January 20 – Using Writing Prompts to Get Yourself Unstuck

Deborah Bluestein, a local author and trained facilitator of the Amherst Writers and Artists Method (AWA), will show us how prompted writing can keep the lengthy, and often times arduous, process of novel writing fresh and surprising. Bring a pen and paper for this enlightening hands-on workshop, Using Writing Prompts to Get Yourself Unstuck

Deborah holds a Master’s Degree in Fiction Writing from Emerson College. Her fiction has appeared in several literary journals including River Oaks Review and Happy Magazine whose editor nominated one of her short stories for a Pushcart Prize. She has published numerous personal essays in national and local magazines and newspapers. She founded Juiceboxartists in 2003 as a home for teaching writing according to the AWA (Amherst Artists and Writers) method and has offered workshops in greater Boston and as far away as Tuscany. She recently completed an historical novel set in Renaissance Tuscany and is now at work on a book about a Civil War heroine who served as a double agent for the Union Army.

November 18 – Self-Publishing Update

Marie Force, bestselling author of 14 self-published original books—including the popular McCarthys of Gansett Island Series—as well as nine and counting traditionally published books, will provide an update on the latest tips for authors interested in self-publishing. Like all industries, self-publishing has a lingo all its own. Find out where to use Mobi files vs. ePubs, how to upload directly to Kobo and Apple, and whether your ePub is validated—and how that can make a difference. Do you need an ISBN? How about CreateSpace? What’s the deal with Smashwords? Do you need an agent? Do you still need a publisher? Can or should you do both self-publishing and traditional publishing at the same time? Is your mind boggled? So was Marie’s until she figured out the way forward. She is looking forward to sharing her know-how with NEC members.

In addition, Marie is happy to take questions on anything you’d like to know more about, including maximizing social media to sell books, when to hire an accountant, when to incorporate your business, what conferences you should (or shouldn’t attend) and how to write four series at the same time. (Wait, she’s still trying to figure out that last one!) Join Marie on November 18 to answer these and any other questions you may have.

Marie is heading into book 8 of the McCarthys of Gansett Island Series, book 6 of the Fatal Series with Harlequin, book 4 with the Treading Water Series and starting book 1 of her new Green Mountain Country Store Series with Berkley. A member of NEC since 2007, Marie lives in Rhode Island with her husband of 20 years, two teenagers and two feisty dogs.

October 21 – Reach for the Stars: The ABCs of Romance Reviews

Reviews can be an author’s best friend or biggest down-fall. It’s important to learn the proper way to request reviews, how to handle less-than-glowing ratings, and how to best utilize reviews as a promotional tool.
Join Jennifer Porter of Romance Novel News and Penny Watson of Penelope’s Romance Reviews for a discussion of book reviews and how they can work for you. Jen and Penny will give a comprehensive summary of the review business, and then open up the workshop to specific questions.

Penny Watson is an author of quirky fiction, reviewer of romance novels, and lover of dachshunds, plants, and beards. (Not necessarily in that order).She lives outside of Boston with one fly-fishing crazed husband, two lively Filipino kids, and a wiener dog.

Jennifer Porter is a co-owner of the review siteRomance Novel News,
which launched in April 2010. She manages the site, coordinates author
interviews and guest posts and schedules reviews, as well as writes
them. She has been reviewing romance novels and blogging about them for almost 5 years, but has been reading them for much longer.In her “real” life, Jennifer is a librarian at a local college library.
She does indeed spend the majority of her life surrounded by books. She believes that happily ever afters make the world a better place.


September 16 – Sarah MacLean: Creating Memorable Heroes and Heroines: Developing Characters Who Get Editors Jazzed and Keep Readers Reading

The trick to high-concept, best-selling books is creating unique
protagonists who stand out in the crowd, on editors desks, and in
readers hearts. Join New York Times & USA Today bestselling author
Sarah MacLean as she discusses the way she develops unique characters,
the questions writers should ask before committing to a hero and
heroine, and how to keep readers coming back for unconventional,
utterly memorable characters.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sarah MacLean grew up
in Rhode Island, obsessed with historical romance. Her love of all
things historical helped to earn her degrees from Smith College and
Harvard University before she finally set pen to paper and wrote her
first book. Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband, their
dog, and a ridiculously large collection of romance novels.

