Tag Archives: Windy City RWA

January Dare to SOAR – Author Spotlight: Allie Pleiter

Set * Overcome * Achieve * Receive

January – February

When you commit to your dreams, it takes courage and perseverance. Windy City is committed to help and support you to make your dreams soar.

Our January Dare to SOAR participants!

Nicole Leiren
Kelly Garcia
Sonali Dev
Sherry Weddle
R. Q. Bell
Kelly Duff
Katrina Bauer
Jenna DePaul
Vanessa M. Knight
Savannah Reynard* (raffle winner)
Chris Foutris
Lynne Wall
Cheryl Huth
j. leigh bailey
Stephanie Scott

Author Spotlight

author-photo

Allie Pleiter

 Allie_BookCover_FINALSpend even five minutes with Allie Pleiter, and you’ll learn about knitting.  She’s passionate about the craft, will teach anyone who wants to learn, and includes knitting characters in many of her stories.  Outside of her books, Allie writes a knitting/travel blog called DestiKNITions which features the many yarn shops Allie finds on her frequent travels for book research, conference teaching, and promotion.  She also runs a “Prayer Shawl Ministry” at her church, where volunteers knit soft, fluffy shawls that receive prayers over them before they are sent to people in need of healing or comfort.  The group she started has given out over 250 shawls at last count.RANCHER BT1 cover

“To me, knitting is the perfect refreshment from writing.  It’s creative, tactile, and peaceful.  No words and no screens are involved.  I’ve made friends all over the country from knitting.  I don’t sit still very well, so knitting helps me stay focused if I’m in a lecture, traveling, in a long meeting, or waiting for an appointment.  I call it ‘my socially acceptable fidgeting’.”

Simply put, Allie Pleiter is a Windy City author who spins more than one kind of yarn!

Allie Pleiter is wonderful speaker and can give workshops on a variety of topics. Here are just a few examples. For a complete listing check out her website – http://alliepleiter.com/speaking.html

  • The Five Friends Every Writer Needs

    A touching, tickling look at the role of friends in every writer’s life

  • Aunt Allie’s Guide to Level-Headed Hysteria

    How not to let life’s roller-coaster take you for a ride

  • The Chunky Method of Time Management

    Learn how to get “chunky” about your time and watch your writing productivity rise and stress decrease

  • How to WRITE When Everything Goes WRONG

    How to muck through the mire without losing your muse

  • Dynamic Dialogue

    Strategies for getting the most out of what your characters say–and how they say it

  • Perfect Pairings

    How to build characters who capture the hearts of your readers, your editors, and each other

To contact Allie: allie@alliepleiter.com

Dare to SOAR: Oct – Nov & Nov – Dec

 Set * Overcome * Achieve * Receive

 

October – November & November – December


As we say farewell to 2015, what will you take with you the most? What is your writing highlight? Maybe it was to finish a novel or a chapter or a scene. Maybe it was to begin to write something, anything at all. Whatever it is, celebrate your strengths and your accomplishments whatever they may be, then get ready to stretch a little or a lot further next year. Set your sights on something wonderful and SOAR!

Our October & November Dare to SOAR participants!

 

Sherry Weddle
Raven Q. Bell

Michelle Blackstone
Katrina Bauer
Jan Moretti
Robin Skylar
Helen Scott

 

Special kudos to our remote Dare to SOAR participants:

 

Cici Edward
Martha Burch

 

Keep dreaming and doing and remember:

 

New Year’s Day. A fresh start. A new chapter in life waiting to be written. New questions to be asked, embraced, and loved. Answers to be discovered and then lived in this transformative year of delight and self-discovery. Today carve out a quiet interlude for yourself in which to dream, pen in hand. Only dreams give birth to change.
 

Dare to SOAR: Sept – Oct

Set * Overcome * Achieve * Receive

September – October

I’ve read a couple of things lately that made me think of these lyrics.

There’s always gonna be another mountain. I’m always gonna wanna make it move. Always gonna be a uphill battle. Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose. Ain’t about how fast I get there. Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side. It’s the climb.

Sometimes, we stare so hard at that ultimate goal that we forget to appreciate where we stand and all the wonderful things, people, and events around us. So, as you set your goals for the next couple of months, remember to take a deep breath in and remain in the present. Look at the joy and fulfillment you’re getting everyday in your writing world, whether it’s meeting with a writer friend, talking shop at a meeting, or simply putting new words on the page. It’s just as much about the journey as it is the goal.

Our September Dare to SOAR participants!

