Welcome to the official blog of Maumee Valley Romance Writers of America! We're a local writers' group in the Toledo, Ohio area. Most of us write romance, but we also have members who write other genres too. New members are always welcome to visit or join the group. See the meetings page for details. We post every Monday and Friday about all things book-related. Whether you're a writer, reader, or both, we hope you'll stop by often and get to know our dozen contributors.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Vitamin D Anyone?

The end of January. A time for residents of northern Ohio to moan about the never-ending grayish white sky, the brittle temperatures, and the way our skin turns translucent, like a strange breed of vampire.

Blizzard 10Feb 2010d
Photo by dennisharper

Yes, January gets tough around these parts. Even if we have faithfully kept up with our resolution to exercise, we yearn for chocolate-covered donuts and thick, creamy soups. Our bodies crave extra, comforting calories just to stay warm.

Our winter clothes get burdensome. Who wants to wear two sweaters and a thick coat? The gloves, hat, and scarf do not improve our mood. We haven't seen our toenails for more than three seconds in weeks--without socks, we're in danger of losing toes.

Exaggeration aside, we've enjoyed one of the mildest winters I remember. I love the fact I haven't gotten stuck trying to navigate our road--not once!--this winter. Squirrels are able to pop out and enjoy their stores of nuts on a regular basis. Geese are hanging out in the river. It's nice.

Still, I'm spending more time with my old friend HGTV. I'm taking more vitamins, leafing through inspirational magazines, and telling myself I should work out. Really, I should.

The heavy clothes won't last forever. But then, the scary pale skin will linger...

Do you get the January blues? Can you blame it on the weather? No? Pick anything else then. I'll support it!

Jill Kemerer writes inspirational romance novels. Coffee fuels her mornings; chocolate, her afternoons. A former electrical engineer, she now enjoys a healthy addiction to magazines, fluffy animals, and her hilarious family. She is a member of ACFW and RWA and also serves as vice-president of MVRWA. Jill is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Agency.

To learn more about Jill, check out her website, stop by her blog, find her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

Have a wonderful Monday!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Pass It On

I inherited my love of romance novels from my grandma.

From as far back as I can remember to present day, there has always been a 'bodice-ripper' sitting on the end table next to her easy chair--usually with an old playing card tucked into the spot where she left off.

I was pretty young when curiosity and the lure of those enticing covers got the best of me one Saturday morning after I'd spent the night. Sure that Grandpa (who slept on the couch) was sound asleep, I picked up the book and started browsing. My progress was almost immediately brought to a screeching halt by Grandpa - the king of playing 'possum, by the way - saying, "Don't you think you're a little young for that?"

So, years after the effect of my beloved grandfather catching me doing something I shouldn't have been doing wore off, I started checking them out from my local library instead--sandwiched discreetly between my more age-appropriate selections, of course.

Even if Grandpa didn't approve of a young me reading Grandma's books, the seed was planted. I've been reading them - category to single title, squeaky clean to four alarm fire hot - and proud of it, ever since. Grandma and I even exchange favorites as much as we can.

The love of romance skipped the generation between my grandma and I. My pragmatic mother is a mystery/suspense lover of epic proportions, though. My daughter, on the other hand, loves a good love story--preferably of the paranormal variety.

Do you pass on the love of romance - or whatever your read of choice happens to be - as often as you can?

Have a terrific weekend.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Life Lessons From Romance Novels

I recently came across an article from Woman’s Day magazine and wanted to share the highlights with you. Essentially, the article pointed out important lessons we can learn from romantic reads.
1.       Never tell your heart, your gut or your instincts to be quiet. Usually, your intuition is right.
2.       Relationships are more satisfying when you start out in love with who you are on your own, not who you are as part of a couple.
3.       Much of the sex in romance novels is the woman’s ideal. Let this inspire you to take charge of your own sex life, ensuring all your needs are met.
4.       Remain authentic to who you are. Until you believe in yourself, no one else will either.
5.       While your life is filled with obstacles and can be intense at times, dig in, persist and move on.
6.       If you make mistakes and hit roadblocks, keep going, change tactics and redefine your goals until you get there.
7.       Find your own white horse and rescue yourself.
I was very impressed by this article. There’s a reason that romance novels have been popular for decades. They have stood the test of time, changing from bodice rippers to reading about characters who struggle with many of the same issues we do. They end up happy and deserving of love.
So the next time someone scoffs at romance, give them an earful of some of these life lessons they can learn!

