Springfield, Missouri — where Ozarks Romance Authors is based — was just ranked by Amazon.com as the third-most romantic city in the USA!
Jill Slack, 2010-2012 President of Ozarks Romance Authors
Our local newspaper, the Springfield News-Leader, called to interview ORA President Jill Slack to see what we think of this honor. Jill is quoted in a story on the front page of the Saturday, February 11, 2012 edition.
We saved a screenshot of the story to share with you.
SEATTLE–Love is in the air. Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) today announced its list of the Top 20 Most Romantic Cities in America. After compiling sales data of romance novels and relationship books (Kindle Books and print books), romantic comedy movies (digital movies and DVDs), Barry White albums (CDs and MP3s), along with sexual wellness products, since Jan. 1, 2011, on a per capita basis in cities with over 100,000 residents, the Top 20 most romantic cities in the U.S. are:
Click on this image to see Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty thank Ozarks Romance Authors members for their support!
We LOVE Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty. We follow her on Facebook, listen to her podcasts, read her books, check what’s new at her web site often, and her new book, “Grammar Girl’s 101 Misused Words You’ll Never Confuse Again,” will be a door prize our our annual writers’ conference in Springfield, Missouri, on July 23, 2011.
If you click on the image above (or on the link below), it will take you to a quick video of Grammar Girl thanking Ozarks Romance Authors members for our support. How cool is that?
Website: http://www.ozarks-romance-authors.com Year Established: 1987 Program Description: Fiction writers conference that includes lectures, panel & group discussions, pitch sessions, Q&A. Number of Programs/Year: 1 Program Length: 1 day Group Size or S:T Ratio: ~75 Program Focus: Fiction, Humor, Mystery, Publishing, Romance, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Young Adult Faculty 2011: Literary agent Louise Fury; editor Lia Brown (Avalon Books); novelists Leigh Michaels, Shannon Vannatter, Shannon Butcher, Eliza Lloyd. Costs: $65 (early bird $60). U.S. Locations: Springfield, Missouri
Months: July Contact: Jill Slack, President
Ozarks Romance Authors
Springfield, MO 65802
United States Phone: 417-597-4716 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Joplin is our neighbor, approximately an hour west of down Missouri I-44. You’ve probably heard about Joplin a lot in the national news lately, since an EF-5 tornado ripped through the town on May 22, 2011. As of today, the death toll stands at 159.
Joplin is beginning to rebuild, but still needs long-term assistance. If you would like to donate to Convoy of Hope, please click HERE to go to the organization’s web site.
Conference for fiction writers is scheduled
Updated: 2011-07-08 10:12:38
SPRINGFIELD – A conference for all who write fiction sponsored by Ozarks Romance Authors is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Jul. 23, 2011. The annual event will feature agent and editor pitch sessions, workshops, panel discussions, break-out sessions, and networking. It will be held at the Clarion Hotel Conference Center, 3333 S. Glenstone Ave., Springfield. A book signing will kick off the event from 4-6 p.m. on July 22 at Barnes & Noble, 3055 S. Glenstone Ave.
Attendees may pre-schedule one-on-one meetings to pitch their completed manuscripts with Louise Fury, literary agent with the L. Perkins Agency, or Lia Brown, editor with Avalon Books. Also scheduled to conduct workshops will be novelists Leigh Michaels, Shannon Vannatter, Eliza Lloyd, and Shannon Butcher. Their topics will include revision and self-editing, plotting, pacing, backstory, transitions, dialogue, character development and a review of the publishing industry. Winners of the annual Weta Nichols Fiction Contest, named in honor of the group’s late founder, will be announced to conclude the day.
Tickets are $65, payable online via secure server here or via check at the door.A discount on sleeping rooms at The Clarion is available.
Ozarks Romance Authors is multi-genre non-profit group founded in 1987 in the southwest Missouri region. Monthly speakers help writers of all genres hone their skills and explore writing opportunities. Regular meetings are held the first Saturday of each month at The Library Station in Springfield. Visitors are welcome. More information is available by calling (417) 597-4716.
I wanted to show you something interesting. We’re going to have a little quiz later.
Click to watch the short video at the top of this page and you will drive around with me (Jill, 2010-2011 president of Ozarks Romance Authors) in a parking lot on the southwest corner of East Battlefield and South Glenstone in Springfield, Missouri.
You’ll see several buildings in the same, large parking lot.
There is a small building with a Game Stop store in the north end and an AT&T Wireless store in the south side. Behind this Game Stop building is the only Barnes & Noble store in Springfield.
Here is the quiz: What could the Game Stop building possibly have in common with this Barnes & Noble, which is where we’re going to have the booksigning for our speakers the evening before our annual fiction writers’ conference?
