Monday, September 17, 2012

Happily Ever After...

I want to read a book with a happy ending! Just like in movies, I don’t want to be disappointed when it is over. That is how I write my books too. I think of a book or a movie as my escape from real life. I don’t know anyone who is living a happy ever after story. I do know some people that genuinely seem to be happy though. Which I think is the ultimate goal in life.

I love to read and write romance novels. What I love is the struggles that the characters have to go through to find love. Love is never an easy journey in real life or in books.

A lot of who I am goes into the characters in my books. I started writing a new book this last week. It is a contemporary romance novel. A big part of it is going to be the relationship between three women who form a bond through their struggles in relationships and are able to find love again. I am really excited about this book. I have the introduction to the three main characters finished and I am almost done with chapter one. I am thinking of making it a holiday romance, we will see where the story takes me!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

COFW Conference

2012 cofw conference
Central Ohio Fiction Writers
Presents their Annual
Writers and Readers Conference

September 28-29, 2012 * Columbus, Ohio
Conference Fees:
COFW Members: $135
Non-members: $150

Late Registration Fees (After September 1, 2012)
Conference Registration Now Open!
Become a member of COFW
Click here for Updated Conference Agenda

Featured Speakers:
Keynote Speaker: Simone Elkeles

Simone Elkeles
Simone Elkeles is the NY Times & USA Today bestselling author of over seven teen romance novels. She has won various awards and recognition for her books, including the coveted RITA award from the Romance Writers of America for her book Perfect Chemistry and being named Author of the Year by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English. She was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. Her funny way of looking at life and the world around her has an effect on the people she hangs out with. If you hear people laughing, you'll probably find Simone not far away. Simone writes about teens because she was a teen in the 80's (when spiked hair and blue eye shadow were "rad") and she loves writing about those exciting teen relationships and romances. For more information on Simone and her books, check out her website at:

Awards Luncheon Speaker: Kristan Higgins
Kristan Higgins
Kristan is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of Contemporary Romance Novels and two-time winner of RWA's Rita award. She started writing romance novels when her kids were little. She'd always been a writer of some type-public relations, advertising, research-but wanted to stay home with her bunnies. She'd been reading romance novels ever since she swiped Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss from her grandmother's night table. So, she sat down every afternoon when her kids were napping, took her lifelong love of romance novels and tried to make a career out of it. They've been living happily ever after since.
Kristan lives in a small town in Connecticut-a pretty place where there's a beautiful library and a wicked good ice cream stand. Find out more about Kristan at her website:

Featured Craft Speaker: Joanna Bourne
Joanna Bourne
Joanna Bourne: It All Depends on Your Point of View and Plotting for Pantsers
As our Featured Craft Speaker, Joanna tackles the use, importance and execution of point of view while crafting fiction in this in-depth workshop on Friday evening. On Saturday, Joanna will be doing a break-out workshop on Plotting for Pantsers, helping writers who like to follow an organic method, letting the muse dictate their stories as they write (sometimes known as "pantsers" for writing by the seat of their pants) to embrace the concept of plotting in advance.
Joanna is a nationally bestselling author and double Rita winner. She lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge with her family, a medium-sized mutt and a faux Himalayan cat. She writes Historical Romances set in England and France during the Napoleonic Wars. She's fascinated by that time and place - such passionate conviction and burning idealism...and really sexy clothes.

Industry Guests:
Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary Agency, LLC

Kristin Nelson
Being an avid reader practically since birth, Kristin is equally happy reading a Pulitzer prize-winning literary novel for her book club or a sexy romance novel. She established Nelson Literary Agency, LLC in 2002 after the literary agent she was working for expressed dismay that Kristin wanted to represent-gasp!-genre fiction as well as literary novels. Forming NLA was absolutely the right thing to do. She currently specializes in representing commercial fiction (mainstream, women's fiction, romance, science fiction, fantasy, young adult & middle grade) and literary fiction with a commercial bent. In general, she does not handle nonfiction projects with the exception of an occasional memoir. Clients include bestselling authors Jamie Ford, Ally Carter, Marie Lu, Gail Carriger, Simone Elkeles, Courtney Milan, and RITA-award winners Sherry Thomas and Linnea Sinclair. When she is not busy selling books, Kristin loves playing Ultimate Frisbee (where she tends to be the oldest person on the team) and taking hikes with her husband and their dog Chutney. Member: AAR, RWA, SFWA, SCBWI. Please visit our website and check out Kristin's popular blog
Kristin will be doing an interactive workshop at the conference entitled, An Agent Reads the Slush Pile.

Carlie Webber
Agent at The Jane Rotrosen Agency

Carlie Webber - Agent
Carlie Webber refused to major in English in college because no one would let her read Stephen King or R.L. Stine for class. She took her love of young adult and genre fiction to the University of Pittsburgh, where she obtained a Master of Library and Information Science, and worked as a YA librarian and reviewer for publications including Kirkus Reviews. Wishing to explore her interest in the business side of books, she decided to switch from librarianship to publishing and enrolled in the Columbia Publishing Course. Now she is building her agenting career on her favorite genres: young adult, middle grade, romance, horror, mystery, suspense, thrillers, literary fiction, contemporary fantasy and women's fiction. Her ongoing submissions wishlist includes but is not limited to high-concept YA, literary suspense, grunge era nostalgia and things that go bump in the night.

