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Romance Writers of America   Aloha Chapter
Romance Writers of America


"Meet you at Starbucks...
I'll be the one with
writer's block

Meetings 2012
Aina Haina Library, Honolulu (except for Feb., March, and April)
Second Saturday of each month, 10 a.m. to noon

  • March 10 - Laureen Kwock, author of 20 books, shares her strategies for plotting a novel and characters in a scene. Bring 20 or more sheets of filler paper for one of the exercises. Time: 10 a.m. to noon. Location: Calvary by the Sea Church and School/Loft Room, 5339 Kalaniana`ole Hwy. Within walking distance from the Aina Haina Library. Across the street on the ocean side about one block down toward Hawaii Kai.

  • February 11 - "Romancing Your Sweetheart Through Stories and Poem" - Kapolei Library and Aloha Chapter present a Saturday morning talk and reading at Kapolei Library, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Leslee Ellenson,Carol Catanzariti, Winona Prette, Lynde Lakes, and Michael Little will talk about romance in fiction and poetry, and will read excerpts from their published works and works in progress, and invite questions. Visitors welcome!
  • January 14 - On Saturday morning, January 14 (10 a.m. to noon) at the Aina Haina Library, Aloha Chapter kicks off 2012 with its first monthly meeting. Visitors welcome! Bring your favorite romance novel: tell what is compelling about the story line, the characters, and the writing.

Meetings 2011
Aina Haina Library, Honolulu (except for Feb. and March)
Saturday, 10 a.m. to noon

  • October 1 - Techie Tips for Writers: Lots of helpful tips on hardware, software, organizing your writing (from draft to final; computer files and folders), backing it up, formatting it to make it comply with standard and special requirements. Make your manuscript look professional. Tips on copy editing your writing. Everything from the "em dash" to headers and footers and pagination and fonts. Share your own tips.

    Anybody writing with pen/pencil and yellow pad? Some very successful writers do (they usually have some wonderful person to do their typing). Most of us, however, have embraced the keyboard. What do you use? Desktop, notebook, something new and wonderful? The technology changes about every 10 days. Where do you find free software? You don't have to spend a small fortune anymore for hardware and software! Research is easier these days too. What did we do before the Internet?! Share your favorite Internet sites, from the obvious (wikipedia and to the more exotic (try googling "exotic" and see what pops up!).

  • September 10 - Jill Marie Landis visits to discuss her secrets on the elements of craft in her novel Heartbreak Hotel. To get the most out of this session, read the novel and bring it to the meeting.
  • August 6 - "Sunset Inn: Stories of the North Shore" - continuing with the planning and writing that began on July 9 ... a chance to help plan, brainstorm, and begin writing stories for Aloha Chapter's 2012 anthology. Workshop leaders: Lynde Lakes and Leslee Ellenson.

  • July 9 - "Sunset Inn: Stories of the North Shore" - a chance to help plan, brainstorm, and begin writing stories for Aloha Chapter's 2012 anthology.
  • June 18 - "Building Tension" - writers workshop led by Sally Sorenson.
  • May 7 - "Scene and Sequel" - writers workshop led by Leslee Ellenson.
  • April 23 - "Reading Aloud" - Craig Howes (UH, Aloha Shorts, and more) and Jo Pruden (Hawaii actress) share their "secrets" for reading aloud.

  • March 5 - "Humor Workshop" - Pablo's Cantina in Ward Centre: writers workshop led by Michael Little, followed by lunch at Pablo's.
  • February 5 - "Checking Out Romance" - Kapolei Library and Aloha Chapter present a Saturday morning talk and reading at Kapolei Library, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Sally Sorenson, Winona Prette, Lynde Lakes, Leslee Ellenson, and Michael Little will talk about romance fiction and what we learn from it, and will read excerpts from their published works and works in progress, and invite questions. Visitors welcome!

  • January 8 - On Saturday morning, January 8 (10 a.m. to noon) at the Aina Haina Library, Aloha Chapter kicks off 2011 with its first monthly meeting. Visitors welcome! We're in for a treat with Mary Lou Sanelli as our guest speaker.

    Sanelli has earned a solid reputation in the literary and public-speaking community through a steady commitment to writing and through twenty years of successful public readings and presentations. She is the author of seven poetry collections and a recent book of essays, Falling Awake, selected as "one of the most fabulous 2008 Northwest titles" by Seattle writer/reviewer Lesley Thomas.

    Among Friends: A Memoir
    (Aequitas Books, 2009), was #1 in Non-Fiction in December 2009 in Honolulu (Barnes & Noble). An intelligent voice. An illuminating book. Sanelli is unsparing as she explores the subject of friendship in women’s lives. This is a book of self-discovery...dauntless, smart, funny, beautifully written. "This book came along at just the right time for me." — Vicki Jewel, Honolulu Bookclub

    Sanelli is a regular columnist in City Living Magazine for Seattle's Pacific Publishing Newspapers, as well as for Art Access Magazine and The Peninsula Daily News. Her recent essay/columns have appeared on the OP-ED page of the Seattle Times and in the The Seattle Post Intelligencer, as well as in Seattle Metropolitan Magazine.
  • She is a regular feature on KONP AM, KSER FM, and LadybugLive Radio, and her commentaries have been aired on Weekend Edition, NPR. She presents her staged reading of her book of the same name, The Immigrant's Table, throughout the country.

