Barbara Bettis welcomes Misty Burke for Writers’ Wednesday on her Blog!

Misty Burke

Novelist Misty Burke


Barbara Bettis visits with fellow Ozarks Romance Authors member Misty Burke to her blog for Barb’s popular “Writers’ Wednesday” feature. Click HERE to see the interview.

MISTY BURKE
Misty Burke lives in the romantic Ozark Mountains with her supportive husband and four children. When not enjoying family time, she loves to write steamy romances. Creating exciting fantasy worlds filled with dangerously handsome heroes is one of her passions.

Misty currently writes stories for Summerhouse Publishing, Evernight Publishing, Secret Cravings Publishing, and MuseItHOT Publishing.

She is an active member of Ozarks Romance Authors, Romance Writers of America, FF&P (Fantasy, Futuristic, & Paranormal Chapter of RWA), and ESPAN (Electronic Small Press Authors’ Network).

Her novel, “The Madame of Gravestone,” is available online by clicking HERE.

Visit Misty online by clicking HERE.

BARBARA BETTIS
Barbara Bettis is an award-winning author of historical fiction, and a long-time instructor of English and journalism at the college level.

She lives in the Missouri Ozarks and is active in several writers’ groups in the area, including Ozarks Romance Authors. She is also a member of Romance Writers of America.

Visit Barb’s blog by clicking HERE. Her main web site is HERE.

Be sure to check Barb’s blog for future Writers’ Wednesday features!

Barbara Bettis welcomes fellow ORA member Misty Burke to her popular Writers' Wednesday feature on her blog.

Joplin Chapter of Missouri Writers’ Guild To Publish Anthology To Rebuild School Libraries Destroyed By Tornado

Joplin Missouri EF-5 tornado May 22 2011

Our neighboring community of Joplin, Missouri, suffered an EF-5 tornado May 22, 2011.


Our neighbors (and a few members and friends of Ozarks Romance Authors) in Joplin, Missouri, were hit by an EF-5 tornado on May 22, 2011.

We are thankful to report that none of the members of our writers’ group lost homes, businesses, or their lives. However, a dear friend of ORA, who recently spoke to us, lost her home. We send prayers for those who have lost so much.

If, by chance, you have not heard about the devastation, here is a story from the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/24/us/24tornado.html

As writers, here is a small way that we can help.

The following information was shared on the web site of the Springfield Regional Arts Council. Since we are a member of the SRAC and because we support other writers’ groups as much as we are able, we wanted to help spread the word regarding this call for submissions and how the funds raised will benefit Joplin.

On Sunday, May 22, 2011, a monster tornado hit the town of Joplin, Missouri, leaving a 6-mile path of destruction that has made this disaster one of the worst, if not the worst, in the state’s history.

Among the casualties were four of the schools in the Joplin School District, two of which lost roofs and a high school that is a total loss. We have partnered with the Joplin School District and are being kept apprised of their specific needs as they assess damage and begin the healing and rebuilding process.

To assist in the Joplin relief effort, the writers of the Joplin Writers’ Guild, a chapter of the Missouri Writers’ Guild, plans to publish an anthology, Storm Country, with all proceeds from sales going toward rebuilding the school libraries damaged or destroyed by the tornado. In an attempt to re-establish a much-needed sense of normalcy within the devastated community, the Joplin School District plans to open school on the regularly-scheduled date of August 17, 2011.

Please help us to help them by submitting your writing to the anthology and purchasing Storm Country when it is published.

Thank you for your support of this effort.

Claudia Mundell, President, Joplin Writers’ Guild
Deborah Marshall, President, Missouri Writers’ Guild

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

The Joplin (Missouri) Writers’ Guild, in coordination with the Missouri Writers’ Guild, is seeking fiction, non-fiction and poetry to be included in an anthology, Storm Country, to be published near the end of the summer. All proceeds from book sales will go to the purchase of books for school libraries damaged or destroyed by the May 22, 2011, tornado. Midwest writers are encouraged to submit their original work June 1, 2011 through July 15, 2011.
Submit work with the theme of storms and severe weather in the Midwest. All forms of stormy weather should be considered: ice, floods, tornadoes, wind, and snow. Include name, address, phone number, and email address on first page of submission.

Poetry of any form and up to 30 lines may be submitted. A maximum of THREE poems from any author will be considered.

Short fiction in any genre, 1,500 words or less, will be considered.

Nonfiction (features, essays, memoirs, etc.) of 1,500 words or fewer may also be submitted. A maximum of three pieces of prose will be accepted per author.

