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.

First Kiss Contest

The First Kiss Contest is officially open. What does that mean for you? Your entry will be scored by one published author and one qualified, unpublished judge. And you won’t just receive a list of scores. Judges are encouraged to insert comments directly on the manuscript and will complete a score sheet identifying strengths and weaknesses of your scene. We are also very excited to announce that the final judge is Patience Smith, Senior Editor, Silhouette Romantic Suspense at Harlequin. She will judge six finalists. So, click on the Contest link and send in your entry today. If you are interested in judging, please email Janet Louise Campbell at [email protected].

Time to renew your membership

It’s that time of year again… to renew your membership in the New England Chapter of RWA.

We’ve made it very simple. Just click on the Join or renew membership link in the righthand column. You may pay via Paypal right from the website or complete the renewal application and select payment by check. Send checks, made payable to NEC, for $35.00 (includes emailed newsletter) or for $45.00 (includes paper copy of the newsletter), to:

Jackie C. Horne
Treasurer, NEC-RWA
8 Harris Street
Cambridge, MA 02140

You may also renew at the monthly NEC meeting on Sunday, August 19, 2012 – click here for details of the upcoming meeting. Renewal forms will be available at the meeting.

We have  a Perseverance Fund to assist members who cannot afford their NEC dues – if you are interested in donating to the fund, you can include the amount in your renewal check.

We welcome back all NEC members as we look forward to an exciting year ahead of us which includes contests for unpublished and published authors, the annual conference, monthly meetings, NEC loop, newsletter, Facebook page, and of course all the support from fellow writers. Non-members may attend up to three chapter meetings a year as a guest for $5.00 each time.

Any questions, please email Jackie at [email protected]

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.

Readers’ Choice Bean Pot Award Winners

We are pleased to announce the finalists and winners in the 2012 New England Readers’ Choice Bean Pot Award
(In alphabetical order)

**NEC Member

1st Place **The Heart of a Hero – Barbara Wallace
2nd Place A Rancher’s Pride – Barbara White Daille
3rd Place The Daddy Catch – Leigh Duncan

1st Place **Promise Me Forever – Diane Amos
2nd Place In the Barrister’s Chambers – Tina Gabrielle
3rd Place More Than a Mistress – Ann Lethbridge

1st Place **Fatal Consequences – Marie Force
2nd Place Deadly Descent – Kaylea Cross
3rd Place Edge of Daybreak – Jannifer Hoffman

1st Place The Closer You Get – LA Witt
2nd Place Take Me Away – Tina Donahue
3rd Place Bastian, The Lords of Satyr – Elizabeth Amber

1st Place Memories of Murder – Lara Nance
2nd Place Dyad Love – Ann Hinnenkamp
3rd Place **Salad on the Side – Karenna Colcroft

1st Place Nightwatch – Valerie Hansen
2nd Place Love on the Line – Deeanne Gist
3rd Place Hometown Dad – Merrillee Whren

1st Place The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship – Lisa Verge-Higgins
2nd Place Blood Rights – Kristen Painter
3rd Place Promises to Keep – Char Chaffin

1st Place Painted with Pleasure – Dena de Paulo
2nd Place -tie Drive-In – Kelli Scott
2nd Place -tie Stormy Wedding – Kelli Scott
3rd Place **I Love the Earl – Caroline Linden

1st Place Awake at Dawn – C.C. Hunter
2nd Place Love Story – Jennifer Echols
3rd Place **Tales Out of the Psych Office – Shirley Ann Howard



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!

Board Candidate Bios

The Nominating Committee has received nominations for all board posts other than PAN Liaison (could this be you? If you are interested, e-mail Mary Reiber at [email protected])

Candidate bios will be in the next newsletter and are also right here:

President – Myretta Robens

I have been writing most of my life, but began pursuing publication in the late 90s. I have been a member of RWA and NEC since 2002. I had two traditional regency romances published by Zebra in 2005 (the last year they published this genre). My second book, Just Say Yes, was a RITA finalist. As part of NEC, I have served on the board as PAN Liaison and was acting president for two months during a difficult period. I was on two conference committees as Workshop and Book Fair chair. I was NECRWA webmaster for several years and am again after a hiatus of a couple of years. I hope to be able to continue in this capacity. I am currently working on single title historical romance. I blog at my website, myrettarobens.com, and at Heroes and Heartbreakers. You can find on Twitter as @myretta and on Facebook. I am indebted to NECRWA for its help with my career and for the friendships I have found within it. I hope my service can help the chapter to continue to thrive.


