Candidate Q&A

2018–19 RWA Board of Directors Candidates

Learn more about the candidates for the 2018–19 Board of Directors by clicking on a name below.

 

President-Elect

 


President Elect

Barbara Dunlop

Barbara Dunlop

New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Barbara Dunlop joined RWA in1998. Barbara has published more than fifty novels with Harlequin Books and Tule Publishing along with a best-selling self-published romantic comedy series. A former RWA Board member, Barbara served two terms as the RITA Ceremony Board Liaison. She was a member of the RWA Bylaws Committee, where her government experience as Director Economic Policy and Planning enabled her to help streamline RWA’s Bylaws. Barbara is a four-time RITA finalist, a two-time winner of the Golden Heart and a recipient of the RWA Service Award.

 

Member of RWA since: 1998

Are you published in romantic fiction: Yes

What year were you first published in romantic fiction? 2001

PAN? Yes

Honor Roll? No

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2015? 2016? Planning in 2017? 2017 – 4; 2018 – 3; 019 – 3

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate): Harlequin Books, Tule Publishing.

Please list any RWA chapter affiliations: N/A.

Other writers organizations (please specify): NINC

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author? Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No.

Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No.

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provided services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing, etc. No.

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
I joined RWA and continue to be a member to develop writing skills, build and grow professional relationships, and exchange information and ideas with fellow authors.

Why have you chosen to run for the position of President-Elect?
As a long-time member and former board member of RWA, I recognize the importance of the organization to professional authors throughout the phases of their careers. I believe this is a daunting and exciting time in publishing, and I hope to help strengthen RWA to positively impact the publishing landscape and serve as a trusted and relevant source of professional support to members.

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions.
• Former RWA Board Member • RWA Service Award Recipient • RITA Ceremony Board Liaison • Bylaws Committee Member

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?
I have significant experience in the publishing industry, publishing fifty-six novels with two publishers over the past seventeen years. I am a former Film Commissioner, with experience developing and supporting screenwriters and filmmakers. I have significant government policy analysis and writing experience, currently serving as Director Economic Policy and Planning. While serving as a Board member, I played a significant role in rewriting the RWA bylaws.

What issues do you feel are important for the RWA Board to address in the next two years and why?
Over the next two years, RWA should ensure it is responsive to the needs of members in the areas of both craft development and marketing within the evolving industry. RWA should continue to be a trusted source of industry information to members. And RWA should strive to enhance its reputation as a respected professional writers organization.

Through analysis of the writing industry and membership goals and objectives, RWA should be prepared to update its programs and support mechanisms to meet the evolving needs of the membership.

What experience do you have that shows why you’d be a successful leader?
I have served on a variety of writers and other community organizations in a volunteer capacity, including as president. I served five years as a Film Commissioner, leading the staff and programs of the Commission. I have served in a leadership capacity as a director for ten years in a government economic development office, managing staff and delivering client programs.

What are three qualities you think are important for effective leadership? How have you demonstrated these qualities in a past or current position?
A willingness to listen and learn, to analyze information and to build support for a common strategic direction are important leadership qualities.

 

Carolyn Jewel

Carolyn Jewel

Carolyn Jewel is an award-winning author of historical and paranormal romance who has written for publishers such as St. Martin’s Press, HarperCollins, Berkley Books, and Grand Central Forever. She has been a RITA finalist in the Historical and Paranormal categories.

In a past day job, she was a web developer. She is currently a Microsoft SQL Server DBA and Data Architect. She leads a team of offshore DBAs for a company with a presence in North America, Europe, and now expanding into Asia.

She has written 25 novels, novellas, and short stories, and has self-published backlist as well as front list.

 

Member of RWA since: 2000

Are you published in romantic fiction? Yes

Year first published? 1987

PAN? Yes

Honor Roll? No

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): erotic short stories

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017? 2018? Planning for 2019?
2017: Two; 2018: 1 released, two planned; 2019: at least 2

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate):
I am currently self-publishing, but from 1987 to about 2012, I was traditionally published with publishers such as Grand Central Forever and Berkley Books, among others. I still have two traditionally published books that have not yet been reverted.

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: SFA-RWA (San Francisco Area RWA)

Other Writers’ Organizations (please specify): N/A

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author? No

Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No

Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc. No

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
I joined RWA not long after my first book was publishes when an editor described the organization to me and said I didn’t need anything like that. I thought it sounded like exactly what I needed, so I joined. I have continued to be a member because I can connect with other authors and keep abreast of what’s going on in the industry. The friendships, the information, and the networking are absolutely invaluable.

Why have you chosen to run for the position of President-Elect?
I have been a Director-At-Large since 2014, and there is more work to be done on issues I care deeply about. I believe in RWA’s mission.

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions:
I have served as an RWA Director-At-Large since 2014. I have, in the distant past, served on committees or task forces – most notably a very (very) early committee on the website. During my time as a Director, the Board has taken on issues that are of critical importance to members who have not had a fair, safe, or level playing field in the organization or in publishing.

Now and in the future, the Board’s Diversity work is crucial to the organization, its current members, and authors who might consider joining. I was the committee chair for the technology refresh that should be occurring later this year. I have also been the Board Liaison to the Diversity Committee, among other liaison positions during my tenure as a directory. Working to get a solution in place to address RWA’s technology needs was quite the challenge, especially when the sudden acquisition of our current provider meant an unexpected pivot and need to start over.

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?
My long background in tech is a significant benefit when technology issues arise, as they will continue to do for the foreseeable future. The experience has also been helpful for dissecting issues with eBook technologies and vendors and ensuring that the organization is informed and can speak to third parties with authority on these matters

There is a vital role for RWA in ensuring that vendors, such as Amazon, understand the Romance market. It’s also critical that RWA continue forward thinking about the future of Romance publishing and potential impacts on authors and the organization.

What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?

The Diversity work must remain a primary objective for RWA. There is a great deal of progress yet to be made. RWA must be a welcoming, effective advocate for all members.

RWA must also continue its outreach to companies (such as Amazon) to address and educate them about the Romance market. It’s vital that RWA be seen as a credible and influential voice for Romance authors when it contacts these companies with concerns or requests.

RWA also needs to ensure that it is offering maximum benefit to all tiers of its membership, from the working-toward-publication to the multi-published and that those benefits are in line with the evolving publishing market.

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?

RWA must continue and improve on its Diversity efforts. An organization that does not fairly serve all its members cannot hope to stay relevant and vibrant.

RWA also needs to keep abreast of the sea changes in the Romance publishing industry. All Romance authors (traditionally published, self-published, or hybrid) benefit from a market with multiple opportunities and means for reaching Romance readers. RWA should work to insure publishers and vendors understand the impact their actions and publishing programs have on readers, the Romance market, and on authors.

What experience do you have that shows why you’d be a successful leader?
In past day-job positions, I have been the Database Team Lead for a company doing business worldwide. As such I ensured that my team was meeting the company’s business needs as well as preventing future issues. With respect to RWA, I am a past-president of the Beau Monde Chapter, and have served two terms as an RWA Director At Large.

What are three qualities you think are important for effective leadership? How have you demonstrated these qualities in a past or current position?

  • A calm, steady, and respectful voice.
  • Commitment to a safe environment for discussion and dissent.
  • Willingness to make decisions and working to break through analysis paralysis.

In my time as a Director, I have constantly challenged myself to bring those qualities to the table. It is always my intention to make informed decisions for the benefit of RWA and its mission. I am willing and prepared to accept the consequences of those decisions.

As President-Elect and then President of the Beau Monde chapter, the board dealt with some quite sensitive matters. I reached out to National resources and brought that advice to the board for discussion and action. The matter was difficult, but satisfactorily resolved. Leaders should consult others with experience and expertise when resolving issues or designing policy. Effective and appropriate delegation of duties is another crucial element of leadership.

 

TOP

 


 

Treasurer

Nan Dixon

Nan Dixon

Nan Dixon graduated with an accounting degree and passed the CPA and CMA (Certified Management Accountant) exams in one year. She was Senior VP and Chief Financial Officer of a non-profit 150 provider medical group for 14 years. As VP Finance of a pharmaceutical company, her span of control included Treasury, Cash Management, Strategic Planning, IT, Tax, Contracting, Insurance, Real Estate, and Mergers and Acquisitions. She has served as MFW’s Secretary and President and is also a member of TGN. She serves as treasurer of a non-profit dance company. Now writing full-time, Nan has published 6 books with Harlequin.

 

Member of RWA since: 2007

Are you published in romantic fiction? Yes

Year first published? 2013

PAN? Yes

Honor Roll? No

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): N/A

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017?  2018? Planning for 2019? 2017 – 2; 2018 – 1; 2019 - 2

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate): Harlequin SuperRomance

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: Midwest Fiction Writers and The Golden Network

Other Writers’ Organizations (please specify): NINC

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author? No

Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No

Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc.? No

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
I found Midwest Fiction Writers first and then joined both RWA and MFW.

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions:

  • Secretary MFW
  • President MFW (Moved MFW's accounting records to on-line Quickbooks for ease of use.)
  • Ran MFW's Fall Harvest Workshop for a number of years.
  • Received Service Award from MFW and TGN
  • Received 2017 MFW's LaVryle Spencer's Mentor of the Year Award. This is the award I am most honored to have received. I love to help new authors and have volunteered to critique all Golden Heart manuscripts for my chapter mates.

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?
As VP Finance of a pharmaceutical company, I directed the development of their Strategic Plan. In the 6 years I worked for them, revenues grew from $28 Million to $300+Million. In-depth focus groups were used to develop the SWOT analysis to ensure executives understood the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Strengths (SWOT) of the company as it grew from 90 to 540 employees and launched a major anti-emetic drug for chemo-therapy induced nausea and vomiting.  (CINV) I believe my experience will help identify issues that should be discussed. I have also been in charge of integrated 2 same sized companies and can help with change management issues as RWA adapts and adopts new policies.

What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?

  • Support of unpublished writers and the Golden Heart.
  • Continuing emphasis of the RITA as a nationally recognized award.
  • Inclusion for all writers.
  • Successor Planning for Key RWA staff.
  • Change Management

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?

  • Awareness campaign of romance as an honored voice in fiction.
  • Supporting new public relations voice in RWA.
  • Identifying where new members will come from to sustain membership.

Why have you chosen to run for the position of Treasurer?
 I have learned to so much from MFW, TGN and RWA that I would be honored to give back to this incredible organization. I have skills from my previous careers that can benefit RWA.

The treasurer is the financial historian of the organization. What is your experience with book keeping and maintaining financial records? What educational training or experience have you had in accounting or record keeping?

My previous career was all in Finance, but my span of control has always been very wide, consisting of Accounting, Analysis, Finance, Tax, IT, Cash Management, Strategic Planning. Insurance, Real Estate and Leasing, Contracting, and Mergers and Acquisitions. I have an accounting degree and have passed both the CPA and CMA exams. I was Senior VP and CFO for 14 years of a non-profit medical group that consisted of 150 providers. I constantly reminded the board that their non-profit status was one of the greatest assets. I was VP Finance of a publicly-held pharmaceutical company who's market cap grew from $280 Million to $4.9 Billion dollars. I am currently the Treasurer of a small non- profit dance company.

 

Laura Drake

Laura Drake

2014 RITA® award winner for Best First Book, Laura Drake is a New York and independently published author of contemporary romance and women's fiction. Laura has been an RWA member since 2007, President of the former RWA-WF Chapter and multiple-term Treasurer of her home Chapter, OCCRWA. She is a current member of RWA’s Budget Task Force and Finance committees.

She finally realized her dream of becoming a Texan and gave up the corporate CFO gig to write full time. She is a wife, grandmother and motorcycle chick in the remaining waking hours.

 

Member of RWA since: 2007

Are you published in romantic fiction? Yes

Year first published? 2013

PAN? Yes

Honor Roll? No

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): Women's Fiction

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017? 2018? Planning for 2019?
2017 - 1, 2018 - 1, 2019- 2

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate):
Self, Grand Central Forever (Hachette), Harlequin (Superromance)

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: Closest to me now is 500 miles away, but was active in OCCRWA for 7 years.

Other Writers’ Organizations (please specify): Founding member of Womens Fiction Writers Assn., The Bookies (local group)

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author? No                      

Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No
  
Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc. Option 1.

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
Education and networking - in the past, and currently.  And to give back to the community that has given me so much.

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions: Treasurer (several terms) OCCRWA. President, RWA-WF chapter. Led round table at PRO Retreat two years. I teach classes and workshops at many RWA chapters, online and in person. I believe my Treasurer position at OCCRWA was the most impactful.

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?
I have been a businessperson for three decades, a Corporate CFO for two, where I analyzed numbers and performance to inform and advise management to make solid decisions going forward. This experience will be critical in advising the Board and helping to fund the future and achieve the goals of the strategic plan.

What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?
RWA seems at the moment, a microcosm of our larger society, and we face very tough challenges. It's not fair that publishing is not a level playing field for all. It should be. We need to think outside the norm and past our blind spots to find ways to make it happen. A rising tide lifts all boats, and I believe we're a stronger voice for change, together. I tend to be a facilitator, to get people to work together. I think we need all of that we can get right now.  Aside from that, member attraction and retention, in an ever shifting publishing environment. Elevating the public's awareness of the romance genre and RWA.

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?
It IS relevant. We need to be welcoming and inclusive and get the word out, to authors and the general public. RWA is one of the very few writer's organizations that welcomes beginner writers, and education has always been a big part of what we are. That will always make us relevant to new writers.

Why have you chosen to run for the position of Treasurer?
I have a solid business background for the position, as well as a cool head, and team-building mentality. I am organized, fiscally responsible and have a strong attention to detail.

The treasurer is the financial historian of the organization. What is your experience with book keeping and maintaining financial records? What educational training or experience have you had in accounting or record keeping?
I have a BA from California State University, Fullerton in Business with an Accounting Emphasis (this is their accounting degree). I worked my way up from Office Manager, to bookkeeper, to controller, to CFO (Chief Financial Officer), the position from which I retired in 2011.

 

TOP

 


 

Director-at-Large

Elf Ahearn

Elf Ahearn

As a writer of “Regency romance with a Gothic Twist,” Elf Ahearn was an award-winning journalist and communications specialist before becoming an author. She formerly served as the president of the Hudson Valley RWA chapter and worked on RWA’s committee to reward outstanding chapters as well as the 2016 RITA awards. In addition to writing, (or pampering her cat instead of writing) she freelances for Penguin Random House and Open Road Media, teaches a course on conflict, action, and suspense for the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, and tutors kids in the arts of using our beloved language.

 

Member of RWA since: 2008

Are you published in romantic fiction? Yes

Year first published? 2013

PAN? Yes

Honor Roll? No

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): N/A

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017? 2018? Planning for 2019? Self-published 2 novels that had been previously published by Crimson Romance, which closed.

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate): Crimson Romance a/k/a Simon & Schuster; Self

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: Hudson Valley RWA Other Writers’

Organizations (please specify): N/A

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author?
Yes, I write back cover copy for Penguin Random House as well as Open Road Media.

Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No

Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc.?
Yes, through Reedsy, I offer my services writing back cover copy.

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
When I first considered writing romance, I went to an HVRWA meeting. The gals were so warm and encouraging, I immediately wanted to join. Ergo, I became an RWA member.