All submissions must be typed in 12-point Times New Roman. Prose should use three-space paragraph indention and double-spacing. Poetry should be single-spaced. Pages should be numbered. Spelling and grammar must be as the author intends. Author retains all rights. Please include third-person author bios up to 75 words.

Submit your Word documents by July 15, 2011, to joplinwritersguild@yahoo.com or mail to:

Claudia Mundell
1815 River Street
Carthage, MO 64836

Pitch Information for ORA Conference Attendees

Attention ORA conference attendees:

Scheduling for pitch appointments with Avalon editor Lia Brown and L.Perkins Literary agent Louise Fury will officially open at 9am, SATURDAY JUNE, 11th.

Lia Brown is looking for: Single Title, Category, Contemporary, and Historical.

Louise Fury is looking for: Single Title, Category, Historical, Paranormal, Young Adult, Middle Grade, and Picture Books.

We ask that authors signing up for pitch appointments have your manuscript completed at the time of the pitch (although Louise says she will happily offer query or submission advice to those who do not have completed manuscripts, so long as they tell her up front the manuscript is unfinished.) Appointments will run in ten-minute increments between the hours of 9am and 12:20 pm on the day of the conference, so spots are limited.

In your email, tell me who you’d like to meet with (first and second choice, if applicable). If you have a preference for time, you are welcome to mention it at the time of sign-up, but we cannot guarantees those requests. Scheduling will be done on a first come first served basis.

Contact conference chairperson Cecily Cornelius-White at professorcecily@yahoo.com for pitch appointment sign up beginning JUNE 11th at 9am (CDT), when scheduling opens.

Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you at the conference!

Join us June 4, 2011, for “Editor/Agent Pitch Session: How to Make it a Success!”

Join us Saturday, June 4, 2011, as our guest speaker presents “The Editor/ Agent Pitch Session: How to Make it a Success!”

This information is especially hot right now because those attending our July 23, 2011, annual conference have the chance to pitch to Lia Brown (editor with Avalon Books) and Louise Fury (literary agent with the L. Perkins Agency).

You have a scheduled appointment with the editor or agent of your dreams. Now you’re petrified you’ll never make it through the interview. What do you need to do to prepare?

Guest speaker Kelly Henkins (who writes as Angela Drake) will walk us through ten tried and true tips to overcome anxiety, breeze through that all-important five minutes, and walk away a success.

Kelly Henkins began actively pursuing a writing career twenty years ago. Since then, she has won many awards for short pieces, partials and poetry and published in art magazines.

Kelly is member of Ozarks Creative Writers, Mid-South Writers’ Group, Sleuths Ink, and Ozarks Romance Authors.

For eight years, she hosted a weekly workshop on AOL. She continues to moderate a Yahoo Group extension of that workshop, The Writers’ Zone, and is owner of the World Romance Writers and World Romance Readers loops.

When not writing, she speaks at conferences and enjoys time with her granddaughter, gardening, journaling, and a myriad of artistic pursuits. Her husband and best friend of twenty-seven years, Bob, supports her many avenues of creativity.

Visit her online at: http://angeladrake.blogspot.com

Ozarks Romance Authors, a non-profit group for writers of all genres, was founded in 1987. The regional writers’ group holds its meetings the first Saturday of each month at The Library Station, 2535 N. Kansas Expressway, in Springfield, Missouri.

Join us for critique group at 10:00 a.m., lunch at noon, and our meeting/guest speaker at 1:00 p.m.

Visitors are welcome. Your first three visits are free.

Our annual conference will be held July 23, 2011, at The Clarion Hotel and Conference Center. To learn more about the amazing lineup of speakers and workshops, click here to visit our conference page.

If you have questions about the group, please email us at OzarksRomanceAuthors@gmail.com.

NOTE: When the first Saturday of the month falls on a holiday weekend, we often reschedule. If you’re thinking of visiting and it’s a holiday weekend, please email us to find out if we have rescheduled.

Author/Photographer Brenda Brinkley is today’s guest at Barbara Bettis’ blog for Writers’ Wednesday

Author/Photographer Brenda Brinkley

Author/Photographer Brenda Brinkley


Have you discovered “Writers’ Wednesday” yet? It is a feature on the blog of Ozarks Romance Authors member Barbara Bettis. Each Wednesday, she hosts a special guest to discuss their writing. It’s always a quick, fun read. Click HERE to see today’s interview with fellow ORA member Brenda Brinkley.

BRENDA BRINKLEY
Writer/Photographer Brenda Brinkley has been a published writer since 1983. After taking sporadic breaks to raise a family, she now writes passionately. She has had more than 400 articles published, and her short stories have won awards and been published in a number of anthologies. Her photography has graced magazine and anthology covers, including the January 2011 launch of Ozarks Romance Authors’ magazine (click HERE) and Ozarks Mountaineer Magazine.

