Monday, March 24, 2014

RCRW April 2014 Workshop

Following the 10:00AM General Meeting of the Rose City Romance Writers 

April 12, 2014 
11:00AM- 12:30PM

A Dynamic Presentation by the Oregon Regency Society
Static display of a Regency Era costume displayed on a dress form, a writing slope with quill and ink, a few costuming books and a tea caddy with a tea set, and some period correct fabrics.

sponsored by the Oregon Regency Society

The Oregon Regency Society’s primary aim is to unite the groups and individuals dedicated to the appreciation of Jane Austen, Lord Byron, Beau Brummell, groups for English Country and Regency Dance, people that read and write Regency Romance, costumers specializing in Regency garments, and Historic reenactors and enthusiasts and so much more. We partake in events, workshops and educational opportunities to broaden our view of this all-too-short period in history. We celebrate the customs and costume of the time, and encourage all of our members to bring their own unique knowledge and skills to the table to share with others.;

Visitors Requested Donation of $10

12000 SW 49th Ave, Portland, OR 97219
Room:  ST101 (Science and Technology Building -Room 101- Multimedia Auditorium)

For More Information about Rose City Romance Writers

Friday, January 31, 2014

Craft Your Story and Career

What is this, you ask? A Mini-Conference for Crafting Your Stories and Building Your Career brought to you by the Rose City Romance Writers (a fun and informative group!)

When? March 8, 2014 from 9:00 AM – 5:00PM

Where? PCC Sylvania Campus – Rooms: TCB 215-218

Cost? $20.00 RCRW Members exclusive enrollment January 2014; 
          $50.00 non RCRW/non RWA members enrollment opens February 1st 2014.

Register Now at: 


Maintain Pacing while Interweaving Historical, Factual, and Character Details in Fresh, Succinct Ways

Presented by Kristina McMorris

As readers, we've all been stalled at one time by a book's dreaded "info dump," ranging from characterization and backstory to factual research of various kinds. Through specific examples, this workshop will provide both practical and creative tips on how to craft, sift, and place such details without slowing a story's momentum. Also, learn what to do when faced by factual discoveries or common misconceptions that contradict even major elements of your work-in-progress. (After all, you don't always have to kill your darlings!)
Kristina McMorris -
Kristina McMorris is a bestselling author published by Kensington Books, Avon/HarperCollins UK, and Berkley/Penguin. Her works of fiction have garnered more than twenty national literary awards, as well as a nomination for the prestigious RITA® Award. Inspired by true personal and historical accounts, her novels include Letters from Home, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, and most recently The Pieces We Keep. Prior to her writing career, she worked as a host on weekly TV shows since age nine, including an Emmy® Award-winning program, and owned a wedding- and event-planning company, thereby subjecting her to enough YMCA and Chicken Dances to last a lifetime. Kristina has been named one of Portland's "40 Under 40" by The Business Journal and currently lives in Oregon with her husband and two young sons.

Judge a Book by Its Cover

Presented by Sarina Dorie and Tanith Yates

A proper book cover is as important as your genre. If people can’t identify who you are and what your book is about within a matter of seconds, then you lose the opportunity of a quick sell. In this workshop, learn tips and tricks to help you create a spectacular front cover, and enough knowledge to show you know what you’re talking about when working with a publisher. Use your newfound abilities of cover design to help you to create a consistent brand. You hold the power to start your Brand now, whether you’re a beginning writer or a professional. Your choices in using color, images and text can say a lot about you and how the audience will remember you.
Sarina Dorie    
 As a child, Sarina Dorie dreamed of being an astronaut/archeologist/fashion designer/illustrator/writer. After years of dedication and hard work, most of Sarina’s dreams have come true; in addition to teaching art, she is a writer/artist/fashion designer/ belly dancer. She has taught English overseas South Korea and in the JET program in Japan, and worked as a copy editor. She has shown her art internationally and sold illustrations to magazines. Sarina’s published novel, Silent Moon, won second place in the Duel on the Delta Contest, second place in the Golden Rose, third place in the Winter Rose Contest and third in the Ignite the Flame Contest. Her unpublished novel, Wrath of the Tooth Fairy won first place in the Golden Claddagh and in the Golden Rose contests. She has sold short stories to over thirty magazines and anthologies including Daily Science Fiction, Cosmos, Penumbra, Sword and Laser, Perihelion, Bards and Sages, Neo-Opsis, Flagship, Allasso, New Myths, Untied Shoelaces of the Mind, and Crossed Genres to name a few.
Now, if only Jack Sparrow asks her to marry him, all her dreams will come true.

