May 16, 2021 Meeting – Nice Girl’s Guide to Conflict with Sally Kilpatrick

Our May 16th monthly meeting will start with a workshop presented by author Sally Kilpatrick on Nice Girl’s Guide to Conflict, which will be followed by our monthly business and social meeting.

Headshot of author Sally KilpatrickWorkshop Description: Do your manuscripts get comments like “your story is too quiet” or “you have too much external conflict”? Do you find it hard to put your characters in sticky situations? Sally Kilpatrick relays her own journey to creating conflict even when, in real life, she prefers to run away. Starting with the tried and true concept of GMC, she’ll expand upon the concept and guide you through adding internal conflict and other strategies for making sure that your story has layers.

Bio: Sally Kilpatrick is the USA Today bestselling author of six novels. She has won multiple awards, including the 2018 and 2019 Georgia Author of the Year, the Maggie Award of Excellence, the Booksellers’ Best, and the 2016 Nancy Knight Mentorship Award. She lives in Marietta, Georgia with her husband, two kids, and two cats. You can find her at sallykilpatrick.com or on Twitter as @superwritermom.

April 25, 2021 Meeting – Breaking Ground on Your Manuscript: The Editing Phase(s) with D. Ann Williams

Our April 25th monthly meeting will start with a workshop presented by editor D. Ann Williams on Breaking Ground on Your Manuscript: The Editing Phase(s), which will be followed by our monthly business and social meeting.

Headshot of D. Ann WilliamsWorkshop Description: You’ve written the novel, sent it to beta readers and critique partners, and now you’re in editing mode. Revising is hard work and can take multiple passes, but editors are here to help. In this workshop, we’re going to review the different levels of editing, common issues found during edits, finding and working with an editor, and strategies to incorporate developmental edit notes.

Bio: D. Ann Williams (she/her) is a queer Black American, editor, diversity consultant, and writing coach. She started editing at UCLA as the editor-in-chief of two academic journals. For the past ten years, she has edited business and academic writing before expanding into fiction editing. She provides a variety of services (from developmental editing to sensitivity reading to formatting) through Edits By D and Tessera Editorial and is a writing coach for We Need Diverse Books’ Black Creatives Revision Workshop. Her editing clients have included Big 5 publishers, indie publishers, and many authors. She loves to read and edit romance, kidlit (all ages), thrillers, and science fiction/fantasy.

Statement by NERW’s Board of Directors regarding Atlanta Attacks

STATEMENT BY NEW ENGLAND ROMANCE WRITERS’ BOARD OF DIRECTORS REGARDING ATLANTA ATTACKS

When New England Romance Writers became an independent romance writing organization last fall, we strengthened our commitment to embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion. In the face of last week’s horrifying attacks in Atlanta, we cannot now remain silent.

These racist acts of violence are unfortunately just the most recent in this country’s long and shameful history of inequality and bigotry toward Asians and Asian Americans, women, and other marginalized groups. We unequivocally condemn these attacks, and we stand by and support our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander members and all romance writers who are part of these communities.

On behalf of NERW, we want to reiterate that NERW welcomes members of all marginalized groups, and we believe that happily ever afters are for everyone. Racism, misogyny, ageism, ableism, homophobia and transphobia, bigotry, othering, body-shaming, and hate in all its forms are not tolerated within our organization. We know we have more work to do, and we join our members in rededicating ourselves to ensuring that NERW embodies its ideals and core values.

To learn more about anti-Asian violence and what you can do to combat it, please visit https://anti-asianviolenceresources.carrd.co/.

March 21, 2021 Meeting – Overcoming Writer’s Block with Meryl Wilsner

Our March 21st monthly meeting will start with a workshop presented by author Meryl Wilsner on Overcoming Writer’s Block, which will be followed by our monthly business and social meeting.

Headshot of author Meryl Wilsner wearing a yellow shirt with white polka dotsWorkshop Description: There’s not a group of people more adept at procrastinating than writers, which makes it all the more important for us to be able to write when we actually sit down to do so. This workshop explores common reasons behind writer’s block and provides hands-on practice at different techniques for overcoming it.

Bio: Meryl Wilsner writes stories of queer women falling in love. Born in Michigan, Meryl lived in Portland, Oregon and Jackson, Mississippi before recently returning to the Mitten State. Their debut novel, Something to Talk About, received starred reviews from Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal, as well as being one of Amazon, Kirkus, and NPR’s best books of 2020. Some of Meryl’s favorite things include: all four seasons, button down shirts, the way giraffes run, and their wife.