Why have you chosen to run for the position of Director at Large?
I tutor people of all ages and races, but I am hard-pressed to find fun reading material for my African American students. Romance provides something vital to women--if it didn't it wouldn't have lasted since before even Jane Austen put quill to paper--yet people of color won't find many characters who represent their perspectives. I want to encourage diverse writers, and I want today's critics to take us seriously. If the New Yorker can write reviews on spy novels, they can write them about romance, too.

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions:
I've served as secretary and president of the Hudson Valley RWA, as a member of the committee to recognize excellence in chapters, and on the RITA awards ceremony. My most important contribution came during my presidency of HVRWA; I supported several efforts to increase HVRWA's profile in the Hudson Valley community,including book signings, lectures, and a meet-and-greet.

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?
Perhaps the one skill I have that would benefit RWA most is my willingness to talk to people. The Strategic Plan emphasizes the goals of identifying the "needs and expectations of members in a changing career spectrum" and developing an "enhanced sense of ‘community’ among members." The best way to accomplish either of these goals is to talk to people in a non-judgmental manner that opens the door to new ideas.

What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?
Improving diversity in the romance genre and gaining respectability in the book world.

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?
In my humble opinion, RWA has done an excellent job of staying current on the challenges authors face. However, the organization's social media presence could perhaps be enhanced.

 

 

Anna Alexander

Anna Alexander

Award-winning author Anna Alexander is the author of the Heroes of Saturn and the Sprawling A Ranch series. With Hugh Jackman’s abs and Christopher Reeve’s blue eyes as inspiration, she loves spinning tales of superheroes finding love. Anna also loves to give back and has served on the board for the Greater Seattle Romance Writers of America as chapter president and on the committee for the Emerald City Writers Conference. Most recently she has served as the Leadership Chair for RWA and organizes the Seattle UnCon.

 

Member of RWA since: 2009

Are you published in romantic fiction? Yes

Year first published? 2013

PAN? Yes

Honor Roll? No

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): Graphic novels

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017? 2018? Planning for 2019? 2017- 2, 2018- 2, 2019 - 2

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate): Ellora's Cave, Self – Published

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: Greater Seattle RWA

Other Writers’ Organizations (please specify): N/A

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author? No

Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No

Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc.? No

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
As I was finishing writing my first novel, I discovered RWA through a favorite author. To my delight, a local chapter was meeting at a library near my house. From my first meeting it was impressed upon me that being a published romance author meant I was also going to be a small business owner, and I had a lot to learn. RWA was integral in my learning the craft and business of writing. My best friends and staunchest supporters have been the people I've met while being a part of RWA. The organization is a port in this crazy industry called publishing, and an excellent resource, which is why I continue to be a member.

Why have you chosen to run for the position of Director at Large?
The Board is in need of new voices with different perspectives of not only the journey to publication, but also how to sustain a writing career. RWA is at a crossroads in its relevance in the publishing world. I want to bring my experience and skills to the position to help bring about the change that is needed to keep the organization moving forward.

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions:
From the moment I joined RWA I have volunteered my time to the organization. For the Emerald City Writers Conference I served as the chair and co-chair on several committees and have been the organizer for the Passport to Romance reader appreciation event for the last three years. I also served on the board as membership chair and as chapter President. I have also served as the chair for the leadership committee. As chapter president I reached out to the two-thirds of the membership who lived hours away and brought to them our workshops online so they'd be able to partake of the educational opportunities. I also established the annual State of the Chapter meeting where members could come and hear about chapter projects and accomplishments and give suggestions and feedback. This gave our members a dedicated time to have a voice on chapter business without having to take time away from workshops. It was also a good time to remind members that it was THEIR chapter, not just the boards. But my proudest contribution was creating the Passport to Romance event. This created an opportunity for authors and readers to come together and celebrate the romance genre. Talking to the readers gives the authors encouragement to keep writing great books and inspired aspiring authors to finish their novels.

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?
The best skill I bring to the position is that I am awesome. Just kidding. Mostly. Over the last nine years as I've served the organization in various positions, I have learned that the membership needs are as varied as the stories we write. My years in the hospitality industry have taught me what it means to be welcoming. It has also taught me organizational skills and giving the people what they need. As the coordinator of several events, including the Emerald City Writers Conference and Seattle UnCon, I've learned not only delegation and project management, but it's also allowed me to meet and speak with writers at all stages of the publishing journey. I've been traditionally published and weathered the fallout as that publisher crashed and burned. I've been independently published and live the struggle of discoverability and keeping the joy in my writing every day. I can see the big picture, such as what RWA needs to bring to its members, as well as focus on the smaller details, like change needs to start with the local chapters. I plan to use my experience to bring ideas to the table to create a stronger RWA.

What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?
Inclusion is the most important issue for the organization at this time. Without a strong membership, RWA is nothing. RWA is the home of romance writers and that means ALL romance writers. Authors of all races, religions, and sexual orientations need to be welcomed. Without a strong and diverse membership, RWA cannot be the touchstone for authors to find education, a community, or an advocate in the publishing industry. How can RWA be the pulse of the genre if that pulse is without its brilliant and diverse members?

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?
For RWA to stay relevant, the focus needs to be on advocacy and education for ALL members. Connect with the local chapters and find out what their members most need. Connect with those without a local chapter and see what they require. Contact members who have left and find out what needs were not met. Speculation will only address a small portion of the needs of its membership. Without effective communication, major opportunities will be missed.

 

 

Hanna Rhys Barnes

Hanna Rhys Barnes

Hanna Rhys Barnes/Tolden Rhys has been a member of RWA for ten years. She has served on committees and boards of several RWA chapters, both local and online. Hanna has been a freelance developmental editor and author coach for the last six years. Though she’s traditionally published in historical romance, Hanna is currently querying her paranormal romance while self-publishing her two holiday romance novellas featuring “seasoned heroines.” Hanna lives on Whidbey Island in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her sassy ginger tabby Nekkohime (Japanese for Cat Princess).

 

Member of RWA since: Feb. 2007

Are you published in romantic fiction? Yes

Year first published? 2009

PAN? Yes

Honor Roll? No

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): N/A

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017? 2018? Planning for 2019? 2017-0; 2018-2; 2019-4

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate): Published in paper and e-book formats with The Wild Rose Press. In the process of self-publishing two holiday novellas in 2018.

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: Evergreen RWA; Greater Seattle RWA; Hearts through History Romance Writers; Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal RWA 

Other Writers’ Organizations (please specify): PNWA (Pacific Northwest Writers' Association); Whidbey Writers' Group, LLC

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author?
Yes, Copy and Developmental Editor for Booktropes in 2015. I did not acquire books but was part of the editing team once in production.

Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No 

Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc.?
Yes, I provide freelance editing and coaching services to authors in fiction and non-fiction genres. My goal is to make a work the best it can be and to help authors develop into strong writers.

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
I joined RWA in 2007 to learn how to write romance. I had finished my second manuscript and submitted it to several agents and editors and gotten many "thanks, but no thanks" rejections. One editor was kind enough to say I was a good writer, but what I had written was not a romance so she couldn't buy it. She suggested I join RWA. I did and with the help of fellow romance authors and by attending National Annual Conferences I eventually learned about the genre and rewrote that manuscript into a romance that someone wanted to buy. I am a member today because of the unique industry connections and valuable learning experiences that RWA provides to its members, and because of the extraordinary friendships that have developed from being a romance writer.

Why have you chosen to run for the position of Director at Large?
The publishing industry is in flux, which can make the realization of an author's goals a challenge.  I believe in the potential of RWA and its members. I want to help guide RWA to be at the forefront as we meet the challenges of the future.

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions:

  • Volunteer Annual Conference: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2017, 2018
  • Greater Seattle RWA Emerald City Writers' Conference: Committee Member 2010-present, Registration Chair 2017
  • Evergreen RWA: Chapter Founding Member, VP-Programs 2014-present

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?
I have been an educator in some form since I graduated from college. I've taught Middle School English and High School Mathematics. I've taught adult education classes at community college. I've taught classes for Federal and State governmental agencies. I am certificated in Corporate Training and Development with an emphasis in Curriculum development. I am a certified Yoga Instructor and Reiki Practitioner. I was a certified payroll professional for twenty years. Life has led me to a place where I can see the big picture but can still figure out the necessary details.

What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?
As ever, diversity is an important issue for the board to address. However, it's also key that all of the specified categories in the diversity statement are included in the board's efforts. RWA has the power to encourage a level playing field for all underrepresented voices be they related to race, color, gender, religion, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, political affiliation or age.

The board also needs to address, as soon as feasible, the issue of what type of program will provide beneficial educational and developmental opportunities to the pre-published segment of our membership. At a minimum, the board needs to communicate a plan of action to the membership before the presentation of the final Golden Heart Heart Awards in 2019.

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?
Our industry is ever-changing because our readers are ever changing. Every day new people pick up their first romance novel. Every day someone discovers a new subgenre. Every day we get older and our tastes change. What entertained us at age twenty is vastly different from what entertains us at forty or sixty.

RWA can lead the way toward looking at sellability in a new light. RWA can push the envelope of what is sellable in the Romance Industry by maintaining an awareness of the diversity of readers and ensuring that traditional publishing houses are aware that there are sustainable audiences for all underrepresented voices.

 

 

Patty Blount

Patty Blount

Patty Blount writes YA and contemporary romance and was a 2015 RITA and Bookseller's Best Award finalist. An RWA member since 2010, her critically acclaimed YA novels have earned the CLMP Firecracker Award and been chosen as seasonal picks by the Junior Library Guild.  A member of LIRW, CTRWA, and YARWA chapters, Patty has served in various leadership roles but her favorite role is that of mentor, especially now that one of her mentees went on to win the prestigious Golden Heart. Patty believes strongly in characters who save themselves as well as each other and often writes strong fighters into her stories. She lives on Long Island where she works as a corporate curriculum developer.

 

Member of RWA since: 2010

Are you published in romantic fiction? Yes

Year first published? 2012

PAN? Yes

Honor Roll? No

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): N/A

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017? 2018? Planning for 2019? 2017: 1;  2018: 2;  2019: Nothing planned

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate): Sourcebooks Fire;  Tule Publishing Group

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: LIRW; CTRWA; YARWA

Other Writers’ Organizations (please specify): N/A

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author? No

Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No

Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc.? No

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
I met a member on Twitter (Jeannie Moon) who invited me to an LIRW chapter meeting when we discovered we both lived on Long Island. To join the chapter, I had to first join RWA. I continue to be a member because of the connections I’ve made and support I’ve received that go far deeper than what my family can provide. While my family supports my endeavors, only other writers understand how we can love and hate our work at the same time.

Why have you chosen to run for the position of Director at Large?
I thought about this carefully. I’m not a well-known name. I’ve never hit the Times list and who knows? Maybe I never will. I spent a lot of time obsessing over all the things that weren’t happening for me and feeling horrible about myself. Then I was invited to mentor other writers by my local chapters. At first, I balked. What did I know about mentoring anybody when I was such a failure? But I did. One of the authors I mentored WON THE GOLDEN HEART!! and hearing this news filled me with such pride, you’d have thought I was the one who’d won. I realized I do have something to offer. I spend a lot of time now judging and coordinating regional contests, leading workshops, writing newsletter articles, and mentoring other writers. That work fulfills me more than my writing does.

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions:
At the chapter level for YARWA and CTRWA, I volunteered to mentor writers starting out. I’m prouder than a new mom to tell you one of my mentees just won a Golden Heart (CR Grissom). I am PAN liaison for the LIRW chapter and that too has proven to be one of my favorite roles because it gives me the ability to allay fears and worries my colleagues have about the industry at large. Finally, I’m also the critique session coordinator. I love seeing that spark in a writer when we, as a chapter, show them how their words could pack more impact with a simple change in motivation or pacing.

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?
I frequently hear people say things like they’re not getting much out of RWA and honestly, it irks me. I want people to know that you get out what you put in, it’s that simple. I work diligently in my three different chapters to provide value to our members. There are some things I do very well and am always willing to coach members on what I’ve learned. I’m good at public speaking (now – it took lots of practice!) and I’m extremely organized – I have to be organized to juggle a day job plus my writing career. The National Chapter Relations objective is something I feel confident I can impact.

What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?
Inclusivity, diversity, and longevity. Publishing for all its changing is still mired in the past in so many ways. There are some big challenges… we’re dealing with a lot of churn in the industry as imprints discontinue and publishers merge and Amazon continues to take advantage of authors. In addition, we are STILL fighting the battle for legitimacy as a genre. I want to see the RITA Award receive the same level of attention, publicity, and awe as the Oscars. And yes, we have a lot of work to do toward inclusivity and #ownvoices. 

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?
I would like to see more chapter leadership meetings (conference calls or virtual format) so the national board can get that critical ear-to-the-ground insight needed to address pertinent issues. There’s an old saying in business that value is determined not by the brand but by the market. I think that applies to RWA, as well. We need to put mechanisms in place to address issues faster. I like that RWA’s been using Twitter to issue statements as well as drafting letters to Amazon. I would LOVE to see RWA invite Hilary Clinton to a conference or event after her unfortunate dismissal of the romance genre so she can see firsthand how wrong she was about our work.

 

 

Margaret Bowsher

Margaret Bowsher

As an avid romance reader, i became an impassioned romance writer. I became a member of RWA in 2010 and PRO in 2013. In 2014 I attended the annual conference in San Antonio Texas and was motivated to get more involved and now my schedule will allow me the time to do this. I want to learn and share what I have learned. I would love to be a DAL to start learning.

My husband and I are currently moving from Ohio to South Carolina for a new chapter in our lives.

Please vote for me.

 

Member of RWA since: 2010

Are you published in romantic fiction? No

Year first published? No

PAN? No

Honor Roll? No

If not yet published, are you a member of PRO? Yes

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): N/A

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017? 2018? Planning for 2019? None

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate): None

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: N/A

Other Writers’ Organizations (please specify): N/A

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author? No
 
Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No

Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc.? No

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
I wanted to learn. I knew this would be the best way to get exposed and get support.

Why have you chosen to run for the position of Director at Large?
I want to continue to learn and get involved then maybe I will be able to help someone just getting started.

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions:
I read, write and learn. Now I want to start to contribute.

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?
Since Romance Writers of America belongs to the members, I believe it is very important to listen to all their concerns. I have some experience with this having been on the Board of Directors for Riverside Art Center for several years in different capacities. I was also the Treasurer, Vice President and President of our local Parent Teacher Association for years. I have learned that listening, and in some cases finding a compromise is difficult but at least it needs to be attempted. I like to think, that is was RWA is all about.

We are a very special group of people and although we read and write differently, we are all striving for the same thing.

We need to continue to grow as a group. I believe the strategic idea behind RWA is a strong one that we need to enhance together.

What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?
Continue to educate and offer opportunities to  connect with other writes, published and unpublished. Keep us all aware of what is happening in the publishing world, the good and the bad.

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?
There have been several issues lately that RWA has brought to its members and whether or not everyone agrees with the choices, we are all made aware and have the right to discuss it. This is part of what RWA is.

 

 

Catherine Bybee

Catherine Bybee

New York TimesWall Street Journal, and USA Today best-selling author Catherine Bybee has written twenty-eight books that have collectively sold more than 5.5 million copies and have been translated into more than eighteen languages. Raised in Washington State, Bybee moved to Southern California in the hope of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned several best-selling contemporary romance series.

 

Member of RWA since: 2014

Are you published in romantic fiction? Yes

Year first published? 2009

PAN: Yes, 2014

Honor Roll? Yes, 2014

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): None

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017? 2018? Planning for 2019? 2017 – 3; 2018 – 3; 2019 - 3

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate): Amazon Montlake

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: Santa Clarita Chapter, although I have recently moved to San Diego.

