The #VRW Awards Luncheon: #FoolForLove & #HOLTMedallion Winners

HOLTFrontProgramThe Virginia Romance Writers‘ second annual awards luncheon kicked off in festive spirits (and with lots of hats) as we celebrated our members’ and contest winners’ accomplishments in tea-party style.

A big thanks to Jacqueline Bragaw, our hostess extraordinaire, who planned and decorated everything with great finesse!

VRW President Stephanie Gurnsey Higgins welcomes us all, while dapperly dressed event planner Jacqueline Bragaw looks on.
VRW President Stephanie Gurnsey Higgins welcomes us all, while dapperly dressed event planner Jacqueline Bragaw looks on.
Yes. You should be jealous. 

VRW’s president, Stephanie Gurnsey Higgins, welcomed us all before we feasted on a delicious meal and even more scrumptious desserts, provided by VRW’s very own Amy and Carolyn. Yes, there was much oohing and ahhing – over the taste as much as the presentation!

We all swooned over the swans.

Another special treat was listening to VRW founding members Carolyn Greene and Cynthia Holt Johnson (for whom the HOLT contest is named!) discuss the history of our chapter (newsletters copied at Kinkos and sent via the good old-fashioned mail? Janet Evanovich and Cathy Maxwell and so many other big names? You bet!).

They encouraged us to move forward in our writing with AUDACITY – the same audacity VRW showed by calling themselves the Virginia Romance Writers when the original members all hailed from Richmond, by launching the Fool For Love contest to encourage unpublished writers, and by establishing the reader-judged HOLT Medallion contest. Go, Virginia Romance Writers!

VRW Founding Members Carole Greene and Cynthia Holt Johnson
VRW Founding Members Carole Greene and Cynthia Holt Johnson
Meg Adams and I showing off our certificates.

Then came the grand finale – the announcement of the Fool for Love and HOLT Medallion winners. I’m so pleased fellow VRW member and writer friend Meg Adams took home 1st place in the Fool for Love contest in the Published Authors division, and it was such a thrill to share in the excitement and giddiness of the other winners.

I was thrice-nominated, an unbelievable honor, and while I didn’t win (and I didn’t expect to), it was such a joy to be a part of this great day. But I’m now the very happy owner of three certificates of merit:

Thank you to the Virginia Romance Writers for all they do in supporting all of us in our writing careers. What a fantastic group of people, and I’m so proud to be able to say I’m a part of it.

I look as startled as I felt to be garbed in a fancy dress - with a fascinator!
I look as startled as I felt to be garbed in a fancy dress – with a fascinator!

A Matter of Time is a HOLT Finalist!

HOLT Medal

amatteroftimesmallI’m excited and absolutely FLOORED to tell you all that A Matter of Time is a DOUBLE Finalist in the Virginia Romance Writers’ HOLT Medallion Contest in the Paranormal and Best Book by a Virginia Author categories!

Excuse me while I go hyperventilate, do the Snoopy dance, and fantasize about inhaling vast amounts of chocolate.

THANK YOU to the Virginia Romance Writers and the HOLT judges for this tremendous honor.

And thank YOU, my friends, family, fellow authors, and fellow readers, for making this possible. WAHOO!

Winners will be announced June 11th. Wish me luck, won’t you? 

Writer Wednesday: Meet Kathleen Mix!

Kathleen MixHeya hiya hoya, it’s Wednesday! #WriterWednesday, that is, and we’ve got Virginia Romance Writer and romantic suspense author Kathleen Mix with us, talking romance and more!

I have the pleasure of having met Kathleen several times in person, and she’s delightful.

*She* might keep in you in suspense, but I won’t – read on and learn more about Kathleen and her work!

sinsWhat inspires you to write?

The people in my stories are my biggest inspiration, To me, they’re not just characters in a fantasy, but real. And, I need to know how they’ll react when life throws obstacles into their path. Most of all, I want to know they’ll be all right.

Which type of romance do you love most, and why?

I write romantic suspense because the genre contains what I want to read. I enjoy stories where the internal and external problems facing the hero and heroine combine to make getting together seem unlikely. The excitement of the physical danger enhances the romance.

