A REMEMBRANCE TRIBUTE OF CHARLENE BOWEN

December 21, 2006 by in category Archives tagged as with 2 and 0
Home > Writing > Archives > A REMEMBRANCE TRIBUTE OF CHARLENE BOWEN

Autumn brings a cornucopia of crisper air, falling
leaves, scattered pinecones, and the waning year as a
poignant reminder for reminiscing on the passing of
family and friends. How much more nostalgic the
harvest season becomes when our loved ones has an
autumn birthday or fall passage.

It’s still difficult for me to imagine that it’s been
over three years since the passing of Charlene Bowen,
a published RWA member and a cherished friend who had
uterine cancer.

Born on September 14, 1936, Charlene seriously pursued
a writing career beginning in midlife when the
youngest of her four children was almost grown. By
1984-85, Charlene stumbled onto a writing class taught
by the late Dorothy Grassman of Tacoma, WA. Although
she had previously written small pieces, taking this
class profoundly changed her life, for she found her
calling as a writer. There, Charlene wrote her first
book, “A Summer’s Love Dream,” which later was
published as her fourth book.

Charlene was reticent an unassuming, but known
throughout the Pacific Northwest. She was a member of
the now defunct Tacoma Chapter. She frequently
attended both the Seattle Chapter’s “Emerald City
Writer’s Conference” and the Peninsula Chapter
Conference, “Sleepless in Silverdale.” She also
expressed an interest in RCRW’s Reader’s Luncheon and
doubtless, in time, would have attended our annual
event.

I first met Charlene at the 1992 Sleepless in
Silverdale Conference where we were roommates. A
lifelong friendship and mentoring began.

It was the second RWA out-of-state/regional conference
that I attended. We were initially introduced on the
telephone when the Silverdale conference committee
matched us as roommates. I carpooled with two other
RCRW members–who I shall remain ever
grateful–because without them, I would not have had
the means to attend the conference and meet Charlene
who was to become a very dear friend. We connected
immediately despite my superfluous and formal knock on
our hotel room door.

It was also a time of grieving for me. My father and
pets had just passed and they weighed heavily on my
mind. At one point, I broke down and sobbed in our
hotel room. Charlene was very comforting and to
distract me, she handed me several of her published
books–to keep! I was astonished by her generosity and
naturally felt bad about burdening her with my grief.
She thought differently and admirably knew how to cope
with a situation that had been thrust upon her without
warning. In fact, the incident probably brought us
closer in spirit.

Our love of writing drew us together and nourished
that connection. We understood and admired each other
in spite of a generation gap. Throughout the years, we
kept in touch the old fashioned way–be letters. We
became pen pals, confidants, and much more–kindred
spirits who mentored each other’s writings, cheered
our successes, and commiserated over those proverbial
rainy days.

We were always in each others thoughts. Non-judgmental
and unconditional in her friendship, supportive of my
writing, Charlene was a trusted friend, nurturing and
caring.

I always looked forward to to Charlene’s letters. As
soon as one arrived, embellished with pink rose
labels, I immediately put everything aside to devour
it. Her unique sense of humor had me smiling over the
amusing, endearing and even whimsical ways she
expressed herself. I particularly enjoyed her
handwritten notes in the margins of her letters,
decorated with teatime stickers.

When Charlene passed on March 18, 2003, she was in the
midst of upgrading her computer. In time, doubtless,
some of our age old letter writing would have evolved
into email, list serves, and perhaps eventually text
messaging. Despite the initial learning curve, I
believe that Charlene would have enjoyed the
convenience of the internet. Had she lived longer, we
would have been sending emails back and
forth–naturally thoughtfully written ones when our
cyber muses took letter flight.

A charter member of the Tacoma Chapter, Charlene
served as secretary and member-at-large. She was
considered one of its hardest workers, volunteering to
keep it and the special events programs running
smoothly. She also spoke at Washington state RWA
meetings and elsewhere on writing novels and
confession stories and contributed articles to her
chapter’s newsletter, “Love Notes.”

Altogether, Charlene published ten hardcover
contemporary romance novels with Avalon Books. They
garnered high reviews both in romance review friendly
websites and magazines and in literary journals and
newspapers.

Charlene was more of a seat-of-the-pants type of
writer, preferring to discover her characters and
plots as her story unfolded rather than using detailed
outlines.

Charlene set most of her books in the Pacific
Northwest, namely Washington (Tacoma, Olympia,
Seattle, and Puget Sound) as well as her travels to
Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Except for the
large cities, most of her locations are fictitious
ones which she thoroughly enjoyed creating.

Charlene specialized in writing the sweet traditional
contemporary romance, including heartwarming romantic
comedy and westerns. Her characters are so realistic
and alive that the reader cares about and falls in
love with them. She cast her heroines as young women,
estranged from family or surviving on their own, often
as a guardian or surrogate parent. Her heroes are
usually a mix of the alpha, beta, and theta archetypes
–nice guys who are both vulnerable and compelling yet
successful in their livelihood.