Tanith Yates      

Tanith Yates is a marketing strategist and senior designer, working with corporate clients and entrepreneurs for over sixteen years. Her unique combination of brand building experience and expertise in graphic design allows her to integrate visual strategies that transform businesses into recognizable name brands. She captures ideas and concepts, bringing them to life, using strategic design principles and psychology to create powerful visual identities that are memorable, accessible, and profitable.
Currently, Tanith is working on a branding workbook for authors, sharing her trade secrets on how writers can develop their personal brand, achieve their goals, find their audience – and sell more books!

Personal Branding and Google Plus for Authors in 2014

Presented by John Ellis 

2014 saw a paradigm shift in how the Google web functions for us, with us. Google has changed the focus from your site, to you and what you do online daily. Those changes serve authors in ways the Internet didn’t, couldn’t, just two years ago. Authorship gives you full credit for your words, your brand, your work...if you know how to write, share and engage on Google +.

Join me for a fast-paced primer on Google’s modern platform. You’ll learn how it works, why it’s important and how to make it your best book selling engine of 2014.

  John Ellis is a mad scientist on the web. He translates geek into English helping small business owners leverage the power of the modern Web to build their brands, get more clients, and sell more books. After 20 years in technology, web development and, SEO he is excited to live in a time where the web is about people and their content, not the sites they put it on.

When not learning, writing, coaching and engaging about the web, John enjoys everything else around him.

Capture, Captivate, and Connect with your audiences as you speak from the stage

 Presented by Kellie Grill

You need to speak about your books. Professional Speaker and Best Selling Author Kellie Grill will show you how to transform and inspire your audiences as they listen to you bring your books to life. Learn how to entertain and enlighten your audiences. Kellie's tips and tricks will take you to a new level of public speaking confidence. Don't be shy. Come have fun and learn speaking skills that will last for a lifetime of speaking on stage, with the media, and also help you at networking events.

Kellie Grill -

Kellie Grill is a happiness expert, speaker, best selling author, songwriter, melanoma survivor, and co-owner of Whirlwind Publishing and Happy Success Ranch Retreats. Kellie’s books include her love story “Send Me a Sign”, “Happiness is Here-Simple Strategies for Staying happy”, and“Happiness is Mandatory” in the best selling book “Succeeding Against All Odds”

Kellie and her husband Dave live on a 40 acre horse farm in Wilsonville, and a 500 acre horse ranch in Eastern Oregon. They have 3 children and 3 grandchildren. Kellie is a member of the National Speaker Association and Past-President for NSA-Oregon. Contact Kellie at:

Color them Grey: Anti-Heroes

Presented by Jessica Morrell

Fiction often proves just how complicated and troubled many people are and anti-heroes are the perfect type to do so. Anti-heroes are a story’s main character who is flawed, who can disturb us with his or her weaknesses, and make us think about the frailties of humanity. This workshop will describe the attributes and uses of anti-heroes and clarify how they are often used in fiction to depict reality and comment on social or political issues. An anti-hero is sometimes a maverick or screw-up, an outsider, a “little man,” underdog, misfit, or fool. They often occupy a grey area between good and evil. Anti-heroes can share some of the same qualities as villains (cynicism, brutality, ruthlessness, dishonesty) and sometimes have the soul, values, morals and values of hero. Examples from classic and contemporary novels, television series and films will be used. We'll also cover the main trick in creating anti-heroes: they always possess an underlying pathos.

 Jessica Page Morrell understands both sides of the editorial desk–as an editor and author. She is the author of the upcoming No Ordinary Days: The Seasons, Cycles, and Elements of the Writing Life; Thanks, But This Isn’t For Us, A (sort of) Compassionate Guide to Why Your Writing is Being Rejected; Bullies, Bastards & Bitches: How to Write the Bad Guys in Fiction; The Writer’s I Ching: Wisdom for the Creative Life; Voices from the Street; Between the Lines: master the subtle elements of fiction; and Writing Out the Storm. Morrell works as a developmental editor where she has learned how to quickly size up a story’s merits, as a writing coach, and was formerly the Writing Expert at She hosts a web site at and she’s been writing a monthly column about topics related to writing since 1998 which currently appears in The Willamette Writer, writes a newsletter,The Writing Life, a web log and has contributed articles to newspapers and The Writer and Writer’s Digest magazines. She also contributes to anthologies and is the founder and coordinator of three writing conferences. She lives in Portland, Oregon where she is surrounded by writers.