Her latest project is a book for children titled “Cleveland the Green Camel.”

Brenda’s work has appeared in Ozarks Farm & Neighbor Magazine, Ozarks Mountaineer Magazine, and several editions of anthologies such as Mysteries of the Ozarks and Echoes of the Ozarks.

Visit Brenda’s blog by clicking HERE.

BARBARA BETTIS
Barbara Bettis is an award-winning author of historical fiction, and a long-time instructor of English and journalism at the college level.

She lives in the Missouri Ozarks and is active in several writers’ groups in the area, including Ozarks Romance Authors.

Visit Barb’s blog by clicking HERE. Her main web site is HERE.

Be sure to check Barb’s blog for future Writers’ Wednesday features!

Barbara Bettis welcomes fellow Ozarks Romance Authors member Brenda Brinkley for her May 25, 2011, Writers' Wednesday feature on her blog

Barbara Bettis welcomes fellow Ozarks Romance Authors member Brenda Brinkley for her May 25, 2011, Writers' Wednesday feature on her blog

Eliza Lloyd’s new book, “Another Lover,” has been released!


Eliza is one of the talented authors scheduled to speak at Ozarks Romance Authors’ annual conference on Saturday, July 23, 2011, in Springfield, Missouri.

Read a free excerpt of “Another Lover” here:

Buy your copy here:
Visit Eliza’s blog here:

If you live within driving distance of the Ozarks and would like to attend our conference, we look forward to meeting you! More information, including a list of speakers and topics, may be found by clicking here:

Ozarks Romance Authors is a registered non-profit corporation in the state of Missouri, and was founded in 1987. Meetings are held the first Saturday of each month, along with a constructive, nurturing critique group. More than half of our members have been published, and we look forward to hellping you find your way down the path to publication. Visitors are welcome at our monthly meetings. The first three visits are free. For more information, please email us at OzarksRomanceAuthors@gmail.com or visit

Live Tweet from May 7, 2011, Meeting – Mia Marlow on Story Structure

When Ozarks Romance Authors meets on the first Saturday of each month, sometimes we have the opportunity for one of our members to “live tweet” during our guest speaker’s presentation.

If you follow us on Twitter (@OzarksRomance) you will see our live tweet take place at approximately 1:05 p.m. Central Standard Time.

At our May 7, 2011, meeting, one of our members traveled back home to the Ozarks from the Boston, Massachusetts, area to visit with family and speak to our writers’ group. That member was Diana Groe, who wrote as Emily Bryan in the past and currently writes for Kensington as Mia Marlowe.

To learn more about this fabulous author, visit her web site, www.MiaMarlowe.com or her author’s page on the official Kensington web site, http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/catalog.cfm?dest=dir&linkid=2836&linkon=subsection

The live tweet is on our Twitter page, but it’s probably buried by now. We’ve had several requests to share the information, so we are posting the entire live tweet below.

It really helps if you stand on the shoulders of others. Don’t have to go it alone.

Enter every contest that you can afford. If you have something worth taking a look at, enter.

Contests = excellent feedback from target readers and work in front of eyes of agents.

If you’re in RWA and you win, place or show in RWA contests, your name is in RWA mag for industry insiders to see.

Publishing is such a subjective business. It’s important to give them a reason to say no to you.

Win, place or show in contest = someone likes you, so industry insiders more likely to take a chance.

Diana wrote 2 complete manuscripts before 3rd one sold.

If you’re working on 1st manuscript, this is your “training wheels” manuscript.

However, there ARE some people who DO sell their first book.

First novel pub in 2006 under her own name, Diana Groe.

Distracting the Duchess was so different than 1st book that she needed pen name, Emily Bryan.

Kensington liked her but wanted a NEW pen name, Mia Marlowe.

Must be flexible in this businsess, even if changing pen names.

We continue to learn, even once we are published. Continue to learn and grow.

Some writers are plotters. Some are pantsters. Some use Snowflake Method. Many methods. Use what works for YOU.

Christopher Vogler’s Hero’s Journey

Archetypes are characters that tend to reappear (not stereotypes).

Hero or Heroine = most important character of all. Comes from Greek “to protect and to serve.”

Why is hero/heroine memorable? They live large. They are the person we’d like to be.

We want to at least try their life on for a while.

Primary psychological function of hero/heroine is letting reader slip into their shoes.

Character Arc = They must be different for having made the journey through the story.

Hero is the one who acts, not who is acted upon. They need to be the prime mover.