Nicole Leiren
Denise DiLeo
Livia Grant
Sherry Weddle
Raven Q. Bell

Michelle Blackstone
Katrina Bauer

Special kudos to our remote Dare to SOAR participants:

Cici Edward
Martha Burch
Melonie Johnson
Savannah Reynard

Keep dreaming and doing and remember:

“There was a moment when I changed from an amateur to a professional. I assumed the burden of a profession, which is to write even when you don’t want to, don’t much like what you’re writing, and aren’t writing particularly well”
— Dame Agatha Christie –

Dare to SOAR: May – June & June – July

Set * Overcome * Achieve * Receive

May – June & June – July

Make your own rules. Don’t compare yourself to others. Define what success means to you and go for it!

Our May & June Dare to SOAR participants!

Patricia R
Robin Skylar
Stephanie Scott
Susan Gibberman
Cindy Maday
Savannah Reynard
Sherry Weddle
R.Q. Bell
Chris Foutris
j. leigh bailey
Michelle Blackstone
Katrina Bauer

Special kudos to our remote Dare to SOAR participants:

Cici Edward
Martha Burch
Melonie Johnson

Keep dreaming and doing and remember:

Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.” – Anne Sweeney

Dare to SOAR: April – May

 Set * Overcome * Achieve * Receive

April – May

Sometimes, it takes practice stepping out of our comfort zone, putting your words out there for all to see and criticize and judge. If you find that hard, take baby steps. There are lots of ways you can start to share your words with the world. Maybe you want to post a few pictures and blog about it. Maybe you want to write some poetry and put that out there. Maybe you want to share some book reviews. When you start to put your words, your comments, your opinions out there, it can make you feel raw and vulnerable because no one wants to make a silly mistake or look stupid, but you’ve got to try. You’ve got to start somewhere. Be brave and start small.

Our April Dare to SOAR participants!

Katrina Bauer
Robin Skylar
Stephanie Scott
Susan Gibberman
Cindy Maday
Savannah Reynard
Sherry Weddle
R.Q. Bell
Livia Grant
Aimee Kennedy

Special kudos to our remote Dare to SOAR participants:

Cici Edward
Melonie Johnson

And our SOARING member of the month is:

Susan Gibberman w/a Rachael Passan

susanpippinFirst and foremost, I’m a movie fan.  Have been for all of my life (and I won’t say how long that’s been).

I’m working on the first book in a mystery series, set in present day (mythical) Majestic, California, home to Majestic Studios and some great classic films.

Special Projects Librarian (Ms.) Sydney Blaine is called upon to fact-check a new book out about the murder of Majestic’s top star, Colin Hoskyns, who was murdered on Christmas Eve 1943. Writer Eliot Carpenter thinks he doesn’t need her help. What he doesn’t know (yet) is that Syndey lives in the house where the murder was committed, along with two ghosts:  Dallas Syms, a former Majestic cowboy/stuntman, and Colin himself, who is torn between finally absolving the man everyone thought responsible for his death and keeping up the mystique of being one of the great unsolved Hollywood mysteries.

(And, because many ask, that’s my fuzzy nephew Pippin with me in the picture.)

Keep dreaming and doing and remember:

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
Neil Gaiman


2014 – 2015 Good News!

Large Blog ImageGood News
From
Windy City Romance Writers

Librarian of the Year:

This year we’re dedicating this award to Cathie Linz, author and librarian, good friend, and a treasure to us all.

Rita Nominees:
Best First Book
A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev
Kensington Publishing

Run to You by Clara Kensie
Harlequin, TEEN

Young Adult Romance
Run to You by Clara Kensie
Harlequin, TEEN

New Books, April 2014-April 2015 (more or less)

J. Leigh Bailey
Sold her first book, a Young Adult LGBT Romance called Guyliner to Spencer Hill Press. It will release in November 2015. She also signed a three-book deal for her New Adult LGBT Romance Series, Letting Go, to Carina Press. Nobody’s Hero releases April, 2015; Reckless Hope in August, 2015, and the third book, title and release date TBD. Her Young Adult LGBT romance MS, “Do-Gooder,” finalled in the Nola Stars Suzanna Contest.

Wendy Byrne
Has four books out: Hard to Kill, August, 2014, Hard to Trust, November, 2014, and Hard to Stop, March, 2015, all from Gemma Halliday Publishing. And, The Millionaire’s Deception, Entangled Publishing, February, 2015.

Mary Jo Burke
Has two books published: Cupid’s Busted Arrow, January 2015, The Wild Rose Press, and Spicing Up Trouble, February 2015, Gemma Halliday Publishing

Paul Calhoun
Married Rachel Revilla Calhoun on May 17, 2014. At Spring Fling nine agents or editors asked for submissions of “Chocolate Covered Potato Chips,” a contemporary romantic comedy.

