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In Memorium: Janet Quinn Cornelow

November 16, 2012 by in category A Fantasy Life by Janet Cornelow tagged as , , ,

All of us here at OCC were shocked and saddened by the sudden death of our friend Janet Quinn Cornelow, and I want to dedicate today’s post to her memory.

Janet joined OCC in 1988 and quickly volunteered to take on the newsletter, a board position. Computers weren’t as sophisticated in those days, so the newsletter was still printed at a local print shop and snail mailed to the membership. Janet would collect the information and compose each story or column on her computer and print it out. Then a bunch of us would gather at her house once a month to literally cut and paste the final proof. Afterwards, we’d have lunch at a local coffee shop and talk writing. Later, Janet did other volunteer jobs like Lunch Coordinator, in addition to judging in the Orange Rose, manuscript critiques and hosting Ask-An-Author. 

For those who didn’t know Janet as well as I did, here are some additional details about her.

Janet was a native Californian who grew up in the Riverside area. She attended Call State Fullerton and earned a B.A. and a Master’s Degree in Journalism. In addition to her writing career, she taught for many years and worked as office manager to a Sylvan Learning Center. In recent years, she taught online classes for two private universities.

Janet and I joined the chapter the same year, we sold our first books to New York around the same time, 1997-98, and when the 21st century came along, we went on a crazy e-book journey together. Last year she plunged into the Brave New World of self-publishing. No one can ever say Janet was afraid to take a chance or try a new idea. She had just finished another book, and I hope her family will be able to see it published.

The photo above, from a signing at Bearly Used Books, shows Janet as I like to remember: surrounded by books and with a big smile on her face.

Author bio from her website:

Janet Quinn has always been a story teller. She has put her love of stories into her writing. While honing her craft, she earned a B.A. and an M.A. in journalism. Then she took up teaching high school English and writing. She has also taught novel writing classes at the Learning Tree University in California.

Her first novel, Yesteryear’s Love, was published by Berkley/Jove under their Time Passages imprint. It placed in the finals of the Romance Writers of America/Orange County Chapter’s Orange Award Contest for published writers for best historical.

Wild Honey placed in the finals of the Romance Writers of America/Orange County Chapter Orange Rose Contest for unpublished authors. Also, her manuscript, The River’s Treasure, placed in the finals for best historical in the PASIC Book of Your Heart Contest. The Irish Countess, a historical romance, was a finalist in the 2007 EPPIEs.

At her memorial service, Janet’s family handed out cards in her honor that said:

Janet Marie Quinn
August 14, 1949 – October 26, 2012

Janet was the mother to three exceptional boys, Nana to two wonderful grandchildren and an accomplished author.

There are no words to properly sum up such an amazing woman or such a life well lived. She played many roles: mother, teacher, author, friend…

She left far too soon and far too suddenly. There was so much that she still had to give to the world. We will mourn and miss her–but in the same moments that we find ourselves with heartache, we must celebrate her life. We must remember the laughter and humor that she brought and the love and warmth that she always offered.

No writer could have expressed it better.  Janet was a good friend and I will miss her, as we all will.

Please feel free to share your memories of Janet in the Comments below.

Linda McLaughlin

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Orlando! by Linda O. Johnston

August 6, 2010 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston, Writing Conferences tagged as , , , ,

A couple of months ago, my blog on A Slice of Orange discussed my angst about whether I really wanted to go to the Romance Writers of America Conference in Orlando. I wound up going. Am I glad? Yes!

I didn’t stay for the entire conference, which I regret now. But I accomplished most of what I wanted to–saw nearly all the people I hoped to see, attended most of the sessions I’d planned to, and learned about new resources and other information about publishing and promoting.

I met a number of people I’d never anticipated seeing, too. Networked and schmoozed and partied and had a great time.

I admit that the Orlando weather didn’t wow me. I have lived in L.A. long enough to be really spoiled about the minimal humidity on most hot days. Just walking between the two hotels at the Disney Swan and Dolphin Resort wilted me.
But the steaming up of my sunglasses didn’t deter me. The brief walk was worth it, plus the view was really nice, including the waterway between the two facilities.

By the way, as I mentioned in my blog last month, if you’re interested in hearing some of the things I learned at National, I’ll be sharing them at the OCC meeting on August 14. Come and ask questions–and I’ll answer whatever I can.

Linda O. Johnston

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2010 Orange Rose Contest Finalists

July 12, 2010 by in category Archives tagged as , , , ,

[Correction, 7-15-10: Our apologies to finalist Deborah O’Neill Cordes for misspelling her name, now corrected below. – Linda and Lynn]

The Orange County Chapter of RWA is proud to announce the 27th Annual Orange Rose Contest top ten finalists. These top ten finalists were selected by overall score, independent of category.

