Tag Archives: Shari Anton

WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs

Barbara Vey -- March 21st, 2012

Yesterday, the Romance Writers of America announced that I’d be this year’s recipient of the Vivian Stephens Industry Award.  I’ll be presented the award in Anaheim at the annual RWA Conference in July.  This is an exciting and thrilling experience.  I’m honored beyond words and I’d like to thank everyone for their kinds words of congratulations on Facebook and Twitter yesterday.  Now enjoy what the WW Ladies have been reading.

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joysann

joysann

Emily’s Captain by Shari Anton (E-Book)

Read by joysann

Captain Jared Randall Hunter has been sent behind Confederate lines to bring a Union colonel’s daughter to safety ahead of the Yankee march through Georgia. Abandoned through a broken engagement, Emily is preparing to leave the house in town for the home manor when, disguised as a rebel soldier, Jared finagles a way to escort her. Their prolonged company and the danger of capture by either army give Emily and her captain time to discover the best in each other, engendering trust and love between them.

Despite conforming to the mores of her time as best as she’s able, Emily’s independence and strength are assets that charmed both the hero and me. She’s a no nonsense woman who doesn’t hesitate to do what she must. Between her and the thoroughly captivating hero, this historical fiction makes the most of the two engaging characters on their dangerous journey. Sometimes charming, sometimes thrilling, sometimes suspenseful, Emily’s Captain makes a fascinatingly romantic read.

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The Demon in Me by Michelle Rowen

Read by Joan

Eden Riley has some psychic ability she uses on a psychic hotline, assisting the police find a killer, and eventually to use in her own detective agency. But a demon named Darrack has taken up residence in her, and, while she tries various methods of evicting him, she also aids him in finding the witch who cursed him to his predicament centuries ago. Eventually they find her, but murder ensues, leaving Eden holding a stone that will make her a black witch and still with her demon inside.

This is the start of the fun, romantic and very busy Living in Eden trilogy. I’ve enjoyed Eden’s chaotic dilemmas, the challenges she faces, the sexy men and the many characters that color her life. The following two books are out, and I’ll be finding them quickly to finish this entertaining story.

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Heidi

Heidi

Playing Dirty by Susan Andersen   

Read by Heidi

Cade Gallari is enemy #1 in Ava Spencer’s eyes. He was the one who took her to bed in high school and told everyone he took pity on her because she was “fat”. Now 10 years later, Cade is back doing a documentary on the mansion that Ava inherited with her friends Poppy and Jane, from Agnes Wolcott (Miss A). He wants Ava to give him permission to use the mansion as well as hire her as the concierge for the film. The last thing that Ava wants is to be around Cade, but business is business. She denies that seeing Cade again turns her past demons to the forefront, but she isn’t about to let Cade get the best of her again.

I loved the way that the author mixed in the tug and pull of Cade and Ava, but also wove in a practical side to the reason they were together. Plus introducing interesting side characters with so many quirky things about them, I could see them clearly in my mind. I love when you have so much description that you see everything so well, it’s like running a movie in your head. This book really left me wanting to read the other stories of the Sisterhood characters. Another set of books for my TBR pile!

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Sheila

Sheila

Proof of Life by Laura Scott

Read by Sheila

At first, the campus murder seems like business as usual, but it quickly gets personal for CSI investigator Shanna Dawson and security officer Quinn Murphy. The victim is Quinn’s half-brother. The case is linked to the disappearance of Shanna’s sister 14 years earlier. When Quinn discovers Shanna has a scary stalker, he refuses to leave her side, insisting they work together. As Shanna and Quinn investigate the related cases, they lean on their faith and each other.

I was first drawn to the stunning cover, then quickly pulled in to the story. It’s a page-turner! The combination of CSI investigator and security officer made it doubly exciting. When Quinn grew protective of Shanna, I melted. Can’t resist a guy like that.

