Tag Archives: SOAR

October Spotlight: Amy Alessio

Set * Overcome * Achieve * Receive

October – November

You may encounter defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.

Maya Angelou

 

Our October Dare to SOAR participants!

J.C. DePaul
Sherry Weddle
Katrina Bauer
R.Q. Bell 
Michele
j. leigh bailey

Author Spotlight

Amy Alessio

Amy Alessio is an award-winning librarian (a former WC librarian of the year!) with a black belt in karate. Her latest reference book is the co-authored of A Year of Fandom Fun (American Library Association, 2017). Her fiction includes the Amazon bestselling Alana O’Neill mysteries with vintage recipes, including the 2017 Struck by Shillelagh. She teaches graduate-level young adult literature and webinars on book trends and social media. She enjoys helping authors find readers through her work at AuthorRx and she is a romance reviewer for Booklist. Her husband and two sons keep life moving fast. You can see them on their live cooking videos.
As Lia Violet, she’s been having fun writing romantic erotica with Ginger Leone since February. They have two series and a review blog. Their latest searing collection, Autumn Fever, the third in their Seasons of Three series, was published on Halloween, 2017.
Connect with Amy: www.amyalessio.com
Lia Violet & Ginger Leone review blog: https://www.facebook.com/QuickieRomanceReviews/

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September Spotlight: Livia Grant

Set * Overcome * Achieve * Receive

September – October
You have to trust in something – your gut,destiny,life, karma,whatever.
This approach has never let me down, and has made all the difference in my life. – Steve Jobs

 

Our September Dare to SOAR participants!

Susan Gibberman
J.C. DePaul
Cindy Maday
Sherry Weddle
Katrina Bauer
j. leigh bailey
Stephanie Scott
Kelly Garcia
Michelle Blackstone
Carmella A. Martino

 Author Spotlight

Livia Grant

USA Today bestselling author Livia Grant lives in Chicago with her husband and two sons… one a teenager, the other a furry rescue dog named Max. She is blessed to have traveled extensively and as much as she loves to visit places around the globe, the Midwest and its changing seasons will always be home. Livia started writing when she felt like she finally had the life experience to write a riveting story that she hopes her readers won’t be able to put down. Livia’s fans appreciate her deep character driven plots, often rooted in an ensemble cast where the friendships are as important as the romance… well, almost.

Livia will be releasing her 16th book in October. It’s the next installment of her Black Light series.

 

Connect with Livia:

Facebook: https://facebook.com/lb.grant.9

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LBGrantAuthor

Email: lb.grant@yahoo.com or livia@liviagrant.com

Instagram: @liviagrantauthor

 

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August Spotlight: D.L. Larson

Set * Overcome * Achieve * Receive

August – September

 

However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope
— Stephen Hawkins

 

Author Spotlight

D.L. Larson

What do you do when you believe you are headed for the big city only to fall in love with a farm boy? You say, “Good bye, city life, and bloom where you are planted.”

I thought writing was something other people did, not me. I wrote news articles for a lady’s group, I chartered another organization in my hometown and wrote the constitution for it. I became a state officer in that women’s group and used my writing often. I wrote Christmas scripts for church, never believing I was being a writer. I stumbled upon my first paying job. A woman called and asked me to write a poem for her organization. I wrote the poem and got paid. I still have the wooden chest I purchased with the money I received.

By the time my third child was born I had a yearning to write, really write. I went back to school thinking I was pretty rusty with the English language. Seemed I remembered a great deal and won my first awards in writing fiction.

I completed my first manuscript in 1992 – I know, I’m really old! My daughter had just graduated from high school.  It wasn’t until my youngest graduated from college did I sell my first book. I waited and waited for the reviews to come out. Nothing happened. My publisher promised me she had sent my book on months ago. I finally grew brave enough to call Midwest Book Review and asked about the delay. They had misplaced my book. They apologized and within a week I received a personal note and a great review. Nine months had gone by and I never entered that book into any contests. I would like a do-over, if I could …

My other two books, historical fiction, received a few awards. Promises To Keep won a Reader’s Choice Award in 2008, and Promises My Love was in the top fifteen finalists in 2014 in the ILA Soon To Be Famous Illinois Writer Contest.