August 19th – NEC RWA Round Table

Join us for a roundtable discussion about future NEC-RWA projects and workshop ideas. What can our chapter do to enhance our craft and our outreach?  What can we do as romance writers and chapter members to help the chapter help us?   As romance writers, we are always looking for new ways to develop, refine and polish our craft. What types of workshops or speakers do you think would prove beneficial to you and to our chapter? Put your thinking caps on and have a few ideas to toss into the ring!  Come prepared to participate.  Your new board is looking forward to kicking off an active and fun two years.

June 24 – Outgoing Board Party and Book Swap

Join us on June 24 to celebrate the past year with the outgoing board.  Bring goodies and a book you have enjoyed for a Yankee swap.  Make sure to include a note about the book and to wrap it or just put it in a brown bag so we can’t see what it is.

May 20 – Writing a Series

At the May 20 NECRWA meeting, Karenna Colcroft will discuss developing and organizing series. The presentation will include various tools used to keep series information organized, such as software, files, etc., as well as how to develop an idea into a series if your muse or your editor asks for a series when you hadn’t planned one.

Karenna Colcroft is the author of twenty-one romances ranging from stand-alone short stories to full-length novels. Her series include the M/M paranormal series Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat and the contemporary Remind Me series. Under the name Jo Ramsey, she has nine young adult novels published, including novels in the two series Reality Shift and The Dark Lines. She has two other romance series and two other young adult series planned.

April 15 – Conference round table

Come join fellow chapter members for an open discussion about our upcoming Let Your Imagination Take Flight Conference in late April. No question is off limits. What’s it like to sit with an agent or editor? How should I prepare for my appointment? What should I focus on in terms of workshop choices? Any tips on networking with fellow members? What to wear and what not to tear? Whether it’s your first conference for your tenth, come and join us for a lively discussion about the biggest event our chapter puts on each year – conference!

March 18 – Writing Sex When you Don’t Feel Sexy

Have you ever had to write a smoldering love scene, and yet your heart just wasn’t in it? Does the thought of writing steamy sex make you cower in fear?

Erotic romance author Suzanne Rock will talk about tips and tricks that will not only put you in the mood to write great sex, but add depth and character to your scenes that will make them memorable for both your readers and you.

The course will be based on her book co-written with author Em Petrova entitled Writing Sex When you Don’t Feel Sexy, available at all major ebook distributors.

Award winning and bestselling author Suzanne Rock resides in central Massachusetts with her college sweetheart and two daughters. She started writing paranormal erotic romance in 2009 and sold her first story, Spyder’s Web, to Loose Id in June of that year and has since published eleven erotic works with three different publishers. In addition to writing, she teaches courses on craft and the publishing industry through Romance Writers of America and Savvy Authors. She’s also is the social media partner for Pink Petal Books and Astraea Press.


If someone had told Barbara Keiler a year ago that she’d be an indie publisher, producing and selling e-book editions of her backlist titles, she would have roared with laughter.  She’s a writer, an artiste—and a confirmed technophobe.  But she had obtained the rights to a bunch of her out-of-print novels and figured she ought to do something with them…and to her amazement, she’s managed to e-publish ten of them so far, to place them for sale in the Kindle, Nook, Sony, Kobo and iTunes stores, and to land several of them on Amazon bestseller lists.  Barbara will share what she’s learned so far about preparing manuscripts, commissioning artwork, pricing, promoting and trying to stay sane in the brave new world of electronic publishing

Writing under the pen name Judith Arnold, Barbara is the author of more than eighty-five published novels. She has been a three-time finalist for RWA’s RITA Award, and she’s won several Reviewer’s Choice Awards from RT as well as the New England Chapter’s Bean Pot Award for her novel Hope Street. Her next novel, Good-Bye to All That, will be released in March.