Jenna Rutland
   Writing stories of love, laughter 

          and happily ever after

Friday, January 20, 2012

Kisses, Cherries & Stars!

I have never been the type who takes a compliment well.

Why? Who knows, except
maybe being in businesses with daily super-critical appraisal tainted me, I've heard so much more 'negative' than 'positive' when it comes to my professional life as a whole.

But on occasion, I'm surprised.

Total strangers telling m
e (as one would hear in a Dale Carnegie course) 'You did good!'

I just write stories---they pop in my head and if the people running around up there cooperate,
sometimes those stories actually get written down.

That happened with The One He Chose.

While I thought it was a nice little story, with characters who really (thankfully!) spoke to me, people I don't even know raved about it.

TwoLips Reviews gave it five kisses: This story is about love and loss, and finding love again; it was just an emotional ride. I know this is one of the stories I won’t forget any time soon.

Whipped Cream reviews (now Long and Short Reviews) Ms. Burke did a wonderful job creating this moving story in such a short read and I highly recommend The One He Chose to you, especially if you’re new to this series.

And, Manic
Readers gave it five stars!

It's all very strange getting pats on the head from people I've never met. I'm glad the reviews are what they are. I'm not quite sure, however, how I would handle a stranger telling me, 'Oh, by the way, your book sucked!' I'm sure that will happen someday, but hopefully, not too soon!

Wendy currently has two works on the Decadent Publishing shelves (Respite and The One He Chose), a third in editing (Haste Ye Back) and 274 more stories which she hopes DP will be interested in! Find her on Facebook, Twitter and lurking about the internet. You could send her a nasty email-wendyburke1994@bex.net. When not playing with the people in her head, she has silly life with her way-too-cute chef husband and two furry feline kids in the Great Lakes area of the Midwest.

Friday, January 13, 2012

What’s Your New Year’s Mantra?

photo from Kleio's

We’re two weeks into 2012. That means (according to one set of stats I found via Google) about 29% of people who made a resolution have now broken it. In another two weeks, that number will increase to about 36% and, after six months, to 54%.

I’m not one of them. Not because I keep my resolutions. Nope. It’s because I don’t make them in the first place. It’s been years—okay, more like decades!—since I made a new year’s resolution. Instead, over the past couple of years, I have chosen an inspirational phrase or a song lyric or a single word to be a guiding force throughout the coming twelve months. I call this practice “making a mantra.”

“Breathe in hope. Breathe out acceptance.” This is my mantra for 2012. I heard it in a recent yoga class and it resonated with me. I don’t know its origin. I don’t know whether it was invented by my teacher or by Buddha or by another mystic. I do know that when I heard it, I said “yes.”

This mantra—my mantra—invites me to stay positive and believe that my dreams, my goals, my wishes can all come true. It invites me not to give in to despair or bitterness or anger when disappointments and frustrations block my path. It invites me to accept whatever happens with grace and trust that the decision or action or event ultimately serves me and my life, even if I don’t want it or don’t understand how it can possibly be good for me.

It’s not always easy to live this mantra. In fact, to my surprise, I have found the “breathing in hope” part to be harder than the “breathing out acceptance.” I guess that’s because hope carries risk. The risk of crushing disappointment. The risk of humbling failure. The risk of falling down and not getting back up. But that’s when the breathing out part comes into play. When you breathe out fully—breathe out full acceptance—all that’s left to do is…breathe in.

Do you have a mantra for 2012? If so, please share!

Patrice Kavanaugh writes character-driven thrillers spiked with romance. Her novel, DIE RUN HIDE, placed first in two RWA chapter contests and finaled in the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. She blogs regularly for MVRWA.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Taking Your Lumps and Moving On

As some of you know, I was recently dropped by my publisher, Kensington. They decided, after seeing sales numbers for book one and the first two months of book two, that they would not be offering me a new contract on any more books in the Deadworld series, or any books under the J.N. Duncan psuedonym. Which means, no more UF stories with them. This was certainly what you would call "bummer news," and as I wish to continue writing supernatural crime fiction (as I like to call it), it means moving on. There's nothing much more discouraging to a debut author than to have that first contract not produce the hoped for success. Then again, this is one of those "glass half full or half empty" life moments.

