Melody Walcott

The world of criminal law and trials has its own rules of procedure and behavior. Lawyers and law enforcement interact on a regular basis, generating stories of triumph, sorrow, conflict and – romance.

What are those rules, and how can you use them in your writing?

Melody Walcott worked as a criminal defense lawyer with Federal Defender Offices in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands and Fresno, California for over 20 years. Representing individuals charged with everything from speeding in the national park to drugs to murder, she has experienced the world of criminal representation and worked with law enforcement at each step of the criminal process. The presentation will define terms; take a trial from arrest to acquittal/conviction, explaining trial procedure and offer a look at the behavior of criminal lawyers and law enforcement alike.

Meetings are held at Marie Callender's Restaurant

 Cedar & Shaw, 

1781 E. Shaw Ave., Fresno


10:30am on the third Saturday every month except November.


$10.00 non-members

(plus lunch ordered

from the menu.)


president@yosemite romancewriters.com



2017 Meetings    

Heart, Body and Soul: Writing for the Inspirational Romance Market (and Keeping the Heat Sweet)

Susanne Dietze

​The Inspirational Romance market is an established, exciting slice of the Romance Novel Pie that embraces a wide variety of subgenres—suspense, contemporary, historical, YA, and spec fic—but to be a true inspirational romance, each story must contain a spiritual thread woven through the story.

What are the boundaries of writing “Inspy” romance, and how can the romance still sizzle when the heat level is sweet?

Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she's an award-winning historical romance author who's seen her work on the ECPA and Publisher's Weekly Bestseller Lists for Inspirational Fiction. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne lives in California and enjoys fancy-schmancy tea parties, genealogy, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos.


The presentation will define “inspy” romance, banish some misconceptions about it, and examine how sweet romance can still have heat by looking at increasing chemistry in our writing.


Marketing: Teasers, Covers & Book Trailers

Melissa Blue

Pictures are worth a thousand words. Use that metaphor to sell your books. In this market it’s hard to stand out when it feels like everyone published author is screaming buy my books and no one seems to be finding you. You have to catch your reader’s attention. You can do that with a picture or an image. In this case a graphic teaser, your cover or a book trailer.


Learn some common sense tips to capturing a reader’s eye with your teaser graphic or cover.

Melissa Blue's writing career started on a typewriter one month after her son was born. This would have been an idyllic situation for a writer if it had been 1985, not 2004. She penned that first contemporary romance, upgraded to a computer and hasn't looked back since.


She has made her own teaser graphics, book trailers and covers since 2012.


Demystifying Reviews

by Ana Coqui

From reader to reviewer: the ups, downs and ins and outs of book blogging & reviewing writing.

Ana will speak on the review process, how and when to approach a reviewer for a review, how to respond (or not) to reviews, blog tours and how to build a good relationship with bloggers and reviewers.

 A lifelong genre reader, Ana grew up reading fantasy, sci-fi & mystery novels in Puerto Rico. Ana discovered comics in college before finally wandering into the Romance section of the library after bawling through one too many YA dystopian novels.

A recovering English and History double major, Ana is now a school librarian. Ana lives with her husband & two geeky teenage daughters near Rochester, NY. When she is not reading romance or writing reviews, she is knitting or planning her next trip.

She writes about books at her blog: Immersed in Books, http://winterfell.blogs.com/immersedreader/,

RT Book Reviews and on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/anacoqui


Making a Career Out of Category

by Sarah M. Anderson

Join RITA winner Sarah M. Anderson to discuss the pros and cons of a category career. Learn about breaking into publishing by writing category novels, including how agents figure into the equation, how the submission process works, and what to expect from contract negotiations. Sarah will also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using a category career to springboard to publishing single-title novels, as well as the challenges of making the jump, with plenty of time for Q & A. Bring your questions!


Short bio:

Sarah M. Anderson is an award-winning author who writes contemporary snarky and sensual romances featuring cowboys and bull riders as well as billionaires with and without babies. She won RT Reviewer’s Choice 2012 Desire of the Year for A Man of Privilege. The Nanny Plan was a 2016 RITA® winner for Contemporary Romance: Short.


Sarah spends her days having conversations with imaginary cowboys and billionaires. Find out more at www.sarahmanderson.com and sign up for the new-release newsletter at http://bit.ly/sarahalerts


Romantic Suspense:

It’s All in the Timing

by Rachel Grant

What exactly makes Romantic Suspense different, other than the suspense? Try timing. RS story arcs and black moments can happen at different times—often earlier---than in other genres. Join Rachel Grant and learn how get your RS story elements’ timing right. You’ll also hear about the key elements of suspense and how to mix romance and suspense while keeping the tension on the page. BONUS: Rachel will discuss how and when she made the decision to go indie, and how, as an indie author, she works with an agent. Bring your questions!