My goal is to continue writing even as life gets in the way. Currently I’m working on a sci-fi romance. When I get that first chapter to behave and say what I want it to say … I’ll move on to publishing.

My office is littered with my historical romance series along with my sci-fi series. Long ago I prayed for something meaningful to write about and the good Lord delivered. I have seven books in my historical series complete ~ waiting for me to do something with them. Plus my sci-fi series has four and one still a WIP… if only my grandkids weren’t so darn cute … I’d be sooo much more productive.

Writing is a journey. So don’t be discouraged if your writing takes a backseat now and then. I’m still working my way up the mountain.

DL Larson

 

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July Spotlight: Blythe Gifford

Set * Overcome * Achieve * Receive

July – August

Writing has freed me from the despair of living. ~ Anita Brookner

 

Our July Dare to SOAR participants!

 

Any one who wrote a paragraph or a page or a word on a page.

Anyone who sat their butt in the chair and put their fingers to the keys

and attempted to create something original.

Anyone who deleted words and rewrote them. Added a comma and took it out again.

Changed giggled to laughed and then laughed back to giggled.

Anyone who made any effort at all toward their dream of dreams.

Even if it was the tiniest of a tiny baby step. However big or small.

That step matters.

Dare to Dream.

Dare to Soar.

 

Author Spotlight

Blythe Gifford

After many years in public relations, advertising and marketing, Blythe Gifford started writing seriously after a corporate layoff. Ten years and one layoff later, she became an overnight success when she sold her first book to the Harlequin Historical line.

The Chicago Tribune has called her work “the perfect balance between history and romance.”

Set primarily in in England and on the Scottish Borders, most of her books incorporate real historical events and characters.  RUMORS AT COURT, her May release from Harlequin Historical, is her third Royal Wedding Story.  Like SECRETS AT COURT and WHISPERS AT COURT, it takes place against the backdrop of the weddings and marriages of the children of the medieval English King Edward III.

A long time RWA member, Blythe will be attending her 24th RWA National Conference this year.She is lobbying for a special pin in honor of her 25th!

For more information, visit www.blythegifford.com, www.facebook.com/BlytheGifford, www.twitter.com/BlytheGifford, www.pinterest.com/BlytheGifford, or www.instagram.com/blythegifford/

 

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June Spotlight: Mary Jo Burke

Set * Overcome * Achieve * Receive

 

June – July
 
The Dearest ones of time, the strongest friends of the soul – Books.
Emily Dickinson

 

Our June Dare to SOAR participants!
Melonie Johnson
Patricia Ruocco
Kelly Garcia
Amy Alessio
Cindy Maday
j. leigh bailey
Stephanie Scott
Chris Foutris
Katrina Bauer
R.Q. Bell
Savannah Reynard

 

Author Spotlight

Mary Jo Burke

Mary Jo is a USA Today bestselling author and 2014 WRWDC Marlene Award winner. She writes whatever pops into her head including paranormal, fantasy, romance, and mystery stories. Long ago, she decided to put the voices bouncing around in her imagination to work. She has volunteered from Girl Scout cookie mom to softball concession stand coordinator and everything in between. Being an eternal pessimist and multi-tasker helps Mary Jo put her characters in desperate situations. She reads, likes her kids, and is currently working on her next project. For more, please visit www.maryjoburke.com.

 

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May Spotlight: Shelley Tracy

Set * Overcome * Achieve * Receive

 

May – June

 

I cannot live without books- Thomas Jefferson

 

Our May Dare to SOAR participants!

 

Susan Gibberman
J.C. DePaul
Cindy Maday
Sherry Weddle
Katrina Bauer
R.Q. Bell
Stephanie Scott

 

Author Spotlight

 

 

Shelley Tracy

 

Shelley Tracy is a writer, mother, grandmother, and a retired teacher. She is happiest when she is spoiling her grandchildren or writing. Currently, she is working on another paranormal story.
 