A Dark and Stormy Night: Avoiding Visual Cliché 
in order to Stand Out in an Cluttered Market

Presented by Mark Montoya

The digital age has ushered in an era of visual image overload. Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, television, etc. all are competing for your attention and the attention of the people you want reading your book. Strong, unexpected, and interesting photography provides a foothold to compete in a crowded market place. This workshop will discuss cultural ideas of photography, common pitfalls that make photographs unappealing, and an exploration of ideas to make your use of photographs have the impact you want.

Mark Montoya is hard pressed to pigeon-hole himself with a label, but when forced describes himself as a professional amateur. They say to "do what you love" and Mark took that advise literally having made a vocation of converting passions, hobbies, and interests into an interesting and varied career that has included designing home theaters, teaching martial arts, working as a bar bouncer, and running a college photographic darkroom. Mark's photography, like all the other pursuits in his life, are strongly influenced by the mélange' of other interests. Mark is currently pursuing a degree in Physics, an endeavor that began with his desire to make a single photograph.

World Building On The Run

Presented by C. Morgan Kennedy

Whether you write contemporary, historical, paranormal, or science fiction - a great story is always rooted in great world building. No offense to any of my writing friends, but I seem to write everywhere EXCEPT my home office! Using a tri-fold poster board or large dry erase board for my world building simply won't work. After I discuss some world building fundamentals, I'll give you some tips and tricks on how to design / create portable world building materials. Once your book is published, don't let your world building sit on a shelf! Reuse it to help with your marketing and promotions to sell more books! As an added bonus, I'll be giving away three world building journal starter kits.

     C. Morgan Kennedy -

C. Morgan Kennedy is the author of multicultural futuristic and steampunk novels. A self described 'Blerd' and Afrofuturist, Morgan puts her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering to good use imagining all manner of gadgets for her stories. As the co-founder of Author Marketing 101, she seeks to demystify marketing fundamentals for the writing and small business communities. The 'Author Marketing 101 Guide & Journal' is currently available in both print and e-book formats. 

Taking Your Writing to the Next Level

Presented by Melissa McClone

Learn the writing techniques and tricks a multi-published author has gathered over the years. Some tools were taught to her by critique partners at different stages of her career. Others she learned writing and selling over thirty-one manuscripts. The sub-title for this workshop could be How to Be A Better Writer and Critique Partner. There's no better way to learn than by doing which is why critiquing can help you be a stronger writer. Hint: you will be critiquing during the workshop! There will be examples and hands-on exercises to put the techniques into action so you can take your writing to the next level.

               Melissa McClone -

Melissa McClone has written for four category lines at Harlequin since 1997. She's currently with the Special Editions line. She also writes for digital-first Tule Publishing Group. She's been nominated for Romance Writers of America's RITA award and won a RT Reviewer's Choice Award. When she isn't writing, she's driving her minivan to/from her children's many activities. She supports deployed service members by sending care packages and fosters cats through a local non-kill rescue shelter. She lives in Southwest Washington with her husband, three children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds and cats who think they rule the house.


Static display of a Regency Era costume displayed on a dress form, a writing slope with quill and ink, a few costuming books and a tea caddy with a tea set, and some period correct fabrics.

sponsored by the Oregon Regency Society

The Oregon Regency Society’s primary aim is to unite the groups and individuals dedicated to the appreciation of Jane Austen, Lord Byron, Beau Brummell, groups for English Country and Regency Dance, people that read and write Regency Romance, costumers specializing in Regency garments, and Historic reenactors and enthusiasts and so much more. We partake in events, workshops and educational opportunities to broaden our view of this all-too-short period in history. We celebrate the customs and costume of the time, and encourage all of our members to bring their own unique knowledge and skills to the table to share with others.;