If hero or heroine practices self-sacrifices, it REALLY pulls in the reader. Motivated by someone else’s danger.

Hero/heroine is how reader learns how this person deals with death (metaphorical or real). Death of dream, business, marriage, etc.

We read to know that we are not alone. We want to find out how others have dealt with loss because everyone goes through this.

Diana was so in love with her first heroine, but readers hated her. She was too perfect. Heroine needs to be flawed in some way.

“Monk” is a good example of flawed hero, and we are pulling for him all the way.

Another mask for hero/heroine or another character = mentor

Mentor represents call to our higher selves.

Mentors = editor in Romancing the Stone, Obiwan, Gandolph, Fairy Godmother

Fallen Mentor = used to be a hero, but has tumbled from pedestal

A League of Their Own = Tom Hanks is fallen mentor (former star player)

Sometimes mentor is inner mentor for hero/heroine = code of ethics, faith, Star Trek’s Prime Directive

Mentor may morph into Threshold Guardian

Anything that keeps their forward progress down. Could be positive, negative, or neutral.

In some cases, value of having Threshold Guardian is showing potential danger in story.

Hero/heroine must be smart. Won’t plunge into danger without any thought. Threshold Guardian can help with this.

Threshold Guardian might test to see if hero/heroine is worthy.

Threshold Guardian = neurosis

We want hero/heroine to earn everything they get. Threshold Guardian might help H/H be ready to face vill

Herald = another character. Signifies change is coming. Starts things in motion.

Herald could be force of nature, like tornado in Wizard of Oz.

Herald in Romancing the Stone = phone call to Joan Wilder that set story into motion.

Shape Shifter character = Might project what characters WANTS to see. Someone who changes abruptly.

Shape Shifter = Loyalty always in doubt. H/h wonders if this person will betray him/her.

Very last knot you want to untie in your story is relationship. Work it through to very end.

Hero might possibly be Shape Shifter. Example = Thomas Crown in The Thomas Crown Affair.

It has been said that your story is only as strong as your villain.

Shadow Character = psychosis

Sometimes it’s the issues that keep the H/h apart. This is where shadow character is internalized.

Provide Hero with worthy opponent, whether internal or external.

Vigo Mortensen in GI Jane = Threshold Guardian / Shadow Character.

Make sure your villain isn’t a cardboard character.

Every villain is the hero in his own story. Villain also needs something good, whether they love their children, nice to mother, something.

If but for a few bad choices, this person (villain) could have been so different.

You might want to redeem your villain.

Trickster = Character spreads mayhem. Good for sidekicks and also heroes. Bugs Bunny and other rabbit heroes across the globe.

Trickster can be catalyst for change.

Any character, at any time, can wear one of these masks.

The most satisfying stories have elements of Hero’s Journey. Once you know them, will recognize in books and movies.

Orinary world

The title you choose sets the stage for your book. Give people an idea of what kind of a story they’ll get.

Title is your first hook for the reader. Make it a good one.

Once you sell, your editor may or may not change title. But a dynamite title can help you sell.

Red Pencil Thursdays on http://www.miamarlowe.com blog. Looking for volunteers again. Email her through site.

Need 500 words of ms for Red Pencil Thursdays. She’ll critique, send back to you, and then post on blog.

1st sentence of novel must surprise and delight. Grab them and don’t let go.

Do not start first page of your novel with the weather (unless character is a meteorologist).

1st sentence is a promise to your reader that the story will move forward.

Avoid a backstory-dump! Don’t spill your guts about the character. Tease the reader with info.

Foreshadowing is vital in the beginning of your story. Seeds of everything that’s going to happen.

Hint at both the inner and outer conflicts in the beginning. Story must have both inner and outer conflicts.

Introduce H/h in unique way that draws in the reader. Something that will stick with reader.

Excellent example of introducing character is Carolina Moon by Nora Roberts — “She woke in the body of a dead friend.”

In the beginning, show what your character lacks. Something must change.

Sleepless in Seattle = Tom Hanks is burying wife and says it doesn’t happen twice. All we need to know. Unhappy and we’re pulling for him already.

For a good story, must also have call to adventure. Invite H/h to face the unknown.

Inciting incident = loss of loved one, temptation, something that stires restlessness, disorientation, discomfort.

Donald Maase says something must happen within first 5 pages to turn H/h’s life on end.

Another vital part of story = refusal of the call

Why refuse the call to adventure? Why say no? Creates tension. Shows intelligence. Adventures are messy things.

The stronger the refusal, the more satisfying it will be when H/h jumps into it, finds out they are made for each other, etc.

Put a secret door into your story. Whatever you do, don’t do ____. You know, at some point, they will face this.