Other Writers’ Organizations (please specify): None

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author? No

Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No
  
Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc.? No

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
My reasons for joining back in 2014 are not the same reasons I stay. During my earlier years I joined because I wanted / needed the education on publishing that RWA provided. Now I find myself staying because I want to be one of those educators.

Why have you chosen to run for the position of Director at Large?
I would like to be a part of the team that keeps RWA relevant for all authors. With all the changes in our industry, RWA needs to shift with the needs of its members. I would like to be on the forefront of those decisions.

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions:
I have spoke at several chapter meetings and conferences including the San Francisco chapter, LARA chapter, Orange County chapter. I am scheduled to speak this year at the San Diego chapter and Santa Clarita chapter. I have participated in many workshops and teaching opportunities at RWA’s national conferences.  I taught a weeklong online marketing class at RWA University a few years back.

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?
My path to publishing and success has been unique to only a few members of RWA. Having started with a small press, digital publisher, then attempting to find a NY house, to self publishing during the ‘golden era’ of 2011-2012…then onto selling to Amazon Montlake where my success has exceeded all expectations. I feel I offer different point of view than that of my peers. When my fellow authors see the path that many have taken, I ask myself if I should veer to the left, or right and see where those trails lead. I have managed to keep my brand relevant in the ever-changing landscape of publishing and feel I can add a fresh voice to the board.

What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?
I think it’s imperative that RWA keep itself ‘leading’ the path to educating romance writers and representing them instead of ‘following’ what others are doing. Keeping membership up by providing value to its members, no mater where they are in their career is an absolute must. Providing classes and education to members that have found success is just as important as delivering those things to new, yet to be discovered, writers. Yet I feel that may be something RWA is missing. When I ask authors if they are attending the national conference some have said, “Why, what can I learn?” Many, like me, don’t attended monthly meetings with a local chapter for the very same reason. I’d like to see and be a part of the change to make all romance authors become involved with RWA.

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?
Like I mentioned above, I feel providing education and information to all writers, even those who have found success is imperative and something that is lacking. I’d like to see higher education tracks given by industry professionals from accountants to wealth management. Many of us work with assistants and we need education on how to be an employer.  How to manage the team of agent and publisher.

Phasing out the Golden Heart was needed, but what will take its place? I want to be a part of that. How do we keep the RITA truly representing the best in the industry when many people don’t enter their books? We need to keep this prestigious award relevant.

The glut of self-published work has lead to so many authors giving up because they’re unable to make a living. We need to educate authors on not just ‘how’ to self publish, but ‘when and if’ they should.

The outline of the ‘path to success’ and or ‘path to publishing’ that is celebrated at local meetings is also irrelevant and needs a facelift. How do we keep successful authors involved?

I will end with this. The relationship between RWA and Publishers and Agents needs to shift with the times. I noticed a lot less publisher involvement at the Denver national conference. Now that may just be because I wasn’t looking, or because the venue was very spread out. But I think it is more because everyone is struggling in the world of publishing. We need to bring to publishers and agents a value, and they need to bring the same thing to us. That means that RWA needs to have something they don’t. Let’s face it that has always been the members. Without writers, publishers and agents don’t have a day job. But if we lose members, we have nothing to offer. Some would argue that with self publishing the ‘writers’ no longer need publishers and agents. Not so fast…look at how many unsuccessful self-published writers are out there. Traditional publishing will change, it has to. And eventually the bigger traditional houses will catch up. When they do, they will need authors and many authors will need them. So in my opinion, the biggest challenge RWA faces in the upcoming years is keeping itself relevant enough to maintain membership.

 

 

Gail Chianese

Gail Chianese

Gail Chianese is not a best-selling author, but she has hopes one day she will achieve that title. In the meantime, she writes contemporary romance as a hybrid author and treasures her starred review from Library Journal. Because she believes in giving back, she’s served multiple board and chapter positions. If she won the lottery she’d quit her day job as a manager for an academic repository and write full-time. In her spare time she ghost hunts with hubby and bugs her kids. She’s been a Navy wife for more than half her lifetime. Change is her friend.

 

Member of RWA since: 2010

Are you published in romantic fiction? Yes

Year first published? 2015

PAN? Yes

Honor Roll? No

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): N/A

Romance (novel/traditional and novella/self-pubbed)

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017? 2018? Planning for 2019? 2017: 3; 2018: 2; 2019: Unsure at this time.

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate): Kensington/Lyrical; Self

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: Connecticut Chapter of RWA (CTRWA)

Other Writers’ Organizations (please specify): None at this time.

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author? No

Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No
  
Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc.? No

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
I joined RWA to learn about the world of publishing and writing, to further my education, skills, craft and to network with people who understood my goals. It’s been eight years and while I’ve learned a lot and am now published, I still have a lot to learn and RWA provides me the best opportunities to do so. Not to mention, RWA is my go-to source for industry news and I know they advocate for our members, which is very important to me given as I’m a sole-proprietor with very little clout (if any!). 

Why have you chosen to run for the position of Director at Large?
I’ve chosen to run for several reasons, mostly to give back to an organization and it’s members who have done so much for me. I wouldn’t be published without RWA or my chapters. But also, because I believe in RWA’s mission and feel I’m a good fit. I’m not an honor roll member or a best seller, but I am traditionally and self-published and still kind of a “baby author” who can relate to many of our members and their needs. As I said last year, we need RWA and leaders that will step up and champion for our members, and I will do that. I want to do that. I believe I have the experience and skills needed to assist in the continuation of the boards goals and will do everything I can to accomplish this by working with other board members, the RWA staff and industry members.

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions:
 In my time as a member, I’ve served: two terms as President of CTRWA, one term as Vice President, Member-at-Large, two years as Conference Chair, two terms as Past President Advisor, and multiple years as Contest Category Coordinator. In addition I served on the LIRW By-Laws committee. On the National level, I’ve volunteered for Ad-Hoc committees, and been called upon at least once. I've also volunteered as a workshop moderator, literary author attendant, and registration for eight out of nine national conferences I’ve attended. My most important contribution outside of volunteer roles is that of a general member who supports my fellow writers by recommending their books, showing up at signings, and encouraging new authors to follow their dream and join RWA.

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?
Over the years I’ve worked in many different positions from retail to cocktail waitress to travel agent to debt collector to the job I’ve held for the past eighteen years as team manger for an academic repository. I’ve also spent 27+ years as a Navy wife. If there’s one thing I’m good at its handling change. Combine all that with my chapter experience where I mentored future board members, brought in quality programming, organized our conference, ran our critique and mentor programs, and motivated chapter members to get involved. I believe I have the skills needed to help RWA in achieving our goals. Also as a member who has published both traditionally and indie I can see both sides of the coin and empathize with my fellow members and understand the many challenges we all face.

What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?
There are so many issues, as the strategic plan shows. We still need to focus on keeping chapters viable. While the national organizations brings us together and provides us with excellent networking and education opportunities at the conference, it’s vital that we have local chapters where we can connect in person on a regular basis, as well as continue our education and develop our careers. Diversity, inclusivity, and bias are still an issue. RWA has made strides in developing a sense of community and acknowledging that regardless of the path one has taken to publication, we are all of value. However, we still have many miles to travel. Until we’ve reached a level where equal opportunity is a given, this has to be addressed. Education for all levels (beginner to the seasoned pro who could write a novel in their sleep) because this is an ever-changing industry.

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?
One of the major issues I hear from so many is the challenge of discoverability. How do we get our names and books in front of readers? Moving the literacy signing to Saturday at the national conference was a good first step, but I think we can do more. What about dedicating Saturday to reader events where they can attend panels with authors, a tea, author bingo, or a Q&A session with various authors? There are a few reader events out there that we can look at and take a page from their book. We could also use our RWA website to introduce readers to new authors (have a reader page and list authors by subgenre) and educate them on the RITA (explain what it means to us, list past winners, present finalists).

We need to continue to provide our members with education opportunities on craft, business and writers life via the conference and RWA U. We need to communicate with each other, to not be afraid to face the ugly truths and be strong enough to stand up and fight for equality and always be an advocate for those who write romance in all its various forms.

 

 

C. Chilove

C. Chilove

C. Chilove has been a member of RWA since 2013, and a PAN member since 2016, with active membership in the TARA, CIMRWA, and FF&P chapters. In her tenure with RWA, she has volunteered on a number of committees and is currently serving her second term as President for the CIMRWA Chapter. 

Currently, she resides in the beautiful Sunshine State with her husband and two children. She is excited by the opportunity to become a Director at Large for RWA, and hopes to help increase public awareness of RWA while creating access for authors of marginalized populations.

 

Member of RWA since: 2013

Are you published in romantic fiction? Yes

Year first published? 2016

PAN? Yes

Honor Roll? No

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): N/A

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017? 2018? Planning for 2019? 2017– 0; 2018 – 1 (not yet released); 2019 - 1

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate): Wild Rose Press, Inc.

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: TARA (Tampa Area Romance Authors), CIMRWA, FF&P

Other Writers’ Organizations (please specify): Writer’s for Diversity, Author Go

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author? No

Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No

Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc.? No

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
In 2011, I lost my brother and began writing for therapy to cope with the loss. Love is happiness and so I found myself writing a happily ever after. A friend mentioned RWA, and I searched for my local chapter. I discovered TARA, a group of the most welcoming authors who loved love as much as I did… and they were learning how to make it better. After attending my first TARA meeting I went home, joined, and never looked back. I continue my membership within RWA because of the community, education, networking, and opportunities to influence/impact change to propel diverse voices in Romance.

Why have you chosen to run for the position of Director at Large?
In 2016, the CIMRWA Chapter faced dissolution while the #weneeddiversebooks and #ownvoices movements were gaining full steam. The importance for the only chapter in RWA dedicated to fostering the growth and development of authors writing stories featuring diverse characters had to be preserved. In 2017, I assumed the role as President for the CIMRWA Chapter. There were many challenges. The most notable after getting the chapter back on its feet was exposure for our members in the ever-changing publishing industry. Now with the many relationships that have been formed with industry leaders to help propel the change we all seek, I would like to continue these endeavors at the national level by serving as a Director at Large to bring more opportunity to all of our membership.

I want to hear from members, learn their stories, and continue to effect the change occurring around us. By serving as a Director, I will be in a position of leadership where I can continue to help lead RWA to be proactive and adaptive to the market forces directly impacting the success of our members.

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions:
I have served on various boards and committees at the chapter level since 2014. I’ve served as a Contest Category Coordinator for TARA, President for CIMRWA, and judged the RITA’s. My most important accomplishment is having the opportunity to attend RWA Diversity Summits as an advocate for authors from marginalized populations.

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?If allowed the opportunity to serve as Director at Large, I will leverage my professional experience in Outreach & Access / Diversity & Inclusion to assist the board with developing and implementing initiatives to address the objectives listed within the three goals outlined within the Strategic Plan.

What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?
All organizations are impacted by both internal and external factors. External factors can be beyond our control. However, internal factors can be immediately altered to create the change necessary for an organization to thrive and stand strong against external forces. Therefore, I believe the issues that need to be addressed within the next two years are:
1. RWA Culture**
2. Community
3. Retention of Authors
4. Inclusion
5. PRO Development
6. RITA’s

The items listed must be addressed in order for RWA to create a professional, safe space where all authors regardless of background and orientation can feel comfortable to express themselves. By altering the culture and how we interact with our membership we will have the opportunity to witness the change needed for us to adapt and influence industry changes. The more authors belonging and retained within our body, the stronger we are.

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?
Visibility and Influence - This year we saw how our involvement in the Cockygate issue made more authors become aware of RWA, and the resources we possess to ensure our members are not ill affected. This exposure generated new membership.

Inclusivity - The Rainbow Chapter and CIMRWA have illustrated with membership the need for more authors to want to be included if they have places to grown and learn the craft with freedom of expression.

Prestige - Having people recognize members of RWA as professionals who are dedicated and serious about the craft has attracted positive exposure and highlighted the organization in a positive lime light which separates and highlights the quality of novels from those belonging to RWA. Working to enhance the RITA’s will also attribute to the prestige of our organization

In all, if we continue to work towards having visibility, influence, inclusion, and prestige, we can help keep our organization relevant for future and current Romance Writers.

 

 

Casey Clipper

Casey Clipper

Contemporary romantic suspense author Casey Clipper is from Pittsburgh, PA. She is a lover of sports, is slightly addicted to chocolate, and has a minor obsession with penguins. Casey serves as president of the Contemporary Romance Writers of America and has served as vice president of the Three Rivers Romance Writers. She is also an active member of the North Eastern Ohio Romance Writers. She’s taught Self-Publishing 101 for the Westmoreland County Community College Continuing Education Department as well as online workshops for numerous RWA chapters. Casey is the winner of the 2015 JABBIC HBARWA Readers' Choice Short Contemporary Romance.

 

Member of RWA since: 2013

Are you published in romantic fiction? Yes

Year first published? 2013

PAN? Yes

Honor Roll? No

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): N/A

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017? 2018? Planning for 2019? I released one novel in 2017, will be releasing one in November of 2018, and have four planned releases in 2019.

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate): Self-published

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: Contemporary Romance Writers of America, Three Rivers Romance Writers, North Eastern Ohio Romance Writers of America.  

Other Writers’ Organizations (please specify): N/A

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author? No

Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No

Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc.? No

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
I was reading JR Ward's The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider's Guide and in a chapter she gives advice to writers, recommending they join RWA. I'd never heard of RWA, and immediately did some research. I found the organization was exactly what I needed to learn and grow as a writer. I joined and signed up for my first conference, which was being held in Atlanta. As my career has changed over the years, I've always received something out of my membership. Whether it's the ability to take valuable career workshops from RWA (and the many fantastic chapters), the chance to attend the national conference, or most importantly, the connections and friends I've made from all over the world, my RWA membership is invaluable.

Why have you chosen to run for the position of Director at Large?
I just plain love to serve RWA. It’s that simple. I've served on chapter boards and helped a local chapter grow not only in membership, but also financially and as a beneficial organization to its membership. This is something I genuinely find joy in doing. Digging in and working with the board to find solutions to problems, creating new programs and opportunities for members, figuring out ways to get members involved, and listening to members is important to me. I also like being the voice for the chapter. It’s something that I take seriously and am proud to do. I would be honored to bring that same service ethic, and desire to make things better for all members, to the national board and assist the entire RWA membership.  

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions:
This one is difficult because it requires me to toot my own horn. Serving on a chapter board is a team venture. I have served as president of the Contemporary Romance Writers and vice president of the Three Rivers Romance Writers. During my service as president of the Contemporary Romance Writers, we started only chapter meetings with guest speakers, the annual Stiletto Contest was reinstituted, membership increased, an awards ceremony celebrated at RWA nationals was developed, and the board was expanded to help better serve members. These are just a few of the things that have been accomplished in the past couple years. As vice president of the Three Rivers Romance Writers, a workshop program was instituted under my leadership to help the chapter bring in more funds, membership expanded, and a joint yearly retreat with another RWA chapter was started that enabled our members to make connections and network with a larger group of RWA members. I sincerely felt like I was able to leave my mark in a positive way on both chapters, and I’m proud of everything I’ve accomplished. 