Book Sale sponsored by Jan's Paperbacks


C. Morgan Kennedy: World Building On The Run
Kellie Grill:  Capture, Captivate and Connect with your Audiences as you speak from the stage
Kristina McMorris: Maintain Pacing while Interweaving Historical, Factual and Character Details in Fresh, Succinct Ways
Mark Montoya: A Dark and Stormy Night: Avoiding Visual Cliché in order to Stand Out in a Cluttered Market
Noon- 1:20P  Lunch    Book Signing     Raffle
Jessica Page Morrell: Color them Grey: Anti-Heroes
Sarina Dorie/Tanith Yates: Judge a Book by Its Cover
Melissa McClone: Taking Your Writing to the Next Level
John Ellis: Personal Branding and Google+ for Authors in 2014
Static Display – Promotions - Give-A-ways
10:00 A – 2:00 P            Jan’s Paperback Book Sale        Oregon Regency Society

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

April Newsletter

Our The April Writer's Serenade is now available through your MyRWA account and you should have received the notification via email. Please let us know if there are issues with this process. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

A new year, a new tool

Hello RCRW members.
We plan to bring this blogspot back into use as an additional communication tool for our members.
Please stay tuned!
Mary Stepec w/a Terri Patrick
RCRW 2013 VP of Programs

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Spring Intensive :: LARRY BROOKS Sunday session

Highlights from Larry Brooks' 101 Slightly Unpredictable Tips for Novelists and Screenwriters

·         Listen to music as you write – pick something that matches the mood of the scene you are writing.

·         Reverse engineer an existing story you like. Break it down and see how it works. See what the plot points were, what the context of the four points were. Use this to create a generic workable sequence.

·         Name your characters after real people who represent what you are going for. Then when you are done, do a search and change the name to the character name.

·         If you are stuck, verbalize your story to a friend. You will find yourself working through the story problem as you explain it.

·         Study screenwriting books if you are a novelist, study novel writing books if you are a screenwriter.

·         Play what if with your initial idea and see where it takes you.

·         Imagine your story as a movie. Attach actors and movements, soundtracks and scenes.

·         Write the outline of your story as a movie template. It will make you stick to the arc of your story.

·         Even though you haven’t written it yet, write a book review of your own novel. What you want to be strong about your story will emerge on that page.

·         Get rid of all the adjectives you can

·         Stop reading writing blogs and books. There is contradictory advice. Some writers don’t write, they just read about writing.

·         Listen to song lyrics. You can pluck out great book titles.

Subtext – read between the lines. A lot like theme. It will happen whether you want it to or not, so be in control of the subtext and leverage its power to make your story more potent. It is the story not being spoken of in the moment. The reader knows something one of the characters does not know.
Economy and social environment is subtext for the decisions characters make and connects to the façade they put on. Subtext adds texture and richness to the arena and depth to your characters.

Dialogue – don’t ever use the other characters name in dialogue when they are talking to one another. It leaps off the page and screams amateur. You can do it in greetings, but avoid it elsewhere. Never combine separate pieces of dialogue in one paragraph.
When looking at a scene and trying to layer in the psychology of a character, think of the four Rs Resentment. Resistance. Revenge. Resolution.
Any form of negative emotion has resentment attached to it.
4 quadrants of social style
Analyzer, supporter, organizer, controller
(Feels & Acts)

(Thinks & Acts)


Spring Intensive :: LARRY BROOKS afternoon session

We moved into a bigger room after lunch so people didn't have to sit on the we got popcorn!

6 CORE COMPETENCIES (4 elements, 2 skill sets)

·         CONCEPT The dramatic stage upon which character and the other core competencies unfold. What if statements. The more compelling the question, the more interesting the answer. What is the potential for this stage to evoke emotion? What if

·         CHARACTER every story required a hero, in romance the hero is usually the female character.  Who

·         THEME Your story has to mean something. Love is thematic already, but is it optimized? Goal is to provoke and get the reader to think about the experience. What it means

·         STRUCTURE What happens in what order and why. Every scene is in context to what happens before and after that create pressure on the story. How

·         SCENES contextual mission and microcosm of story structure. Immersive and visceral.

·         VOICE  Your ability to write a great sentence. Smooth narrative. Writing voice is like air, clean and crisp. When you notice air, it is because it has a scent and one man’s perfume is another’s stench. Verbal gymnastics can get tangled.