Good idea to give H/h a wingman or wingwoman so they have someone to talk to.

Even with mentor, at some point, H/h must stand on his/her own. This is why mentors die. Obiwan, Dumbledore…

Threshold for adventure = usually toward end of chapter 3.

At this point, there is no returning to life as they know it.

Next portion of story = Tests, Allies, and Enemies. H/h will probably fail at first. Otherwise, the story would be over.

Approach to the Inmost Cave = Greatest challenge on journey. H/h must face his/her most daunting fear.

If your Approach to Inmost Cave is strong, your story won’t have the dreaded “sagging middle.”

Reward = After faced fear and moved foward, H/h get the reward. Could be true love, realization of goal, finding treasure.

Transformation & Revelation = Ritual death as hero overcomes greatest foe. Black moment.

Best if characters get into trouble because of something they’ve done. Because of their own choices.

Each action bridges on what comes before. Everything builds. Stakes are raised with each scene.

Black moment: Donald Maase says no matter how bad it is, make it WORSE!

The Return = Ready to go back to everyday life stronger, filled with purpose and deeper understanding.

Not all stories use all stages of the journey, but the most satisfying tales have several of these hot buttons.

Thanks for joining us for live-tweet of novelist http://www.miamarlowe.com speaking to Ozarks Romance Authors! #sgf

12 for critique group and 18 for meeting, which is great for a holiday weekend (Mother’s Day)!

Novelist Mia Marlowe visits Barbara Bettis’ blog today

Historical Romance Author Mia Marlowe

Historical Romance Author Mia Marlowe


Barbara Bettis’ guest today on her blog’s “Writers’ Wednesday” column is fellow Ozarks Romance Authors member Mia Marlowe. Click HERE to see the interview.

By the way, Mia will be the guest speaker this Saturday, May 7, 2011, at the monthly meeting of Ozarks Romance Authors. Be sure to stop by! She will begin at 1:00 p.m. (Central Time) in the Frisco Room at The Library Station on North Kansas Expressway. We haven’t seen her for many months, since she moved away from our area, and we are so looking forward to this visit and her words of wisdom.

MIA MARLOWE
Mia learned much of what she knows about storytelling from singing. A classically trained soprano, she won the District Metropolitan Opera Auditions and has shared a stage with Placido Domingo. As she prepared for operatic roles, she devised back stories for her characters. Since she’s worn a real corset, and had to sing high C’s in one, she empathizes with the trials of her fictional heroines. But in Mia’s stories, they don’t die in a Parisian garret. They get to live and keep the hero!

Now an award-winning author, she writes historical romance for multiple publishing houses. Her debut title received advance ovations from romance luminaries. #1 New York Times bestseller Victoria Alexander says Mia’s Touch of a Thief has “adventure and heat and everything I want in a great story!” UK’s BooksMonthly has crowned Mia Marlowe “the queen of saucy historical romance.”

You can visit her at any of the following places: Facebook, Twitter, or her website.

BARBARA BETTIS
Barbara Bettis is an award-winning author of historical fiction, and a long-time instructor of English and journalism at the college level.

She lives in the Missouri Ozarks and is active in several writers’ groups in the area, including Ozarks Romance Authors.

Visit Barb’s blog by clicking HERE. Her main web site is HERE.

Be sure to check Barb’s blog for future Writers’ Wednesday features!

Novelist Mia Marlowe is Barbara Bettis' guest on her blog's feature, Writers' Wednesday.

Novelist Mia Marlowe is Barbara Bettis' guest on her blog's feature, Writers' Wednesday.

Deadline extended for 2011 Weta Nichols Writing Contest

There is still time for you to polish the first 10 pages of your work-in-progress to submit to our annual fiction writing contest, named in honor of the founder of our group, novelist Weta Nichols.

Due to a PayPal glitch, we have extended the original deadline (May 16, 2011) to May 23, 2011.

The contest is open to published and unpublished writers, but the piece that you enter must be unpublished.

Any genre is welcome, not just romance fiction.

Winners will be announced at our annual conference in Springfield, Missouri, on July 23, 2011. You do not need to be present to win, and you are not required to be a member of our group to enter. Details about our conference are available here: http://ozarks-romance-authors.com/2011-annual-conference/

Final round winners will be judged by Louise Fury, literary agent with the L. Perkins Agency, and Lia Brown, editor with Avalon Books!

Prizes are: 1st place $100; 2nd place $50; 3rd place $25.

For full contest rules, guidelines, and links to submit your entry, visit: http://ozarks-romance-authors.com/annual-contest/

Ozarks Romance Authors is a registered non-profit corporation in the state of Missouri since 1987.