an even higher level. I’m well on my way to finishing my first novel, Encore, and was thrilled to place 2nd in the NECRWA First Kiss contest.

 I want to give back to NECRWA by serving on the board as Vice President. I’m looking forward to hearing what topics our chapter would like to discuss in the upcoming year and assisting in whatever way possible to ensure our chapter continues to thrive and be a welcoming place for all romance authors.


Secretary – Andrea Martucci

Andrea Martucci is an aspiring romance novelist who hopes to one day write compelling novels like those by her favorite authors Lisa Kleypas, Jennifer Crusie, and Linda Howard. In the meantime, she is the managing editor of a literary magazine in Boston, and her duties include nonprofit administration, editorial direction of the blog, website maintenance, managing print and digital production, and marketing. She has previously worked at a newspaper and as a screenplay editor, and co-founded a lifestyle magazine at Emerson College. She has a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing, and will receive a MA in Integrated Marketing Communication in August 2012. You can follow her on Twitter @AndrejaJean


Treasurer – Jackie Horne

I was raised by two parents who were both accountants, but somehow I always dreamed of growing up to be a writer. After graduating from college, I got to exercise both my math and literature skills working in the Children’s Book department of Little, Brown and Company. Most of my nine years at L,B were spent as Managing Editor of the department, a position that required me to oversee the budget of every book we published, as well as to work with the Publisher on the department’s overall yearly budget. I also tracked  the status of every book we published (up to 250+ books per year at times), a task that required a detail-oriented approach as well as strong organizational skills.

After leaving L,B, I went back to school to earn an MA in Children’s Literature, had a baby, then went on to earn a Ph.D. in 18th and 19th century British lit. I then taught for several years at Simmons College, but the college ran into financial difficulties and cut back on contract workers. Tenure-track jobs for a Children’s Literature specialist being about as rare as first editions of Jane Austen’s novels, I decided to switch careers yet again, returning to my original dream: to write. I’ve spent the last three and a half years working both on academic writing (1 book and 2 edited essay collections published) and fiction writing (one manuscript, still being revised, and the outlines for a second). I’ve also been serving on the Board of, and as the Chair of the Publicity Committee for, the Children’s Literature Association, as well as Clerking the 50th Anniversary Committee at my daughter’s school. Both of these volunteer positions are due to end soon, and I would love to have the chance to volunteer for a service position that will pull me away from the computer and put me in touch with actual people.

I’m quite handy with a spreadsheet, and my parents and husband (a computer researcher) have promised to act in an advisory capacity if any financial or computer issues related to being Treasurer for NECRWA pop up. But if you elect me Treasurer, you have to promise not to tell my daughter, a thirteen-year-old who firmly believes that anything and everything to do with romance is decidedly “gross.”


Pro Liaison – Jean Viola Ryan

Jean Viola Ryan has been an active member of PRO since November 2009. She finished her first novel during the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapter’s “Push to PRO” in October of that year. That novel is now contracted for December release with MuseItUp Publishing. She is fortunate to write full-time and has tons of ideas to help our non-PRO members achieve this status, such as our own Push To PRO, forming crit groups to get our novels into shape and creating a support group for those who are in the pre-query and query stages to help keep spirits up. Her main goal is to help everyone become more confident in reaching for their next step, whether that is finishing their novel, submitting it, or putting yourself out there and doing publicity to turn PRO into PAN.


Bean Pot Finalists Announced

We are pleased to announce the finalists in the 2012 New England Readers’ Choice Bean Pot Award
(In alphabetical order)

**NEC Member

A Rancher’s Pride – Barbara White Daille
The Daddy Catch – Leigh Duncan
**The Heart of a Hero – Barbara Wallace

In the Barrister’s Chambers – Tina Gabrielle
More Than a Mistress – Ann Lethbridge
**Promise Me Forever – Diane Amos

Deadly Descent – Kaylea Cross
Edge of Daybreak – Jannifer Hoffman
**Fatal Consequences – Marie Force

Bastian, The Lords of Satyr – Elizabeth Amber
The Closer You Get – LA Witt
Take Me Away – Tina Donahue

Dyad Love – Ann Hinnenkamp
Memories of Murder – Lara Nance
**Salad on the Side – Karenna Colcroft

Hometown Dad – Merrillee Whren
Love on the Line – Deeanne Gist
Nightwatch – Valerie Hansen

Blood Rights – Kristen Painter
Promises to Keep – Char Chaffin
The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship – Lisa Verge-Higgins

Drive-In – Kelli Scott
**I Love the Earl – Caroline Linden
Painted with Pleasure – Dena de Paulo
Stormy Wedding – Kelli Scott

Awake at Dawn – C.C. Hunter
Love Story – Jennifer Echols
**Tales Out of the Psych Office – Shirley Ann Howard

March 18 – Writing Sex When you Don’t Feel Sexy

Have you ever had to write a smoldering love scene, and yet your heart just wasn’t in it? Does the thought of writing steamy sex make you cower in fear?

Erotic romance author Suzanne Rock will talk about tips and tricks that will not only put you in the mood to write great sex, but add depth and character to your scenes that will make them memorable for both your readers and you.

The course will be based on her book co-written with author Em Petrova entitled Writing Sex When you Don’t Feel Sexy, available at all major ebook distributors.

Award winning and bestselling author Suzanne Rock resides in central Massachusetts with her college sweetheart and two daughters. She started writing paranormal erotic romance in 2009 and sold her first story, Spyder’s Web, to Loose Id in June of that year and has since published eleven erotic works with three different publishers. In addition to writing, she teaches courses on craft and the publishing industry through Romance Writers of America and Savvy Authors. She’s also is the social media partner for Pink Petal Books and Astraea Press.