    She also works as a dance instructor and choreographer. This training and performance experience enables her to present with skills that surpass the average author reading. She presents her work at corporate events, theaters, writing conferences & festivals, literary venues, colleges and universities, book clubs, and private events. Welcome, Mary Lou!


Meetings 2010
Aina Haina Library, Honolulu (except for February and March)
Saturday, 10 a.m. to noon

  • November 6 - Annual Luncheon at the Hale Koa.

  • October 2 - Writers Workshop: "Sidekicks: Dr. Watson, Captain Hastings, and You" led by Michael Little. This workshop will explore the role of sidekick characters in different fiction genres, from detective fiction to romance fiction (with a few side trips along the way),

    This will be a hands-on workshop, with several short writing exercises. We will talk about how sidekick characters exist not only in the classic mysteries of Conan Doyle (Doctor Watson, of course, is Sherlock Holmes' sidekick) and Agatha Christie (Captain Hastings is Hercule Poirot's loyal sidekick), but also in other types of fiction in different centuries.

    The role of the sidekick character is not just for humor, although that is often an important part of the job. The sidekick often takes us right into the heart of the story, and for this reason alone this is an important character for all fiction writers to understand, and to create at times in one's own stories.

  • September 11 - Bob Hogue, author of Sands of Lanikai, speaking on research for fiction writing and researching for Hawaii fiction.

  • August 7 - University of Hawaii professor Steve Goldsberry speaking on "First Pages: Introducing Your Female Protagonist.” If you would like comments on your writing, please bring 20 copies of a first page of your short story or novel, preferably a first page that introduces your female protagonist.
  • July 10 - Lisa Linn Kanae, recent winner of the Hawaii Literary Council’s Cades Award for Literature, will speak on how she creates her female characters. Born and raised on O‘ahu, Lisa is the author of Sista Tongue, a memoir/essay that weaves the social history of Hawai‘i Creole English with personal experience; and the critically acclaimed collection of short stories, Islands Linked By Ocean. Her prose and poetry have been published in ‘Oiwi: A Native Hawaiian Journal, Hybolics, Tinfish, Hawai‘i Pacific Review, and Bamboo Ridge Press publications. She teaches composition and literature at Kapi‘olani Community College.
  • June 5 - Aloha Chapter's June meeting will feature a writers workshop on “Plotting and Brainstorming” led by chapter president and romantic suspense novelist Lynde Lakes.
  • May 1 - Aloha Chapter returns to the Aina Haina Library on Saturday, May 1, from 10 a.m. to noon, when our guest speaker will be University of Hawaii professor Craig Howes. Craig will be talking about the history of women in fiction, giving us some historical perspective on a subject that will be the topic of other talks and workshops in the coming months.

    Craig Howes has been Editor of the journal Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly since 1994, and a faculty member in the Department of English at the University of Hawaii since 1980. He teaches courses in editing, lifewriting, composition, literary theory, and drama. A past President of the Hawaii Literary Arts Council, he currently serves on the boards of Kumu Kahua Theatre and Monkey Waterfall Dance Theatre Company.

    Aloha Chapter is delighted to welcome back Craig Howes!

  • April 3 - Aloha Chapter meets at Kapolei Library on Saturday, April 3, at 10:30 a.m., to welcome New York Times bestselling author and Kauai resident (and long-time Aloha Chapter member) Jill Marie Landis. Jill will be leading a writers workshop on planning a novel and answering questions.

    For more about Jill and her new novel Heart of Stone, visit, and read Jill’s take on “Make ‘Em Laugh" in the March issue of Words of Paradise. Jill was the featured speaker at the Aloha Chapter luncheon last November. It is always a special treat to welcome Jill to Oahu!
  • March 6 - On Saturday, March 6, Aloha Chapter will host romantic suspense writer HelenKay Dimon at Hickam AFB. HelenKay is an award-winning author of more than a dozen novels and novellas. Her first single title, Your Mouth Drives Me Crazy, was excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine in August '07 and spotlighted at E! Online. She made Cosmopolitan a second time in December 2009 with her novella "It's Hotter At Christmas" from the Kissing Santa Claus anthology. Her books also have been published by Doubleday Book Club and Rhapsody Book Club and translated into several languages.

    To read more about HelenKay Dimon, check out, where you’ll discover that after twelve years as a divorce lawyer specializing in unhappy endings, HelenKay now writes romance for a living.

  • February 6 - Aloha Chapter presents a Saturday morning talk and reading at Kapolei Library, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Lynde Lakes, Leslee Ellenson, and Michael Little will talk about writing first chapters, read excerpts from their published works and works in progress, and invite questions. Visitors welcome!
  • January 9 - On Saturday morning, January 9 (10 a.m. to noon) at the Aina Haina Library, Aloha Chapter kicks off 2010 with its first monthly meeting. Following a short business meeting, Michael Little, author of Queen of the Rodeo and Chasing Cowboys, will be leading a dialogue workshop on "Rewriting Dialogue." Visitors welcome!


Meetings 2009
Aina Haina Library, Honolulu
Saturday, 10 a.m. to noon

NEW: Flyer with 2009 Schedule

  • January 10 - “Firing Up Our Muse "
    Aloha Chapter’s January meeting will include a Query Letter Contest and a Finish the Book Contest. Also, a chance for all members to read aloud some of their writing.