Secret StrangerWhat fellow romance author do you recommend reading, and why?

I know you want one author, but with so many excellent ones to choose from I’m going to stretch my answer to two. I am a big fan of Roxanne St. Claire because she grabs my emotions.

And I never miss a book by Jennifer Crusie. She can somehow combine perfect characters, great conflicts, and flawless structure into a story any romance author would be well to emulate.

Beyond ParadiseWhat one piece of advice do you wish you’d had when first starting out?

I wish I had known that the journey only begins with the first sale. The hard work of finding new ideas and trying to make your next book better than the last is never over.

There is no silver bullet. Authors need to prepare for the long haul. Those who love the work wouldn’t have it any other way.

ImpossibleRansom500A Bit About Impossible Ransom (from Entangled Select Suspense):

The one man she hates is the only one who can save her…

Working as part of a yacht crew sounded like the perfect escape for senator’s daughter Val Ferrell. Glorious Caribbean beaches, turquoise seas, and freedom from her overbearing father? Heaven. But when the ship is hijacked by violent men—who want to use Val to get to her father—Val’s fantasy turns into a nightmare. Now her only hope is the ship’s captain, who happens to be her ex-lover.

After disobeying an order, covert operative Nick O’Shea’s been assigned yacht captain duty. Working side-by-side with the tiny blonde who makes him crazy—and keeping his hands off her—was definitely punishment. But when Val’s life is endangered, Nick must choose between staying aboard and fighting to retake the boat or risking their lives by attempting an escape to an isolated Caribbean island. With the ransom deadline rapidly approaching, he’s running out of time…

Find Impossible Ransom here:

writingA Bit About Kathleen:    

Kathleen Mix is a multi-published author of romance and romantic suspense.

Years ago, she escaped the structured life of a computer nerd and database administrator and moved aboard her sailboat with her husband and a reluctant Sheltie. They headed south to the Caribbean, and she wrote non-fiction travel and sailing articles. But since she was sailing under starlit skies and walking on the world’s most beautiful white-sand beaches, her thoughts soon turned to romance and suspense. She started writing fiction while anchored in the Virgin Islands, and the rest, as they say, is now history.

Currently, Kathleen lives in Virginia. For book excerpts and pictures of her boat visit

To connect with Kathleen please visit:


Thanks so much for joining us, Kathleen! It’s been a pleasure hosting you. 🙂  

Writer Wednesday: Meet Caryn McGill!

carynmOh, the spring weather has arrived at last, and it is glorious here in Virginia!

You know what else is glorious? Having fellow Virginia Romance Writer Caryn McGill here for Writer Wednesday! Caryn is such a fun and sweet lady, and I’m so proud to be able to share her with you today. So please read on to learn more about Caryn and her provocatively titled new book, The Wives of Lucifer. (I totally want to read that based on title alone. Don’t you?)

MusicButterflyWhat inspires you to write?

Music, TV, and film inspire me. A simple lyric can spark a story. I’m a big fan of the “what if” method. I take an anecdote, story or real-life situation and wonder what would happen if I just blow it up. Where will the pieces fall? What would I do in that situation? The possibilities are mind-boggling. And fun! Continue reading Writer Wednesday: Meet Caryn McGill!

It’s Good To Get Off The Interstate, In Life And In Writing…

MountainViewUsually, the monthly Virginia Romance Writers meetings take place in Richmond. To get there, I simply hop on interstates 81 and 64, and two hours later, I’ve arrived. It’s fast. It’s familiar. It’s not particularly relaxing.

This past weekend, the VRW meeting happened in Fredericksburg. Let me tell you, there is no direct interstate route between Harrisonburg and Fredericksburg. Oh, I could take interstates, but it’d actually tack time onto the trip. Instead, I dutifully followed Google and traversed the smaller highways, 33 and 20.

It was heavenly. It was stunning. It was an unexpectedly delightful experience, both coming and going. Continue reading It’s Good To Get Off The Interstate, In Life And In Writing…