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June Dare to SOAR – Spotlight: Pauline Gruber

Set*Overcome*Achieve*Receive

 

June – July

 

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Our JUNE Dare to SOAR participants!

 

Michelle Blackstone
Sherry Weddle
Stephanie Scott
R.Q. Bell
Savannah Reynard
Kelly Garcia
Chris F.
Cindy Mayday

 

Author Spotlight

Pauline - Color (3 of 6)

Pauline Gruber

Pauline Gruber is a self-professed music junkie, cat wrangler, and travel nut. She went to Paris in the 90’s where she discovered a love of three things: croissants, old cathedrals, and gargoyles. Deciding that the paranormal world could use a new kind of hero, Pauline translated her fascination with the protective gargoyle into a suspenseful love story. She is the author of the series: The Girl and the Raven, The Girl and the Gargoyle, and the forthcoming novel, The Girl and the Demon. By day, Pauline is a legal assistant for a Chicago law firm where she steals identities and incorporates them into her books. If you tell anyone, she’ll deny, deny, deny.

Pauline lives outside of Chicago with her precocious black cats and impressive gargoyle collection.

For more information about the author, her novels, and book signings please visit: www.paulinegruber.com.

The Girl and the Raven Cover

Why do I write paranormal fiction?

I write what I like to read, watch on TV and at the movies!

As a kid I remember watching a Dracula movie on TV (my aunt was babysitting and fell asleep on the couch). It scared the bejeesus out of me, so I hid under the coffee table with my hands over my ears while I squeezed my eyes closed. Then I crawled out to watch a few more minutes, before diving to my “safe” place under the table again. This went on until the credits rolled. That’s when my fascination with scary stories began.

Over the years I would add more movies, such as: The Exorcist, The Omen, The Fog, and Poltergeist. And it wasn’t just about movies. I devoured scary books, too! The Shining by Stephen King? I couldn’t put it down—then proceeded to read Christine, The Stand, ‘Salem’s Lot, and Firestarter.

It wasn’t until I read Interview With a Vampire by Anne Rice that I became enthralled with vampires (stoked, no doubt, from watching my first Dracula The Girl and the Gargoyle Cover copymovie so long ago). After Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, there was Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse novels, the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, and The Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine.

Vampires aren’t your thing? The paranormal world has so much more to offer. I’m a big fan of the mermaids in Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown, Cole Gibsen’s novel, Katana, about a teen girl harboring the spirit of a five-hundred-year-old samurai warrior, and the story of angels and monsters as depicted in Laini Taylor’s lush novel, Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

Confession time. I read realistic fiction, too. Have you heard of Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell or Voyage of the Defiance by S.E. Smith? They’re very different books, but equally wonderful. Once I finish writing my current series, I’ll switch gears with my new YA series which—while chock full of drama, dysfunction, and wackiness—has no supernatural elements. Stay tuned!

2015 – 2016 Good News!

Good News From Windy City Romance Writers

 

Librarian of the year:  

Lynne Hall,  Aurora Public Library

Cathie Linz Award Mentors: 

Dyanne Davis, Tracey Devlyn, Fredericka Meiners

Windy City RWA published our first anthology, A Lovely Meal, with our own recipes!

Edited and coordinated by Amy Alessio, Savannah Reynard, Ann Macela, and Mary Welk.

 

Amy Alessio writing as Julia Curtin

Published Thankful for Pie in A Lovely Meal.

Leigh Bailey

Published three New Adult books with Carina Press: Nobody’s Hero, Reckless Hope, and Fight to Forgive.  She also sold two YA books to Dreamspinner Press: Do-Gooder and Guyliner.

Mary Jo Burke

Deadly Bubbles in the Wine will be out in November.

Wendy Byrne

Had two books out with Entangled Publishing in 2015, The Millionaire’s Deception in March and Bad to the Bone in September. The last book in the Hard Targets trilogy, Hard to Stop, came out in March.  She self-published Accused in August.

Dyanne Davis

Has a on-going seven-part series, Lunchtime QuickiesThe Bet, The Date, and The Do Over are available on Amazon and Smashwords. The fourth in the series will be available June 1st of 2016.  “Flight 22” was in A Lovely Meal.