  • February 7 - “Reading at Kapolei Library"
    Two Cowboys, a Lawyer, and a Poet! Featuring five writers from Aloha Chapter: Carol Catanzariti, Leslee Ellenson, Lynde Lakes, Michael Little, and Madalyn Purchell. Begins at 10:30 a.m.
  • March 7 - “Writer's Workshop: Finding Your Voice"
    Workshop leader: Michael Little. Writers hear voices! A discussion of the writer's voice, the narrator's voice, and the character's voice. Will include a special section on book design with graphic artist Stephanie Chang: imagining your book and matching design with voice.
  • April 18 - "The Art of Story"
    Guest speaker:
    Margaret South, teacher and film producer. South has developed television and feature-film projects, including Bette Midler’s Beaches. She also teaches “The Art of Story” master writing classes and founded “Kids Talk Story,” a program offered in schools in Hawaii and nationwide.
  • May 9 - “What an Editor Looks For"
    Guest speaker: Frank Stewart, editor of Manoa magazine
  • June 6 - “Marriage and Divorce: an Attorney's View"
    Guest speaker: Madalyn Purcell
  • July 11 - Jane Porter!
    Aloha chapter member Jane Porter, author of Flirting With Forty, will be our guest speaker. See the July Words of Paradise for more details.
  • August 1 - Susan Schultz, founder and editor of Tinfish, will be our guest speaker. A non-profit organization founded in 1995, Tinfish Press publishes a journal of experimental poetry from the Pacific, including Hawai`i, New Zealand/Aotearoa, Australia, California, and western Canada. The press also produces books and chapbooks of poetry and experimental prose, some of it written in Hawai`i Creole English (Pidgin).
  • September 12 - Victoria Kneubuhl, acclaimed local playwright and novelist (Murder Casts a Shadow), will be our guest speaker. Click on "What's New" for details.
  • October 3 - "Mystery!"
    Chip Hughes will speak at the October meeting of the Aloha Chapter, Romance Writers of America, at the Aina Haina Library. Visitors welcome! He has taught courses at the University of Hawaii in American literature, writing, and popular fiction, including the mystery. Chip, author of the Surfing Detective Mystery Series, including Murder on Moloka‘i, will talk about TV and movie options.
  • November 14 - Annual Luncheon at the Hale Koa

Meetings 2008

Aina Haina Library, Honolulu (except April and November)
Saturday, 10 a.m. to noon

  • October 4 - Guest Speaker: Chip Hughes

    On Saturday, October 4, Aloha Chapter will be thrilled to welcome local writer and teacher Chip Hughes, author of the Surfing Detective Mystery Series. Chip will speak on “The Making of Murder on Moloka’i,” which provides a cautionary tale on how not to become a writer (Chip says he did it “the hard, stupid way”) and also on doing on-site research in Hawai’i.

    Chip Hughes grew up in Southern California and learned to surf in San Diego in the 1960s. After earning degrees in business, humanities, and English, culminating in a Ph.D. from Indiana University, he moved to the Islands in 1981 to teach at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, and to take up surfing again. At U.H. he has taught courses in American literature, writing, and popular fiction, including the mystery.

    His publications include Beyond The Red Pony: A Reader’s Companion to Steinbeck’s Complete Short Stories (1987)—translated into Japanese in 1990; John Steinbeck: A Study of the Short Fiction (1989); and numerous essays and reviews. He has spoken at conferences on Steinbeck and other topics. His photos and writing have also appeared in Porsche Panorama, national magazine of the Porsche Club of America, and he is copy editor of Sonne Porsche, the PCA-Hawai‘i newsletter.

    Chip is an active member of the Private Eye Writers of America. He lives in Lanikai in windward O’ahu with wife Charlene. They have a grown son, Nathan, and two retrievers, Boomer and Princess. Chip is a member of the Outdoor Circle and the Labrador, Golden Retriever, and Porsche clubs of Hawai‘i. He surfs when time allows at various spots around O‘ahu.

    To find out more about Chip Hughes and the Surfing Detective Mystery Series, visit

  • September 13 - Fiction Writers Workshop: "Writing Short Stories"
    Workshop leaders: Michael Little and Wendy Miyake

    Where do short stories come from? How do they differ from novels? What are Kurt Vonnegut’s rules for writing short stories? Why is short good (let me count the ways, including the joy of reading aloud)? Begin to bring your own short story to life.
    Share the fun ... bring a friend to this workshop.

  • Wendy and Michael are past winners of the Honolulu Magazine Fiction Contest (Wendy for “GetMyMoi.Com” and Michael for “Walter! Walter!”). Wendy is the author of the short story collection Beads, Boys and the Buddha (2006), as well as The Bodhisattva Club: Adventures in France with the Great Mother (2008). Michael’s first novel was Queen of the Rodeo (2001); Chasing Cowboys is due out later this year. His short story “Seven Ways to Tell If You Married a Cosmo Girl” appears in the latest Bamboo Ridge collection, issue 91.

  • August 2 - Guest Speaker: Bev Motz

    On Saturday, August 2, Aloha Chapter welcomes Bev Motz (The Islander Group, Bess Press, Borders). Bev will be speaking on the book publishing business.

    This should be very informative and especially relevant for local writers. Bev is a terrific speaker, so mark your calendar! Aina Haina Library, 10 a.m. to noon.