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?
Reviewing RWA's strategic plan, I believe my service as a chapter president and vice president would add to the BOD as a voice for the chapters. I’m someone who understands the concerns chapters have in order to maintain their viability and provide excellent opportunities for their members. Serving as president of a large chapter has given me the opportunity to understand membership needs and wants in all stages of a writer's career. I believe that first-hand understanding of all members of an organization is important. I also work for the largest healthcare system in the Pittsburgh area. I am consistently undergoing training relating to patients and their needs, and have yearly testing on this training in order to maintain my employment. I feel this training transcends into serving on a board that requires listening and understanding members' needs from their RWA membership. 

What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?
Diversity. In all forms and in all areas within RWA and the publishing industry, diversity must be a priority. Steps are being taken within RWA to find solutions within the industry and continuing an open dialogue, but taking immediate action is necessary in order for our membership and industry to thrive. Also, I feel chapter support is extremely important. I’m a firm believer that the chapters are the heart and soul of RWA. Chapters are where members find each other and themselves, as writers. Supporting all chapters (whether brick and mortar or online) and their ability to maintain their status, as well as help increase each chapter’s membership and aid in areas such as booking speakers relevant to writing, publishing, career, life, and RWA goals. I also believe in working to replace the planned closure of the Golden Heart with something that is equal in stature, but beneficial to those who enter as far as keeping up with today's quickly changing publishing atmosphere. 

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?
Obviously, with the many issues that have plagued the publishing industry in the past few months, having an organization like RWA to be able to turn to for professional help is vital. The importance of having a third party like RWA, who's able to go to bat for an author dealing with Amazon and a "cocky" author issue and hold the publishing industry accountable for diversity, is imperative in today's fast moving and sometimes unpredictable publishing world. The ability for RWA to listen to membership concerns and act quickly on any industry topic is what will keep the organization relevant. Also, acknowledging that in today's self-publishing world, many authors don't believe they need to belong to a writers' organization. There are a vast number of writers who believe they can find whatever they need online. This can be true, to a point, but in-person meetings, workshops, and speakers take on an entirely different meaning than reading a blog post. In order to keep RWA relevant to these members, showing the industry that RWA serves all members, no matter their publishing choice, is necessary. Also, acknowledging that chapters contribute greatly to maintaining RWA membership, and working with each and every chapter to help it thrive to its fullest potential, should be a primary goal of every member of the board.

 

 

Heidi Cullinan

Heidi Cullinan

A member of Romance Writers of America since 1999 and a two-time RITA® finalist, Heidi Cullinan has served as president of Rainbow Romance Writers, run local chapter newsletters, and volunteered for committees on the local and national level. In addition to teaching writing since 1993, she also served as the writer’s workshop coordinator for GayRomLit Retreat for 2013. Proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality, Heidi writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after.

 

Member of RWA since: 1999

Are you published in romantic fiction? Yes

Year first published? 2009

PAN? Yes

Honor Roll? No

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): Non-fiction

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017? 2018? Planning for 2019? 2017- 15; 2018 - 2; 2019 – 5

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate): Dreamspinner Press, Self, Loose Id, Samhain, Riptide

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: CIMRWA, Rainbow Romance Writers, Midwest Fiction Writers

Other Writers’ Organizations (please specify): Author's Guild, PEN America

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author?
Yes, I briefly edited for Dreamspinner Press in 2010.

Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No

Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc.? No

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
I joined RWA because I'd written a novel and received a request for a full manuscript, but even before that first book was turned down (back in 1999), I realized I didn't know what I was doing and needed a community. I joined the Heart of Iowa Romance Writers and RWA National and attended my first national conference in New York in 2003. I haven't stopped learning since.
 
 I continue to be a member of RWA because I believe this organization is an amazing gift to the industry, to the community, and to each and every individual member. While we come from an amazing variety of backgrounds and experiences, at the end of the day we are all here for a love story and a happy ever after, and that's absolutely beautiful to me. I never go to so much as a chapter meeting without coming away better connected, better grounded in my industry. Even if I'm teaching a class, I feel as if I'm the one who's learning the most. We're an amazing collective, and I couldn't be prouder to be a part of this organization.

Why have you chosen to run for the position of Director at Large?
RWA’s bylaws state united, romance writers are a powerful community. I have witnessed that power these past few years, sometimes working for me personally, sometimes working for others, and sometimes I’ve been blessed to be directly part of the force helping make change for members of our community. As a longtime committee member and almost twenty-year RWA member, I know not all the work can be seen, that sometimes micro-details matter the most; small changes need to be nurtured so they can take root, especially in such a large organization.
 
As a small press and indie author who has served as a chapter president, and as a queer author of works often shunted aside as “other,” I know how to advocate for the unique needs of indie and own voices books while still working to help authors seeking the traditional path flourish. I want to pay back what RWA has given to me and to authors like me, and I want to help make sure every author, no matter where their career takes them, has a chance to succeed.
 
I do believe RWA belongs to all its members: published and pre-published, traditional and indie,  members of all orientations, gender identities, races, religions, countries of residence, and countries of origin. I believe our differences are our strength, and as a board member I would strive to help us better lift each other up, acknowledging and respecting our differences as we strengthen our community to better move our industry forward. Just as I do not believe there is one way to brand an author or market a book, I do not believe there is one way to be a romance author or an RWA member; it is all those beautiful differences together that make our beautiful tapestry. Should you elect to have me serve on the board guiding where our organization’s threads weave next, I would be honored to accept the task.

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions:
I am a current diversity committee member, current PAN steering committee member, former chapter president (Rainbow Romance Writers), former vice president (Rainbow Romance Writers), former chapter newsletter coordinator (Heart of Iowa Chapter), former leadership committee member, and I have been a RWA nationals workshop instructor.

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?
My prior leadership experience at both the national and chapter level combined with nearly twenty years in the industry, ten years pre-published, nine years published, leaves me with quite a menagerie of experiences. I know a number of individuals within the industry, but those I’m not acquainted with, I know how to make contacts with them. I understand how committee work should be done, approaching it with full comprehension of the structure’s strengths and weaknesses. Being a chapter president taught me so much about the intricate workings and needs of a chapter and how they relate to the national organization; as chapter effectiveness and performance is a strategic plan goal, I feel well-suited to assist on that issue.  Having been published by a variety of publishers, some who have failed and some who have thrived, having done some self-publishing, and having done extensive research on traditional publishing over the past decade, I feel I can speak with confidence on the ever-evolving conversation of publishing in all its incarnations, not favoring one aspect over another or ignoring one because I’m ignorant of how it functions.
 
Also, because I’ve been a member of RWA for so long, I can speak to our history while still keeping my eyes fixed on our future. I believe in holding onto the vision begun by Vivian Stephens and the founders of RWA but allowing it to evolve with the industry so RWA can grow and serve authors well beyond the fiftieth anniversary of its founding.

What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?
If the last six months alone have taught us anything, it’s that we can’t ever know what to expect and that we need to be ready for anything in the industry. While I absolutely applaud RWA’s defense of its members and the legal principle of copyright and its advocacy for authors regarding reviews, categories, and book stuffing, these events have also made it clear RWA’s position and image (as mentioned as a future consideration in the strategic plan) is critical. In addition to fostering a position of openness and making sure we take strides to improve inclusivity of diverse members within the organization, we must also make sure RWA is able to continue to be the advocate we need within the industry. As we work to be the RWA for all within, we must then make sure we can advocate for our unified RWA beyond our own circles.
 
 I would also like to see RWA continue to strive towards bettering its sense of networking and community, for professional development at every level (marketing and career development for established authors, getting started advice for pre-published and beginning authors), and also simple human connection between authors at conventions and online. I think it’s not possible to ever do well enough on this topic, that there’s always more to be done, and that it’s one of our most abundant and vital natural resources within our community: each other.

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?
It’s crucial RWA shows what it can do for potential members and members who have left because they’ve felt RWA doesn’t give them anything personally. In the past, joining was a natural occurrence for many because conferences and contests were the best ways to access agents and editors and authors with experience, and these things were needed to succeed in traditional romance publishing. Over time this has changed, as has publishing itself, but it’s been difficult for RWA to settle into a new normal for outreach because there is no alternative pattern in place; where before we had a formal staggered series of steps, now we have a dazzling array of stages, bringing opportunity but also confusion. This is where that networking and community is so vital, because we literally have all those “new” avenues with us, but the question is, are we utilizing them, and are we doing so to our best advantage? The other issue, which RWA has begun to address (but needs to continue to focus on) is the issue of members from diverse groups not feeling welcome within the community and therefore not wanting to join or remain, or joining and feeling more comfortable staying within strict isolated pockets within the organization rather than networking out. The onus is on RWA to make sure it is a welcoming place and that members or potential members from marginalized groups don’t simply feel safe and accepted, they ARE safe and accepted.

Additionally, once again we must keep pushing and networking out within the industry, as members of the board and as an organization as a whole. Our reputation and our actions as an organization are what will draw new members and tell the industry and the world at large who we are and what we stand for, that we are a modern organization focused on the future, here for every one of our potential members.

 

 

Pintip Dunn

Pintip Dunn

Pintip Dunn is a New York Times best-selling author of young adult fiction. She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B., and received her J.D. at Yale Law School.

Pintip’s novel FORGET TOMORROW won the 2016 RWA RITA® for Best First Book, and SEIZE TODAY won the 2018 RITA for Best Young Adult Romance. Her books have been translated into four languages, and they have been nominated for the following awards: the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire; the Japanese Sakura Medal; the MASL Truman Award; the Tome Society It list; and the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award.

 

Member of RWA since: 2010

Are you published in romantic fiction? Yes

Year first published? 2015

PAN? Yes

Honor Roll? Yes

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): N/A

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017? 2018? Planning for 2019?
2017: 2 titles (GIRL ON THE VERGE and SEIZE TODAY); 2018: 1 title (STAR-CROSSED); 2019: 2 titles (MALICE and SKY-KISSED)

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate): Entangled Publishing; Kensington Publishing

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: Washington Romance Writers; Maryland Romance Writers; Young Adult Romance Writers; The Golden Network (previously); CIMRA (previously)

Other Writers’ Organizations (please specify): Pitch Wars; SCBWI (previously)

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author? No

Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No

Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc.? No

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
I joined RWA in 2010 for two main reasons. First, after writing largely by myself for over a decade, I wanted to belong to a community of writers who shared the same goals and faced the same challenges. Secondly, I resolved that year to make a serious effort toward achieving my dream. Joining a professional writing organization, such as RWA, was part of that effort.

I have continued to be a member because from the moment I joined RWA, my writing journey took a sharp turn. Before RWA, my passion felt abstract; my dreams, frivolous. After RWA, for the first time, my goal to publish seemed achievable. I have no doubt that the personal and professional contacts I have made through RWA, in addition to the knowledge I gained, are instrumental in helping me work toward my goals.

Why have you chosen to run for the position of Director at Large?
The RWA conference in Denver this year was phenomenal. In particular, I was moved and inspired by Suzanne Brockmann’s acceptance speech for the Lifetime Achievement Award and Sonali Dev’s speech at the Library Day’s Luncheon. Both of these women’s words made me sob, literally, into my napkin. I have believed, from the time I was a child to a few years ago, that if I ever wanted to publish a book, I had to write about heterosexual, Caucasian characters. However, the recent commitment to diversity, along with the changes in behavior and opinions, makes me both hopeful and excited. This is a thrilling time to be a writer!

I believe we are at a crossroads in our organization. Suzanne spoke of an “old RWA” and a “new RWA.” This dichotomy stuck with me in the days following the conference. I realized not only did I want our organization to become the “new RWA,” but also that I wanted to be an active participant in that change. That is a key reason I have chosen to run for the position of Director-at-Large.

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions:
My most important contribution to RWA is the mentorship and support I have given to my fellow members, in particular, those in my local chapters, the Young Adult genre, the Golden Heart community, and the PRO community. Formally, I have donated countless critique, participated in workshops and panels, served as a keynote speaker, and most recently, joined the Washington Romance Writers’ diversity committee. Informally, everyone who knows me knows that I am just a phone call or email message away, if they need advice or commiseration. When I joined RWA, I received so much support and kindness from writers who were farther along in their publication journey. I feel very strongly about paying this forward.

To this end, I also have been actively involved in the Pitch Wars community. I was a Pitch Wars mentor in 2016, and I was the co-captain of a Pitch Madness team in 2017. I am currently a member of the Pitch Wars steering committee.

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?
I graduated from Harvard College, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language, and received my J.D. from Yale Law School. I was also a practicing attorney for a brief time. My education and work experience have given me the skills to approach an issue critically and methodically. I will apply these skills in helping members find value at all career stages, maximizing the consistency and effectiveness of chapter performance, and increasing the effectiveness of the board.

Moreover, I believe very passionately in an RWA that is inclusive, and my particular circumstances give me a unique perspective on this topic.

I am an author of color. As the daughter of Thai immigrant parents, who grew up in a small town in Kansas, I have been faced with issues of discrimination and marginalization my entire life.

I have an invisible disability. I have suffered from fibromyalgia/RSI for over twenty years, which means that I cannot type on a keyboard without intense pain. Because of my condition, I have taken exams orally (including the California Bar Exam.) I have also written my last seven novels entirely on my cell phone.

I am a Young Adult author. I believe that romance plays a vitally important and central role in YA literature, and yet I have often heard YA being referred to as the “red-headed step child” of RWA. The perspective of an author who writes in this category would be a valuable addition to the Board of Directors.

What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?
The most important issue for the Board of Directors to continue to address is diversity and inclusion. I’m heartened to see the strides that have been made in the RWA Diversity and Inclusion Report. But the dismal representation of marginalized authors at the RITAs this year and historically, as well as the adverse reactions and controversy surrounding topics of inclusion, show that more work needs to be done. More than any other year, I’ve heard unhappy rumblings and have seen members quitting or threatening to quit our organization, as a result of changes that have been enacted. I think it is essential for this Board to make decisions to ensure that we continue to move in the right direction, toward a new RWA, one that embraces and celebrates diversity and inclusion. In short, a RWA of which I would be proud to be a member.

In addition, I think the Board needs to explore an alternative to the Golden Heart contest, one that makes sense for the changing landscape of the romance industry. While the current incarnation of the contest may not accomplish its purpose, I believe the Board can design one that does. This contest and community play a vital role, as well as serve as an important symbol, for the PRO group within our organization. This counterpart to the RITAs helps us recognizes our members at every career level. I believe instating an effective alternative is paramount.

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?
I am impressed with the revisions that the Board has made to the Ethics code, the mission statement, and the overall policy. Now, the challenge is to ensure that the values stated within our policies are embraced by the membership. I would suggest that when our members renew, or when new members register, they are asked to actively affirm these values. I would also suggest that this affirmation be a requirement of membership. An organization is made up of its individuals, after all, and this requirement will make sure that each member understands for what organization they are signing up.

I would also suggest that we survey both our membership and industry professionals, with the purpose of understanding why the Golden Heart contest no longer serves its purpose. Among other data, I think we need to uncover why participation has dropped in recent years and why (and if) requests from the final judges have decreased. I think this data is essential in designing an alternative contest that is effective in our current landscape.

Finally, while I applaud the Board in the steps it has taken to become more transparent, I think that it should continue to increase communication with its membership. I’ve heard grumbles from people about the Board’s actions that I believe stem from a lack of understanding of the Board’s motivation. This disconnect can be alleviated with more transparency and better lines of communication.

 

 

Winnie Griggs

Winnie Griggs

A former IT Professional and Project Manager, award-winning author Winnie Griggs joined RWA in 1995 and has published 25 romance titles and counting. Winnie also pens a regular writing how-to column for a regional publication, The Minute Magazine.