The booksigning will be here at Barnes & Noble, within walking distance of The Clarion Hotel, which is where our conference is taking place. The booksigning will be Friday, July 22, which is the night before our conference, from 4:00 – 6:00, here in this large, lovely Barnes & Noble store.
Are you curious about what this Barnes & Noble might have in common with the little Game Stop building?
I’ll give you two hints. The clues about what they have in common are Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Yes, Brangelina.
Does that make you even more curious?
By the way, be sure to plan on attending our:
* Booksigning Friday, July 22, here at Barnes & Noble, 3055 S. Glenstone
* Annual Writers’ Conference just down the road at The Clarion Hotel, 3333 S. Glenstone
in Springfield, Missouri.
Now, if you are curious about what this Barnes & Noble store (where our booksigning will take place) has in common with the Game Stop building, Brad Pitt, and Angelina Jolie, here are the details!
1. GAME STOP BUILDING — BRAD
Colonel Day’s Levi’s Emporium, which is where Brad Pitt worked as a sales clerk between the time that he graduated from Springfield’s Kickapoo High School and went to seek his fame and fortune in Hollywood, used to be the only tenant in the Game Stop/AT&T building.
At that time, Brad looked like this:
Brad Pitt, Kickapoo High School, Springfield, Missouri
I couldn’t find any photos of the old Colonel Day’s store, but the building has not changed much. Currently, the building looks like this:
Former site of Colonel Day's Levi's Emporium, where Brad Pitt worked as a teenager in Springfield, Missouri.
Back then, it had an odd stucco finish with deep grooves to match the exterior of the Venture store on the west side of the parking lot. These were the only two buildings on the parking lot at that time, but the lot now also has Barnes & Noble, Office Depot, and Olive Garden.
Springfield's Venture store in the 1970s. Currently K-Mart. Exterior of building matched Colonel Day's Levi's Emporium, where Brad Pitt worked.
The Venture store has been gone for many years and is now a K-Mart store.
This is the K-Mart Brad and some of the kids reportedly shopped at during their December 2010 trip to Springfield.
2. GAME STOP BUILDING — ANGELINA
Take a closer look at the windows in the Game Stop building. Who do you see there, along with Super Mario?
Posters in Game Stop window, the former site of Colonel Day's.
Yup, that’s an image of Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft, long before she and Brad became Brangelina. The Game Stop building has several large images of Angelina hanging in its windows.
Gee, I wonder if that was the topic of conversation on the Jolie-Pitt private jet. “Darling, did you see the large posters of me in the windows where you used to work? Shall I have the longitude and latitude added to the tattoo on my bicep?”
3. BARNES & NOBLE / STARBUCKS
This is the Barnes & Noble store that became famous in December 2010 when, while in town to visit Brad’s family, Angelina stopped at the Starbucks inside of the bookstore and bought coffee. News of the sighting of Angelina, Zahara, and Shiloh made its way onto the Internet, including:
It was also during this visit that Brad and Angelina posed for photos at St. John’s Hospital (where I was born) to dedicate the new Jane Pitt Pediatric Cancer Center, named in honor of Brad’s mom, Jane Pitt. To see the story in People magazine, click HERE.
Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie dedicate Jane Pitt Pediatric Cancer Center at St. John's Hospital in Springfield, Missouri, December 2010
There you have it! Thanks for playing, and we’ll see you at our fiction writers’ conference in Springfield, Missouri, on July 23! Click HERE for more details about the great speakers and topics we have scheduled for the day.
P.S. Stop by Barnes & Noble in Springfield to have coffee, just like Angelina! Enjoy it, along with some conversation, during our booksigning on July 22. We can’t promise you’ll see Brangelina but, based on last year’s event, we think you’ll have a lot of fun.
So what do you think, ladies? Do you find yourself drawn to Alpha or Beta males in movies or books? Action hero or Romantic Comedy? Rouge or guy next door?
Want to see what all of the fuss is about? Click HERE to visit Rachel Leigh’s blog.
Rachel Leigh is a writer of erotic romance who loves mixing love with good sex and plenty of cheeky laughter. She says the aim of her stories is to turn readers on, as well as making them feel love may be just around the corner. She is basked in the United Kingdom.
Jennifer Jakes writes hot western romance novels. She is the author of “Rafe’s Redemption.” Click HERE to visit her web site.
Ozarks Romance Authors member Jennifer Jakes is the guest on Rachel Leigh's blog, discussing the Alpha Male.
Eliza Lloyd is one of the authors coming to speak at our annual writers’ conference, and she just gave a little sneak peek on her blog HERE.
In fact, this is the second time she has mentioned our writers’ conference, which is scheduled for Saturday, July 23, 2011, in Springfield, Missouri. We mentioned the other occurrence HERE, along with links to Eliza’s books.
If you like a sexy, steamy read, click on her titles below.