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Michelle

Michelle

Trusting Evil by M.A. Leo 

Read by Michelle

Carly Rockett and her business partner and former boyfriend Mike Holtzer own a casting company for extras in movies.  Their newest assignment is for a movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger being filmed at the Statesville Prison who’s most famous murderer, Richard Speck, is in residence.  In the summer of 1966, Carly met an intriguing German sailor, Richard Speck, who went on to slaughter eight student nurses near her home in South Chicago.  At the time, Carly and her two best friends were obsessed with the Beatles and believed one of them was destined to marry one.  They thought that their sailor knew the Beatles personally and would deliver their love letters.  The scars left by Speck have surfaced for Carly when she sees how he lives in prison, how he has freedom, lovers and loves his life.  Now her life is on course to make him pay and for the prison to be accountable to punish those who deserve it.  Her obsession and use of alcohol will propel her to her own personal Hell.

This was a riveting read full of history, strength and struggle.  Mary Leo who personally grew up just blocks from the townhouse where the nurses were killed, writes with a sense of ease and confidence about the times and facts.  A  true storyteller with a great grasp on detail and use of imagination that got me inside Carly’s mind and pain.  As Carly’s life unfolds I found myself emphasizing with the real life scars of Speck’s victims’ families and how life must have been for them.

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Heidi

Heidi

Reunited Hearts by Ruth Logan Herne 

Read by Heidi

Trent Michaels receives the shock of his life, when he returns home from his military career to find out he has a son he never knew anything about. Trent is torn between being the father that his son deserves, and forgiving the woman who turned his life upside down… Alyssa Langley. Alyssa had good reasons for why she felt she couldn’t tell Trent about his son, but she has more secrets to keep. Trent may need to find more spiritual support than he ever thought possible, to find love and forgiveness.

The way that Alyssa struggles with her own guilt, her obligations and her denial of her faith, makes her one of the most fascinating women characters I have read about in a long time. It made this story seem so real, especially in this day and age of reality television. My heart truly breaks for Trent and his realization that he is a father in an instant. I think the most heart warming is how all the characters have a big dose of reality mixed with their prayers. It made for such a wonderful read.

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joysann

joysann

Fair Game by Patricia Briggs

Read by joysann

As Enforcer for the werewolves, Charles goes with Anna to Boston to help with the FBI investigation into serial killings that include werewolves as well as humans. When another kidnapping occurs, Anna and Charles determine that the Fae are being targeted as well. With evidence that the killer may also be some kind of preternatural, all of the talents and magics of the Alpha and Omega are needed as they race to find the new victim before it’s too late.

I am no longer amazed by the books Patricia Briggs writes because they are always fascinating, thrilling, and completely captivating. Fair Game, an Alpha and Omega novel that takes place in the Mercy Thompson world, is all that and more. Exciting, fast-paced, magical and surprising, I was unable to put it down till I finished it, and have already picked it up to read parts of it again. It looks to be a long, tantalizing wait until the next book in either series comes out to continue the story.

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Bottom Line:  Now need to quickly lose 20 pounds and find a new dress for RWA.

Let the NINC Conference Begin…

Barbara Vey -- October 20th, 2011
As close as I got to the beach on this blustery day

As close as I got to the beach on this blustery day

I came to St. Petersburg for the Novelists Inc. conference expecting warm breezes and sunshine and instead got pelted with thunderstorms and nearly blown away with gale-like winds.  Not to worry, the weather forecast looks gorgeous for the rest of the conference.

 

Luckily, there was a lull in the weather for the welcoming reception last night.  The Tradewinds hotel courtyard has an outdoor area that’s pretty well blocked from high winds so everyone was able to partake of the delicious fare offered. It was a relaxed atmosphere with people catching up with each other, introductions being made and networking beginning.

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Palm tree ice sculpture at reception that changed colors

Palm tree ice sculpture at reception that changed colors

The NINC group is different from other conferences in that it’s members are required to have at least 2 of their books published.  There are no aspiring authors here and from registration on, it’s all business but with a twist of fun.  Early morning offerings include yoga on the beach and folk dancing lessons.

 

At registration everyone is given a 3 ring binder filled with must have information.  I read through about half of it already and I’m extremely impressed.  It has terms, definitions and advice to help authors at any stage of their careers.  I learned a lot about podcasting (something I’m interested in) and crowdsourcing (somehthing I’ve never heard of before).  Looking forward to finishing it, but it’s a keeper for my shelf as a reference guide.  It’s all written by NINC members and since it’s a loose leaf binder, there’s plenty of room to add pages.