An active member of RWA, Winnie has served on Boards and chaired committees at both the local and national levels. Winnie feels her years of service have allowed her to grow and learn in a number of unexpected ways as both an author and a person, and she looks forward to continuing with some level of involvement in the organization whenever possible.

 

Member of RWA since: 1995

Are you published in romantic fiction? Yes

Year first published? 2001

PAN? Yes

Honor Roll? No

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): N/A

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017? 2018? Planning for 2019?  2 in 2017; 1 scheduled for 2018; 2 planned for 2019

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate): Dorchester/Leisure Books, Harlequin/LIH, Redbud Press/Serenade Books,  (Planning first indie project for late 2018)

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: NOLA STARs, FH&L

Other Writers’ Organizations (please specify): NINC, ACFW, Texas Authors Inc.

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author? No

Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No

Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc.? No

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
I wrote my first novel-length manuscript as a dare to myself, to see if I could actually do it. Once I wrote THE END I was hooked. I learned about RWA from an article in Writer’s Digest and was excited to learn of the existence of this organization exist, and even more excited to discover there was a local chapter in my area. I joined and found a friendly, supportive group that was more than willing to mentor, guide and support me in my journey. That was in 1996.  I have grown so much as a writer through the network of people and resources I’ve discovered here, and I truly believe I owe my career to RWA and my local chapter, the NOLA STARs.

I continue in my membership because RWA gives me the community to grow both as a writer and as a person. And, as the publishing landscape changes, I want to be part of an organization that is on the forefront, challenging and making sure all of RWA's members are treated fairly and with dignity.

Why have you chosen to run for the position of Director at Large?
Now that I have my first term behind me, and have gained experience and insight into the efforts required to keep the organization moving in a positive direction, I am even more interested in remaining involved in assisting with the work required to help RWA further its stated purpose of being the voice of romance writers.

The RWA Board tackled some tough issues during my first term, some of which are still in progress. We have made changes to member programs, including conference, that are better aligning us with industry changes and member needs. When RWA took on member advocacy issues, such as the cockygate matter, I felt strongly that we were serving all our authors, regardless of sub-genre. We are working on making RWA a vibrant, diverse and equal playing field that welcomes all romance writers and respects their varying stories.  In all of this, we’ve made a start but there is more work to be done. I want to be a part of the push that guides us to be and do better as an organization and as individual writers.

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions:
At the national level: 1 term as Director-at-Large (2016-2018), RWA Conference Workshop Chair (2012), a member of the Long Range Planning Committee (2007) and the Chapter Recognition Committee (2015).

On the chapter level: I served in various capacities on my local chapter board, including five years as president. In addition, I’ve served multiple years as conference chair and two years as contest co-chair.

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?

I worked as an IT professional for a major, multi-state corporation for over 30 years, serving as an individual contributor as well as a supervisor, manager, acting director and eventually as a project manager overseeing teams developing corporate-wide projects with budgets that ran into seven figures. 

On the RWA chapter front, over the years I have belonged to a number of local, regional and online chapters.  Some of these were quite small (less than a dozen members) and others very large (200 members).  And again I performed in a number of capacities -- as an individual contributor, committee chair, board member and committee volunteer. This has given me a heart for chapters, their importance, unique needs, and challenges.

I think the breadth and depth of this experience provides me with the skills necessary to work effectively with teams of individuals, all with diverse talents and opinions, to make consensus-based decisions and move projects forward. It also gives me experience in looking at issues with an open-mind, trying to see a number of perspectives and keeping my personal feelings and biases out of my decision.

In addition, my previous RWA Board experience will allow me to hit the ground running as the RWA Board continues to build on initiatives already in progress. It also helps me understand the dynamics, history and ‘whys’ of recent decisions and strategies for issues that will be addressed in the near future.

On the personal front, the massive changes in the publishing industry have hit home with me. I have recently become ‘orphaned’ when the line I wrote under for the last seven years closed. I am in the process of reinventing myself as a writer, and want to find ways to help others like myself who are wondering where they fit in this new model, whether it is through tools, resources, training, or a combination of all three.

What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?
I feel it is important for the RWA Board to be strategic and look to long term planning needs for all members, no matter what publishing path they have chosen or where they are in their publishing career.  These would include:

Organizational Relevance – Assess the needs of all members, no matter their sub-genre or publishing experience, in the areas of career, education and advocacy in order to develop programs and methods to deliver these in a practical, value-add manner. There is no one size fits all solution since member needs change based on where they are in their careers and aspirations.

Leadership Development – Provide tools and training to assist leaders at the chapter level to be more effective in serving the unique needs of their members and to find ways to attract those with the appropriate passion and skills to serve at the national level.

Other key areas where the organization has made strides but needs to continue forward momentum: Diversity, Member Advocacy and Timely, Relevant Communication to/from Members.

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?
Find a way to identify the needs of authors at varying levels of their careers, from the newbies, to the honor role members, from those steadily walking their path to those struggling to reinvent themselves, and everyone in between. Then find a way to not only address those needs but make the resources available to all members, to the extent we are able, as they determine their own needs.

Keep clear, easily accessible channels of communication open between the members and the national board. Provide timely response to communications received, responses that indicate the communication was received, appreciated, and will receive consideration, so that members are both comfortable with and eager to communicate their needs, suggestions, issues, etc.

 

 

Lisa Hughey

Lisa Hughey

Lisa Hughey is the USA Today best-selling author of over twenty romance novels in several subgenres—suspense, paranormal, and contemporary.

Lisa served five terms on the SFA-RWA chapter board and two years on the PAN Steering Committee. She also has over ten years experience serving on executive boards for local non-profit organizations

After twenty-six years in California, she picked up and moved across the country. She lives on Cape Ann in Massachusetts with her fabulously supportive husband and one grumpy cat. Yoga, hiking, and traveling are her hobbies when she isn’t plotting to get her characters to fall in love.

 

Member of RWA since: 1995

Are you published in romantic fiction? Yes

Year first published? 2010

PAN? Yes

Honor Roll? No

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): N/A

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017? 2018? Planning for 2019? 2017 -Released 2 novels (and moved across the country); 2018 - Will release 4 novels; 2019 - Will release 4 novels

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate): Self-Published

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: SFA-RWA and NEC-RWA

Other Writers’ Organizations (please specify): NINC

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author? No

Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No

Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc.? No

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
I started writing in 1993. I was on the GEnie message boards and RWA was suggested by numerous published romance authors as a resource for both craft and networking. So I joined the organization. I stay because the members of RWA are my people. Romance writers are a unique subset of fiction writers who share a willingness to support and encourage each other. I have made lifelong friends and business associates through RWA.

Why have you chosen to run for the position of Director at Large?
Why stay in RWA? I see this question frequently on writer forums. The romance publishing market and RWA have changed, just as my goals have changed, over the last twenty plus years. At times I have been frustrated that the organization isn’t supplying relevant information and support for writers later in their careers. There has also been much discussion regarding inclusiveness for all writers. While the RWA board continues to move forward, we need advocates to keep the momentum positive. I know that if I want to see the change then I need to step up and help craft it. Earlier in my career I volunteered at my local chapter and always intended to serve at the national level. Now that my kids are adults, I have the time, ability, and passion to devote to RWA at the national level. We are an amazing organization.

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions:
My service record:

1995-1996 SFA-RWA Chapter Treasurer
1997 SFA-RWA Chapter Secretary
(during this tenure, I was also on the committee to update our By-Laws)

2009-2010 SFA-RWA Chapter Secretary

2016-2017 PAN Steering Committee

My most important contributions: With an organization as large as RWA it is critical to have an engaged and active membership at all levels and I am proud to have served on my local board (twice). I am also very proud of the PAN Retreat programs we put together for the national conferences as part of the PAN Steering Committee.

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?
One of the most crucial skills needed when serving on a board is the ability to listen to the concerns of all the members and create policy that will serve the organization best. Being able to hear all sides of an issue and make decisions based on the needs of the organization, rather than individual preference, is an essential quality for a board member. I bring to the table my prior service on several different boards and multiple organizations (both professional and philanthropic), spanning over fifteen years of service. I truly enjoy the demands and expectations of executive board work and I would be honored to serve RWA.

What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?
**Make everyone feel welcome. Romance belongs to everyone, not just writers who come from the same homogenous background. Moving forward with the mission for inclusivity is our duty and our responsibility. Romance writers sell hope and love, and that should be in all forms, for all people. Everyone should have seat in in the room. Love is not a commodity reserved only for a few, but the single most positive force in the world. And as romance writers we should be at the very forefront of creating a welcoming organization for all writers.

**Adapt to the changing world of romance publishing to make sure we are serving all our members from the absolute beginner to the multi-published Honor Roll author. And to be sure that we include all iterations of self-, hybrid-, and traditionally-published authors in the decisions to move the organization forward.

**Educate our members about predatory practices of people trying to scam money from authors. With the rise of self-publishing and digital formats, there has been an explosion of an industry that preys on writers from Get Rich Writing Romance scams to marketing “sure things” to book pirates. We need to protect our members.

**Advocate for authors who feel marginalized or excluded from the core of RWA. Obviously, the board has identified that inclusion is an issue at the national level of RWA, especially within the context of the RITAs. We need to listen more to the members who have had negative experiences and have everyone work together to make sure every author is appreciated and honored for their contributions to romance.

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?
The only constant is change. And the first step in adapting is to acknowledge that change is inevitable. We need input from our members from all the various subsets of romance publishing about the issues of the day. We must also be willing to pivot more quickly as new situations arise. We need to cast aside old paradigms (when they have run their course) and adopt new outlooks as the publishing world changes to make sure that we are serving the needs of our members and giving them the tools to thrive.

 

 

Toni Jackson

Toni Jackson

A member of RWA since 2013, Toni Jackson is an indie-pubbed author who always finds herself cheering for the underdog. She is a multi-published with several titles in contemporary, suspense, and sci-fi romance.

A PAN member, she is a techno geek and a member of the CIMWRA, Passionate Ink, and FF&P special interest chapters. Toni has served as a volunteer and loves being a sounding board for authors to plot out their stories.

She currently lives in Waldorf, MD, where she dreams of winning the lottery to buy her dream house by the water and write to her heart’s content.

 

Member of RWA since: 2013

Are you published in romantic fiction? Yes

Year first published? 2015

PAN? Yes

Honor Roll? No

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): SciFi Short Stories

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017? 2018? Planning for 2019? 2017- 1; 2018 – 2; 2019 - 5

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate): Self

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: WRWDC, FF&P, CIMWRA, Passionate Ink

Other Writers’ Organizations (please specify): Maryland Writers Association

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author? No

Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No

Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc.? No

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
When I started writing my first romance story, I began searching for different groups where I could speak with other like-minded writers. I stumbled across an article about a young woman who had plagiarized someone’s book and how she was penalized by RWA. I googled RWA and liked that it appeared to be an organization that helped writers – romance writers specifically. 

Why have you chosen to run for the position of Director at Large?
A lot of things have factored into my decision, not least, the desire to help promote diversity within the organization. However, it’s not my only reason. Over the past few months, I’ve found myself facing a number of highs and lows about my writing career and the turmoil happening within the community. I cheered when RWA teamed up to help support the author in the ‘cocky gate’ issue. But, I have been brought to tears by some of the stories I’m hearing from people who have faced a measure of discrimination or downright hatred for being themselves or writing what they love. And that’s not what RWA is or stands for. In my heart, I know that the current board is working to make changes and I want to be a part of that.

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions:
I have worked as a volunteer at Nationals and at the New Jersey conference (2017). I’d like to think that my biggest contribution is talking to other authors and encouraging them to take the chance and put their work out where it can be seen and loved.

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?
My biggest skills are empathy and organization. Thanks to a mild case of OCD, I love to organize and structure processes and events. I have a few things in my mind that we may be able to implement to help disgruntled members.  My empathy seems to draw people to me who want to talk out their problems. I don’t always have solutions, but sometimes people just need to talk about their issues. And if it’s something I can pass along to the board, I do.

What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?
The first issue is a hybrid of two ongoing issues. Indie diversity. Every day I see and read talented authors who have shunned joining RWA because they feel it will not help them. Many of them are diverse authors, especially African-American authors - who feel they will never be accepted. We need to pull these authors into our fold and help them. And although some people are accepted in the Indie field, many authors still tend to view indie books as subpar.

The second issue, funny enough, is that factions of RWA still operate in ‘cliques’. For new members, it’s challenging to go to Nationals not knowing anyone. I have heard more ‘feel good’ stories from people who have connected with other authors who helped them get around and meet new people. Maybe mentoring for newbies?

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?
Let me first start by saying that RWA surprised a lot of people with their stance and support in ‘cocky gate’. Unfortunately, there are many who believe that RWA will not go to bat for its authors. I believe that idea has now been erased. I believe RWA will benefit from creating a stronger presence for all levels of diversity and indies, and perhaps provide a section on the website (or an email) that gives newbies vital information they need to know in addition to the bylaws. And even a list of things they should expect from their local and any special interest chapters.

 

 

Joan Leacott

Joan Leacott

Joan Leacott writes, and proudly self-publishes, contemporary multi-generational novels featuring the lives and loves, secrets and scandals of small-town Clarence Bay. She owns Woven Red Author Services, specializing in book formatting and Word education. Her home chapter is in Toronto, Canada and she belongs to the RWF Chapter. Joan has served in various positions on local and online chapter boards: member liaison, Secretary, VP Programming, President, and the Chapter Resources Committee. Joan lives in Toronto with her husband and nearby family. She loves to read romance on the sunny deck of her lakeside cottage with a cool drink at hand.

 

Member of RWA since: 2005

Are you published in romantic fiction? Yes

Year first published? 2012

PAN? Yes

Honor Roll? No

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): Non-fiction courses teaching Word for fiction writers

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017? 2018? Planning for 2019? None in 2017. Planning to release in Fall 2018: 5 titles, and in 2019: 1 title

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate): Self-published

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: Toronto Romance Writers, Romantic Women's Fiction Chapter of RWA

Other Writers’ Organizations (please specify): None.

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author? No

Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No

Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc.?
Yes, I own and operate Woven Red Author Services providing full-service book formatting and teaching online and in-person Microsoft Word courses. Publishers have contracted the freelance formatting services.

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
I’d just completed my first romance book and didn’t know what to do with it. A career coach suggested I look for a writer’s group and the RWA was first on the search list. Shortly after that, I found my local chapter. I continue to be a member for education, career support, and community—especially the community of like-minded readers and writers.

Why have you chosen to run for the position of Director at Large?
After serving in a number of chapter board positions and a national committee, locally and online, I view directorship as the next step in my service to the RWA.

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions:
Various positions on local and online chapter boards: member liaison, Secretary, VP Programming, President, and the Chapter Resources Committee. My most important contributions are my contributions in support of chapter boards and my experience in rebuilding and floundering chapter.

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?
I’d like to use my chapter leadership experience to improve the transition for new chapter board members and to improve the visibility of the online support already available. I’d also like to use my technical skills to ensure the new myRWA is much more user-friendly for all members of the RWA. The current application is an unwieldy mystery to all but the most persistent users.

What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?
I feel it’s important to continue the efforts toward inclusion and diversity. Regardless of our differences in career path, background, gender identity, or life experience, we’re all in this for the love of romance. We each have our own story to tell, let’s share them, and be stronger for it together.
 
I’d like to continue building on the excellent work of the Chapter Resources Committee in supporting the chapter boards as they deal with affiliation, policies and procedures, and other RWA requirements and guidelines.

