June Meeting Roundup and Good News

Elizabeth Hoyt and Rick Ochocki

By Susan Burns

A half dozen guests from local RWA chapters joined our meeting to hear Elizabeth Hoyt start her morning session by encouraging us to let our alpha heroes grovel a bit (maybe a lot, depending how dark the black moment, and how much of an A-hole he’s been).

Elizabeth Hoyt is a New York Times bestselling author of historical romance. She also writes contemporary romance under the name Julia Harper. She now lives in central Illinois with her husband and two children.

Her morning session was the first time she presented her workshop on A-hole men and why they make the best alpha heroes.

The greatest thing about these naughty guys is that they’ve got a huge character/redemption arc, a long duration event in which the heroine can change him into her HEA hero. And make him grovel for all the black moments he’s sent her way, to get back into her good graces. She says think of the emotional impact of that sort of redemption.

Her handout gave examples of alpha men that we can’t help getting turned on by, those who need to be whipped into shape by the heroine for our happy endings.

Her worksheets helped us to identify these bigger-than-life men from modern books and films: Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice (wealthy, powerful, insular, shy, and socially inept), Loki from the film Thor (powerful, unreliable character, sociopath), The Beast from Disney’s Beauty and The Beast (powerful and insular wounded hero), Sherlock Holmes from BBC (Maestro, analytical genius, and self-proclaimed sociopath).

She had us discover the saving attribute of each of the above men and which scene we thought this redemptive characteristic was exposed. In nearly all, Hoyt pointed out that it was when these men showed concern for another that we started to like them and empathize with their journey.

It’s Just Emotion (afternoon session)

Elizabeth Hoyt

In the mystery genre, the key ingredient is catching the bad guys and bringing them to justice, or, maybe, what justice in this particular story is all about.

In fantasy, or sci-fi, it’s world building, examining what humans are capable of in various situations.

In romance, the key ingredient is emotion, the emotion our love story provokes in the reader. We want the reader to immerse themselves in our worlds of emotion.

What makes a best selling author, Hoyt says, is the writer’s ability to ignite the reader’s emotions. Emotions are intensified by thinking of what might cause the most extreme tension between hero and heroine. This might include not only making hero and heroine opposites in who they are, what they do, and how they communicate, but how tension grows between them because of their family’s and society’s beliefs and behaviors which they must surmount to tighten their bonds (or for her to grab the prize, which is always the redeemable guy).

One way of intensifying the action between the lovers is the scene trope. Yes they’re clichés, Hoyt says, but they work in this instance. Tropes like: One hurting and the other comforting that hurt, or one secretly afraid of losing the other because of some “unforgiveable” thing he’s done (usually the black moment).

Hoyt tells us if we’re into doing our hero’s/heroine’s repartee a certain way, don’t change our methods on her account. Just examine her ideas to see if they might be helpful in creating more intensity between our characters.

Maybe during black moment, have excuse for him being the way he is, something rather pathetic that brings out our empathy maybe even before heroine feels hers.

Business Meeting

Midway into our workshops, our president, Rick Ochocki, covered the usual announcements: good news, write for the money, atta girl/guy, upcoming amendments to chapter bylaws, member surveys, new online classes, upcoming workshops, and April Challenge winners.

Our amended chapter bylaws will be sent to us electronically and we should get back to Rick if we have any concerns about them.

Our June Member of the Month was Marie Andreas for her outstanding work as PALS Liaison.

Member of the Month Marie Andreas with President Elect Tessa McFionn

Our June Atta Girl was CJ Corbin for writing while undergoing surgery and other tough issues.

Atta Girl CJ Corbin with President Elect Tessa McFionn

Good News:

Pamela Moran & Margaret Taylor are teaching a workshop at RWA Nationals on PTSD: How It Effects Your Heroes, Heroines, and Villains.

Tessa McFionn: her book #4 of The Guardians Series, Spirits Shattered, was released on May 31.

Aleigha Siron: With 4.6 out of 5 stars, Finding My Highlander made the number one time-travel romance twice in the last 16 months.

Marie Andreas: Last year’s winner in the 2017 FFNP Prism Contest, finaled again this year. The great cover of Golden Basilisk (published May 1st of this year) won the JABBIC (Judge A Book By Its Cover Contest). She also won the RT Book Reviewers Choice Award.

Tameri Etherton: Will publish FATAL ILLUSION in July,  republish FATAL ASSASIN in October, and her four book series in September.

Cynthia Diamond: her ALCHEMY’S HUNGER finaled in the light paranormal category at FFnP’s  2018 PRISM Contests.

Mickey Brent: her sequel BROAD AWAKENING is to be released in October by Bold Strokes Books.

Jackie Allen: entered the Aspen Bold Contest.

Susan Burns: Carina and Kensington requested the submission of her space opera in response to RT pitches at Romantic Times Conference in Reno last month. Submitted three Savvy Author pitches in their June Pitchfest to Agents for her space opera.

Gloria Gay: released MIDNIGHT PROPOSAL. Hope your fans enjoy it as much as your last book.

Dee Canon was thrilled with all the help she got from Terresa Carpenter in her plotting workshop last month.

Bad News: Jackie says Desert Breeze Publishing is out of business.

Thank you, Tessa, for organizing and administrating our April challenge this year. Small gift bags were given to those who were not in attendance in April. And seven members were given larger prizes for finishing their challenges.

Ever want to serve on a board of directors? Tessa, our president elect, is recruiting members who would like to serve next year as president elect, secretary, treasurer, VP communications, reader outreach, hospitality, and Pro and Pan liaisons.

Rick needs contact information from everyone going to Nationals, in Denver this July.

And in closing: As far as reading her own book reviews, Elizabeth Hoyt says, “Never put yourself into a position where reviewers are telling you that you can’t fly.”

 

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