Reception tablemates: Kay Stockham, Susan Gable, Wendy Lindstrom

Reception tablemates: Kay Stockham, Susan Gable, Wendy Lindstrom

Other side of table: Shari Anton, Pamela Dalton

Other side of table: Shari Anton, Pamela Dalton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today starts the workshops, so I’ll be inside, but at least I’ll know that the sun is shining out there.   I do plan to sneak away at lunchtime and admire the beach.

 

You can follow NINC updates at Twitter #NINC.

 

BTW, the beach read I finished was Lord & Lady Spy by Shana Galen…loved it!  Next up is Seducing the Governess by Margo Maguire (since Shari Anton just finished it and gave it to me). Thanks for all your suggestions, I’ve put them on my TBR list.

 

Bottom Line:  Already missed the yoga, but I may try my feet at folk dancing.

 

 

Romancing the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Barbara Vey -- July 1st, 2010
Barbara Vey schmoozing with Eric Randall of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Barbara Vey schmoozing with Eric Randall of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

A few weeks ago I attended a local RWA meeting and met Eric Randall, an intern at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who was writing an article on romance.  Eric attended a class at Yale “The Historical Romance Novel.” After the meeting, Eric showed up at the Southeastern Wisconsin Festival of Books to sit in on a Romance Panel to gather more information for his story.  Here’s what appears in the paper today (for those of you who didn’t see my Tweet yesterday):

Romance novelists network

Steamy story writers meet for advice, exchange of ideas

By Eric Randall of the Journal Sentinel

Wisconsin romance novelists had Milwaukee Police Department spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz right where they wanted her.

Schwartz had come to the monthly meeting of the Milwaukee chapter of the Wisconsin Romance Writers of America to advise the 16 women (and one man) in attendance how best to incorporate crime into their work. After presenting her bit on how best to befriend police officers and incorporate their stories into a romance, Schwartz opened up the floor for questions.

But these novelists wanted more than advice. They wanted Schwartz.

“In case one of us uses you as a character . . . ,” began one audience member.

Schwartz is just one of the many speakers who have faced the creative minds that make up the Milwaukee grouping of the Wisconsin RWA since its founding in 1984. As the statewide chapter of a national organization Romance Writers of America, Wisconsin’s RWA has provided a focal point for the state’s scattering of published and aspiring romance authors. Though the members bring widely varying career backgrounds and writing experience, each comes seeking two things: advice from fellow writers and a sense of community in a world sometimes hostile to their genre.

As popular romantic fiction has taken a hold of the American publishing market – romance makes up more than a quarter of all books sold in the United States, according to the RWA website – more and more women, and some men, nationwide have tried their hand at it. And for those just setting out, it can be a confusing world. To be defined as a romance novel by modern standards, a manuscript needs to follow only two rules – the plot must focus on a romantic relationship (usually between a man and a woman, although gay romantic fiction is a burgeoning genre), and it must have a happy ending. But beyond that, pretty much anything goes. Sub-genres range from “paranormal” to “Christian inspiration.” And one can find titles as commonplace as “Chasing Perfect” or as odd as “The Playboy Sheikh’s Virgin Stable-Girl.” (Both are recent releases from genre-dominating publisher Harlequin.)

Nationally, RWA boasts 10,000 members, 1,885 of whom have published a book-length romance novel, according to the organization’s website. That means there are still a lot of unpublished novelists trying to break in. Romance novelists interviewed said the advice of the Wisconsin branch of RWA proved invaluable to them as they navigated the writing and submission processes.

Sharon Antoniewicz, a Wisconsin-based author of historical romance novels who writes under the name Shari Anton, said she joined RWA in 1993, when she was writing her first novel. She joined a critique group that helped her point out the boring parts of her manuscript and guided her in finding out how to submit to agents and publishers.

Wisconsin RWA has roughly 120 members, only about 30 of whom have published a novel. Young upstarts come to the meeting seeking the advice of old hands. Antoniewicz, who has occupied both roles in the group, said the dynamic changes once a member becomes published.

“All of a sudden they thought I knew what I was doing,” she laughed.