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?
The RWA has a number of media platforms (RWR, eNotes, Facebook, Twitter, forums) but I don’t see the RWA blowing its own horn about its efforts, except recently. More of that is needed. Do the members know what the national organization is doing? Are the local chapters doing what they can to support and celebrate the national organization?

I also feel it’s important for the RWA to reconnect with and welcome back the members who have left. How do we achieve that?

These are the questions, aimed at keeping the RWA relevant for all romance writers, that I’d like to work toward answering during my term as Director at Large.

 

 

Jenn LeBlanc

Jenn LeBlanc

Jenn LeBlanc is a multi-published author and award-winning photographer in California. She is a current member of the OCC and LARA chapters of RWA and has traveled from coast-to-coast visiting other chapters and sharing knowledge. Jenn writes "wildly original" Victorian erotic romance, is the creator of the Illustrated Romance, and is Queen Of StudioSmexy.

She loves getting new research books and chatting with authors and readers. She's not a morning person—which makes the west coast troublesome at times.

That's really about it.

 

Member of RWA since: May 2011

Are you published in romantic fiction? Yes

Year first published? 2011

PAN? Yes

Honor Roll? No

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): None

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017? 2018?  Planning for 2019? 2017 – 2;  2018 – 1;  2019 - 2

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate): Primarily self published; Print non-illustrated editions published with EverAfter (Diversion)

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: OCC;  LARA

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author? No

Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No

Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc.? Yes, a photographer and shoot custom covers for clients (authors and publishers) and I have a stock site for romance novel covers specifically.

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
I joined after publishing my first novel because I was invited by another published author. I was completely unaware of RWA until after I published and became successful via self publishing. I continue to be a member because I truly believe we need an advocate in publishing who will stand up for us as a whole when there are issues in the publishing industry that effect us directly.

Why have you chosen to run for the position of Director at Large?
I want to continue the work of bringing the members RWA together, making it stronger, and helping it's membership find success in publishing.

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions:
I believe my most important contribution to RWA has been presenting at chapters and working directly with members to help them understand  the copyright and design issues that directly effect our membership in a completely new way outside of the big publishing houses. I am VP of Programming for OCC RWA (currently) and work to bring in a broad range of speakers to share knowledge with my local chapter. I have helped on the Rita committee, and other local committees.

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?
I'm really good at fleshing out problems and finding solutions. I tend to think outside the box while being able to understand multiple sides of any given situation.

What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?
The Board of Directors for RWA has a lot to deal with as the recent reports on diversity and rapid changes to the publishing industry show. The Board needs to answer the questions posed concerning inclusivity so we can move forward together and tackle the industry changes as a group with a singular goal; success in romance publishing.

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?
The only way RWA maintains relevancy is by keeping up with the rapid fire changes of the industry as a whole, doing that requires voices on the board, and in the membership, with wide and varied backgrounds. Romance has always been at the cutting edge of publishing from trade paperbacks, to ebooks, to self publishing, and continues to be at the cutting edge by exploring and utilizing new alternative ways to monetize the content we've created. RWA needs to listen to and support the membership no matter what their chosen path to publication has been or will be. Knowledge truly is power, a successful writer will have all the information they need to choose their path to success in romance publishing and RWA needs to be that source and support.

 

 

Heather Long

Heather Long

Introduced to romance novels by her grandmother, Heather Long believes love is love is love. Her books are filled with heroes and heroines tangled in romance as hot as Texas summertime. A member of RWA, Heather has served on the boards of 3 separate chapters including FF&P, NTRWA and most recently DARA. She believes everyone deserves a happily ever after. What makes writing romance a dream worth working on each and every day is the desire to make the world better than she found it.

 

Member of RWA since: 1998, more recently 2004

Are you published in romantic fiction? Yes

Year first published? 2009

PAN? Yes

Honor Roll? No

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): Science Fiction

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017? 2018? Planning for 2019? 2017: 17; 2018: 10; 2019: 10

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate): Self, Entangled Publishing, Carina Publishing, Sapphire Blue Publishing (defunct), Samhain Publishing (defunct), Siren Publishing, After Glows, Decadent Publishing

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: DARA, FF&P, NTRWA, ARWA, Kiss of Death, Contemporary

Other Writers’ Organizations (please specify): N/A

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author?
Yes, I worked with Decadent Publishing to assist the then publisher Lisa Olmstead with marketing as well as editing a series of books based off a series I co-created with Rebecca Royce. In addition, I have worked as a freelance editor for After Glows Publishing (now defunct) as well as Decadent Publishing (no longer) to supplement my income.  

Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No

Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc.? No

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
I joined RWA as part of a commitment to myself to be serious about publishing romance novels as well as to educate myself. I continue because I found my tribe, and receive inspiration a thousand times over.  

Why have you chosen to run for the position of Director at Large?
I believe in paying it forward and that we're only as good as what we're willing to invest in the organization. I think RWA has provided me with a consistent source of support and inspiration. I would like to pay that forward for others.

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions:
I have volunteered at the National Conference. I have served as VP of Communications for NTRWA, Secretary for FF&P as well as most recently president-elect and now president of Dallas Area Romance Authors. I brought energy, and enthusiasm to all my positions. I've worked diligently to help bring NT's newsletter into an e-Format, as well as helped to grow the content and membership at DARA as we recommit to our members.

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?
I have a degree in psychology and a master's in business with a focus in marketing. I believe in people, and that arguments must be articulated on all sides in order to find the best possible solutions to serve the majority. I'm unafraid of committing myself to hard work, to developing project plans with achievable benchmarks in order to facilitate success.

What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?
I believe it's vital we continue to focus on inclusion and diversity in our membership and the publishing world. Legal issues, trademark challenges, and consistent development of an ever evolving platform will always be key issues, but our membership's growth and education as well as inclusiveness will be decisive in helping us to meet these and other challenges.

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?
I firmly believe we've seen movement in the last five years and a promise to the membership that each and every member is vital to our success. We need to do more, and while that process can be time consuming and seem glacial, every step forward we take keeps us relevant as we focus on the needs of the membership as a whole including self and traditionally published authors. We need to leverage our position to continue educating members, to promote diversity and inclusion not only within the organization, but also the industry. Evolving our conference opportunities, making sure volunteers are able to actually serve, and to widen the scope from a few to the many while emphasizing the individual. It's a challenge to be sure, but one where the absolute faith in happily ever after will serve us all well to keep moving the goal posts to better and greater for each member.

 

 

Kate McMurray

Kate McMurra

Kate McMurray is the author of eighteen contemporary and historical romance novels and counting. She's an advocate for romance stories by and for everyone. She's active in RWA, serving for two years on the board of Rainbow Romance Writers, the LGBT romance chapter, and three—including two as president—on the board of the New York City chapter. When she's not writing, she edits textbooks, watches baseball, plays violin, crafts things out of yarn, and wears a lot of cute dresses. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with two cats and too many books.

 

Member of RWA since: 2011

Are you published in romantic fiction? Yes

Year first published? 2010

PAN? Yes

Honor Roll? No

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): N/A

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017? 2018? Planning for 2019? I released 2 novels in 2017. I will have at least 1 published in 2018, and currently have 1 book contracted for 2019.

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate): Dreamspinner Press; Kensington; Carina Press; Self

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: RWANYC; Rainbow Romance Writers

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author?
Yes, I worked for five years as an assistant editor at a large publisher (that does not publish romance); I currently freelance as an editor, primarily on textbooks.

Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No
  
Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author?
Yes, I freelance for a few different textbook publisher clients, and I'm currently contracted as a developmental editor to a small press (where I have no say in acquisitions).

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc.?
No, I have in the past worked as an editor for authors self-publishing, but have been closed to indie clients for the last few years.

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
Around the time my first book was published, I met a few of the members of my local chapter at an event for National Novel Writing Month, and they talked me into joining the chapter. I've stayed because I have gotten so much out of the organization: I've learned a ton about craft, genre, and the industry; I've had the opportunity to network with peers, bestselling authors, and industry pros who have given me invaluable advice; and I've made some really wonderful friends. I love RWA's pay-it-forward attitude, where more experienced authors work with up-and-coming authors to help them succeed.

Why have you chosen to run for the position of Director at Large?
I've gotten so much out of RWA that I want to give back by volunteering my time. I also believe strongly in the work RWA has done the last few years to make both the organization and the genre more inclusive, and look forward to help continue that work. I've learned a lot in my time on two chapter boards, and hope to apply what I've learned from my chapter leadership experience to the national organization.

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions:
2013: President-Elect of Rainbow Romance Writers
2014: President of Rainbow Romance Writers
2015: VP of Programs, RWANYC
2016–2017: President, RWANYC
I currently serve on the RWR Content Advisory committee.

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?
I'm a strong leader, and my time on both an online and a local chapter's board have given me insights into how to help the current membership and perhaps how to recruit new members. My time on the board of RWANYC really shaped how I view romance. RWANYC is an incredibly diverse chapter in every respect; not only do we have a diverse membership, but we have authors who write in every sub-genre, at every experience level. I'm still working with the current board in my capacity as Past-President to make sure the chapter is welcoming to every member and offers programming that authors at all experience levels can take something away from. We've been able to grow the chapter and recruit at the local level, and I believe some of what I've learned can be applied at the national level.

What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?
Inclusion is absolutely a priority. Here's why: I've met a number of writers in recent years who are smart and talented but struggle to get their foot in the door with traditional publishers because they are authors of color. And although LGBTQ romance has made great strides into the mainstream the last few years, there's still some progress to be made. Every author who writes a good book should have the same opportunities, but currently they don't. Publishers are beginning to make change, but there's still work to do, and I hope RWA stays on its current path toward progress.
 
The more voices included, the better the genre will be.
 
Second, the publishing landscape has been irrevocably changed in the last few years as digital and indie publishing has becoming a larger part of the book market. Things like scammers on Amazon have affected the entire romance ecosystem, even traditionally published authors, and I think the genre and the industry are going through a bit of a rough patch at the moment as we all figure out how to adjust to the ways the market has changed. I believe RWA can and should help its members navigate the changing landscape.

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?
RWA is an advocate for authors, and its work in everything from inclusion to legal issues like #cockygate to being an information resource for its members is vital work and work that benefits the membership, the genre, and the publishing industry. This important work is why I'm proud to be a member of RWA. 

If we look forward, romance is going to continue to change and evolve, and RWA can stay relevant by keeping up with and anticipating those changes, and paving the way for its members to be successful

 

 

Jolene Navarro

Jolene Navarro

Multi-genre author, Jolene writes for Harlequin and Entangled. She credits RWA for helping her navigate the crazy publishing industry. Ten years ago she resigned as a program director for the YMCA to follow her dreams of teaching art and writing. As a former president of San Antonio Romance Authors she worked with a dedicated board to move SARA from 20 members to over 80. She believes the members are the heart of RWA and is driven to advocate romance authors. She is also a member of Faith, Hope & Love, FF&P and MIC. Jolene lives in the Texas Hill Country.

 

Member of RWA since: 2009

Are you published in romantic fiction? Yes

Year first published? 2013

PAN? Yes

Honor Roll? No

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): N/A

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017? 2018? Planning for 2019? 2017– 3; 2018 – 3; 2019 - 3

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate): Harlequin, Entangled and self

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: San Antonio Romance Authors, Austin RWA, Faith Hope & Love, Cultural, Interracial & Multicultural and FF&P

Other Writers’ Organizations (please specify): N/A

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author? No

Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No

Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc.? No

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
I wanted to become a published author and needed the skills and knowledge to get it done. Now the industry information and networking along with being with other writer’s keep me here. Advocacy to educate other writes is a bit part too.

Why have you chosen to run for the position of Director at Large?
The board does so much to unify us as an educated and empowered group of professionals. I want to be a part of that.

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions:
Other than treasurer I have held each position. I held president the longest and during that time I work with a group of volunteers to bring our chapter from declining numbers (low 20) to over 80 strong. Strategic planning and getting other involved in big and small ways. 

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?
Through my experience with YMCA and PTOs I understanding the dynamics of volunteer groups and how to analyze to find strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats.  Using this helped my local chapter and I think I could bring this to the national level too.

What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?
We are a trade group that is driven by membership so to find the balance between individual needs and group at large needs. Every voice counts. Finding a way to find that balance is important for membership by-in and growth. I strongly believe there needs to be an understanding of how to be open to change our culture without dismissing others.

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?
Keeping track of trends with industry information. Creating open dialogue in written or online groups. Working closely with chapters to connect to all members.

 

 

Chanta Rand

Chanta Rand

Chanta Rand is an award winning, bes-tselling author of sizzling-hot romance, and the former host of The Chanta Rand Show. Armed with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance, she set out to become a CPA, but ended up writing happy endings instead.

She’s partnered with RWA to increase awareness of diversity and inclusion in romance, serving as Chairperson of the Diversity Committee, a member of the Diversity Training Taskforce, and in an advisory capacity on the Ethics Committee.

The author of over 25 novels, Chanta is a history junkie, a Walking Dead fan, and a recovering shoe addict. She never met a stiletto she didn't like!

 

Member of RWA since: 2009

Are you published in romantic fiction? Yes

Year first published?  2010

PAN? Yes

Honor Roll? No

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): N/A

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017? 2018? Planning for 2019? 2017 - 3;  2018 - 1 Planned;  2019 - 2 planned

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate): Self-Published and Garden Avenue Press

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: Former member of DARA and CIMRWA

Other Writers’ Organizations (please specify): International Womens Writing Guild (IWWG)

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author? No

Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No

Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc.?
No, I used to own Colorful Covers, a stock photography company for authors of color. I am the former host of The Chanta Rand Show (an online radio show where I interviewed authors and provided info about the romance industry.

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
RWA provided an opportunity for me to network and fellowship with other authors who were specifically writing in my genre. I found nowhere could I learn the craft of romance writing and get immediate feedback from authors at all stages in their careers. I continue to be a member because RWA stands up for authors and fights for issues that affect us, from copyright issues (such as #cockygate) to click-bait farms on Amazon, to publishers who blatantly discriminate against underrepresented authors. RWA has been instrumental in shaping my career as a writer and in providing valuable education on the publishing industry. I want to be able to give back to an organization that has done so much for me.

Why have you chosen to run for the position of Director at Large?
I’d like to help RWA continue to position itself as the go-to organization for romance authors. I believe RWA also has the potential to be looked as not only through a romance lens, but as an organization that elevates the craft of writing and helps women articulate the issues that affect us and the world. I want to help apply the concepts I’ve learned at the RWA conference and through the PAN loop to authors in all genres, in all stages of their careers. Working with the Diversity and Ethics committees has exposed me to member concerns. My goal is to help align what our members need most to the Board’s vision of Career Development and Business Communications. 

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions:
My RWA service is as follows:
 •          Chairperson for the Diversity Committee
 •          General member of the Diversity Training Task Force
 •          Member of the Ethics Committee
 •          2017 RITA judge
 •          ENotes and RWA Contributor 
 •          RWA Conferences and panel speaker (for the craft of writing historical fiction and for diversity and inclusion in romance)
 

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?
I’ve specifically worked in roles to improve processes. In my role as a Senior Curriculum Developer, I headed a Task Force to identify inefficiencies in our business unit and to strategize methods to improve the work environment for team members. I’m interested in Six Sigma certification, which seeks to improve the quality of processes. I’m hoping to do this with an eye toward improving the RITA Awards process and seeing how to apply lessons learned from the Golden Heart. 

