A little local flavor

Once a month I schlep into Albuquerque to our local RWA (Romance Writers of America) chapter meeting. LERA is a small but amazingly successful group of fresh newbies and seasoned pro’s all of whom are serious about developing the skills to be the best writers possible.

Each month many of the members travel short and very long distances to hear excellent programs designed to enhance skills, knowledge or both. Sometimes there’s even a boatload of goofiness and joking. Hmm…can there ever be too much silliness?

This week we had the good fortune of hearing from one of our original members/teachers, Robin Perini. As usual, we were gifted with a thorough and well-prepared discussion on how to improve our manuscripts with careful use of language. Robin provided a detailed outline with tips and short exercises. (check out more of her work and writers tips: http://www.robinperini.com/ )

But, beyond the normal business meeting, the regular book raffle, homemade cookies, and the great program…there is a different kind of magical connection that occurs at these meetings. Before each meeting is a casual gathering for lunch—at chance to schmooze a bit. When we join up with the others at the normal site (a local church), we always start the program with what we call “successes” where each person has an opportunity to share a special achievement—large or small. Sometimes, it’s as simple as ‘making’ the meeting after missing a few. Often it’s getting back to a neglected manuscript, finishing a chapter, or completing overdue edits. More and more, lately, it’s selling a book, signing a new contract, qualifying for an award, great reviews, increased sales, or getting to hold a copy of a first book.

One of the ironies of this tiny RWA chapter is how many of its members are published authors. From the RWA website:

Romance Writers of America has more than 10,000 members worldwide (primarily the United States and Canada).

1,885 RWA members are published in book-length romance fiction.

Of our, approximately, 40+ members I’d guess that about 20 have published. You do the math. It’s a pretty impressive number. It’s also inspiring to be present with folks who are that serious about their craft.

But there was something else very special at this meeting. One of our most prolific and special members couldn’t attend the meeting because she is battling breast cancer and this week was a treatment week.  So…one of the gals stepped up to solve the problem. She fixed it so we connected via Skype. We all got to say Hi and our missing warrior enjoyed the talk from sick-bay.

Who wouldn’t want to belong to a group willing to go the extra mile for one of their own? I wish I could say the same for every group to which I belonged. The energy, enthusiasm, and support I’ve gotten in the past few years has really made a difference in my writing. Every month I leave inspired to go home a write. LERA Ladies Rock it!

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