  • July 12 - Guest Speaker: Katharine Osborne

    Computer guru Katharine Osborne gives good advice
    for writers at the keyboard ...
    with tips on avoiding computer madness ...
    plus promotion for writers ...
    and creating a good web presence.

  • June 7 - Guest Speaker: Dennis Carroll
    At its June 7 meeting, Aloha Chapter welcomes Dennis Carroll, Professor and Director of Theatre, University of Hawaii, speaking on how fiction writers can make scenes actionable, active, and alive. Professor Carroll founded Kumu Kahua Theatre in Honolulu in 1971. Kumu Kahua specializes in producing plays
    by Hawaii playwrights and featuring themes and stories of Hawaii's people.
  • May 3 - "Fiction Writers Workshop: Writing Erotic Scenes"

    At its May 3 meeting, Hawaii fiction writer and poet
    Malena Brooks
    will lead a workshop on
    writing erotic scenes
    . Come prepared to hear Malena's tips for writing
    these scenes and to do some writing of your own.


  • April 5 - Guest Speaker: Penelope Neri
    At its April 5 meeting, author and longtime Aloha Chapter member Penelope Neri will share the valuable lessons she's learned from her writing career.
  • British-born Penelope Neri is the award-winning author of thirty novels in the historical romance and romantic suspense genre. She has also contributed novellas to several romance anthologies.
  • For more about Penelope, go to

    CATION: Sally Sorenson will host the meeting at her home in Aina Haina, beginning at 10 a.m., followed by a potluck lunch. For details, email [email protected]

  • March 1 - "Fiction Writers Workshop: Point of View"
    At its March 1 meeting, Michael Little (B.A., University of St. Thomas; Ph.D., University of Delaware; author of Queen of the Rodeo) will lead a hands-on workshop for fiction writers on working with point of view.

    The workshop begins with a review of the three basic types of narrative point-of-view:
    first-person, third-person, and omniscient. Then everyone will have a chance to read an opening paragraph from one of their own novels or short stories (complete or unfinished) and discuss how point of view works in that paragraph and story. Finally, there will be a 25-minute writing exercise, using first-person point of view to retell a familiar story.

    Please bring an opening paragraph from one of your own stories to read and discuss. If you want a head start, read the chapter on point of view in Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, by Renni Browne & Dave King.

  • February 2 - “How to Integrate Historical Material Into Fiction"
    Aloha Chapter’s February 2 meeting features Professor Craig Howes from the University of Hawai'i, speaking on how to integrate historical material, including biography, into fiction. Professor Howes (B.A., University of Toronto; Ph.D., Princeton University) edits Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly. In 1998 he was awarded the Board of Regents' Award for Excellence in Teaching.

    Professor Howes writes, "I'm currently writing a book on the political and cultural implications of the nineteenth century British satire found in radical and comic periodicals. Courses on research methods and nonfiction writing occupy a lot of my instructional time, but I also teach literary history and theory. And I have published on Vietnam POW narratives, genre theory, nineteenth century fiction, and Hawai'i literature. I have also been known to write a short story." Welcome, Professor Howes!

  • January 5 - “Query Letter Workshop"
    Aloha Chapter’s January meeting will focus on writing the query letter. Bring one of your old query letters, or write a new one before the meeting. You will have a chance to share your experiences and tips, and to receive comments, suggestions, and maybe even applause from the group. For information about writing query letters, here are seven helpful sites:

    Rites of Submission: Cover Letters and Query Letters

    The Complete Nobody's Guide to Query Letters

    How to Write a Query

    Query Letters

    Query Letter

    Sample Novel Query Letter

    Writing the Perfect Query Letter, by Lee Masterson


Meetings 2007
Aina Haina Library, Honolulu
Saturday, 10 a.m. to noon

  • October 6 - “Critique Tips and Workshop"
    Aloha Chapter’s October meeting will be part discussion and part workshop. You will have a chance to talk about the benefits and characteristics of
    small critique groups, as well as participate in your own critique group with two or three other writers. Select a few pages of your writing (not too long!) and bring four copies to the workshop. In addition, Leslee Ellenson and Katharine Osborne will be demonstrating a happy writers group, as well as an unhappy one. Looking for a critique group to join, or want to create your own? This is a good starting place.

  • September 8 - “Working with Bookstores and Marketing Your Writing"
    Aloha Chapter’s September meeting will focus on marketing your writing and working with bookstores. Ipo Tonaki, the Community Relations Manager at Barnes & Noble Kahala, will be our guest. Members who have published their writing, or worked in marketing and publicity, will have a chance to share their experiences and tips.

  • August 4 - “Research Techniques for Fiction Writers"
    Aloha Chapter's 2007 Fiction Writers Workshops conclude with Dr. Robert Mann, author of Forensic Detective. Following the workshop there will be an informal luncheon at 12:30 at Compadres in Ward Centre, to mark the end of the workshops.

  • July 7 - “‘Think Fast!: Using Improv Techniques to Spark Creativity"
    Aloha Chapter's 2007 Fiction Writers Workshops continue with Melissa Dylan, award-winning playwright with a degree in theatre from the University of Washington; author of Friends Like These and Voluntary Amnesia.