To break into the business or write a best seller, you have to have all 6 core competencies, and excel in at least one.

·         DESIGN


·         NARRATIVE PREMISE – sometimes it is the seed of the story. Make it as compelling as possible. The evolution from idea to story arc.

·         DRAMATIC TENSION – conflict. In any given moment in any given scene ask what is the dramatic tension that  provides context for the scene. Both within the story and within each scene. What’s at stake? What are the consequences?

·         NARRATIVE PACE – the nature and flow of which new information is entering the story and moving it towards its destination. Stories are always moving forward. They need to accelerate.

·         HEROIC EMPATHY – the reader must relate to the main character.

·         VICARIOUS READER EXPERIENCE – hopefulness of feeling the chemistry of falling in love, experiencing places and events, take a journey they wouldn’t usually take.

·         AESTHETIC – x-factor. What makes your storytelling special.

Concept is plot-related or character-related. Without a concept, a characters story is a resume. The character has to want something.

Premise is the marriage of concept and character and touches on theme.

There is a hierarchy in concept, elevate it to its most compelling.

Make your story special by setting it someplace special.

1st dimension – what we put on to show people who we are, façade, clothing
2nd dimension – the truth, what causes you to want to look a certain way, fit in with a specific group
3rd dimension – true character, what is revealed under pressure, when a politician is amoral and denies it under oath, when the steroid scandal in baseball came to light and some admitted it while others denied

In the resolution the hero steps up and conquers inner demons and makes martyr like decisions and becomes the catalyst for the conclusion of the story.

The happily ever after is a foregone conclusion, so how do you make it exciting?
There are things that emotionally change that reflect the plot and the context lines up from that

A plot in four boxes – setup (introducing a character and bringing them to a transition point, where everything changes), attack, response, resolution

Milestones, foreshadowing, midpoint, pinch points
Sequencing your scenes around plot points. Mission driven scene writing. You know what every scene is seeking to deliver to the reader. Great scenes create a cut and thrust, pulling the reader to the next scene or chapter.

How does it all come together?  Optimal Execution

4 part structure and it IS proportional in order to optimize pace

Character Arc
Plot Points
What is Point?
Setup – world view of hero is established, GMC and stakes
1st around 20%
Where she  makes a choice to leave

Warrior - proactive
2nd around 75%

Martyr – willing to do whatever needs to be done to get to goal
3rd after 80%

Spring Intensive :: LARRY BROOKS morning session

LARRY BROOKS – Story Engineering & The Search For Story 

A romance is a little bit like a thriller because you are taking a ride, you know how it is going to end, but you want to live vicariously through the journey.

To write a book you have to know a massive amount of information. If you let it stay massive and chaotic, it is hard to keep it all straight. How you organize it may not be serving you. Habits may have become limiting belief systems. Many of us just sit down and write without acknowledging how we do things, so we cannot assess whether we are doing it efficiently.
At the end of the day when a writer has written a successful story, the book will line up with the principles.  6 categories help keep it organized.
Context setting questions ::
1.       What is the most important word in the realm of writing stories? Conflict (character, idea)
2.       What was the inspiring idea of your story? Trope – MOC, rekindled
3.       How will you process from that moment to the next step? Brainstorming, characterization
4.       Why were you interested enough to spend your time on this story? Characters
5.       What is your story about? Acknowledging love and compromise. Forgiveness and compromise.
6.       What is the concept of your story? Marriage of convenience. Rekindled love. What if the love of your life is marrying someone else? What if you have to ask a favor of the man who broke your heart?
7.       What is the most important moment in a story? Inciting incident.
8.       What is it about your book that will make the cut? Emotion
What makes romance different? Happily-ever-after, emotional resonance, two complete story arcs (romance & external)
Plot is the stage upon which characters are allowed to unfold.
Romance is a train that runs on the tracks of story.
are you a plotter or a panster?
Most writers begin their journey as readers, bringing that context to what they write. Readers experience as a passenger, the writer experiences the book as a pilot (writing the mss) who also has to build the plane (plotting the mss).
Are you writing in context to your experience as a reader or as a story architect? Are you searching for your story, building your story, or polishing your story? Do you think you can do more than one at a time? There is real value in understanding that your story isn’t optimized yet.