Writers’ conferences and conventions of this quality in the midwest are not easy to find. This year’s conference is full of presentations and workshops by award-winning authors, plus our attendees can schedule pitch sessions with a literary agent and publishing house editor from New York City. Opportunities like this do not happen often in the Ozarks! If you would like more details about who will be speaking (and who will be taking pitch sessions) at our conference, click HERE.
Ozarks Romance Authors, a non-profit group for Missouri 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.
Visitors are welcome. Your first three visits are free. For details about upcoming meetings, please click HERE.
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 or call (417) 597-4716.
Literary Agent Louise Fury (left) and Avalon Books Editor Lia Brown are the final-round judges for Ozarks Romance Authors' annual fiction writing contest and will appear in person at our conference July 23, 2011.
During the conference, which will take place at The Clarion Hotel Convention Center (between Target and Friendly Ford on South Glenstone), we will announce the winners and present the cash prizes — $100 for first place, $50 for second place, and $25 for third place. (If you are a finalist and can’t make it, we will mail your prize.)
This year, we had a record-breaking 99 submissions from all over the world, representing many genres.
Many thanks to our first-round juges. Without them, we never would have been able to see our contest double in size.
Our 2011 finalists, in alphabetical order, are:
Linda Carroll Brad
San Antonio, Texas
Young Adult Paranormal Romance
“The Treasure Hunter’s Lady”
“The Goddess of Michigan Avenue”
Pont Vedra Beach, Florida
“Out the Backdoor”
“Love and Zombies”
Normandie Ward Fischer
Gloucester, North Carolina
If you are interested in competing in our 2012 contest, please click HERE to follow us on Twitter, or click HERE to follow us on Facebook.
Would you like to be included in the fun, learning, and networking that we have planned for our July 23, 2011, conference? Click HERE for details.
If you are a fan of (or writer of) romance fiction, you’ve probably heard the latest round of bru-ha-ha about the genre supposedly being bad for women. It came in the form of a news story titled Romance novels can be as addictive as pornography on a news site affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
This claim comes from Dr. Julianna Slattery, of Focus on the Family. She is a psychologist and author of “Finding the Hero in your Husband,” and her views on the romance fiction industry were shared in an article written by Kimberly Sayers-Giles, a Latter-day Saints “life coach,” for KSL.com.
There are similarities between what happens to a man when he views pornography and what happens to a woman when she reads a romance novel.
Men are very visual, and viewing pornography produces a euphoric drug in the body. This drug is the reason pornography becomes addictive. When the natural high wears off, a man will crash and feel depressed (as happens with any drug) and crave another hit.
Women are more stimulated by romance than sex, so when they read romantic stories (and they don’t have to be explicit to work) they can experience the same addictive chemical release as men do.
For many women, these romance novels may be more than a necessity; they may be an addiction — and Slattery said she is seeing more and more women who are clinically addicted to romantic books.
Women may find their standard for intimacy begins to change over time because may not be able to get as satisfied with their partners as they can reading a book.
Tamar Bihari’s arguments include the following points:
Because romance novels at their core are all about relationships and largely aim for a happy ending, they necessarily reflect their authors’ takes on what it takes to build a healthy relationship. How two people learn to communicate, how to treat each other with respect and appreciation, how they can help each other heal from old wounds. They don’t generally begin from a healthy place, but the characters grow and learn through the story.
In so doing, they can illuminate that process for their readers, much like women might do in person, sharing stories while sitting around an office break room, or hanging out at the local playground with their toddlers. Shared experience, giving the reader a few new tools to bring to her own relationship. What’s wrong with that? (Unless you don’t believe that a woman should challenge her spouse to bring more to the relationship emotionally? Hmm…)
Relationships, emotional connections, these are foundational to our lives. To dismiss (or condemn) an entire genre because it focuses on the subject smacks of Victorianism, dismissing the “women’s sphere.” Sexist? I think so, yes.
Incidentally, romance, like any other genre (including literary!), has its share of clunkers and unfortunate genre cliches, but also a surprising richness of high quality fiction. Beautifully written or delightfully fun depictions of a place, a time, a relationship.
Bihari graduated from Harvard University with cum laude honors in History & Literature. A native New Yorker, she lived in Los Angeles for several years before returning east, and edited low-budget features and high-profile TV shows, including “Northern Exposure” and “LA Law,” before turning to writing full time. Bihari recently wrote a review for WVFC of HBO’s Temple Grandin; she’s also given us her story of sharing her brilliant and talented son, Damian, with her Harvard reunion. She also written about her family for Autism Speaks and has published articles and personal essays in various other venues. As a screenwriter, Bihari was a quarter-finalist in the prestigious Nicholl and Austin screenwriting competitions and had three screenplays optioned by producers. She, Damian, and her husband Dan Valverde now live with their two cats in New York City.
What is YOUR take on this topic? Do you feel that romance novels equal pornography for women?