  • June 2 - “More Conflict!: Plotting Your Short Story or Novel”
    Aloha Chapter's 2007 Fiction Writers Workshops continue with Sally Sorenson, author of All's Faire and The Whole Enchilada). This is a hands-on workshop for all fiction writers.
    What’s it All About? Plotting your story, whether short fiction or full-length novel, saves time and energy when writing. We’ll look at the structure of a story and identify its key elements. If you are having trouble with your own WIP, come prepared to talk about it. Remember, these six sessions are workshops; you’ll get out of it what you put into it.

  • May 5 - “‘Shut up!’ ‘No, you shut up!’: Writing Dialogue”
    Aloha Chapter's 2007 Fiction Writers Workshops continue with Michael Little, author of Queen of the Rodeo. This workshop aims to tap into your experience and imagination, to study dialogue by hearing characters speak and seeing how dialogue looks on the page, and to let you create your own two-character scene. The workshop will demonstrate the mechanics of writing dialogue for fiction and for scripts, and will give 14 tips for writing dialogue.

  • April 7 - It's Alive!: Bringing Your Characters to Life: Aloha Chapter's 2007 Fiction Writers Workshops continue with Marie Hara, who teaches creative writing at the University of Hawaii and is the author of Bananaheart and Other Stories. The April 7 workshop begins at 10 a.m. and concludes at 11:30 a.m.
  • March 3 - Creating Strong Openings: Aloha Chapter's 2007 Fiction Writers Workshops kick off with Steven Goldsberry, Professor of English at the University of Hawaii and author of The Writer's Book of Wisdom: 101 Rules for Mastering Your Craft. Professor Goldsberry will talk about opening hooks and critique your first page of fiction. If you want your first page critiqued, please bring seven copies to the workshop. The workshop begins at 10 a.m. and concludes at 11:30 a.m.

  • February 3 - Romance and the Human Mind: Aloha Chapter welcomes back Dr. Tracy Treverrow, psychology professor at Chaminade University. Tracy brings his special expertise and entertaining style to the topic of romance and the human mind. Sally Sorenson will host the meeting, and a potluck, at her home, beginning at 10 a.m. For details, email [email protected]

  • January 6 - Setting Personal Writing Goals and Deadlines: Join us for a discussion and action session designed to help you set your personal writing goals and deadlines for 2007. Share tips for identifying and managing your writing time, and setting achievable writing goals for this month, this year, and beyond. Apply dual planning to your writing goals: short-range and long-range planning. Please join us for an informal lunch afterward.

    For inspiration we look to Lewis Carroll. As writers we are often in the position of Alice in the crazy maze of Wonderland, asking for help from the Cheshire cat in the tree:

    “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
    “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
    “I don't much care where—,” said Alice.
    “Then it doesn't matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
    “—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.
    “Oh, you're sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”


Meetings 2006
Aina Haina Library, Honolulu
Saturday, 10 a.m. to noon

  • January 7 - Morag McKendrick Pippin: The Aloha Chapter is proud to present one of our published members! Our guest speaker, Morag McKendrick Pippin, will be discussing her Murder & Mayhem series set in the early 20th century.

    Her first book, Blood Moon Over Bengal, won the Holt Medallion for best first book! Her second, Blood Moon Over Britain, has just been released. This story received a 4-star review from Romantic Times.

    Come hear Morag talk about her books and be prepared to ask her questions in the Q&A session afterward. Let's show our appreciation and support for this busy author who has so graciously agreed to share her experience with us.

    Browse on over to Morag's site to learn more about her books. This promises to be an interesting, fun, and informative meeting. Please join us for lunch afterward.

  • February 4 - Deborah Turrell Atkinson: Local mystery writer Deborah Turrell Atkinson will talk about "One Writer's Life." sharing her creative process and what she's learned about publishing. She will also answer your questions. Debby's latest book, The Green Room, was an October hardcover release from Poisoned Pen Press.

    Debby lives in Honolulu with her husband and their two teenage sons. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and spent ten years traveling around the Hawaiian Islands as a pharmaceutical representative for Eli Lilly and Company before she "retired" to write and raise her children.

Debby is a freelance contributor to Island Scene Magazine, editor of 'Elele, the 'Iolani 'Ohana newsletter, and is a recipient of the University of Hawaii's Myrle Clark award for Creative writing. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop and her first mystery novel, Primitive Secrets, was published by Poisoned Pen Press in October, 2002.

  • March 4 - Dorothea Buckingham: Aloha Chapter member, author, and librarian Dee Buckingham tells us how to conduct research. We tend to think research is easy with the Internet, but sometimes there are sources in the library that can do an even better job of locating info for us.

    Dee is the author of Poisoned Palms: The Murder of Mrs. Jane Lathrop Stanford. Set in 1905 at The Palms Hotel in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, Poisoned Palms tells the story of the death of Mrs. Jane Lathrop Stanford, the Mother of Stanford University. Was the claim of death by natural causes a cover-up? The page-turning story weaves the startling true facts of this infamous mystery into a gripping tale of fiction that will keep you guessing until the end.

  • April 8 - Marketing Meeting: Aloha Chapter meets to discuss marketing for Strong Currents 2 and plan Strong Currents 3 (for publication in March 2007).
  • May 6 - Brainstorming Session : Join us for a workshop on brainstorming techniques in developing your fiction.
  • June 3 - Marcia Zina Mager : Aloha Chapter welcomes Marcia Zina Mager, who has been writing professionally for more than twenty-five years. Her extensive publishing credits include novels, non-fiction books, screenwriting for ABC-TV, and feature articles for local and national publications including Guideposts, Guideposts for Kids, Guideposts for Teens, Midweek, Hawaii Woman Magazine, Island Scene Online, Star Bulletin, This Week, Hawaii Business, and Network Media.