In addition, I served as Project Manager for Southwest Airlines’ Emergency Response department, which provided me with valuable skills in damage control and responding quickly to disasters and unplanned events. Over the past few years, RWA has definitely faced some incidents that may have taken the organization by surprise. With the increasing presence of social media, I expect that trend to continue. We need to be able to respond quickly and to provide creative and satisfactory resolutions.

Regarding RWA’s strategy of Inclusivity, this is an area where I hope provide the unique perspective of a black author. I’ve been fortunate to serve as the Chair of Diversity Committee and a member of the Diversity Training Task Force. I was employed for five years at Southwest Airlines, where I worked with the Diversity committee. I’m also proud to be able to work and partner with Hewlett Packard and CVS—companies with multicultural workforces who openly embrace inclusion for disabled, LGBT, and employees of color.

Board Development – In line with RWA’s strategy to: Identify, mentor, recruit and train RWA leaders with a strategic intent to cultivate the leadership RWA needs to fulfill its mission, I think I can bring some valuable skillsets.

I have over 15 years of experience in Career in Instructional Design with a focus on Leadership and Development Roadmaps and programs. This includes role identification and development, having crucial conversations, and using vigorous dialogue and debate to facilitate healthy conflict. I also have some exposure to Change Management and the process of managing people through change. RWA could benefit from applying some of these corporate techniques.
 
What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?
1.  Staying relevant and increasing membership numbers. How can we do it? Strengthening the perception of romance in the industry as a serious genre and eliminating stereotypes (such as bodice rippers). Increase our presence on Social Media. Hold social media events, not just a conference. Have part of the conference be available at a discounted rate only on FaceBook or Twitter, for instance. It could be a few hours as opposed to 4-5 days. Provide access to industry professionals or a special dedicated hashtag/email address. 

2. Improving the RITA process:
a.  Having a training program for RITA judges - Helping authors with a strategy for judging. Providing guidelines. It’s obvious from the feedback on PAN that some authors don’t know how to judge. It’s like a supervisor giving feedback. Some supervisors have never been told how to give feedback. It’s not a bad thing. It’s just a fact that needs to be addressed.
b. Also, contact AoC to get them to judge so we have more representation.
c. Have an optional space on the RITA application for authors and judges to self-identify. The field won’t be required, but if we explain that this will help us identify the number of diverse entries, I think most authors will be fine with it. Or better yet, have a space that asks: “Is the hero/heroine of your story a diverse character (race, sexual orientation, disability)?”
d. It might also help to know if the author/story is Indie or Traditionally published. This will help us get a handle on RITA demographics so we can have numbers to compare each year.
e. Look for trends in the way books by authors of color are written. Pull all the scores if necessary to see how judges judged the book.

3. Focusing on the craft of writing. Helping our author write excellent stories and such memorable characters that the books will be picked up by agents and publishers for their amazing content, regardless of the author’s race, sexual orientation, or disability.

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?
1. Bring fresh blood into the organization (in the form of new, younger members). This factors into RWA’s strategy of Position/Image.
 
We can cultivate our image and position ourselves for the future by bringing in a younger demographic. Market to the next generation of authors: Take out ads in Seventeen magazine or in literary sources targeted toward YA audiences or movies. Have a type of career day open to college students (or go to their career day and talk about being a romance writer and how RWA has helped).

Also, bring in some male professionals and see how they approach things differently and learn their stories of success. We’ve done this at some of our conferences with Mark Coker and Mark Dawson (whom I read and love, by the way). We need more of this and we need more men on the Board. RWA is 99.9% female. We preach diversity, but we’re not very diverse.

We should actively recruit members (like employers who have job fairs). We need to be in college/high school libraries and literary events. Have a career fair especially geared toward young authors. Have pitch sessions and agents/editors who are looking for younger, fresh voices in all genres.

Bring underrepresented groups in to RWA. Minority writers, LGBT, and disabled. Go to places where you might find these demographics and let them know there I a need for underrepresented characters in romance.    

2. Focus on Diversity and Inclusion

It’s no secret we need this. Since one of RWA’s priorities is Inclusivity, I have some suggestion for addressing this area:

1)  Bias training for all members, not just chapter leaders (including workshops at national conferences). Have members from diverse chapters network and share information about publishers, agents, and the craft of writing.

2)  Have diverse authors share their stories of mistreatment and discrimination by other professionals in the industry.  

3)  Highlight diverse authors as well as non-diverse authors who are writing about diverse characters and supporting diverse initiatives

4)  Ensure diverse authors are represented at all levels of RWA (on committees, on the Board, our conferences/workshops, Librarians Day, awards ceremonies, in RWR articles, in the stock images we use, etc.)  

5)  Invite diverse editors and agents to pitch sessions and conferences and local chapters

6)  Request quarterly updates from publishers and agents of their diversity stats and a list of diverse authors they work with. Spotlight those agencies that have a robust diversity & inclusion list and maybe even offer awards/acknowledgement.  

7)  Hold people accountable for their lack of diversity and ask what plans they have in place to achieve greater representation. This includes the staff of publishing houses, editors, authors’ services (like Savvy Authors—I don’t think I’ve seen a single diverse author teaching a workshop there and I’ve only seen one newsletter graphic with a black person on there).   

8)  Encouraging cross-promotion between white and black authors for blog hops, Facebook parties, and other marketing.

 

 

Farrah Rochon

Farrah Rochon

USA Today best-selling author Farrah Rochon hails from a small town just west of New Orleans. With more than thirty-five titles under the belt, the two-time RITA® finalist has garnered much acclaim for her Holmes Brothers and Moments in Maplesville series. In 2015, Farrah received the Emma Award for Author of the Year.

When she is not writing in her favorite coffee shop, Farrah spends way too much time traveling the world, visiting Walt Disney World, catching her favorite Broadway shows and posting food pictures on Instagram.

 

Member of RWA since: 2002

Are you published in romantic fiction? Yes

Year first published? 2008

PAN? Yes

Honor Roll? No

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): N/A

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017? 2018? Planning for 2019? 2017 – 2; 2018 – 3; Planning for 2019 - 3 

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate): Kensington and Self

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: Southern Louisiana Chapter and CIMRWA 

Other Writers’ Organizations (please specify): N/A

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author? No 

Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No

Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc.? No

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
The catalyst for joining RWA back in 2002 was a desire to learn as much as possible about both the craft and business side of my chosen profession. I’ve remained a member for the past 16 years because I’ve found RWA to be invaluable. I still seek out craft workshops, however, the advocacy and networking opportunities the organization provides play a vital role in my career as an author.

Why have you chosen to run for the position of Director at Large?
After serving in the capacity of Director-at-Large for the past three years, I can't think of anything more rewarding than to continue the important work of making RWA a more robust and inclusive organization. Serving on the national board has opened my eyes to what can happen when thoughtful, compassionate, goal-oriented people with a shared vision roll up their sleeves and collectively work together to bring about much-needed change. I’m proud of all this organization has accomplished and would very much like to continue serving its members.

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions:
Director at Large on RWA National Board of Directors – served on numerous task forces during my tenure that has helped in shaping RWA’s strategic plan for the next five years. In my opinion, my most important contributions have been in ensuring that RWA's vision is an inclusive one that addresses the needs of all members.
PAN Advisor (SOLA Chapter)
Program Director (SOLA Chapter)

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?
I’ve witnessed over the past few years how efficient the Board of Directors has operated as we’ve strived to become more proactive and deliberate in our work, as opposed to reactionary. I plan to utilize the skills I’ve developed as a current board member and those which I learned as a causal learning practitioner in the oil and gas industry to aid the board in its pursuit to become more strategic and develop better time management. As RWA’s national board becomes more strategic, it will afford board members more time to create a better return on investment for all its members, which is my ultimate goal as a board member.

What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?
As the industry continues to change and grow in new and interesting directions, I feel it is important that RWA’s Board of Directors concentrate on programs and strategies that help members to navigate all methods of publishing, from traditional paths to indie publishing to whatever may come about in the future. I also believe it is vital that the board continues to steer RWA in a direction that supports diversity and inclusion of all writers and all types of stories. The organization has made numerous gains over these last few years, but there is still much work to be done in order to make RWA place where all writers feel accepted.

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?
In order to remain relevant, RWA must be as nimble as possible in this ever-changing publishing landscape. Focusing on advocacy and showing that there is strength in numbers, as in the recent #Cockygate situation, is a perfect example of how trade associations like RWA can prove to be vital partners to career-focused romance authors. As an organization, we can also remain relevant by continuing to provide top-notch classes and networking opportunities.

 

 

Jamie K. Schmidt

Jamie Schmidt

USA Today best-selling author Jamie K. Schmidt writes erotic contemporary love stories and paranormal romances. Her steamy, romantic comedy Life’s a Beach reached #65 on USA Today, #2 on Barnes & Noble and #9 on Amazon. Her Club Inferno series from Random House’s Loveswept line has hit both the Amazon and Barnes & Noble top one hundred lists and the first book in the series, Heat put her on the USA Today best-seller list.

 

 

Member of RWA since: 2011

Are you published in romantic fiction? Yes

Year first published? 2013

PAN? Yes

Honor Roll? No

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): N/A

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017? 2018? Planning for 2019? 2017: 6; 2018: 12; 2019: 6

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate): Random House, Annie's, Entangled, Riverdale Avenue Books, Skyhorse, Loose Id, Musa, and self-published

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: CTRWA, LIRWA

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author? No

Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No

Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc.? No

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
I joined the RWA to learn more about the craft of writing.  I've continued to be a member to  keep current about publishing, networking, and to help new writers start out on their career.

Why have you chosen to run for the position of Director at Large?
I want to serve the organization on a national level and assist in making the RWA a more diverse and welcoming organization for professional writers.

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions:
I've served as Chapter President and Vice President for Programming for CTRWA.  I like to be a resource for writing information and publishing news. I am open and direct about my publishing history, including salary and marketing information as I think it's very important in this changing publishing landscape not to lose sight of the realities of the business of writing.

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?
I am organized, enthusiastic and willing to assist in the board's strategic plans of inclusivity, professionalism and industry relevance.

What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?
I think with the elimination of the current version of the Golden Heart award, that its replacement shouldn't lose the elements that made it a beloved contest: recognition, a goal to strive for and a mark of excellence.  However, along with the Rita award, I would like to see it become a more recognized achievement outside of the RWA and have a professional impact on the finalists and winners careers. I enjoyed Suzanne Brockman's speech at the Rita ceremony this year and would like to have more speakers and discussions about diversity and inclusion.  I would especially like to ensure that POC feel comfortable entering the contests and being members of the RWA.

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?
 I think by championing issues like copyright, rank stripping, and bookstuffing, the RWA has done some high profile advocacy in the past year and I would like to see that continue.  It was a big surprise that Amazon backed down on some of its  high-handed policies after the RWA had a discussion with them about the issues.

 

 

Tracy Solheim

Tracy Solheim

After years of writing reports and testimony for Congress, Tracy Solheim decided to put her writing talents to better use, authoring a bestselling series of sports romances. She recently released her tenth book, set in her old stomping grounds of Washington DC. Tracy now lives in the suburbs of Atlanta, with her husband and a Labrador retriever who is constantly demanding her own book. She serves as VP Programs for Georgia Romance Writers. When she’s not working out with friends (i.e. lifting heavy bottles of wine), she’s writing. Except when she’s reading, but according to her, that’s just necessary research.

 

Member of RWA since: 2008

Are you published in romantic fiction? Yes

Year first published? 2013

PAN? Yes

Honor Roll? No

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): Non-fiction

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017? 2018? Planning for 2019? 2017-0; 2018-2 new, 6 re-releases; 2019-2-3

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate): Berkley, Tule, Sunhome Productions (self)

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: Georgia Romance Writers

Other Writers’ Organizations (please specify): Sisters In Crime; Georgia Writers' Association

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author? No

Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No

Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc.? No 

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
I joined RWA to network with other aspiring authors, never realizing the wealth of opportunities the organization provides for writers honing their craft. The access to industry professionals was an added incentive. The friends I have met through RWA--while on my journey to being a published autho--are an added bonus. I continue to stay involved within RWA both nationally and locally because the landscape within the publishing industry is constantly changing and it’s easier to navigate with others rather than individually.

Why have you chosen to run for the position of Director at Large?
I am running for a Director at Large position because I’ve never been one to sit on the sidelines. It’s easy to sit back and criticize others when you feel your needs aren’t being met by an organization. It’s a lot harder to jump in and get your hands dirty to affect change. In my previous life, I worked within Congress to bring about change for the good of those represented. I’m good at listening to diverse points of view and bringing about consensus I’d like the opportunity to give back to my tribe of writers by doing the same within RWA. 

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions:
This would be my first official role within RWA nationally. I currently serve as the VP for Programs within the Georgia chapter.  

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?
One of the priorities stated within RWA’s Strategic Plan is to foster inclusivity within the organization. As someone who has lived with a visual impairment my entire life, I believe I bring valuable insight into the sensitivities of those individuals working to overcome physical handicaps in order to succeed as a published author. While I cannot speak for everyone’s capabilities, I do believe I can be a strong voice to keep this board focused on the issue of inclusion. That being said, I believe the main focus of the RWA board is to focus on ALL writers. Period. We are a trade association for those who write romance. It would be my goal to make sure none of our members feels marginalized.

What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?
Throughout the past decade, I’ve seen a dramatic transformation in the makeup of my local chapter. With the changes in the publishing industry, many aspiring authors continue to ask about the value-added to joining RWA both locally and nationally. While the Board of Directors has tried to keep up with these changes, I believe one of the issues RWA needs to address during the next two years would be ways to make local chapters more relevant and accessible. Some of this is already being done, but I’d like to see the board address the issue of further supporting local chapters so that they can effectively carry out RWA’s mission of advancing the careers of business-minded romance authors.

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?
It is hard to stay relevant in an industry where the landscape is constantly evolving, such as it is in publishing—particularly within the romance genre. I believe the board has made a valiant effort to keep up as best they can. One thing I know for sure, however, is that RWA will not be able to stay relevant if its membership becomes fractured. Our industry, our country, our world, is diverse and dynamic. The challenge for RWA as a trade organization is maintain unity within those it represents. It helps that we all share a common goal—to be successfully published authors in whatever form that takes. My suggestion is that the Board and this organization do not lose sight of its mission: to promote ALL romance authors regardless of gender, ethnic background, sexual orientation, physical capabilities, age, hair color, cat-lover, dog-lover, etc. We are an organization of writers, first and foremost Let’s stay that way.

 

 

Damon Suede

Damon Suede

Damon has earned his crust as a model, a messenger, a promoter, a programmer, a sculptor, a singer, a stripper, a bookkeeper, a bartender, a techie, a teacher, a director… but writing has ever been his bread and butter. Though new to romance fiction, Damon has been a full-time writer for print, stage, and screen for over two decades. He has won some awards, but counts his blessings more often: his amazing friends, his demented family, his beautiful husband, his loyal fans, and his silly, stern, seductive Muse who keeps whispering in his ear, year after year.

 

Member of RWA since: 2010

Are you published in romantic fiction? Yes

Year first published? 2011

PAN? Yes

Honor Roll? No

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): film/TV, comics, theatre

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017? 2018? Planning for 2019? Two in 2017, one in 2018. Two planned for 2019.

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate): Dreamspinner Press for all my fiction; Self-published for my nonfiction writing titles.