February 21, 2021 Meeting – Making Feedback Work with KD Fisher

Our February 21st monthly meeting will start with a workshop presented by author KD Fisher on Making Feedback Work, which will be followed by our monthly business and social meeting.

Author head shot of KD FIsherWorkshop Description: This workshop will address feedback–both giving and receiving–with a focus on providing and taking effective, useful notes. Workshop attendees will learn to look at criticism in a sensitive, identity-informed, and productive way.

Bio: KD Fisher is a queer New England-based writer of authentic, heartfelt LGBTQ+ narratives. KD grew up all over the United States, bouncing from North Carolina to Hawaii to Illinois, and finally settling in Maine where they spend far too much time at the beach.

When KD isn’t writing they can usually be found hiking with their overly enthusiastic dogs, obsessing over plants, or cooking elaborate meals. They love classic country, perfectly ripe tomatoes, and falling asleep in the sun. As Kathryn Amato they write young adult and middle grade novels. KD is currently an MFA candidate at Vermont College for Fine Arts.

January 17, 2021 Meeting – “Town Hall” on The State of the Organization

NERW’s first meeting of 2021 will be a Town Hall style meeting focusing on The State of the Organization. President Alexa Rowan will cover what NERW has achieved in the past 12 months, NERW’s successes and challenges, and our plans for 2021 and beyond. The meeting will be held via Zoom starting at 1:00 PM (virtual doors will open at 12:45 PM), and we are investigating whether it may also possible to present the meeting via Facebook Live.

Members, please feel free to send questions to the Board in advance, whether or not you are planning to attend the meeting. We hope to see you on January 17th!

November 15, 2020 Meeting – Before You Quit: Minimizing Anxiety and Maximizing Joy in Your Writing with Olivia Dade

Our November 15th monthly meeting will start with a workshop presented by author Olivia Dade on Before You Quit: Minimizing Anxiety and Maximizing Joy in Your Writing, which will be followed by our monthly meeting.

Olivia Dade author photoWorkshop Description: I’ve struggled with anxiety for most of my life, although I didn’t recognize it as such until I began writing—most notably, when I spent over a month in 2016 frozen by worry, watching HGTV instead of meeting my deadlines. And once I finally completed my contract, I thought hard about how I could ensure that didn’t happen again. I began to study the conditions under which I wrote most easily and happily, and then I considered whether I could feasibly recreate those conditions in future contracts and/or in self-publishing. After creating a plan that better met my needs, I began writing again and found the process much, much more joyful.

If you’re struggling too, you may want to study your own triggers and needs before creating a similar plan—so you can (hopefully) find yourself writing with more ease and less anxiety, rather than quitting the profession entirely. And if that’s what you want, I’m here to help!

Olivia’s workshop will start on Zoom at 1pm. Virtual doors will open at 12:45pm. The Zoom meeting info is available to members and will be posted in the NERW Facebook Group and NERW email forum. You can join NERW for the remainder of 2020 for only $5, our usual guest fee! Please reach out to Alexa Rowan at president@nerw.org with any questions.

Bio: Olivia Dade grew up an undeniable nerd, prone to ignoring the world around her as she read any book she could find. Her favorites, though, were always, always romances. As an adult, she earned an M.A. in American history and worked in a variety of jobs that required the donning of actual pants: Colonial Williamsburg interpreter, high school teacher, academic tutor, and (of course) librarian. Now, however, she has finally achieved her lifelong goal of wearing pajamas all day as a hermit-like writer and enthusiastic hag. She currently lives outside Stockholm with her patient Swedish husband, their whip-smart daughter, and the family’s ever-burgeoning collection of books.

It’s Official—NECRWA Is Now New England Romance Writers!

We are thrilled to announce that, effective October 1, 2020, we have disaffiliated from Romance Writers of America (RWA) and are now operating as an independent tax-exempt romance writing organization under the name New England Romance Writers (NERW). NERW will continue to serve our members through education, networking, and advocacy, and will continue to educate the public about the breadth and diversity of the romance genre.

NERW’s disaffiliation from RWA is a major milestone for our organization, which had been an RWA chapter since 1987. We began discussing our future in January 2020, voted in March 2020 to disaffiliate from RWA by no later than September 30, 2020, and are now fully separated from RWA. This step represents many months of hard work and steadfast leadership by our present and former officers and directors.

NERW is proud that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is a cornerstone of our newly revised bylaws, mission, and values. But our journey isn’t over. Our leaders and members will be continuing our efforts to embed DEI within and throughout the organization.