Muna Shehadi Sill, a Wauwatosa-based novelist who writes under the name Isabel Sharpe, began writing romance when she had young children and was stuck at home. RWA meetings provided her with needed advice and “exciting” criticisms, but also an escape from the house. She agreed with Antoniewicz that things changed when she began publishing her work. She attends meetings less as her children grow older and as the questions she encounters, such as how to get a publisher to print more copies of a book on the first run, begin to differ from those of other chapter members.

“There’s a feeling that there’s less to learn,” she said. “The problems are different.”

Still, she and Antoniewicz said they could not have done without the RWA’s guidance, and the group remains a strong community for them. It is a community that comes together outside of chapter meetings at well. A panel at the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books brought four published romance writers to the stage at University of Wisconsin-Waukesha, and several Wisconsin RWA members sat in the audience to listen. Barbara Vey, a member of Wisconsin RWA who blogs on romance for Publishers Weekly, moderated the panel.

“To know that we have these great homegrown writers in Wisconsin is so great,” Vey told the audience. Though her blog deals with national trends in the industry, Sill said Vey makes an effort to highlight Wisconsin writers. And the comment boards on her blog make for another meeting point where RWA members can discuss everything from new releases to their opinion on rape scenes in romance.

But the core of the group’s socialization is the monthly meeting, which for Milwaukee-area members takes place at Mayfair Mall on Saturday mornings. After Schwartz presented her advice on crime at this month’s meeting, several members adjourned to a P.F. Chang’s to have lunch and talk romance. Together the women chatted about their favorite recent reads, their shared hatred for the made-for-TV adaptations of Nora Roberts’ novels, and their reasons for coming back to romance time and again.

Vey said she went through a bad divorce, and once she discovered romance, she began to read a book a day. (Impressed with her pace, a friend at Publisher’s Weekly suggested she begin her blog.) For her, that surefire happy ending required of all romance novels provided a sense of comfort.

“They give me hope,” she said.

Thanks to Eric for his very positive representation of the romance industry.

Bottom Line: I went out and bought the newspaper, cut out the article and pasted it in my scrapbook.

My upcoming events:

Lady Jane’s Salon – July 5th

Thrillerfest – July 7-10

San Diego Comic Con – July 22-25

Romance Writers of America – July 28-31

DragonCon – September 3-6

Eagle Library Author Event – September 25

Emerald City Writers Convention – October 1-3

New York Comic Con - October 8-10

Readers ‘n ‘ritas – November 12-14

Contact:  barbaravey@gmail.com

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Romance Panel at SE Wisconsin Festival of Books

Barbara Vey -- June 21st, 2010
Ann Voss Peterson, Lori Handeland, Shari Anton, Isabel Sharpe relaxing after their Romance Panel

Ann Voss Peterson, Lori Handeland, Shari Anton, Isabel Sharpe relaxing after their Romance Panel

On day 2 of the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books, I moderated a panel of romance writers.  Our event was held in the beautiful Lunt-Fontanne Theatre and I have to tell you that there is something magical about standing on a stage that offers stadium seating.

The panel consisted of authors Shari Anton, Lori Handeland, Ann Voss Peterson and Isabel Sharpe.  While we hit on some of the general romance questions (how difficult is it to write a sex scene, do you get many fan letters from prisoners, how do those covers get picked anyway?), a few of the audience members were more interested in the business side of writing.  Can you support yourself on your writing alone (some could), do you do this full time (whenever possible) and do you need an agent (yes, it’s a good idea).

In the audience was an intern for the local newspaper, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Barbara Vey schmoozing with Eric Randall of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Barbara Vey schmoozing with Eric Randall of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Here for the summer from Yale, Eric Randall took a class “The Historical Romance Novel” with Andrea DaRif and Lauren Willig.  While he said that he enjoyed the class and learned a lot he didn’t know about romance novels, he admitted that he probably wouldn’t buy one.  According to Eric, he was uncomfortable reading them in public, mostly because of the covers, but he found the stories themselves very interesting.

Eric spent the morning attending the local Romance Writers of America meeting and interviewing several of the authors there.  He wasn’t sure when his article would be published, but I’ll be sure to put a link up when I find out.  I took some pictures with my iPhone and offered them to him, but unfortunately the resolution isn’t good enough for the newspaper.

Bottom Line: Where was Jimmy Olson when we needed him?