Vice President – Bobbi Ruggiero

My journey to NECRWA has been a fortuitous one. In March of 2010, I began reviewing romance novels for www.romancenovelnews.com, a website started by a friend with a love for the genre and a desire to review these books in the professional manner they deserved. I met some wonderful authors through RNN and quickly discovered that the romance community was a truly special place. Many of these authors happily offered advice and wisdom, and this gave me the courage to start my own romance novel. 

 I joined NECRWA in May of 2011 and from the first meeting knew I had made the right decision. Members were welcoming and more than willing to help out a “rookie.” In a very short period of time, I felt like I had found my tribe. Becoming a chapter member was an important step that took my writing to an even higher level. I’m well on my way to finishing my first novel, Encore, and was thrilled to place 2nd in the NECRWA First Kiss contest.

 I want to give back to NECRWA by serving on the board as Vice President. I’m looking forward to hearing what topics our chapter would like to discuss in the upcoming year and assisting in whatever way possible to ensure our chapter continues to thrive and be a welcoming place for all romance authors.


Secretary – Andrea Martucci

Andrea Martucci is an aspiring romance novelist who hopes to one day write compelling novels like those by her favorite authors Lisa Kleypas, Jennifer Crusie, and Linda Howard. In the meantime, she is the managing editor of a literary magazine in Boston, and her duties include nonprofit administration, editorial direction of the blog, website maintenance, managing print and digital production, and marketing. She has previously worked at a newspaper and as a screenplay editor, and co-founded a lifestyle magazine at Emerson College. She has a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing, and will receive a MA in Integrated Marketing Communication in August 2012. You can follow her on Twitter @AndrejaJean


Treasurer – Jackie Horne

I was raised by two parents who were both accountants, but somehow I always dreamed of growing up to be a writer. After graduating from college, I got to exercise both my math and literature skills working in the Children’s Book department of Little, Brown and Company. Most of my nine years at L,B were spent as Managing Editor of the department, a position that required me to oversee the budget of every book we published, as well as to work with the Publisher on the department’s overall yearly budget. I also tracked  the status of every book we published (up to 250+ books per year at times), a task that required a detail-oriented approach as well as strong organizational skills.

After leaving L,B, I went back to school to earn an MA in Children’s Literature, had a baby, then went on to earn a Ph.D. in 18th and 19th century British lit. I then taught for several years at Simmons College, but the college ran into financial difficulties and cut back on contract workers. Tenure-track jobs for a Children’s Literature specialist being about as rare as first editions of Jane Austen’s novels, I decided to switch careers yet again, returning to my original dream: to write. I’ve spent the last three and a half years working both on academic writing (1 book and 2 edited essay collections published) and fiction writing (one manuscript, still being revised, and the outlines for a second). I’ve also been serving on the Board of, and as the Chair of the Publicity Committee for, the Children’s Literature Association, as well as Clerking the 50th Anniversary Committee at my daughter’s school. Both of these volunteer positions are due to end soon, and I would love to have the chance to volunteer for a service position that will pull me away from the computer and put me in touch with actual people.

I’m quite handy with a spreadsheet, and my parents and husband (a computer researcher) have promised to act in an advisory capacity if any financial or computer issues related to being Treasurer for NECRWA pop up. But if you elect me Treasurer, you have to promise not to tell my daughter, a thirteen-year-old who firmly believes that anything and everything to do with romance is decidedly “gross.”


Pro Liaison – Jean Viola Ryan

Jean Viola Ryan has been an active member of PRO since November 2009. She finished her first novel during the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapter’s “Push to PRO” in October of that year. That novel is now contracted for December release with MuseItUp Publishing. She is fortunate to write full-time and has tons of ideas to help our non-PRO members achieve this status, such as our own Push To PRO, forming crit groups to get our novels into shape and creating a support group for those who are in the pre-query and query stages to help keep spirits up. Her main goal is to help everyone become more confident in reaching for their next step, whether that is finishing their novel, submitting it, or putting yourself out there and doing publicity to turn PRO into PAN.