All posts by Vicky L

Oct 26, 2019 Melinda Rucker Haynes – Story Compass

Find Direction and Get Your Story on Track with STORY COMPASS©

STORY COMPASS© is a creative development process and tool Melinda developed and uses on every book she writes. She has given SC trainings and workshops online, to RWA chapters (first was to Romance Writers of New Zealand), Arizona State Library Assn., Novelists, Inc., writers organizations, community colleges and many other venues.

For our morning workshop, Melinda will supply practice STORY COMPASS© for our members play with and come up with some great story ideas. Everyone from beginning writers to NYTimes/USA Today best-selling authors love to use STORY COMPASS© to stimulate creativity and explore uncommon, unpredictable combinations of fiction elements than can be used to create distinctive and interesting stories. Using STORY COMPASS©, a writer can work with any or all of the elements of fiction–plot, character, setting, and theme to find direction and get their story on track.

Afternoon Session: Personal Time Travel -Find Your Story in the Past

For most readers and writers time travel is entertaining conjecture. Some, such as best- selling author Taylor Caldwell, have actually experienced the past through regression hypnosis and used the information gained in her best-selling novels.

Millions of people have discovered that it is not necessary to accept the theory or philosophy of reincarnation to experience a “past life” during safe, relaxing and always interesting regression hypnosis.  Often the trance time travel experience is so vivid and the information so detailed that many have been able to verify dates, places, events and existence of the person and/or the past life experienced.

 Writers who have traveled time via regression or progression hypnosis often discover a time period, characters and setting detail that either support their current work in progress or inspires them to investigate and create something new.

About our Speaker

Melinda Rucker Haynes, M.Ed., CH, served as a university lecturer and adult education research project director. She jokes she learned to write fiction as a research grant writer who moonlighted as a corporate trainer of fascinating people working at an area in the Nevada desert that didn’t exist. Finally escaping academe, she joined Seattle romance writers in their pursuit of writing awards and readers. Her paranormal and suspense novels have won over twenty awards and more than that number of readers in some universe. Given her singular interests and education research background, Melinda produced STORY COMPASS©, a creative development process and tool, and became a certified hypnotherapist specializing in creative development for writers with her Personal Time Travel© regression hypnosis process.  

After gypsying around the world, living in four foreign countries—most recently Washington D.C. and Tucson—Melinda’s current interests and hobbies include magical thinking, frequent fantasy flying, and chronicling the shocking confessions of a menopausal vampire in Seattle.

For more information, visit www.melindaruckerhaynes.com

Meeting Information

Meeting fee of $30 for SRW members $35 guests and walk-ins includes a single-entree buffet lunch.  Doors open 9:15. Program runs 10am – 2pm.  Please let us know you’re coming by reserving on our payments page or by contacting  reservations@tucsonRWA.org  no later than 8 am Wednesday before the meeting. Walk-ins accepted on a space available basis only.

Merien Grey – The Actual How of Making Time to Write (Online Class May, 2019)

Class is just getting started. Join through May 10 and learn how to manage your time!

Are you tired of people telling you if you want to write bad enough you will make time? Most of us would do that on our own if we knew how or even where to start. You are not lazy or unmotivated and you know you want it bad enough. You just need someone to give you some hints on how to actually do it.

With a corporate and military background in process, project and time management Merien will present specific, do-able proven ways to make minor changes and create more time to write. She will also teach you how to assess your situation and personal practices to see how to get the most out of the time you already have for yourself, your family and your career.

About the Instructor

Merien Grey writes dark Regency romance to captivate readers who want stories about passionate affairs between alluring women and men of science and substance.

How to Register

Class runs May 1-31, 2019 and is conducted via Yahoo group. Register by paying the course fee ($30.05 SRW members, $40.05 nonmembers) on our Payments page.  No Refunds, except in the case class is cancelled.

Shortly before the class begins, the moderator will send you an invitation to join the group. The invitation will be sent to the email shown on your PayPal payment, so if you wish to use a different email address or have questions, please contact  OnlineClassModerator@TucsonRWA.org.

Registration requires 48 hours to process. It is your responsibility to mark your calendars and iron out any difficulties joining the Yahoo group.

Do You Have an Online Class you’d like to offer through SRW? We’re always looking for the best educational opportunities to offer our members. Contact OnlineClassProposals@TucsonRWA.org

Merien Grey – Seven People Every Writer Should Meet (Online Class Nov 1-30, 2019)

Seven People Every Writer Should Meet Before They Need Them

When a writer is creating those first few books they may feel like they can’t do much more to toward becoming a published author except write and build their numbers on social media. When it comes to the business side of writing there are seven key business connections that can be made before an author “needs” them or is in the midst of trying to market a release and build a brand in earnest. For example, finding an attorney before there is a contract to review or a copyright infringement notice for a random image picked off the internet and used on the authors website can cut down on stress. More importantly, it can mean the difference in an attorney the author trusts and likes and who has the author’s best interests in mind and one that will simply do. There are specific skill sets that can be very valuable to authors if they knows how to seek out professionals that have them.