Some of the themes that Charlene utilized in her books
are: cowboys, ranches, small towns, marriage of
convenience, boss/secretary, lawyers, the rich girl,
guardians, orphan children, fish out of water, next
door neighbors, estranged families, sheriffs,
teachers, reunions, and the aircraft industry
including female pilots and male flight engineers–the
latter which she drew upon from her husband’s career
as an Air Force Sergeant.

The first Charlene Bowen book I read was “The
Wandering Heart,” which was her first published book
but her third written. Its title intrigued me and the
others likewise called to my soul: “To Catch A
Rainbow,” “Reach For A Star,” “A Summer’s Love Dream,”
Where the Heart Waits,” “Lessons From the Heart,”
“Secrets of the Heart,” “The Knight Next Door,”
“Montana Sunrise,” and “Rancher’s Lady.”

Charlene’s novels are well crafted, engaging reads
which I keep in a special place of honor in a corner
bookcase. I appreciate her books because they exude a
gentle, peaceful calm that leaves the reader longing
for more. Her serene writing style combined with
sympathetic characters immediately hooks the reader.

Charlene was an extremely dedicated writer. She was
always working on a novel or submitting her writings
for publication or entry into a contest. She was a
writer in every sense of the word.

Charlene won Avalon’s Holiday Fiction Contest for her
manuscript that originally was titled “Shadows and
Secrets” which was published as “Secrets of the Heart”
in 1995. She also won a literary contest award from
Pacific Northwest Writers Association.

Additionally, Charlene finalled for the Robin Award in
the Laubach Literary Contest. With my encouragement,
she entered our own RCRW’s Golden Rose contest.
Although she didn’t place, she continued to submit her
work elsewhere in other contests.

Charlene published over 100+ confessional and
inspirational short stories, articles, essays, and
poems. Of late, she concentrated on writing romantic
suspense, contemporary westerns, and inspirational
contemporary and prairie romance (1800-1899).

Upon her passing, Charlene had completed several
unpublished manuscripts and was exploring publication
into the inspirational, suspense, and e-book markets
(including reissuing her back list). She was also
interested in writing for the young adult and
paranormal markets. Doubtless, she had more stories to
write which sadly will never be read.

I so looked forward to Charlene breaking out into
romance series or mass market paperback release, or
even trade paperback. She very much wanted to achieve
further publication and her writings would have been
so deserving of it.

Charlene’s influence on the romance industry was
subtle but pervasive. She was supportive of and
dedicated to the romance genre, encouraging of others
endeavors. She judged the RITA for the inspirational
category and regularly judged other RWA contests,
namely the Golden Heart and the Orange Rose. With
delight, she followed the career progress of those
entrants she judged.

I, myself, experienced first hand her perceptive
insights into the writing process and I value her
advice. With her knowledge and experience, Charlene
skillfully discerned when something was wrong with a
story and provided useful suggestions on how to fix
it.

Charlene was a beautiful spirit. A devoted wife,
mother, and grandmother, she was also a true friend
and confidante, and a genuinely lovely person. It was
both a blessing and an honor to have known her. Those
of us who knew her, fondly remember her and miss her
much.

Sometimes when I attend a writing event such as a
conference, workshop, or a luncheon–especially if it
has a rose theme, I wear the lovely rose pin that
Charlene gave me. During those times, I often say, “I
think I’ll take Charlene with me today.” Indeed, it’s
as if she accompanies me to the event. It’s a
bittersweet comfort as I imagine her by my side.
Naturally, I think what life would be like were
Charlene still alive happily writing and publishing.

Charlene is certainly with the angels and heavenly
muses, ethereally surrounded by fragrant roses–her
favorite flower. As she tends to her literary garden
above, complete with a rose quill for writing or
perhaps something more virtual and digital, may she
know that our friendship still lives on within my
heart. Adieu, dear friend, until we meet in spirit.

— Vonnie Alto
Portland, OR (11/16/06)

Author Details
Author Details
A Slice of Orange started in 2004 as a group of authors from Orange County, California. We have expanded to include authors from around the globe–from the UK, all across the US to New Zealand. Our authors include the multi-published and writers at the beginning of their publishing career. In addition to authors, we feature blog posts from editors, PR professionals, and cover designers. The bright segments of the writing and reading community that make up one perfect entity—A Slice of Orange.

#Me Too

Buy now!
#Me Too

A LADY’S POINT OF VIEW

Buy now!
A LADY’S POINT OF VIEW

A SOLDIER’S ITALIAN CHRISTMAS

Buy now!
A SOLDIER’S ITALIAN CHRISTMAS
BECKONED, PART 1: FROM LONDON WITH LOVE

CITY OF BLAZE

Buy now!
CITY OF BLAZE

COWBOY KARMA

Buy now!
COWBOY KARMA

DANGER MUSIC

Buy now!
DANGER MUSIC
FATHOMS: A NOVEL OF THE PARANORMAL

FREYA Viking Glory Book Two

Buy now!
FREYA Viking Glory Book Two
FUR, FEATHERS AND SCALES: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Animal Tales