Dyanne Davis
Published Frog Prince, in July 2014 through WD Publishing.

Sonali Dev
A Bollywood Affair, A Rita Nominee for Best First Book, won the ALA Reading List Award for best romance, was on Library Journal’s and NPR’s lists of Best Books of 2014, and is an RT Reviewer Choice Award nominee and winner of the RT Seal of Excellence. It was also on ‘Best Of’ lists on Kirkus Reviews, Smexy Books, Heroes and Heartbreakers, All About Romance, Book Riot and several independent blogs. Her second book, The Bollywood Bride, releases in September 2015 also from Kensington.

Cici Edward
Possession of the Heart, Book 1 in The Possession Series, came out in 2015, with three more to come in the series of contemporary ghost stories.

Kelly Garcia
Her Young Adult manuscript, “A is for Atherton,” finalled in the Get Your Stiletto in the Door contest, Contemporary Romance Writers Chapter of RWA, and in the Suzannah, NOLA Chapter RWA.

Blythe Gifford
The Witch Finder, Blythe’s self-published book, was named Book of the Month for February, 2015, by The Review.
Whispers at Court, the second of her Royal Wedding stories, will be released in June, 2015, by Harlequin Historical. The first book, Secrets at Court, was on Wendy the Super Librarian’s Honorable Mention list for Best of the Year (2014). She called it “one of the best done medievals I’ve read in a long time.”

Livia Grant
Signed her first publishing deal with Blushing Books in 2014 and had 3 full length erotic romance novels released in 2014: Wanting it All, Passion Series Book One, August, Securing it All, Passion Series Book Two, September, and Life’s Unexpected Gifts, Corbin’s Bend Series, in December.

Clara Kensie
The first book in her series, Run to You, finalled in two Rita categories: Young Adult Romance and Best First Book. The series was also named in RT Magazine Editor’s Picks – Best Books of 2014. The series was originally published in installments, and Harlequin Teen in May will compile it in two books with new titles: Deception So Deadly and Deception So Dark.

Vanessa M. Knight
Her first book, Second Time’s the Charm, a contemporary romance with suspense elements, was released in April 2014. The second in the Chicago’s Finest series, Stark Raving Mad, comes out this summer from MuseItUp Publishing.

Nicole Lieren
Nicole has signed a two-book contemporary-romance deal for her Heroes of the Night Series with Gemma Halliday Publishing. More than One Night will be out in the fall.

Cathie Linz writing as Cat Devon
Tall, Dark and Immortal in her Entity Series will be out in September 2015.

Noirin Leahy Mele
Her tale of Ireland, Dancing in the Heather, is available on Amazon.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Heroes Are My Weakness came out in August 2014.

Allie Pleiter
Allie had four books released: The Lawman’s Oklahoma Sweetheart, A Heart to Heal,Saved by the Fireman, and Small-Town Fireman. Two of her 2014 books, A Heart to Heal and Saved by the Fireman, received 4.5 stars and Top Picks from RT Magazine. She received the Readers Crown Award for The Fireman’s Homecoming and was a double finalist in the Love Inspired category of the RT Reviewers Choice Award. She also released her first independently published non-fiction: THE CHUNKY METHOD HANDBOOK: Your Step-by-Step Plan to WRITE THAT BOOK Even When Life Gets in the Way

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 2015.

Savannah Reynard
Stolen Child, Book 1 in her fantasy romance trilogy will be released in 2015 through Storyvixen Press LTD.

Elizabeth Rose
Was a finalist in the Florida Romance Writers’ Golden Palm Contest in the Young Adult category with her paranormal book, Mary, Mary, scheduled for an April release.
The Border Lords and Ladies boxed set made Amazon’s best seller’s list.
Liz has published six books in the Tarnished Saints’ Series and three in the Cowboys of the Old West Series. Her Western novellas have been in the Amazon Top 100 list (Western category). She is in the process of putting all her books into print, including the series, The Daughters of the Dagger; and MadManMacKeefe.
Her 40th book, The Gunslinger, was just released, and she has a new paranormal Gnarled Nursery Rhymes Series for young adults out this month.

Stephanie Scott
For her manuscript “Alternations,” Stephanie received the Heart of Denver RWA 2014 Molly Award First Place Winner, Young Adult category; and was a finalist in the Georgia RWA 2014 Maggie Unpublished contest, Young Adult category

Denise Swanson
Had three books published in the last year: Murder of a Needled Knitter, A Scumble River Mystery, from Penguin/NAL; Dying for a Cupcake, a Devereaux’s Dime Store Mystery, also from Penguin; and Good Girl Overboard, a Change of Heart series romance from Curtis Brown Unlimited.