Finding the right business contacts is time consuming but can be done in small increments and with minimal effort if started early in an author’s career and doing so can save time, stress and usually money for the author.

This class covers how to find, vet and take on services of a literary attorney, accountant (with literary experience), webmistress/master, business insurance agent, business specific banker, secretary of state representative and a department of revenue officer.  It also covers how to select and vet seven service providers. This portion of the class includes tips on how to find branding consultants, web hosts, newsletter services, offsite data storage, formatters, editors and cover artists.

About the Instructor

Merien Grey writes dark Regency romance to captivate readers who want stories about passionate affairs between alluring women and men of science and substance.

How to Register

Class runs Nov 1-30, 2019 and is conducted via Yahoo group. Register by paying the course fee ($30.11 SRW members, $40.11 nonmembers) on our Payments page.  No Refunds, except in the case class is cancelled.

Shortly before the class begins, the moderator will send you an invitation to join the group. The invitation will be sent to the email shown on your PayPal payment, so if you wish to use a different email address or have questions, please contact  OnlineClassModerator@TucsonRWA.org.

Registration requires 48 hours to process. It is your responsibility to mark your calendars and iron out any difficulties joining the Yahoo group.

Do You Have an Online Class you’d like to offer through SRW? We’re always looking for the best educational opportunities to offer our members. Contact OnlineClassProposals@TucsonRWA.org

May 18, 2019: Author Tanya Stowe

Finding the Black Moment

Hold on to your hats! Our morning interactive workshop is going to cover a lot of territory. Whether you’re a Plotter or Pantster, structuring your characters can help avoid the dreaded pitfalls of lifeless characters and too little or too much conflict. But most importantly, structuring leads to finding the dramatic high point of the story, “The Black Moment.” Structuring your characters requires answering essential story questions like who, what, why and why not. Putting those answers in a grid can help you avoid those dreaded pitfalls and lead you to the dramatic moment YOU and YOUR READERS want. So bring your pencils (yes, with erasers!) and let’s get started!

Structuring Your Novel for Suspense

Characterization, description and dialogue fill the pages of your story as you develop the romance between the hero and the heroine. But if you’re writing a suspense, where do you fit in the action sequences, the villains POV, and those essential suspense scenes…let alone the clues?

For our afternoon session, join Tanya as she discusses how she uses a chart to structure her plot points, action scenes and clues.

About our Speaker

Tanya Stowe

Tanya Stowe is an author of Christian Fiction with an unexpected edge. She fills her stories with the unusual…mysteries and exotic adventures, even a murder or two. No matter where Tanya takes you…on a trip to foreign lands or a suspenseful journey filled with danger…be prepared for the extraordinary.

To learn more, visit Tanya’s Website, Facebook, andBlog.

Meeting Information

Meeting fee of $30 for SRW members $35 guests and walk-ins includes a single-entree buffet lunch.  Doors open 9:15. Program runs 10am – 2pm.  Please let us know you’re coming by reserving on our payments page or by contacting  reservations@tucsonRWA.org  no later than 8 am Wednesday before the meeting. Walk-ins accepted on a space available basis only.

Chapter Dues are Live!

If you haven’t received an email from RWA prompting you to pay SRW dues, please contact membership@TucsonRWA.org as soon as possible. You must be current with 2019 dues to participate in chapter events.

Please fill out your 2019 Membership Form

We’ve all been waiting anxiously to pay our 2019 dues via the new RWA nationals web portal, and it’s finally live! If you haven’t received an email from RWA prompting you to pay SRW dues, please contact president@TucsonRWA.org as soon as possible.

2019 dues must be paid in order to attend meetings or participate in SRW activities after April 1.

Once you’ve rejoined the chapter, please fill out our 2019 membership form so we can be sure we’ve got your current contact information and other important details. It only takes a second!

April 27, 2019: Laurie Schnebly Campbell: Braiding your Book

Weaving the different strands and levels of your story is trickier than making a simple braid, but the idea is the same — you need to pay attention to every separate element that’s part of the finished creation. Whether you’re braiding the plot, characters and resolution of a romance, thriller, fantasy, women’s fiction, mystery, or any other journey of discovery, your readers want a certain balance between factors that aren’t always equally important.