Emily Keyes
Agent at the L. Perkins Agency

Emily Keyes - Agent
Emily Keyes is Contracts & Foreign Rights Manager at the L. Perkins Agency as well as an acquiring agent. She is passionate about YA and teen novels, therefore acquiring in that area. In addition, Emily is looking for a wide-range of commercial fiction including women's fiction, contemporary romance, fantasy, science fiction, paranormal and historical. Emily is actively expanding her client list and open to submissions.
As a Contracts Administrator at Simon & Schuster, Inc. and a writer for "The World Almanac for Kids," Emily forged her knowledge of many aspects of publishing, bringing that experience to her current position. She is a graduate of the NYU Publishing program and, incidentally, an expert on all things "Sweet Valley."
Follow her blog:
Twitter: @esc_key

Whitney Ross of TOR/Forge Publishing
Whitney Ross TOR
Whitney Ross is an Assistant Editor at Tor. She edits YA, Sci fi, urban fantasy, fantasy, romance and historicals. She likes books that are "not entirely dark" with hopeful endings. To learn more about TOR books and Whitney, visit

Heather Osborn/Samhain Publishing
Heather Osborn, Editorial Director, Samhain Publishing. A longtime lover of the written word, Heather has spent her entire adult life figuring out ways to surround herself with books. A former bookseller, Heather made the transition to editing 8 years ago, starting out with digital publishing, then making the move to traditional publishing by running the romance line at Tor Books, and now returning back to her digital roots by becoming the Editorial Director at Samhain Publishing.

Debby Gilbert, Editor at Soul Mate Publishing
“Where two become one”
Deborah Gilbert
Deborah Gilbert, founder and senior editor of Soul Mate Publishing, graduated from Nazareth College, magna cum laude, with a B.S. in English and an M.S. in Reading. She taught high school English for sixteen years and joined RWA in 1998. Noting the tightening New York market and the trend toward digital publishing, she opened Soul Mate Publishing in October, 2011. She is currently seeking submissions in all areas.
Soul Mate Publishing opened its door in October, 2011, and we’re steadily growing. We are a boutique publishing house specializing in romance.
Soul Mate Publishing takes a personal approach to publishing. We are dedicated to producing quality ebooks and take pride in providing authors with supportive feedback. We have top-notch editors on board to guide authors during the revising and editing process. Our contract is also author friendly. For more information go to

Sandy Sullivan - Owner of Secret Cravings Publishing
Sandy Sullivan is the owner of Secret Cravings Publishing, a full-service, royalty paying publisher of general fiction and non-fiction books, focusing on Romance and high quality Literary Fiction. We publish in electronic and paperback formats with distribution on third party websites. For more information, go to
If you have questions about the company, please feel free to email We would be more than happy to give you information about the company, our experience and our plans for promotion and distribution. You are also encouraged to email our authors and talk to them about the company and their experiences.

Friday Night Murder Mystery Party
After a day of intense craft workshops, professional meetings and promotional networking, it's time to kick back and have a bit of fun! Join Cozy Mystery Author, Duffy Brown ( for a fun, interactive murder mystery party with a Roaring Twenties theme. Duffy is sponsoring this event, so it's free to confernce attendees, but you do need to sign up for it in advance and space is limited to the first 60. If you'd like to get a feel for the theme and what to expect, click here: Mystery Party Invite. If you're interested in joining in the fun, don't forget to sign up for it on your registration form.

Basket/Critique Raffle:
May 1-5 in Kansas City, Mo
Chances to win critiques by:
Simone Elkeles, Kristan Higgins, Joanna Bourne, Whitney Ross and 20+ more!

Chances to win a one year subscription to Publisher's Weekly or RT magazine.
Many other Misc Raffles, including entry into workshops at Ohio Valley RWA, other chapter memberships, and a Kindle Fire.