Kathy Thigpen
Writing as Regena Bryant, Kathy’s Love’s Remnant was published by Willow Bend Books in September 2014. Kathy has been honored with an Orchid Award for excellence in the arts and entertainment field by the West Suburban Chicago Chapter of Top Ladies of Distinction.

Barb Valentin
Her first book in the Assignment: Romance series , False Start, was published by Gemma Halliday Publishing in October. It also received an Honorable Mention in the Illinois Women’s Press Association’s annual communications competition.

Ann Marie Walker
RT Magazine gave their highest rating to her and her writing partner, Amy K. Rogers, for their debut novel, Remind Me, in the Chasing Fire Series. The contemporary romance from Berkley is out this month.

Margaret Watson
To catch up: In The Donovan Family Series, Watch Me and Find Me came out in December 2013 and Love Me in January 2014. Trust Me came out in November 2014 and Cover Me will be out this month.

Paula White
For those of us who don’t know, Paula is a fifth-generation textile artist and has participated in several mixed media art installations. Her art quilt in honor of her late aunt will go up for auction, and the proceeds will be used to fight domestic violence. Check with Paula for information on display venues. An acquisitions editor at Simon & Schuster is interested in a book proposal about this as well.

Dare to SOAR: March – April

 Set * Overcome * Achieve * Receive

March – April

brave“Your Life Begins, at the End of Your Comfort Zone.” As writers, we often have to step out of that warm and fuzzy zone in order to be successful. So, whether it’s digging deep and putting your soul on the page, sending out that requested manuscript, or pushing send on an important email, I challenge you to do it. I challenge you to take that step beyond your comfort zone. To take every opportunity you can from this moment forward to connect, to grow, to share, to make every moment count. To be brave and Dare to SOAR.

Our March Dare to SOAR participants!

Katrina Bauer
Robin Skylar
Stephanie Scott
Susan Gibberman
Cindy Maday
Savannah Reynard
Sherry Weddle
Jenna DePaul
j. leigh bailey

Special kudos to our remote Dare to SOAR participants:

Martha Burch
Cici Edward
Melonie Johnson

And our SOARING member of the month is:

J. C. DePaul

Jess n Me 10-2013 Busy mom. Oh wait that’s redundant. What mom isn’t busy?
Not yet published author. YET. Key word. I will be published someday.
Avid reader. Lover of the romance genre. Six year member or RWA. Five Year member of Windy City RWA. Woo Hoo! Always wanted to be like Cathie Linz, Sandra Brown, or Jude Deveraux when I grew up. A writer/Published author. Got older and put the dream of writing on a shelf in favor of being a grown up with a job and family. Had an epiphany at thirty-nine a few months after my father died. Why wait? Live your dreams now. And so I am. Dare to Soar!

Keep dreaming and doing and remember:

 Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~ Marianne Williamson

Dare to SOAR: February – March

 Set * Overcome * Achieve * Receive

February – March
Sometimes, we can’t achieve our goals. Sometimes, life gets in the way and we can barely keep up. Sometimes, the real characters in our life need more of our attention than the made up ones and that’s okay. Whatever the reason, find your path and begin again and again and again. Never give up.

Our February Dare to SOAR participants!

Katrina Bauer
Robin Skylar
R. Q. Bell
Savannah Reynard
Sherry Weddle
Jenna DePaul
Sonali Dev

Special kudos to our remote Dare to SOAR participants:

Martha Burch
Amy Alessio

And our SOARING member of the month is:

Sonali Dev

Sonali Dev

Sonali Dev’s first literary work was a play about mistaken identities performed at her neighborhood Diwali extravaganza in Mumbai. She was eight years old. Despite this early success, Sonali spent the next few decades getting degrees in architecture and writing, migrating across the globe, and starting a family while writing for magazines and websites. With the advent of her first gray hair her mad love for telling stories returned full force, and she now combines it with her insights into Indian culture to conjure up stories that make a mad tangle with her life as supermom, domestic goddess, and world traveler.

Sonali lives in the Chicago suburbs with her very patient and often amused husband and two teens who demand both patience and humor, and the world’s most perfect dog.

Sonali’s debut novel, A Bollywood Affair, was on Library Journal’s and NPR’s list of Best Books of 2014, it won the American Library Association’s award for best romance, and is an RT Reviewer Choice Award Nominee and winner of the RT Seal of Excellence. It was recommended by USA Today as a ‘must-read romance’ and hailed by NPR.org as a ‘stunning debut’. She is represented by the wonderful Claudia Cross at Folio Literary Agency.