Sonali Dev

Her second book, The Bollywood Bride came out and made Kirkus, Washington Post, Book Riot, and NPR’s best books of the year list. It received a Kirkus star and RT Reviewers Choice award nomination.  A Bollywood Affair was selected as their first Book Club read by the romance bookstore, The Ripped Bodice. Her next book, A Change of Heart, will be released on October 2016.

Tracey Devlyn

Collaborating with Adrienne Giordano and Kelsey Browning, Tracey will release her first contemporary romantic suspense in November 2016. Part of the Steele Ridge series, Loving Deep is the third book. The Beginning (a prequel), Going Hard (Kelsey), and Living Fast (Adrienne) will release October 2016.

Cici Edward

Her short story, “The Last Gift,” The Possession Series was included in A Lovely Meal.  Her first book, Possession of the Heart, will be out at the end if this year.

Kelly Garcia

Her YA contemporary romance, Acing Atherton, did well on the contest scene. It took second place in the Maggies, finaled in the Get Your Stiletto in the Door contest (RWA Contemporary Chapter), finaled in the Suzannah (NOLA Chapter RWA), finaled in the Cleveland Rocks contest, and was selected to participate in Pitch Wars.   She is now represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management.

Susan Gibberman writing as Rachael Passan

Her short story for A Lovely Meal was “Thanksgiving Orphans.”

Blythe Gifford

Whispers at Court, the second of Blythe’s Royal Wedding stories, was released in June, 2015, by Harlequin Historical. The first book, Secrets at Court, was a finalist in the Historical Romance category of the 2014 National Readers’ Choice Awards.  The next book in the series, tentatively titled Rumors at Court, is in the works.

Bonnie Gill

Her debut book Tempting The Light: Legends and Myths Police Squad will be released April 20, 2016, by Soul Mate Publishing.

Livia Grant

Having it All, Book Three in the Passion Series in April and Psychology of Submission, Corben’s Bend Series in June with Blushing Books Publishing.

Self-published are: Blessed Betrayal, Twist Anthology in May ~ Single release in July (novella) ; Dangerous Professions, Sting of Lust Anthology in August (novella)

Six Hours, The More the Merrier Anthology in September (novella); “Finally a Family,” A LovelyMeal novella.

Lyndee Henderson

Won First Place in WisRWAsFabFive Contest for her contemporary story, “Return to Chestnut Ridge.”

Melonie Johnson

“Sometimes You Need a Sexy Scot” is a 2016 Golden Heart Finalist in the contemporary category.  It recently took first place, contemporary, in the Celtic Hearts Golden Claddagh contest, placed second in single title in MoRWA’s Gateway to the Best Contest, tied for second in the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood’s Make It Golden Contest, and was a finalist in the single title category for WisRWA’s Fab 5 Contest (under its original title, Sometimes You Need A Hot Highlander.)

Megan Kelly

Released a contemporary romance, The Wedding Rescue, Love in Little Tree, Book One.  Runaway Bride, Book Two, comes out this summer.

Vanessa Knight

Major Renovations, the first book in the Ritter University series, won first place Novella in International Digital Awards.  Rushing In in the Ritter University series was released in January. Stark Raving Mad in the Chicago’s Finest series was released August 2015 from MuseItUp.  Rushing In is self pubbed.

Nicole Leiren

Remember the Night, Book 2 in the Heroes of the Night series is being released on April 21, 2016.  More than One Night has been nominated for a RONE Award, Contemporary Steamy category.  The RONE Awards are sponsored by InD’Tale Magazine, and the next step is the public voting phase.

Cindy Maday

Published her short story, “A Thanksgiving Caper,” in A Lovely Meal.

Kate Meader

Published several books in the last year. Even the Score (July 2015) and Taking the Score (Feb 2016), both in the Tall, Dark, and Texan series from Entangled Publishing.  Melting Point (Aug 2015) and Playing with Fire (Sep 2015), both in the Hot in Chicago series from Pocket Books.