GIRLFRIENDS & SECRETS

Buy now!
GIRLFRIENDS & SECRETS

GIRL IN THE MIST

Buy now!
GIRL IN THE MIST

HAGAR’S LAST DANCE

Buy now!
HAGAR’S LAST DANCE

HOSTILE WITNESS

Buy now!
HOSTILE WITNESS

ILONA’S WOLF

Buy now!
ILONA’S WOLF
INTIMATE RELATIONS

LEIF Viking Glory Book One

Buy now!
LEIF Viking Glory Book One

LET IT SNOW

Buy now!
LET IT SNOW

Savaged Surrender

Buy now!
Savaged Surrender

THE LIFE OF RILEY

Buy now!
THE LIFE OF RILEY

THE WOULD BE MOMMY

Buy now!
THE WOULD BE MOMMY

SUPERHERO IN DISGUISE

Buy now!
SUPERHERO IN DISGUISE
THIEVES: Book One of the Obscurité de Floride Trilogy
THE DAY BAILEY DEVLIN’S HOROSCOPE CAME TRUE
SNOW IN LOVE: Sweet Romance Holiday Collection

THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR

Buy now!
THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR
WHO’S THE FAIREST? A Sisters Grimm Anthology

THE FIX UP

Buy now!
THE FIX UP

THE GHOST OF DEPFORD HALL

Buy now!
THE GHOST OF DEPFORD HALL

STOLEN KISSES FROM THE VISCOUNT

Buy now!
STOLEN KISSES FROM THE VISCOUNT
#PLEASE SAY YES (#HermosafortheHolidays Book 1)

CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN

Buy now!
CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN
CHRISTMAS ON NANTUCKET AND OTHER STORIES

CLEAR INTENT

Buy now!
CLEAR INTENT
COLTON 911: CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE

DARK WINE AT DUSK

Buy now!
DARK WINE AT DUSK

DEAD BLOW

Buy now!
DEAD BLOW

FOR A GOOD PAWS

Buy now!
FOR A GOOD PAWS

FREYA Viking Glory Book Two

Buy now!
FREYA Viking Glory Book Two

GAME TOWN

Buy now!
GAME TOWN

HAUNTING MISS FENWICK

Buy now!
HAUNTING MISS FENWICK

HER COWBOY KING

Buy now!
HER COWBOY KING

HIDDEN BETRAYAL

Buy now!
HIDDEN BETRAYAL

HIS HIGHLAND SURPRISE

Buy now!
HIS HIGHLAND SURPRISE

LEIF Viking Glory Book One

Buy now!
LEIF Viking Glory Book One
LOST WITNESS: A Josie Bates Thriller
Off the Rails: A Collection of Weird, Wicked, & Wacky Stories

ONCE UPON AN ENCHANTED FOREST

Buy now!
ONCE UPON AN ENCHANTED FOREST

ONE TASTE TOO MANY

Buy now!
ONE TASTE TOO MANY

REWRITING THE PAST

Buy now!
REWRITING THE PAST

THEIR HIGHLAND BEGINNING

Buy now!
THEIR HIGHLAND BEGINNING

THE MASK OF MIDNIGHT

Buy now!
THE MASK OF MIDNIGHT

THE OBLIVIOUS BILLIONAIRE

Buy now!
THE OBLIVIOUS BILLIONAIRE
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE RIDGE, NEW YORK, 1930

THE WORTH OF A VISCOUNT

Buy now!
THE WORTH OF A VISCOUNT
SERIOUSLY, MOM, YOU DIDN’T KNOW?

SHADOWS AT DAWN

Buy now!
SHADOWS AT DAWN

TRACKING SHADOWS

Buy now!
TRACKING SHADOWS
SHORT and SWEET’S FAMILY ALBUM

TWO BITES TOO MANY

Buy now!
TWO BITES TOO MANY

THE CHRISTMAS PRESENT

Buy now!
THE CHRISTMAS PRESENT

THE CONSPIRACY

Buy now!
THE CONSPIRACY

THE DECEPTION

Buy now!
THE DECEPTION

THE DEVIL’S CARESS

Buy now!
THE DEVIL’S CARESS
THE WITCHES OF NEW MOON BEACH BOXED SET
WINTER WISHES: A REGENCY HOLIDAY ROMANCE ANTHOLOGY

THE WITCH OF BERGEN

Buy now!
THE WITCH OF BERGEN

    ×
    A Slice of Orange started in 2004 as a group of authors from Orange County, California. We have expanded to include authors from around the globe–from the UK, all across the US to New Zealand. Our authors include the multi-published and writers at the beginning of their publishing career. In addition to authors, we feature blog posts from editors, PR professionals, and cover designers. The bright segments of the writing and reading community that make up one perfect entity—A Slice of Orange.
  • Anonymous says:

    That was beautiful. I too will look for Charlene’s books. I’m so glad you and she did get to meet and become friends. I especially like that you “take Charlene with you” when you wear the rose pin.

    Happy New Year,
    Kim

  • Anonymous says:

    What a wonderful legacy for Charlene to have left with the rest of us. I’d like to find some of her books.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Best,
    Mary

  • Copyright ©2017 A Slice of Orange. All Rights Reserved. ~PROUDLY POWERED BY WORDPRESS ~ CREATED BY ISHYOBOY.COM

    >