Goldrick Award: Celebrating Chapter Volunteers

Each year at the Let Your Imagination Take Flight Conference, the Goldrick Service Award is given to a deserving New England Chapter member.

The award, first awarded in 1996, is given in honor of the late Bob Goldrick who, along with his wife Emma, wrote as Emma Goldrick for Harlequin. They were longtime chapter members who generously volunteered their time, knowledge, and help to the chapter and their fellow members.  Upon his death, it was decided to create a service award that would annually celebrate a member whose contribution to the chapter exemplified the service and cooperation among fellow writers that so characterized Bob’s legacy.

The Board encourages the membership to nominate any member they feel promotes the best of what the chapter is about, in particular those who have given their time, energy and emotional/mental stamina to the chapter, especially those unsung members who so quietly give of themselves. Current Board members are not eligible.

The Board will review all the nominations and choose a recipient. The award will be presented to the winner in a special presentation during the conference luncheon. There is no formal nomination submission process for the award. You can simply email or mail your nominations to any member of the board. However, please include a detailed statement as to why you have nominated a particular member since this will help the Board during the selection process.

If you have any questions, contact Tara Holt, Chapter President, at [email protected].

Past award recipients are:

1996: Neringa Bryant and Jo Ann Ferguson (joint recipients)
1997: Terri Pino
1998: Blanche Marriott
1999: Betsy Eliot
2000: Michelle Drosos
2001: Lori Lotti
2002: Katy Cooper and Cindy Jachrimo (joint recipients)
2003: Barbara Wallace
2004: Lesley Mathews
2005: Jessica Andersen
2006: Liana Dalton
2007: Cathryn Parry
2008: Barbara Keiler
2009: Jessica Smith
2010: Tara Holt
2011: Hannah Howell


If someone had told Barbara Keiler a year ago that she’d be an indie publisher, producing and selling e-book editions of her backlist titles, she would have roared with laughter.  She’s a writer, an artiste—and a confirmed technophobe.  But she had obtained the rights to a bunch of her out-of-print novels and figured she ought to do something with them…and to her amazement, she’s managed to e-publish ten of them so far, to place them for sale in the Kindle, Nook, Sony, Kobo and iTunes stores, and to land several of them on Amazon bestseller lists.  Barbara will share what she’s learned so far about preparing manuscripts, commissioning artwork, pricing, promoting and trying to stay sane in the brave new world of electronic publishing

Writing under the pen name Judith Arnold, Barbara is the author of more than eighty-five published novels. She has been a three-time finalist for RWA’s RITA Award, and she’s won several Reviewer’s Choice Awards from RT as well as the New England Chapter’s Bean Pot Award for her novel Hope Street. Her next novel, Good-Bye to All That, will be released in March.

January 15 – Open Meeting

It’s a New Year and NEC resumes our monthly meetings on January 15, 2012. As usual, meetings are held on the 3rd Sunday of the month, with December and July being vacation months for our chapter. We will also resume meeting at the Old Town Hall in Bedford, Massachusetts. Directions are on NEC’s website.

As 2012 dawns, there are some exciting things on the horizon for many of our members, as well as new ideas, publishing industry changes, the rising popularity of self-publishing and Mayan predictions.

In honor of the New Year, the board thought we’d open up January’s meeting to the membership by opening up a discussion about writing goals and resolutions and how we can obtain those goals. Whether your goal is to create or update a website, join social networks and media, or start a brand new novel, breaking through writer’s block, or switching genres we hope the discussion will be lively, helpful and encouraging. Likewise, we will break into small groups and discuss goals amongst your groups and how you might go about accomplishing those goals. Afterward, share your goals for 2012 if you’re willing and VP Mary Reiber will follow up at the monthly meetings to see how things are progressing.

If you’d like to know what’s coming up from February until August 2012, here’s a look at our meeting speakers and topics:
February – Barbara Keiler – Self Publishing
March – Suzanne Rock – Writing Sex Scenes When You’re not in the Mood
April – Marley Gibson – Writing Fiction and Non-Fiction
May – Karenna Colcraft – Writing a Series
June- Outgoing Board Party w/ NEC and Book Swap

First Kiss Contest Finalists

We are pleased to announce the finalists in the First Kiss Contest!


‘Til There Was You  by  Elle Twifold, Baltimore, MD

Nothing Left to Lose but Me by Lynn Lindquist, Batavia, IL

The Lavender Trail by Cindy Thompson, Thunder Bay, ON Canada

How to Divorce a Vampire by Mimi Jean, Pleasant Hill, CA

The Fire Walkers by Shelley N. Greene, Columbia, MD

Encore by Bobbi Ruggiero,  North Easton, MA

These entries will be sent along to Patience Smith from Harlequin by the first week in January for Judging!

Good Luck to all!

November 20th – Kristan Higgins on Defining and Refining Voice

Two-time RITA Award Winner and New York Times and USA Today Best Selling Author Kristan Higgins will be joining us for our November 20th monthly meeting. Kristan’s talk will focus on Defining and Refining Voice. As she says, voice is an element of writing that is often hard todefine. Every editor and agent wants a strong, fresh voice, but no one can identify just why a voice works or doesn’t. This workshop will examine examples of strong voice, definitions of voice, and why voice matters as much as it does. Exercises to define and refine voice will be described, as well as traps that often muffle voice. The revision process will be discussed in depth as well, since voice so often blooms during this phase of writing.

Called “the master of small-town romance” by Romantic Times, Kristan is a long-time New England Chapter member. Her hobbies include baking, eating desserts and stalking Derek Jeter. Visit her website at www.kristanhiggins.com and www.Facebook.com/KristanHigginsBooks. Her latest release is UNTIL THERE WAS YOU.