Bring a work in progress or one you’d like to revisit, and with hands-on exercises you’ll see how to:

  • Build a braid strong enough to support your entire story
  • Maintain the balance of tension among each of your characters
  • Make sure the plot twists don’t unravel in later chapters
  • Enrich the three-way blend with individual “extras”
  • Incorporate as much action or emotion as your readers expect
  • Keep your plot from overshadowing the characters, or vice versa
  • Tie off the braid for a satisfying conclusion

About our Speaker

Laurie Schnebly Campbell loves giving workshops that draw on her background as an advertising copywriter, a counseling therapist and a romance novelist who beat out Nora Roberts for RT’s Best Special Edition of the Year. Her favorite books are those created during her classes, with 42 First Sales so far.

By day she writes for McDonald’s, Massage Envy and other clients at a Phoenix ad agency. She also enjoys recording for the blind, playing with her husband and son, mentoring a teenager, vacationing in Sedona (the red-rock town named for her grandpa’s mom), and running WriterUniv.com.

“People ask how I find time to do all that,” Laurie says, “and I tell them it’s easy. I never clean my house!”

Learn more at www.booklaurie.com

Meeting Information

Meeting fee of $30 for SRW members $35 guests and walk-ins includes a single-entree buffet lunch.  Doors open 9:15. Program runs 10am – 2pm.  Please let us know you’re coming by reserving on our payments page or by contacting  reservations@tucsonRWA.org  no later than 8 am Wednesday before the meeting. Walk-ins accepted on a space available basis only.

Chapter Dues are Live!

We’ve all been waiting anxiously to pay our 2019 dues via the new RWA nationals web portal, and it’s finally live! If you haven’t received an email from RWA prompting you to pay SRW dues, please contact president@TucsonRWA.org as soon as possible.

Please pay dues by March 31, 2019 in order to maintain your chapter membership.

February 27, 2016: Vicky Loebel & Michael Petersen

Plot Points for Pansters
(And the Outliners who Love Them)

Morning Session:
Are you confused by story climax and big black moments? Does rising and falling action make you want to shove your characters off a cliff? Do turning points spin your head, and does the thought of filling out pages and pages of scene lists and character questionnaires make your day job look pretty good?

Whether we’re outliners or pantsters who plot as we go, most authors reach the point sooner or later of asking “am I doing this right?” And one of the keys to evaluating your work is understanding classic three-act structure.

In our February morning session,  SRW author Vicky Loebel will draw on her history as honorary “queen of false starts” to show how mastering few basic plot concepts makes novel-writing faster. We will review the basics of plot structure (drawing from K.M Weiland’s Structuring your Novel,  Michael Hauge’s The Hero’s Two Journeys, and James Scott Bell’s Superstructure), banish sagging middles, consider ways to combine plot, character, and setting to make a story stronger, and debate the usefulness of constructing a simple plot grid.

To illustrate plot structure, we’ll do a quick analysis of Romancing the Stone, Pride and Prejudice, and (time permitting) The Wizard of Oz.

About Vicky Loebel

FB PhotoVicky Loebel began her professional life as a systems programmer for NASA and moved through successively more challenging careers before settling in as a writer of tightly-plotted romantic fiction. She lives on the slopes of Mt. Lemmon, AZ with her sister, three dogs, a rotating assortment of offspring, and a husband who has the patience of a saint.

Vicky is the author of two humorous urban fantasy/romances, Keys to the Coven and Speakeasy Dead. Her latest book, Vacation Bride, is a contemporary marriage of convenience set in the tropical paradise of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.

It was the subject of several false starts.

Michael Petersen: The Romance Writer’s Business Guide

Afternoon Session:
What is the writer’s cost-benefit analysis of traditional vs self publishing? What advertising avenues give you the best bang for your buck? What is the best price point for your novel series vs your standalone? Is it worthwhile to register as an LLC as a writer? And taxes are coming….how does a writer handle filing taxes best?

Michael Petersen will address these questions and more as he outlines the business side of a romance writer’s life.

About Michael Petersen

headshotMichael Petersen has a Bachelor of Arts from Seattle University and a Masters of Business Administration from Illinois State University. Before retiring from Microsoft at age 35, he worked in various roles including program manager, technical account manager, and technology strategist. He currently manages the business strategy, marketing and production for his wife, USA Today Bestseller Jess Michaels.


Meeting fee of $25 members $30 guests and walk-ins includes a single-entree buffet lunch.  Please let us know you’re coming by reserving on  our payments page or by emailing reservations@tucsonRWA.org no later than 8 am Wednesday before the meeting.