    Her non-fiction book, BELIEVING IN FAERIES: A Manual For Grown-ups (C.W. Daniel Company, 1999), illustrated by renown fantasy artist Tom Cross, become an international best-seller with the lushly illustrated hard-cover German edition, DAS FEEN GESCHENK (Ansata, 2001). That was followed by the best-selling FEEN-SET (Ansata, 2002), an illustrated deck of faery divination cards. Her third project, THE HIDDEN KINGDOM: Discovering the Divine Presence in Nature, was a lead title for Ansata in the fall of 2003. (Dutch and Greek rights for Believing in Faeries were sold in 2002. Italian rights sold in 2004.)

    She’s also written two locally published books, POCKET GUIDE TO LANA’I (Mutual Publishing, 2003), the island’s first independent travel book (co-authored with Dennis Aubrey), and COOKING WITH TARO (and POI) (Mutual Publishing, 2007). She is currently completing a new book for Inner Ocean Publishing, due out in September, titled 31 WORDS TO AN ORGANIZED LIFE: Strategies, Tips, and Advice from de-cluttering, organizing and time-management experts to help you create a more focused, simple, and well-managed life. In addition, she won a Pele Award of Excellence when she worked as director of public relations for The Poi Company.

    The miraculous story behind the story of Marcia’s second novel (Lured into Dawn, Berkley/Jove, 1981, translated into 8 languages) was featured on Lifetime TV’s hit show, Beyond Chance, as well as on Japanese television. Her stories have appeared in numerous best-selling book series including Hot Chocolate for the Mystical Lover (Plume, 2000); Small Miracles for Women (Adams Media, 2000), and Chicken Soup from the Soul of Hawaii (Health Communications, 2003).

    Marcia is also a seasoned seminar leader and public speaker. In 1986, she created the original Write from the Heart, a national seminar series founded in New York City that has been taught all over the country and Canada; in Hawaii at Kapiolani Community College, Windward Community College, Lana’i Art Program, and Linekona Art School. Marcia has led workshops and given presentations to groups from 30 to 300, in all kinds of business and educational settings. She is also an award-winning mixed media artist whose work has been shown in juried exhibits at the Koa Gallery and Pauahi Tower Art Gallery.

    Read excerpts from her books and articles on her website or

  • July 8 - Reading Aloud: Tips and Practice: Join us for some practical tips on reading your own writing aloud, followed by a chance to practice.

  • August 5 - Forensics with Dr. Robert Mann: If you like CSI, you're not going to want to miss this! The morning promises to be fascinating as Dr. Mann gives us a presentation and takes our questions. Dr. Mann is the author of Forensic Detective: How I Cracked the World's Toughest Cases.

    From Booklist:
    Mann, who got his Ph.D. in physical anthropology at age 51, came to forensics after a stint at a funeral home during college eventually led to study at the infamous Body Farm, "a school for the living taught by the dead," where he stands out among the crowd so much that the famed forensic anthropologist Bill Bass takes him on as an assistant.

    Mann's career has been filled with colorful and varied cases, ranging from figuring out whether a severed, mummified torso was that of a male or a female to identifying the remains of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer's first victim, a young hitchhiker he picked up and beat to death.

    Not all cases get solved, at least not right away--a soldier's remains are discovered, analyzed, and identified 48 years after his disappearance, but a leg that is discovered in a natural pool in Oahu remains unidentified despite several clues. Armchair CSIs will enjoy this fascinating look at forensics in action.
    Kristine Huntley
    Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
  • September 9 - All About Critiques: Join us for All About Critiques! We will share what we've learned from being in small critique groups: different critique methods; what works, and what doesn't work in critiquing; how to ask for what you want from the group; how to respond to what the group gives you; what's the ideal size for a critique group; and the opportunities for online critiques.

    Bring three or four copies of a few pages of your current or recent writing. We will divide into small groups for hands-on critiquing, so you'll have a chance to observe how the other small groups work, and then participate in your own small group.
  • October 7 - Julie Wanner Rossetti: Aloha Chapter welcomes Julie Wanner Rossetti, author of Diabetes Can Be Sweet, as guest speaker at the October 7 meeting.
    Julie Wanner Rossetti, CMA, AS, and diabetes consultant at her own company, Diabetes Done Right, has been living a sweet life after burying type 1 diabetes over 25 years ago. She was born and raised in Oregon and is now living in Hawaii with her husband and cat.
    Julie would love to hear from you and is available for speaking engagements. You can email her at [email protected] Check out her fascinating website at
  • November 4- RWA Aloha Chapter annual luncheon at the Hale Koa in Waikiki: Luncheon and program begins at 11:30 a.m. Guest speaker: Dr. Robert Mann, author of Forensic Detective.


Meetings 2005
Aina Haina Library, Honolulu
Saturday, 10 a.m. to noon

  • January 8 - Writing Workshop: "Good Beginnings" - Kate Godwin and Michael Little will lead a workshop on writing strong opening paragraphs in fiction and non-fiction. This workshop was first presented at the Bamboo Ridge Writers Institute at the University of Hawaii in October 2004. Bring an opening paragraph to rewrite, or write a new opening paragraph during the workshop.
  • February 5 - Dialogue Workshop: Melissa Dylan on solving dialogue problems, with lessons to be learned from the worlds of drama and fiction. Bring some of your dialogue.

