Monday, October 22, 2012

Happy Anniversary, PRW!




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.

Julie Miller
Here's a look at my display, along with yours truly.  To be honest, I don't keep all the hardware out on display, and normally my books are tucked away on a shelf.  But it was totally cool, and humbling, and motivating, to set everything out on one place to remind myself of all the hard work, proud accomplishments and wonderful memories I've had with my writing.


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. 

Julie Miller
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)

27 comments:

  1. Hey, Julie. Great post! Thanks for sharing PRW with the world! It's been a great 20 years. Here's to another 20! We might need the local Handi-Bus to pick us all up and get us to meetings, but we'll still be rockin'!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, I'd so make a reservation for that bus! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  3. BTW, here are some of our published authors and a sneak peek of info (we have quite a variety!):

    Kristin Eckhardt/Kristin Gabriel--2-time RITA winner; had a book made into a movie (RECIPE FOR REVENGE--available on DVD); writes cozy mysteries for Guideposts Books; has written romantic comedies for Harlequin

    Sherry James--Western writer/romantic comedy writer (and my CP!); expert on all things cowboy; has written for Ellora's Cave, Wild Rose Press, Black Velvet Seductions and indy; look for her Studs-For-Hire mini holiday novellas, coming soon

    Laura Landon--Historical romance phenom; mostly Victorian romance; writes for Montlake and indy; just had 3 new books come out last week! She's our chapter president, too.

    Robin L. Rotham--the Queen of Erotic Romance; writes a super popular Alien romance series for EC, as well as contemporary erotic romance; she's also the lady in charge of RWA's Passionate Ink chapter

    Niecey Roy--Her first book, a contemporary single title romance, FENDER BENDER BLUES, will be out from Wild Rose Press in early 2013

    Cindy Kirk--writes for Silhouette Special Edition; has also written for Love Inspired and for Avon

    LoRee Peery--write inspirational romance for White Rose Publishing

    Julie Miller--you guys know me ;) I write for Harlequin Intrigue and special projects, as well as an occasional Blaze; I write single-title paranormal romantic suspense, too

    Our mentors include Cheryl St. John, Pam Crooks, Maureen McKade, Victoria Alexander and Pam Hart.

    In Kristin Gabriel's first RITA acceptance speech, she dubbed us the "small but mighty" Prairieland Romance Writers. We may only average 10-12 members, but we're pretty darn successful, and certainly a group to be proud of.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Julie,

    A group that is near and dear to me is the Prayer Shawl group at one of our local churches. I've been knitting with them for 3 years now. Just like your group, we share the good times as well as the bad times, while making shawls for people who need some major comfort. We meet on Sunday afternoons which is a nice quiet time for me in preparation to the start of what is usually a crazy week.

    Kathy B.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds wonderful, Kathy. Noble cause plus, I'm sure, some wonderfully relaxing, inspiring time for you. I'm going to have to try knitting in earnest one day. More and more people I know are getting into it.

      Delete
    2. My dear sweet mother who passed away just about a year ago taught me to knit when I was 12. It is a very relaxing hobby for me.

      Delete
  5. Right now the only group I still belong to is an archery club. Because I can no longer shoot I am not very active but my family still shoots everyweek and some weekends. The group includes my husband, my son and his wife, grandsons, grandaughter and great grandson! I love this organization because I did also shoot but most of all I met my Sister Of The Heart through archery. She also no long shoots so we shop while the rest are at league!

    Julie I just rearranged, organized and DUSTED my bookshelves and it is fun seeing all of your books, Cheryl StJohn's, Mary Connealy's, Karen Kingsbury's lined up by author. I also have loads of your member's books. It made me a little sad to not be able to see your newest books but they are on my Kindle!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, Lisis--archery? I had no idea. I think it's fun, but have only done it a few times. And I'm not interested in hunting, but the bow-hunters I know absolutely love it. Sounds like you and your friend have a great alternative plan. ;)

      And I'm honored to be on your bookshelf. And your Kindle!