Craft/Industry Workshops:
(workshops begin Friday at Noon)
Kristin Nelson: An agent reads the slush pile
Have you ever wondered how an agent reads the fiction submission slush pile? What an agent is thinking during the first opening pages? What makes an agent stop and what makes an agent read on? If you have ever wished to be a fly on the wall during that process, this workshop is your chance to get the inside scoop without metamorphosing. Literary Agent Kristin Nelson will read the "slush pile" and give honest feedback as to why she would or would not read on for the sample pages in front of her. Interested Participants can submit two copies each of the first 2 pages of their novel She will "stop" when she loses interest and then explain why to the audience. If she completes the two pages, she’ll explain why she liked it and why she'd read on. (Warning: this is not for the faint of heart. The purpose of this workshop is not to discourage anyone, but to give an honest look into the submission process. No names will be read with the submission, however submitted work will be read and critiqued by Ms. Nelson in front of the entire conference.)
Simone Elkeles: My Journey into Writing Teen Romance Novels
Come to this hilarious workshop where the 2008 Author of the Year and New York Times bestselling author of teen novels Simone Elkeles will share stories on how she got published, the funny things that happened to her along the way in her research (including going to juvenile detention centers, creating a rap video "book trailer" for her book, a "movie trailer" for a book and meeting Judy Blume) and how Perfect Chemistry, her RITA award winning teen novel about a gang member falling for the girl on the "other side of the tracks," was inspired by a real high school! She will discuss how YA romance differs from adult romance – the writing, the publishing and the fans. This workshop is a primer on the young adult romance market for those interested in writing for the 12-21 year old crowd.
Joanna Bourne: It All Depends on Your Point of View
Joanna tackles the use, importance and execution of point of view in crafting fiction.
Kristan Higgins: Chapter One, I am Born
Kristan explores the essential elements that should be in chapter one of your book.
Duffy Brown: How to Plot the Cozy Mystery
Duffy Brown loves anything with a mystery. While others girls dreamed of dating Brad Pitt, Duffy longed to take Sherlock Holmes to the prom. She now conjures up who-done-it stories of her very own for Berkley Prime Crime. Duffy writes romance as Dianne Castell and is a USAToday bestselling author.
Donna MacMeans: Putting Sizzle In Your Sex Scene
She's analyzing again! Award winning author Donna MacMeans looks at what works and what doesn't in sex scenes of various genres with an eye to improving craft in writing memorable sex scenes.
Liz Bemis: The Wizarding World of Web Promotion
Learn the ins and outs of web promotion from this seventeen-year veteran in the field of web design, Liz Bemis of Bemis Promotions.
New York vs. New World
A panel of authors, including Becky Barker and Lisa Cooke, tells us their experience as they transition from publishing houses to the new world of Indie-publishing. How difficult is it to walk away from NY to stand on your own? What are the risks and what are the rewards? (More Authors TBA)
Joanna Bourne: Plotting for Pantsers
Even if you write "by the seat of your pants" you can still plot your stories. Join a pantser who has learned the value of plotting and discover the best of both world with Joanna.
For a full list of workshops please see the agenda.

Other Conference Features:
Join us on Sept. 28 at 6 p.m. for a Free Teen Session with NY Times Bestselling Author Simone Elkeles
Free Question and Answer Session with Young Adult Author Simone Elkeles
Simone will be giving away FREE copies of her Perfect Chemistry series posters!
When: Sept. 28 at 6 p.m., book signing to follow at 7 p.m.
Holiday Inn,
7007 N High St
Worthington, OH 43085
Simone Elkeles is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Perfect Chemistry series, Leaving Paradise series and How to Ruin series. All three books in the Perfect Chemistry series have been YALSA Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers and the Illinois Association of Teachers of English named Simone 2008 Author of the Year. Simone's funny way of looking at the world shines through in novels that are bursting with sarcastic wit, edgy characters, and exhilarating drama. You can find her at

A Panel of Booksellers and Librarians discuss how to create and cultivate a relationship with bookstores and libraries
A Panel of Editors and Agents discuss the current market, and Q&A
Consultations Appointments
Web Designer/Promotion Expert, Liz Bemis -
Graphic Designer and Formatting Expert, Jeff Hentosz -
Pitch Appointments with Attending Editors and Agents

Book Sale / Author Signing on Saturday, September 29th - Public Welcome!

Hotel Information:
Holiday Inn
7007 North High Street, Worthington, Ohio 43085
614-436-0700 or 800-315-2621
A block of rooms has been reserved for this event, reducing the nightly rate to $89 for conference attendees. Make sure to use the code CF5 when making your reservation.

Cancellation Policy
For more information, contact:
Sheri Adkins:
or Natalie Vawter:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Re-Inventing Myself....

As soon as I started writing and thinking about being published someday, I started to think of a penname. I knew then I didn’t want to be published as Rebecca Stanichuk and now I don’t want to be published as Rebecca Johnson.

I have been asked by two additional editors to see the full manuscript for Sea of Passion. I was already rejected by Soulmate publishing after sending off my first three chapters. I am hopeful that someday, someone will want to publish my book. It is always fun to dream about what-if’s.

In the submission guideline for both publishing companies they ask for your real name and your penname. I am not published under any name, so I don’t know if I should include a penname or not. But, my question for everyone today is…what should my penname be?

I am sure everyone has heard of how you figure out what your porn name would be. It is your middle name and then the street that you grew up on. My “porn” name would be, Ann Lawson. Not a very sexy porn name, but not bad for an author.  So, in the running is Anne with an e, for Anne of Green Gables or Becca Lawson. I like Lawson for a last name, it is easy to remember and it is easy to pronounce.

So, I am asking for comments. What should my porn, I mean penname be?  The choices are Anne Lawson or Becca Lawson.

 NOTE: you can’t comment on the blog page unless you have a g-mail account. Or you can comment on my facebook thread. Please weigh in and let me know which name you like best!