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: Rainbow Romance Writers

Other Writers’ Organizations (please specify): Dramatists Guild, International Thriller Writers, WGA

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author? No

Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No

Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc.? No

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
I come to fiction from a lifetime working in film and theatre. Joining the "guild" is simply expected in showbiz, so initially I didn't think twice about it; that's just what you do. Of course, once I'd actually become an RWA member and participated in programs and joined chapters, I realized how much stronger and more supportive RWA was as a community and as a market force than any writer's organization I'd ever witnessed. I’ve made some of my closest friends and my best business contacts in this organization.

I believe in RWA as a promise and a path to the future of publishing. RWA protects me professionally and personally. Despite the cataclysmic upheavals in publishing and showbusiness as a whole, RWA continues to be a warm, generous, expansive organization that levels the playing field for all romance authors

I am regularly blown away by the strength and passion RWA shows, and by the small, steady accretion of net positives that help its members daily, often invisibly. I don't think RWA gets enough credit for the ways it advocates for us, and I know that the only way to protect something I care about is to actively participate in its efforts. When I talk to writers I know from earlier stages of my career in film, TV, and theatre, I feel a little guilty because I know how little they expect (and receive) from their groups. RWA is something special and it's transformed my life. 

Why have you chosen to run for the position of Director at Large?
I’ve now served three years and there is so much more we need to accomplish! To be frank, I can’t imagine walking away from the challenges we face as an institution, because I’ve spent these years down in the engines with my sleeves rolled up and my arms sweaty. LOL During my tenure on the board, both my career, my skills, and my understanding of the organization have deepened dramatically, often in tandem. I've loved serving our community and genuinely believe in the power of cooperative transformation. The Board's work is critical and complex and serving with these brilliant women has been one of the great privileges of my life. I believe in RWA as a force and an institution, and more importantly I believe in its future as something dynamic and responsive, respectful of tradition but mindful of the need for canny evolution.

On a personal note, I represent a different slice of the membership than is often seated in “the room where it happens,” and speak directly to issues of inclusion and diversity, indie publishing, intellectual property, and market development in a way that broadens RWA’s strength, stability, and access to new markets. Because of flukes in my career, I have a deep and broad knowledge of the entertainment industry which have proved useful and practical when tackling board business.

I always say that Romance is the literature of hope, and by continuing to serve on the board, I can serve, nurture, and guard the talented folks who create that hope. Romance should be a lighthouse on a dark shore, and at its best RWA keeps the beacon blazing even in the darkest weather.

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions:
* served Rainbow Romance Writers as Vice-President (2012) and then President (2013) as well as chairing committees for the chapter.

* appointed 2016 Director at Large on the RWA National Board, then elected to continue that service for 2017-2018.

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?
I'm a born networker and bridgebuilder, and all of my success in life has come through the healthy relationships I cultivate. Those connections give me access to a wide range of perspectives and a deep trough of inside intel that contribute greatly to a clear picture of our industry and membership. My range of contacts and my love of schmoozing give me access to rooms across our industry in ways that help me track trends and right wrongs.

I'm an instinctive promoter and advocate. Because I'm an extrovert with a background in show business, I'm often plonked in front of cameras or microphones to discuss romance as a force and a phenomenon. I've worked in showbiz marketing for most of my life. I’m always looking for opportunities to champion our genre articulately and publically. My media training and academic background allow me to advocate for our industry with solid messaging and a keen sense of history.

I've been a fundraiser and community leader for almost 30 years, so I'm comfortable asking hard questions and rallying the troops for unpleasant chores. Because I've organized large events and corralled unruly mobs for much of my life, the scale of RWA and its possibilities get me revved up. Event production, personality management, and public outreach are seriously my jam.

I grew up in Texas but I've lived in the heart of New York CIty for over 20 years, so I know how different life experiences can effect decisions and strategies in one's career. That also means that I have access to publishing pros on a daily basis, but I also know how vast that gap can seem when you're just starting out in the business. And because of my 25+ year history in showbiz, I tend to tackle problems with a wide and wacky bag of uncommon tricks from my time in the entertainment trenches.  

I'm also a teacher with 29 years experience. Currently. I teach literature a few hours a week in a private school for gifted kids in NYC and I've been teaching and coaching writers at every level in a crazy matrix of genres for over two decades. At least two weekends a month, I teach at local chapters all over the world which helps me keep tabs on local concerns, as well as a sense of the issues members face on a day to day level.

Art is a hard dollar and I understand how much work, and faith, and trust, and lunacy goes into a satisfying career...as well as the hard knocks that get us there. Our entire genre is predicated on the belief that relationships are more powerful than isolation, so I know that we are stronger and smarter working together.

I'm fiercely loyal and relentlessly enthusiastic about the things I love. I believe in romance the way many people believe in the Superbowl or Sweeps week. I research our industry, participate in conferences, and campaign with vendors to keep ALL Romance in the spotlight. My goal is always to celebrate the creators across the subgenre spectrum because I believe that by writing hope into existence, together we are writing a better future for the world.

What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?
As our industry mutates and evolves, I think outreach, education, and genre advocacy in the larger entertainment industry are critical tasks for RWA.

OUTREACH: RWA has always been defined by its power to bring professional romance writers together for mutual benefit, and yet, the upheavals in our industry have left most authors feeling isolated and anxious about the future. The old solutions are starting to falter and I’d like to see RWA nurture new venues, formats, and points of access which open the door to writers at every stage and of every stripe.

EDUCATION: Our members and the industry evolve daily, and I’d like to see RWA get proactive about looking ahead rather than constantly glancing over our shoulder at the recent (or not-so-recent) past of publishing. There is tremendous value in the history of romance, but this business moves at a heady clip. The era of one-size-fits-all solutions has gone the way of the dodo and RWA can help all romance writers level up and claim their turf within the new publishing economy. Likewise, we are uniquely positioned to gather data and use that data to educate the mass market in ways that transform the ways that people look for the stories that inspire them. The modern world is data-driven, and solid facts help our members steer their careers and give publishers/vendors/media a handle on global trends.

ADVOCACY: Literacy programs, media education, intelligent marketing could all help push our members into untapped blue oceans and attract new readers to Romance. Popular stereotypes of romance in the media are often 40 years out of date and the general anxiety still constrains readership because of the outdated stigma. Promoting the genre as it actually exists today would make a huge difference...not to mention improving the ROI for our programming, shoring up sales, and expanding opportunities in other entertainment vectors.

By embracing the future, boosting skills, diversifying our readership, and taking our place at the table within entertainment as a market force we can expand the breadth and depth of HEAs available for our members and the romance audience worldwide.

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?
* Offering a concrete Return on Investment to members at every stage of their careers. We need fresh solutions for the challenges of discoverability, education, and industry access. The old models and perks are showing their sell-by date, and no wise artists rest on their laurels. With the rise of self-pub and e-pub, I worry that newer authors don't find value in an organization so bound up in the traditions of romance. The incredible history we carry, must be matched by an eye on the horizon. By the same token, I worry that we aren't offering an ROI for the superstars of our genre which risks alienating the people who are literally moving the market needle for our industry. We are strongest when we operate as a coherent, imaginative community and RWA can facilitate that with programming, support, and targeted advocacy.

* Drilling down with data collection so that we understand the way the Romance industry shifts on the fly, so that we can respond effectively and advocate properly. I think that research and education based on data is the simplest way for us to advocate for career-focused romance authors. We must cultivate rigorous data that extends beyond self-reporting and anecdotal surveys. Hard facts and clear trends make credible journalism and promotion exponentially easier...which in turn promotes the genre and builds our audience exponentially. Algorithms and metrics drive the new economy, and we lag at our peril.

* Promoting our genre and partnering with other players within publishing and the entertainment complex so that our members can access the best of available technology and create fresh audiences. The explosion of e-publishing has altered the landscape and yet readership is relatively low compared to other forms of entertainment. The popular perceptions of romance continues to lag behind the reality. Thoughtful marketing and outreach could be game changers for our members and their professional development…as creators of books and developers of robust intellectual property for a variety of other lucrative media. Time for us to stand in the light.

 

 

Cathy Tully

Cathy Tully

A member of Romance Writer's of America Cathy is a firm believer in honing her craft and consistently takes writing courses both online and in person. In her spare time she loves to read, create counted cross stitch projects, and visit the beach. She is currently learning how to knit. A second degree brown belt in Isshinryu Karate, she loves the feeling of strength and independence it allows her. Cathy can be found on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and at www.cathytully.com.

 

Member of RWA since: 2004

Are you published in romantic fiction? Yes

Year first published? 2012

PAN? Yes

Honor Roll? No

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): Women's fiction, Training Travis, Marrying Mr. Right. Fantasy, Beauty and the Curse.

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017? 2018?  Planning for 2019? Two

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate): Amazon (Storyfront); The Wild Rose Press; Astraea Press.

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: NJRW

Other Writers’ Organizations (please specify): Liberty State's Fiction Writer's

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author? No

Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No

Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc.? No

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
I joined RWA when I was referred by a friend in 2004 after writing a children's non-fiction book for Kidhaven Press. After visiting the website I was quite impressed. I attended my first conference that year and haven't looked back since. RWA is an organization that provides support to an author on all levels of his/her career. I have remained a member because I have met amazing people and made wonderful friends in the writing community. These are both priceless.
 
Why have you chosen to run for the position of Director at Large?
 I have wanted to be a larger part of RWA for awhile. Hearing that there were many openings for Director-at-Large made my decision for me.

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions:
Organization and enthusiasm are my most important contributions. I see a project through until the end and give 110 percent every time.

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?
I have worked with Rayna Vause on the NJRW and LSFW conferences for many years in the pre-planning and execution phases and have learned how to work with people. Organizing workshops and speaking to editors, agents and authors was a priority.

What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?
Self Publishing and LGBT. Awareness must be built so support comes more freely to those who choose to take an alternative route to publishing.

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?
Having more workshops at the advanced writer stage would be wonderful. Every year I come to conference there are fewer workshops I feel I need to sit in on because I have learned so much as a writer. Learning should not stop. Advanced workshops by experienced best selling authors would help that process.

 

 

Teri Wilson

Teri Wilson

Teri Wilson is the author/creator of the Hallmark Channel Original Movies UNLEASHING MR. DARCY, MARRYING MR. DARCY and THE ART OF US, as well as a fourth Hallmark film currently in development. She writes for Harlequin Special Edition, as well as Gallery Books, and in 2018, she was a double RITA finalist for her novels THE PRINCESS PROBLEM and ROYALLY WED. Teri is the current president of San Antonio Romance Authors, recipient of the 2017 RWA Chapter of Excellence Award. She has also served as SARA’s vice president/programs coordinator and president elect.

 

Member of RWA since: 2007

Are you published in romantic fiction? Yes

Year first published? 2008

PAN? Yes

Honor Roll? No

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): Women’s fiction

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017? 2018? Planning for 2019? 2017: 6   2018: 6   2019: 2 +

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate): Harlequin Special Edition, Gallery Books, Tule Publishing

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: San Antonio Romance Authors; Contemporary Romance Writers online chapter

Other Writers’ Organizations (please specify): N/A

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author?
Yes, I worked as an art buyer and design assistant for Hampton Brown/National Geographic School Publishing, off and on, part-time, from June 1996 to April 2010.

Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No

Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc.? No

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member?
My first editor recommended that I join RWA and I’ve been a member ever since because it’s provided me with excellent networking opportunities as well as education about the craft of writing and the industry as a whole. The professional relationships and friendships I’ve cultivated through my membership in RWA are invaluable to me. 

Why have you chosen to run for the position of Director at Large?
I believe strongly in the mission of RWA and I enjoy contributing to a group where writers of all levels can thrive and help one another. My years spent on the board of San Antonio Romance Authors have been very rewarding and I’d love to explore doing the same on a national level. 

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions:
I’ve been a volunteer at the past six RWA national conferences, as well as a presenter in 2016 and 2017. I am the current president of San Antonio Romance Authors, and I’ve also served on the SARA board as president elect and vice president/programs coordinator. I feel my most important contributions have been at the local level, helping shape the direction of the programming for SARA and acting as a mentor for fellow romance authors.

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?
I believe my experience on the board of San Antonio Romance Authors will be valuable with regard to the chapter purpose and performance portion of the strategic plan and my ten years as a published author will be an asset when striving to keep RWA relevant to authors at all career stages as well as developing a sense of community among members. 

What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?
I feel that inclusion is something RWA needs to work hard to address, as well as maintaining RWA’s relevance to authors in all stages of their careers. At some point, I’d love for the board to look into the possibility of providing a group health benefit plan for its members. 

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?
I believe RWA is more relevant now than ever before because the industry is in flux and romance authors need an advocate to help them navigate the challenges of our rapidly changing profession, from trademark issues to publisher mergers and closures to the various publishing platforms made available by new technology.

 

 

Beth Yarnall

Beth Yarnall

USA Today best-selling author, Daphne winner, and RITA® finalist, Beth Yarnall, writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and the occasional hilarious post. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their rescue dogs where she is hard at work on her next novel.

 

 

Member of RWA since: 2008

Are you published in romantic fiction? Yes

Year first published? 2012

PAN? Yes

Honor Roll? No

Other genres or forms published in (please specify): mystery, thriller

How many titles of romantic fiction did you release in 2017? 2018? Planning for 2019? 2017-1 2018-2 2019-2

Please list most recent publishers with whom you have published (include self, if appropriate): Self, Random House, Samhain, Crimson Romance, Entangled

Please list any RWA Chapter Affiliations: Orange County Chapter of RWA

Have you ever worked for a publishing house or literary agency in a capacity other than as an author? No

Have you ever owned a literary agency or a publishing house that has published works of fiction other than your own? No

Are you currently employed by a publisher or literary agency in a capacity other than published author? No

Do you currently own a literary agency or a publishing company that produces works of fiction other than your own? Do you own or operate or provide services for authors such as editing, cover design, marketing etc.? No

What prompted you to join RWA, and why do you continue to be a member? 
I initially wanted to learn more about craft. Now I stay for the fellowship, education, and my local chapter.

Why have you chosen to run for the position of Director at Large?
I've been watching the progress of the current board and have cheered them on every step of the way. I'm at a period in my life and career where I feel I can give the time and effort to making RWA the very best it can be.

Please list your RWA service, citing what you feel are your most important contributions:
I was the president of East Valley Authors RWA for 2 and a half years and served as the co-programs director of OCC/RWA for a year. I was on the California Writer's Conference committee for 2 conferences, including the inaugural conference. At OCC/RWA I was in charge of the Book in a Year program for 3 years, which I initiated.

Based on your review of the strategic plan, what relevant experience/skills/abilities do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and further RWA’s strategic plan?
I have a background in both traditional and self publishing and have worked to build and strengthen my local chapters. As someone who has sought knowledge of the industry outside of RWA I know the areas in which the organization can do more and be of greater value to its members.

What issues do you feel are important for the Board of Directors to address in the next two years and why?
To build a strong membership of diverse authors who are actively writing and publishing romance. The benefits of RWA membership should be clear and encompass as wide a variety of author interests and goals as possible. When a member's membership is up for renewal they should know the value of RWA membership and how RWA helps them in their career.

With the varying challenges romance authors face in this industry today, what suggestions do you have for keeping RWA relevant?
The RITA and Golden Heart contests continue to be the benchmark in romance excellence. But they've had their issues. I credit the current board for opening up the dialog regarding who finals and wins these contests and how RWA as an organization can better reflect the diversity and creativity of authors all across the world. Much work has been done to insure every member feels included and supported, but there is still a lot of work to do. I look forward to the opportunity to join my skills with others to insure RWA is everything it can and should be.

TOP