We look forward to welcoming back former members and to meeting everyone newly joining us. If you write romance, you are invited to join NERW, regardless of your race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, body size, age, religion, ancestry, national or ethnic origin, immigration status, employment status, marital status, pregnancy status, ability or disability, genetic information, veteran status, socioeconomic status, and political affiliation. Give our friendly and knowledgeable community a try—dues for the remainder of 2020 are only $5. We hope to see you at one of our virtual meetings soon!

To learn more, visit our new website at https://www.nerw.org. You can receive important announcements by joining our interim email loop at https://groups.io/g/NERW-Interim, following us on Twitter at @NERomWriters, and liking our Facebook Page at @NERomWriters. Please reach out to NERW President Alexa Rowan with questions at president@nerw.org.

October 18, 2020 Meeting – Five SEO Wins for Authors with Sarah Cassell

Our October 18th monthly meeting will start with a workshop presented by digital marketer Sarah Cassell on Five SEO Wins for Authors, which will be followed by our monthly meeting.

Sarah Cassell headshotWorkshop Description: Search Engine Optimization. It’s an effective way to improve your web traffic. But when it comes down to it, where should we even start, what has the most impact and–how do you know if you’re even doing it right? In this workshop we’ll review five easy ways you can get more search traffic to your website, regardless of your web skill level.

This workshop is for you if you …

  • have a website or plan to launch a website soon
  • write, publish and manage your own website content (or plan to)
  • want to improve traffic on your site, or grow your readership online

Pre-workshop questions for consideration:

  • Who do you see as the audience of your website? (i.e. who do you want to visit your site?)
  • Why would this audience come to your site? What are you offering that is unique, special or of value to this audience?
  • What do you hope this audience learns on your website?
  • What action(s) do you hope this audience takes on your website?
  • If you were searching for a website like yours, what keywords or brief phrases might you enter into search?
  • Now, spend 5-10 minutes brainstorming. What additional keywords or phrases might someone use to find your content?
  • Go incognito on your browser and then Google those phrases and keywords. Does your site appear?
The workshop will start on Zoom at 1pm. The Zoom meeting info has also been posted in the NECRWA Facebook Group, the NECRWA chapter forum on RWA, and will be posted in the new NERW Facebook Group and NERW email forum after October 1st. Virtual doors will open at 12:45pm. Please reach out to Alexa Rowan at president@necrwa.org with any questions.

Bio: For more than a decade, Sarah Cassell has weathered the tides of digital marketing. In this fast-paced growing world of technology, Sarah is passionate about sharing what she’s learned with others to help them build authentic and meaningful relationships with their audiences. She is the Director of Digital Marketing at City Year, a national nonprofit, where she designs, builds and implements marketing and advertising strategies. She has experience managing social media for both large and small nonprofits and experience managing email and loves to scroll through Instagram every spare minute she has. She holds a Bachelor’s in Journalism from Ohio University and a Master’s in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Learn more about Sarah at sacassell.com.

September 20, 2020 Meeting – Top Ten Tips for Tightening Tension with Molly O’Keefe

Our September 20th monthly meeting will start with a workshop presented by Molly O’Keefe on Top Ten Tips for Tighter Tension, which will be followed by our monthly chapter business meeting.
Headshot of author Molly O'KeefeWorkshop description: Tension is what keeps pages turning and makes a book of any genre satisfying. The tighter the tension, the more rewarding the ending. Incorporating internal and external tension into your characters and plot at every stage of writing from brainstorming to editing will keep the pages turning and the books selling. In this highly interactive workshop we’ll discuss how to create characters that create tension, how to manage backstory and plot and what are the ten best ways to keep the tension as tight as possible in your manuscript.
The workshop will start on Zoom at 1pm. The Zoom meeting info has also been posted in the NECRWA Facebook Group and the NECRWA chapter forum on RWA. Virtual doors will open at 12:45pm. Please reach out to Alexa Rowan at president@necrwa.org with any questions.

BIO: Molly O’Keefe is the USA Today Bestselling author of over 50 romance novels. She’s won two RITA Awards and four RT Reviewers Choice Awards. She also writes USA Today Bestselling women’s fiction under the name Molly Fader. Her books have been selected book club picks by Women’s Day Magazine and the Brenda Novak book club. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband, two kids and the largest heap of dirty laundry in North America.

Learn more at Molly O’Keefe’s website.

Please note that NECRWA meetings are online.