      Delete
  6. Congrats to you all at PRW! 20 years that is wonderful!
    Something I celebrated recently... my b-day, had a wonderful day with family. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perfect way to celebrate, imo, Colleen. Happy Birthday!

      Delete
  7. Celebrated lately? I had an extra half a glass of milk today because I realized I have lost 8 pounds (so far) this month.

    Group? Been with our local badminton club 25 years now (but also play in a town 15 minutes away, plus another club 15 minutes away from that town). Am still an avid and competitive player but no longer am on their executive (although I still volunteer for lots of things I WANT to do rather than MUST do nowadays). Most players ask ME questions because they know I'll have the answers or know how to get the answers - more so than most on the current executive. Comes with the territory, I guess.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Awesome, Laney4--congrats!

    Interesting. I've only played badminton recreationally, or seen it a couple of times televised from the Olympics. I never realized what a popular sport it is. But now I'm seeing it more and more. And how great to be able to volunteer for what you WANT to do, and not have to be responsible for as much. Sounds like the group is lucky to have you.

    ReplyDelete
  9. In August I celebrated 15 years at my job. I still can't believe I've been there that long.

    MarcieR

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congratulations, Marcie! They must appreciate all your hard work.

      Delete
  10. Happy anniversary! Haven't celebrated anything lately.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, bn100! That's okay. Sometimes, I just celebrate a pretty day or something like that. Glad you stopped by.

      Delete
  11. Happy Anniversary to the PRW. I recently got some good news regarding a medical issue. I was definitely nervous for a bit, but luckily all is well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's good news, Jane--hope it wasn't something too serious. Glad you got the news you wanted.

      Delete
  12. Hi Julie,

    Popping in to say Happy Anniversary to the PRW and it's my 18th Wedding Anniversary today. We had a nice dinner at Longhorn and now I am waiting for my daughter to go to bed. Then our celebration can continue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy Anniversary, Tammy! Congratulations! Hope you enjoy the rest of your evening. ;)

      Delete
  13. Loves 2 Read Romance - LauraOctober 22, 2012 at 9:34 PM

    Happy Anniversary to the PRW and to Tammy! I also saw a Birthday mentioned so Happy Birthday. The last two weeks have been crazy. The weekend before last was my Brother's wedding and just this past weekend was another wedding for the daughter of my mom's bosses who also attend our church. So those are my celebrations plus next Saturday is my Birthday! Say Hi to Maggie for me!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Happy Anniversary to the PRW. I just celebrated getting a job after being out of work for 3 months even though it won't start till next month. I belong to 3 bowling leagues if they count as groups. Hugs and kisses to Maggie.

    ReplyDelete
  15. That's right--the big wedding. Hope it was a smashing success! And that you're getting some time to recuperate from all the festivities. ;)

    Happy early Birthday!!

    Maggie had a big day today, too--went to the groomer's. Now she's all soft and sweet-smelling (much to her chagrin, I'm sure )

    ReplyDelete
  16. Happy Anniversary!!

    We recently celebrated my Father's 88th birthday. A very big deal. My Mother is not far behind at 86.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Congratulations to your parents, Mary! Those birthdays are definitely worth celebrating!

    ReplyDelete
  18. And the winner is... Kathy!

    Congratulations! Maggie nosed your name out of the pile and selected you as the winner! Just email me with your snail mail address, and I'll get a copy of STRIKING DISTANCE (w/ my book FORBIDDEN CAPTOR included) in the mail to you ASAP.

    If you can't connect here, you can always contact me through my website at www.juliemiller.org. Look on the About Me page.

    Thanks, everyone, for stopping by. And congratulations on all the wonderful celebrations! I'll be back to blog on Nov. 9th.

    ReplyDelete
  19. OOOOOO!!! Thank you so much Julie and Maggie!! Julie, I'll send you my address through your website.

    ReplyDelete