    Melissa Dylan is a playwright and novelist with a BA in theatre from the University of Washington. Her greatest theatrical hit so far, Friends Like These, was first produced with the Attic Theatre Ensemble, a professional company in Los Angeles. It is now poised for production with several other theatres around the country. Other works include On My Way, a one-act in Seattle’s Binge Festival, and Amnesia, a work in progress. Melissa spent three years as a principal writer for Theatre Dangerously, an experimental theatre troupe that staged original full-length productions every two weeks. She is currently seeking a publisher for her fourth novel, Extras Must Behave … And Other Reasons You’ll Never Make it in Hollywood.
  • March 5 - Psychology and the Writer: Dr. Tracy Trevorrow, Associate Professor of Psychology at Chaminade University. Welcome back Tracy for another fascinating look into the human mind.
  • April 2 - Technology and the Writer: Do computers bore you? Terrify you? Make you so angry you’d like to take the darned thing outside and drop a brick on it? Our guest speaker knows just how you feel. Even better, he’s here to give us tips and tricks that will hopefully ward off the brick scenario.

    Join us as we welcome computer professional Michael Harris. Mike will be talking about the wonderful magic of computers and their accessories, as well as how to keep our information safe and secure. Ever hear of a flash drive? How about spyware? Do you know that how you choose to store your novels/stories/articles has an effect on how long they’ll last?

    Mike promises not to get too technical on us, so let’s have some fun with computers and find out how to make those precious words last forever. Bring your curiosity and your questions, and let Mike show us how to build a loving relationship with our #$%& computers.

    Michael Harris is a twenty-year veteran of the United States Air Force. When Mike started working in the Information Technology (IT) field in 1984, computers occupied entire rooms. Now, much faster computers can be held in one hand. Mike has been involved in the computer’s evolution from stand-alone processors to interconnected networks spanning the globe. He has designed networks, managed IT helpdesks, and worked in the computer security field overseeing Air Force networks within Europe. Mike has worked in such diverse places as Germany, Italy, South Korea, and the Pentagon. He also provided communications support from Johnson Space Center, better known as “Houston Control,” for two shuttle launches. Mike has an AAS in Information Systems Technology, an AA in Computer Studies, and a BS in Information Systems Management.

  • May 7 - Read and Critique; Voice Workshop: Need help with your opening line? Can’t quite nail that motivation for your heroine? Want to know if Leroy J. Bumpkuss is a good name for your hero? Then have we got an exciting meeting lined up for you!

    Read your writing at the meeting and get opinions from your fellow chapter members. You spend plenty of time trying to wade through writing problems alone, so let’s put together the collective power of our writing minds and brainstorm together for a couple of hours instead.

    Sign up by writing to Lynn at [email protected] If you don’t want to read aloud, you can bring copies to pass out, but you still need to sign up to get a time allotment. Please sign up by May 1st so we can allot the time and let everyone know how many pages she can bring. First come, first served—so sign up today!

    But wait, there's more! Jane Porter will be leading a workshop on VOICE and tying it in with the critique session.
  • June 4- Roger Jellinek: We’re thrilled to have literary agent Roger Jellinek speak to us today! Mr. Jellinek is co-owner of Hawaii’s only literary agency, Jellinek & Murray, and represents some 75 clients. He also runs the Publishing program at the Maui Writers Conference. Mr. Jellinek promises to discuss plenty of interesting things, including the new annual Hawaii Book & Music Festival, April 22-23, 2006. Mr. Jellinek is Program Chair for the festival. So come join us and hear what he has to say. Please remember that he is not here for pitches, however, so let’s leave the 800 page manuscripts at home (darn it).
  • July 9 - Wally Amos: Welcome our guest speaker, Wally Amos, author of Watermelon Magic: Seeds of Wisdom, Slices of Life. We're delighted to have Wally visit us! As founder of Famous Amos Cookies in 1975 and father of the gourmet chocolate chip cookie industry, he has the experience of multiple entrepreneurial endeavors to share with his audiences. He has also generously used his fame to support educational causes.

    Since 1979 Wally has been a literacy advocate and serves on the board of many organizations. His latest venture,, which features two plush chocolate chip cookie dolls, named Chip and Cookie, are the newest additions to Wally’s long line of amazing entrepreneurial success stories. His honors and awards include the President’s Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence, the Horatio Alger Award and Outstanding Business Leader Award. Two of his trademarks, his famous Panama hat and shirt have been on display at the Smithsonian Institute.

  • August 6 - Denby Fawcett: On August 6, Aloha Chapter warmly welcomes Denby Fawcett, KITV government reporter and one of the authors of the remarkable War Torn: Stories of War from the Women Reporters Who Covered Vietnam.

    In War Torn, for the first time, nine women who made journalism history talk candidly about their professional and deeply personal experiences as young reporters who lived, worked, and loved surrounded by war. Their stories span a decade of America’s involvement in Vietnam, from the earliest days of the conflict until the last U.S. helicopters left Saigon in 1975.