Short bio: Four-time Golden Heart® finalist Rachel Grant worked for over a decade as a professional archaeologist and mines her experiences for storylines and settings, which are as diverse as excavating a cemetery underneath an historic art museum in San Francisco, survey and excavation of many prehistoric Native American sites in the Pacific Northwest, researching an historic concrete house in Virginia, and mapping a seventeenth century Spanish and Dutch fort on the island of Sint Maarten in the Netherlands Antilles.

She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and children and can be found on the web at www.Rachel-Grant.net


Navigating the Road 

to Self-Publication

YRW Panel Discussion

Are you self-publishing and want more tips on how to increase marketing, or ideas on effectively kick-starting Amazon Algos? Did you get the rights to a book back and are planning to put it up on Amazon? Are you thinking of going hybrid? Or are you pre-published and trying to figure out if you should get an agent or get Vellum?

Self-publishing is a strange and tricky world. Come and pick the brains of our own YRW self-published authors. This will be an informative meeting on a part of our industry that has quickly gained momentum, and will continue to grow. Self-publishing is the wave of the future. Let's learn together about what’s next for publishing.


Cooking Up Similes and Metaphors like a Gourmet Chef

Sheri Humphreys

Nothing can express a concept in a single sentence like a simile or a metaphor. We can all list examples so popular they’ve become clichés: as tough as nails, blind as a bat, as clear as mud, love is a battlefield. But how do you create an original comparison, like Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor did with: “Dolphins splitting the water like zippers…”?

Join Sheri Humphreys to learn how to fashion comparisons that are not only original but specific to your characters or genre. Bring an idea, and go home with a print-worthy simile or metaphor.

Sheri Humphreys used to be an Emergency Room nurse, but today applies bandages, splints, and slings to the characters of her Victorian romance novels. She loves to ignore yardwork and housework and read—usually a book every one to three days. Having conjured stories in her mind her entire life, she wondered if she were normal. Then she began putting stories to paper and became a two-time Golden Heart® finalist.


A Hero to Hold received a prized Kirkus Star and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2016.


Building a Strong Platform

before (or after) you Publish

Alexis Daria

Alexis Daria is a romance writer, artist, and native New Yorker. She has a BFA in Computer Arts, but her most fulfilling job was as a group facilitator for a women’s empowerment community, where she coached other women in following their creative dreams. Now, when she isn’t helping elementary school kids craft essays or learn long division, she writes contemporary and paranormal romance.


On Sunday evenings, Alexis co-hosts #RWchat, a weekly Twitter chat for romance writers. She serves as PRO Liaison for the New York City chapter of RWA, and Municipal Liaison for the NYC region of National Novel Writing Month. She’s had articles in Woman’s Day for Latinas (print) and on DIY MFA and Swoon Says.


Alexis’ debut contemporary romance, TAKE THE LEAD, is a 2017 Golden Heart® finalist and will be released October 3rd from SMP Swerve, followed closely by the sequel, DANCE WITH ME, on December 5, 2017. Alexis loves social media, and you can find her as @alexisdaria on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, @alexidaria1 on Facebook, and follow her blog at alexisdaria.com.


Marketing Your Book

Michele Mills

You’ve finished that book- yay! It’s being published traditionally, small publisher or self published and put out there into the world. Now what? How do you get your book in front of readers besides begging for reviews or notice from a blog? What can you do if your publisher doesn’t do much for you? Learn specific, usable steps to get your book noticed. What role do also-boughts play? How do Amazon algos work? The secret sauce of category-picking. Have you ever used Yasiv.com? Facebook ads, Amazon Marketing Service (AMS) ads and promo stacking. Pricing tricks. The importance of a series. And the secret weapon—mailing lists!


Author Bio


Michele Mills teaches High School English to unruly teenagers and enjoys cooking for her husband and two sons. Her post-apocalyptic “Catastrophe” series debuted with Samhain, and after their unexpected announcement of closure, she chose to take her career by the reins and self-publish. All five of her books have released in the top 100 of Science Fiction Romance. All three of her Alien Bounty Hunter series books were in the top 100 of her category for two months last summer. In September and October her two Catastrophe Series books were in the top 100 of SFR for an additional six weeks.