Playing with Fire received a Top Pick Gold from RT Magazine, a starred review in Publishers Weekly, and was named a Best Book of 2015 by Publishers Weekly and a Best Romance of 2015 by the Washington Post. It also won Best Contemporary, Love and Laughter for the Reviewers Choice Awards, at the RT Book Convention in April 2016.

Kate has also signed another contract with Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster for a series of hockey romances centered around a failing NHL franchise run by three estranged half-sisters.

Fredericka Meiners writing as Ann Macela

Had a short story, “No Pressure,” in A Lovely Meal.

Allie Pleiter

A Heart to Heal won the RT Reviewer’s Choice award in May for Best Love Inspired.  She celebrated the sale of her 1 millionth book world wide this June.  And she released her 25th novel with Harlequin/Love Inspired.  Books released since the last RAD:  A Ranger for the Holidays (Nov 2015),  The Texas Rancher’s Return (Jan 2016), and Coming Home to Texas (Apr 2016).  The Chunky Method Handbook is also available to purchase.

India Powers

India will release Book 1 of her Mageblood Chronicles series, Demon’s Bane, through Three Hats Publishing, LLC. This book was her Golden Heart Final contender in 2013. The historical paranormal romance is expected in the summer of 2016.

Savannah Renard

Published her first paranormal romance story, “Echoes of Time,” in A Lovely Meal.  Stolen Child, Book 1 in her fantasy romance trilogy will be released in 2016 through Storyvixen Press LTD.

Denise Swanson

Had four books and a novella published in the last year:

Murder of an Open Book, A Scumble River Mystery; Between a Book and a Hard Place, a Devereaux’s Dime Store Mystery, both from Penguin Random House.  She indie-pubbed three Change of Heart Series romances:  Lucky Girl Hits the Jackpot, Smart Girl Swept Away, and Sweet Girl Undone.

Barbara Valentin

False Start, Book 1 in the Assignment: Romance series, received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly; in August, PW named her an “Indie Star of 2015.”Help Wanted, Book 2, was published in May and Key Change, Book 3, was published in December, both by Gemma Halliday Publishing.

Lynne Wall

Her story in A Lovely Meal  was “Measuring Excellence.”

CJ Warrant

Her debut novel, Forgetting Jane, a paranormal romantic thriller, is coming out in June of 2016 from Solstice Publishing.  “Sweet Cupids” is in A Lovely Meal.

Margaret Watson

 After writing thirty books for Harlequin, she has been working on a romantic suspense series about a family of siblings in law enforcement, The Donovan Family.  She published three more Donovan Family books in the past year – Cover Me, Protect Me and Save Me – bringing the total for the series to seven titles.  The eighth book will be released this summer.  The first Donovan Family book,  Love Me, was a finalist last year in the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence contest

Sherry Weddle, writing as Sherrill Lee

Published “Christmas Comes Early,” in A Lovely Meal.

 

Dare to SOAR: May – June

Set * Overcome * Achieve * Receive

May – June


Welcome to our first Dare to SOAR post!

Dare to SOAR is Windy City’s focus on goal setting, where we get to support and encourage each other in order to realize our dreams. It all starts with the first step. The goal.

I’d like to give special thanks to Denise Swanson who shared her very own Dare to Soar ideals with Windy City back in January– “Demonstrating inspiration, motivation and perspiration to achieve success,” inspiring Windy City to take it one step further.

Our May Dare to SOAR participants!

Cindy Maday
Erik Nelson
Jenna DePaul
Katrina Bauer
Kelly Garcia
Patricia Ruocco
Raven Q. Bell
Robin Kuss
Savannah Reynard
Sonali Dev
Stephanie Scott

And our SOARING member of the month is:

Stephanie Scott

SSYoung Adult writer represented by Sarah LaPolla of Bradford Literary. I write contemporary YA and wrote a 1960s-set YA romance. Member of Windy City RWA and the YA-RWA chapter. Library Superfan, award-winning TV-binger, and your cat’s new best friend. I love celebrating other writer’s successes!


Keep dreaming and doing and remember:

Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.
~ Mario Andretti