|Prairieland Romance Writers celebrates 20 years of excellence in romantic fiction|
This past weekend marked a landmark event for my local writing chapter, the Prairieland Romance Writers. On Sunday, we hosted an Open House celebrating our 20th anniversary! We invited back our PRW alumni (aka former members) as well as the mentors who helped us get started by teaching us about critique groups, how to run a meeting, writing all those pesky but necessary by-laws for incorporation, and so on. We also invited the events coordinator at the local Conestoga Mall, and the library staff at Grand Island Public Library--the two venues who have given us the space to hold our meetings for many years.
We decorated with autumn colors. We drank some yummy sherbert & pineapple punch, and carved a cake designed by one of our members, Robin L. Rotham. She put together our very own PRW romance novel cover--sweet! We pulled out scrapbooks that featured pix of our members and their achievements over the past 20 years. And we set up display tables for each of our current members to show off awards, books and other writing achievements. That was cool! We had everything from our newest published author, Niecey Roy, whose first book comes out from Wild Rose Press in early 2013, with just a rose and a photo--to members whose bling includes 2 RITA awards (Kristin Eckhardt, also w/a Kristin Gabriel) and so many books it required more than one table to display them all.
PRW (as we usually call ourselves) also has the tradition of handing out silk flowers for Prairie Rose Awards (major accomplishments like selling a book, completing a manuscript or finalling in a contest) and Praire Wildflower Awards (other, non-romance writing achievements like publishing a poem and selling an article to a magazine). In honor of our 20th anniversary, we presented real roses to our charter members in attendance, and to our mentors from the Omaha chapter (we represent mostly out-state Nebraska) who helped us get our group started.
We celebrated our history and each other, and spent a great deal of the afternoon trading hugs and catching up with old friends. It was fun to hear how many remembered my son coming to a few meetings when he was younger, and playing off to the side of the room with his Legos and Transformers. Now he's a senior in college. Some of our former members have moved far away, and one, sadly, is no longer with us.
Personally, I treasure my time with PRW. As my good friend, and our first president, Sherry James put it, "PRW is like AA for writers." Yes, we help educate newer writers, refresh the skills of our veterans, keep each other apprised of changes in the market and publishing world, and promote each other's work. But the best benefit for me is the supportive friendships among professional women who "get" what it means to be a writer. We celebrate each other's triumphs, commiserate over disappointments, offer advice when asked and support each other through the high's and low's of working in this industry.
Thank you, PRW! And Happy Anniversary!
So, what's something you've celebrated recently? Or, is there a group you belong to that means a lot to you? Please share your question or comment. I'll give away a copy of my current release (it's a reissue of FORBIDDEN CAPTOR, packaged with Debra Webb's novel, STRIKING DISTANCE) to one lucky poster.
THREE COWBOYS, Dec. 2012
(if you're interested in learning more about our group, its members, and the wide variety of romance genres we represent, please visit our website at www.prwne.com)