Historical & Regency

Seducing Charlotte by Dora Mekouar, VA

Mainstream with Romantic Elements

Deadly Blessings by Kathy Bennett, CA

Girl Three by Tracy Mastaler, VA

Oak Moon by Laura Templeton, GA

The Miser Who Bought the Farm by Kendel Flaum , SC

The Other Side of Heaven by Deborah O’Neill Cordes & Cary Morgan Frates, WA

Tressed to Kill by Beth Yarnall, CA

Paranormal/Time Travel/Fantasy

Assassin in Love by Amy Raby, WA

Hearts of Darkness by Ciara Stewart , WA

Romantic Suspense

Piercing Velvet by Aimee Carper, MO

Second round scoring is underway and contest winners will be announced in October.

Congratulations to our top ten finalists on their top scoring entries!

Lynn Nissen
2010 Orange Rose Contest Coordinator

Linda McLaughlin
2010 Orange Rose Electronic Entry Coordinator

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Ten Steps to Publication

August 28, 2009 by in category Archives tagged as , ,

On Saturday August 22, Charlotte Lobb and I taught a full day workshop sponsored by OCCRWA. It was a special workshop arranged by the OCC Board to offer more resources for writers, and it was the second such workshop offered this year. The first one was a Plotting workshop by Diane Pershing back in January.

I discussed Character and Conflict, and Charlotte talked about Point of View and Dialogue. Every writer can always learn something new, even after many books (I picked up some great tips on dialogue from Char.) It was a small group, only about 17 people or so, which made for an intimate class that encouraged discussion. This made me think about the great resources available to aspiring writers from groups like OCC, which sounded like a good topic for a blog.

Ten Steps to Publication:

1. Write. If you don’t write it, you can’t submit it and no one can publish it! Find your own schedule, your own rhythm. Every writer’s life is different, and every writer’s process is different. Find what works for you and do it, no matter what. Make the time.

2. Join a writer’s group. OCCRWA is a great example of a valuable writer’s group. There are monthly meetings with two speakers every month! There is the contest, which gets your work in front of published author and editor judges. There’s the newsletter and the email loop. There’s cool special workshops like the one Char and I just did. The most important thing a writer’s group can offer, however, is support. No one understands the angst of a writer better than another writer.

3. Get a critique partner or group. Writers tend to be introverted individuals who hang out alone in front of their computers. Some of them are even too afraid to show their work to anyone. In my seventeen years as a serious writer, I have found critique partners/groups to be an invaluable objective eye. Every writer has a blind spot. Is there a phrase or word that you overuse? Is there a grammatical error you always make? Your critque partners will find it and alert you to it before you send off the manuscript.

4. Enter contests. Entering contests is a good way to get objective feedback, but you should have reasons for choosing the contests you enter. The Orange Rose from OCCRWA is one geared to get your manuscript ready for the Golden Heart or submission to an editor or agent. Or maybe you want to enter a contest because a certain author or editor is judging. Perhaps you’re worried about your synopsis so you enter a synopsis contest. Always have a reason, even if that reason is just to support your local chapter. 🙂

5. Know when to stop editing the first three chapters. Many aspiring authors write a dynamite three chapters, then edit them until they squeak. There is such a thing as editing the life out of pages, and you want to avoid that. Walk away from chapter three and move on to chapter four. An editor can’t buy only three chapters of a book.

6. Finish your book. As stated in number 5 above, an editor can’t buy only a few chapters. They need to see the whole book. Just do it. You will be astounded at the sense of accomplishment you get from writing The End.

7. Read new authors. The new authors are the writers who sold their work within the last year. This tells you what editors are buying. Plus you get some great reading material!

8. Learn about the market. Writing is a joy, an outlet, a balm to the soul. Publishing is a business. If you want to get paid for your work, you need to learn about the market. Read the RWR. Subscribe to Publisher’s Marketplace (http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/) so you can get Publisher’s Lunch, a daily email that tells you the news in the marketplace. There is also a daily email listing the deals made that day by editors and agents for all genres of books–and the subscription is only about $20 a month.

9. Set goals. No one gets anywhere without setting goals. If the idea of writing a whole book overwhelms you, then concentrate on writing the next page, or the next paragraph, or the next chapter. Keep your goals realistic according to what you can reasonably accomplish. Setting impossible goals guarantees failure. Remember: how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

10. Let go of the fear. We all have a fear about getting published. I’ve published 11 books (#12 currently in the works), and I still get nervous around release time. Every writer is worried someone will tell her that her baby is ugly. Don’t project, just deal with the here and now. And don’t be afraid to finish that book and send it out. We’re all dying to hear what you have to say!

See you on the shelves!

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