Thursday, May 31, 2012

Alberta Romance Writers' Association Celebrates 25 Years!

This past weekend, my writing organization, the Alberta Romance Writers' Association (ARWA), celebrated its 25th anniversary!  There were over 60 current or former ARWAnians in attendance, and the air was filled with conversation and laughter the whole day. I loved it. Way to go, ARWA!  Yay!  (I feel like there should 
Did I mention there was a
champagne (or sparkling juice) toast?
Yummy. Cheers, ARWA!
be sparkles and glitter on this post.  Maybe some fireworks too.)

I discovered ARWA in 2003, and have learned so much from this wonderful group in the years since then!  Before I'd joined, I'd written two historical romances and one contemporary romantic suspense, but I'd never known anyone else who wrote or even wanted to write.  I didn't know how to edit, I had a superficial understanding of POV, I'd never heard of pivotal scenes... yep, I was winging it.  I had a few friends who loved to read, but they couldn't understand why I would want to write something. 

When I joined ARWA, it felt like a homecoming. 

At my first meeting, someone played a funny song about writing a novel and the characters misbehaving - God, I wish I knew what it was called (If I find it on the internet, I'll post a link).  Anyway, everyone was laughing - probably because, like me, they understood the challenge of having an ornery character.  In that moment I knew I was where I belonged.  At that meeting, I also met people who'd actually published, like Judith Duncan (ARWA was created from a writing class Judith held in 1987) and Grace Panko (one of the founding members and our current President).  I was in awe.  I'm probably still in awe. 

Since joining, I've enjoyed getting involved with the organization.  I've done a variety of things over the years from helping with the website and social media, to being a Director-at-Large and then a President (Past-President now).  And, I've loved every minute of it.

So, the party last Saturday was a joy.  ARWA is a supportive and encouraging group, which has nurtured a strong sense of community and promotes learning the craft of writing. I thank those people who started this group and kept it going strong for all these years, because without them I wouldn't have had the learning and friendship opportunities that I've found with ARWA.

So, this is my thank you!  I love you all, and wish you all the best for the next 25 years!

Check out blogs by Suzanne Stengl and Sarah Kades who have also posted their thoughts on the day!
The party was held at the Willow Park Golf and
Country Club.  My little Toyota was parked
between a Porsche and a Lexus.  Fit right in.  ;)

Here I am with Darlene and Deb
just before the partiers arrived.

Each table had pink roses to match our ARWA's logo. 
Each place mat was different and showcased
covers of books written by current or former
members.  At the end of the day, some members
were collecting the authors' signatures by the
image of their cover(s) on the place mats.

Raven and Sarah welcomed everyone. 

The spacious room had big windows
 overlooking the golf course.

Dee Van Dyk gave a beautiful keynote speech.

ARWA publishes an annual magazine called
Treasures along the Fenceline, showcasing
works by our members. This year our
25th Anniversary Short Story contest winners
were also published in the issue. The winners
and the magazine were announced at the party.
Congratulations to the contest winners,
Randi-Lee, Jessica, and Maggie!  :)

Aren't these adorable? 
They were used for the door prize draws.

Congratulations, ARWA!  (And, thank you!)


Mahrie Creaser Glab said...

Well said, Lorraine. and your input has enhanced the experience since you've joined us. You give back more than you get, I'm sure! WRITE ON!

Mae Clair said...

What a wonderfully supportive group you have. I so need to find an RWA chapter in my area. There's nothing like networking with others who share your passion and can help you through all of the hurdles, sharing dips and triumphs along the way. What a lovely post, Lorraine!

patonlorraine said...

Aw, thanks, Mahrie! :)

patonlorraine said...

Thanks, Mae! I lucked out that there are a couple of active writing organizations where I live. :)

Suzanne Stengl said...

more excellent photos of our terrific day!
We need to do one of those Snapfish digital photo books as a "time capsule" for our 25th.

patonlorraine said...

That's a fun idea! :)

Suzanne Stengl said...

In fact, I think we should get a copy of Dee's keynote and put it in the book...

patonlorraine said...

I loved Dee's keynote! :)