    They were gutsy risk-takers who saw firsthand what most Americans knew only from their morning newspapers or the evening news. Many had very particular reasons for going to Vietnam—some had to fight and plead to go—but others ended up there by accident. What happened to them was remarkable and important by any standard. Their lives became exciting beyond anything they had ever imagined, and the experience never left them. It was dangerous—one was wounded, and one was captured by the North Vietnamese—but the challenges they faced were uniquely rewarding.

  • September 10 - Report from the Writers Conferences: Hear the news from the 2005 RWA National Conference and the 2005 Maui Writers Conference, including handouts. Come prepared to write!

  • October 1- Writing Workshop with Steven Goldsberry: Guest speaker and workshop leader is Steven Goldsberry, author of The Writer’s Book of Wisdom: 101 Rules for Mastering Your Craft (Writer’s Digest Books, 2005). Steven Goldsberry’s novels include Maui the Demigod, Luzon, and Over Hawaii, and his poetry has appeared in The New Yorker. With more than 25 years experience as a writing instructor, he’s currently a professor at the University of Hawaii, and he speaks at numerous writing conferences, including the Maui Writers Conference. Steven lives in Laie, Hawaii.


Meetings 2004
Aina Haina Library, Honolulu
Saturday, 10 a.m. to noon

  • Jan. 10 - Writing Workshop: Leslee Ellenson will lead a guided visualization session, followed by some creative writing. Dress comfortably, bring a clear mind, an open heart, and pen and paper. Also, the chapter will approve the 2004 budget.
  • Feb. 7 - Ask the Agents: featuring Roger Jellinek and Eden-Lee Murray!
    Bring two or three questions to the meeting for Hawaii's literary agents.
    Visitors welcome, as always.
  • March 13 - Read and Critique: Bring your writing to read and receive helpful comments from other writers. To sign up to read, email Michael at .
  • April 3 - Welcome to Temptation: Learning from Jennifer Crusie.
    Copies of the novel will be available at the February 7 and March 13 meetings. Read Welcome to Temptation before April 3 and join the discussion of the writer's craft, led by Kate Godwin and Michael Little. Jennifer Crusie will be one of the presenters at the 2004 Maui Writers Conference.
  • May 1 - Understanding Motivation: Dr. Tracy Trevorrow, Associate Professor of Psychology at Chaminade University, speaking on the psychology of agency: understanding a character's motivation to do anything.
  • June 5 - What's Up with Genres?: Sally Sorenson will lead a lively session examining genres and the marketplace.
    Mark your calendar for Saturday, July 10, for a very special writing workshop. Six time Romance Writers of America Rita Award Finalist, Rita Winner, and RWA Honor Roll Author, Jill Marie Landis, breaks down the fundamentals of story telling and shows you how to pick up the pace and write a page turner during "So Then What Happened?" This writing workshop is a must for beginners and hands on tool for any writer who needs to jump start a stalled story.

    Workshop participants will have the opportunity for a question and answer session with not only Jill Marie Landis, but also RWA Award winning and New York Times Bestselling Author of Women's Fiction, Kristin Hannah.

    Free to Aloha Chapter members, $10 for non-members. This is a great opportunity to bring a writer friend. Seating is limited, so email Michael at [email protected] to reserve a place! The Plantation Cafe serves a great breakfast (buffet or off the menu), and they've reserved a nice corner section for us.

    DATE: Saturday, July 10
    PLACE: Plantation Cafe (off the main lobby at the Ala Moana Hotel)
    8:30am - chapter breakfast
    10:00 to noon - workshop
    2:00 - book signing at Borders Ward Centre with Jill Marie and Kristin.

  • Aug. 7 - Margaret South: "Writing a Strong Female Hero"
    Margaret South, co-founder with Bette Midler and Bonnie Bruckheimer of All Girl Productions, is an experienced feature film producer who has developed scripts for Disney, Fox and Tri-Star Studios as well as numerous independent companies. Her passion and focus in the process of film making has always been writing and writers. She produced the feature films Beaches, For The Boys, and Man of the House. In Television, Margaret was Executive Consultant for the HBO series Maximum Security (Ron Howard, Executive Director), helping to originally develop the show and then shepherding the scripts through production. She has also served as a Consultant for ABC Daytime Television. Margaret teaches The Art of Story at the Academy of Film & Television in Honolulu.
  • Sept. 11 - Report from the Writers Conferences: A chance to hear the latest from the 2004 RWA National Conference (Dallas, July 28-31) and the Maui Writers Conference (Wailea, September 2-6).
  • Oct. 2 - Writing Workshop: "Creating Characters and Building Scenes": Here's an opportunity to give birth to a new character (it doesn't take nine months!). At the end of this hands-on writing workshop, you will have at least one new character, yours to throw into a new short story or novel. You will also have written the first draft of a scene featuring your new character. Think of it as an audition. Guaranteed to spark your creativity.
  • Nov. 6 - RWA Aloha Chapter annual luncheon at the Hale Koa in Waikiki:

    Date: Saturday, November 6
    Time: 11:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
    Lunch served @ noon

    Bring a photo ID
    Validated parking $2.00

    Classic caesar salad with chicken $13.95 (less the chapter discount)
    Wild rice and mushroom soup
    Dessert--chocolate Bavarian cream with vanilla sauce
    Coffee or tea

    Grab bag:
    Bring a grab bag gift, $10 max, something a writer could use (we can use lots of things!).

    RSVP to [email protected] by October 12, including any guests you want to bring.





Aloha Chapter, Romance Writers of America®