Keep dreaming and doing and remember:

 

Dare to SOAR: January – February

 Set * Overcome * Achieve * Receive

January – February
What has 2015 got in store for you? Whatever you make of it! Do you need to finish that first book? Revise the second? Get your butt in the chair again? There’s no time like the present! Make sure you’re not only setting your sights on something but that you’re celebrating the small milestones, the little things, finding “the win” in each day. Every step towards success is an important one no matter how small.

Our January Dare to SOAR participants!

Cheryl Huth
Cindy Maday
Betsy Dudak
Katrina Bauer
Robin Skylar
Raven Q. Bell
Savannah Reynard
Sherry Weddle
Jenna DePaul
J. Leigh Bailey
Erik Nelson
Stephanie Scott
P.E Calhoun
Nicole Leiren

Special kudos to our remote Dare to SOAR participant:

Martha Burch

And our SOARING member of the month is:

Nicole Leiren

Nicole-Leiren-268x300I have been reading for as long as I can remember. For me, words take me away to other places where stories play out in the theater of my mind. At a young age, I decided I wanted to put my feelings, my stories, MY words onto paper. Starting with short little stories about a fictional character named, Wee Willy Ant…a character my dad used to tell me stories about as a child. In junior high and high school, my words turned towards poetry as a way to order and express all of the many emotions common to this pivotal period in our lives.

One day, quite by accident, I discovered the beautiful world of fanfiction. As a reader, I soaked up story after story until ideas of my own started forming and running like a ticker tape parade through my brain. With more than a little trepidation, I began to translate the stories I saw so vividly in my head into written words.

As I started posting the chapters online, something amazing happened…reviews started coming in. Readers were letting me know they enjoyed not only what I had to say, but how I said it…the words! I discovered this brought me immense pleasure…knowing what I shared affected others and elicited emotion. I continued writing fanfiction in both the Star Trek Voyager genre as well as Princess Diaries, getting to know my readers and enjoying the interaction we shared with each other about the stories.

One day, I decided, while I enjoyed playing with the characters other people had created, maybe it was time I tried my hand at creating my own. So with the smallest of ideas I started work on my first original novel.

Though there were many stops and starts in the process, I’m a firm believer it is important to finish what you start! To help me finish my novel and learn more about the world of publishing, I joined the Windy City Romance Writers of America in 2011. Surrounded by fellow authors, both aspiring and published, provided the necessary motivation to finish the first draft in December 2012.

Many steps remain in my writing journey and I’m excited about the possibilities. I look forward to not only taking those steps, but sharing them and the words making them possible with you!

Thank you!

Nicole Leiren

Romancing Real World Heroines … One Mystery at a Time

Keep dreaming and doing and remember:

There is freedom waiting for you, on the breezes of the sky, and you ask, “What if I fall?” Oh but my darling, what if you fly? ~e.h.

Dare to SOAR: October – November

 Set * Overcome * Achieve * Receive

October – November
All Hallows Eve. Thanksgiving. The Holiday Season. How will you find time to write? Complete balance in all aspects of life appears to be ever elusive, so enjoy your journey. Find time for family, for yourself, for your passion, but be present always. Be in the moment. Live it, breathe it, experience it. You won’t regret it!

Our October Dare to SOAR participants!

Cindy Maday
Livia Grant
Katrina Bauer
Paula White
Raven Q. Bell
Savannah Reynard
Sherry Weddle
Stephanie Scott
Kelly Williams
Jenna Depaul
Patricia Ruocco
J.Leigh Bailey
Robin Kuss
Jan Moretti
Chris Foutris

And our SOARING member of the month is:

Cindy Maday

scan0005Hi. I’m Cindy Maday and I’m an aspiring author. My writing career began in 2003, while reading the Da Vinci Code. When researching items in the book got my curiosity up, a story flashed through my mind like a movie. I mentioned the story to one of my friends while out one night and she shocked me and said she wanted to read the book. I’ve always loved to write to the point that I spent my summers when I was a child doing research papers to my son’s disgust. While writing that first book I bought books on writing and discovered RWA and joined the Windy City Chapter. Through the years I’ve taken numerous courses and have written about ten novels now.  I am a total panster and I delight when my characters surprise me with a unexpected turn. I’m thrilled to be recognized on the Dare to Soar and soar I did over the past few weeks. Thank you and good luck to everyone in in their own pursuit of writing. Hope you have as much fun as I do.


Keep dreaming and doing and remember:

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars. ~Les Brown