Writers with dreams of future success (i.e. being published and selling books) cannot afford to look at situations like these as "half empty." I did actually sell three books. I had an agent and publisher who believed my writing was good enough for the marketplace. This means I know that I have what it takes to achieve this again. Publishing is fickle. One never knows what will work and what won't. There are exceptions of course, but that is not the norm. I have gained some readership. There were readers out there who enjoyed my story. I might be able to find another publisher who is willing to take the chance on continuing Deadworld. If not, there is always the possibility of publishing the rest of the series on my own. Given today's market, one might think I should jump right in and do this, but I enjoy having a publisher and agent and the perks that go along with that, and so, for the moment I will continue to pursue that avenue.

A dropped contract is not the end of the road, merely a fork on the continued writing journey. Sure, I can lament the fact that the particular road I was on has become blocked, but like all journies, it is not the only one. Writers cannot afford to get locked into one single path. It's not prudent nor good for one's mental health. I have a new story to work on. It's another supernatural crime fiction story, one I've had on the back burner for a while now and am excited to work on. It will be full of merfolk, witches, mobsters, crime, action, love, and of course, conspiracies to take over the world. It's a new path, and one I'm happy to step onto. I do lament what was lost, but writers cannot dwell on what could have been. You learn from what you did, make adjustments, accept the change and strive to make the best of the new situation. If you want to succeed, it is the only thing you can do.

Happy reading/writing everyone!

Friday, January 6, 2012


It’s a new year, a new day, a new opportunity to remake yourself into who you want to be. Some of us make New Year’s resolutions—some people make a LOT of resolutions. Some of us break them—in the first hour, the first day, the first week. And some of us give up trying as soon as we fail.

Usually I make a pack of resolutions, break most of them and give up in the first few months. This year I’m only making two, the same two I’ve made for the past decade: to write and exercise regularly. Mostly I’ve failed at the exercise, and mostly I’ve succeeded at writing. But this year I resolve to change my attitude about success and failure: it’s not all or nothing. Failure isn’t permanent unless I give up. If I ‘fail’ one day, a new opportunity to succeed blooms the next day, or later that same day, or the next hour, or during the next commercial break. If I ‘fail’ to find an hour, I can still succeed by finding fifteen minutes. Even fifteen minutes is a baby step moving forward. It’s momentum, even if it’s slow. It’s like watching a mile-long train start up from a standstill. It can be done. And once the engine gains momentum, it can pull a heavy load a long distance.

Starting is up to us. Taking each step is up to us. Continuing to take steps is up to us. But if you’ve paid attention to those trains, you see they usually have two or more engines. When one runs out of power, the next pulls the load. Or on an incline two or more pull together. Our support groups—our CPs, our writing groups, our Weight Watchers groups, our exercise partners—are like those extra engines. They can make it easier to take each step, and to continue taking steps, moving forward and keeping our resolve strong to succeed.

How about you? Did you make resolutions this year? If so, what will help you keep them?

Monday, January 2, 2012


Happy New Router!
OK, Happy New Year—2012 is more appropriate...
But you see...
Today  is my day to blog here at MVRWA…
(YAY! I’m the first to post for 2012! It’s a good omen!)
And I need the Internet to do this…
But I’m currently in Akumal, Mexico…
And while this whole area is bug-out-eyes gorgeous…
Getting the Internet is sometimes iffy...
So I figured since I’ll be staying here in this condo for months…
While I’m building my spiritual writer’s retreat…
I decided to put my money where my frustration is…
Yup! I paid to bring the Internet to me, and only me.
And so what, you say?
Well getting the Internet ties in with…
One of my writer News Year’s resolution—to  get an agent…
For my journey to publication.
But then again, according to Encarta, or any dictionary…
The Internet is a form of being published…
Though not NY Times best selling hardback book published…
But rather published because I write on this blog…
And my own blog—em-musing.blogspot.com.
I want…
I want to be published like the big-time authors…
I want to be on a list of authors earning big bucks…
I want my novel to be made into a movie…
I want…
I want…
Well, plain and simple…
I want recognition as a writer—big time!
If you’re a writer (or not) how do you define success?
And what’s your New Year’s resolution—writing or otherwise?

Always, Em-Musing 

Leigh Caron writes humorous women's fiction. She is seeking an agent for her first book, IS IT NOW YET? Leigh is also in the process of building a jungle spiritual retreat in Akumal, Mexico that is on the Rivera Maya. She plans to have it open in 2013.
BLURB: IS IT NOW YET? If hot flashes and a frigid marriage aren’t enough to push Em to the brink, when she hires a rugged younger Mexican guest worker to tend her garden, his gentle ways not only thaw her broken heart, but set her pants on fire and now she must find the courage to end the charade of her marriage and follow her heart for the first time in her life.