GDRWA meets the third Tuesday of every month except July and December from 7:30 - 10:00 p.m. (unless otherwise notified) at the Royal Oak Senior Center located on 3500 Marais Road in Royal Oak, Michigan, 48073.

We are dedicated to supporting the writing goals of all our members through networking, featured speakers covering topics on craft or business, critique sessions, and pitch practice. We work to provide a stimulating and productive environment for both the aspiring and the professional writer.

2018 Dates:

For more details about the meeting programs, please scroll down.

January 16

Isabelle Drake presents How the Magic Happens: Scene Structure Simplified.

April 17

Rachel Aaron presents 2,000 to 10,000: How to Write Faster, Write Better, and Write More of What You Love

July 18 - 21

GDRWA is on break to attend RWA national conference held in Denver, CO!

October 16

Aliza Mann presents "Creating the Perfect Presence." Open to guests.

February 20

Hero Night - Listen and ask questions from a panel of heroes.

May 15

R.C. Matthews presents the Top 5 Lessons for New Authors

August 21

Alyssa Alexander presents The Funnel of Love: Plotting from a Panster Beginning. Open to guests.

November 20

Critique night! Bring 3 pages to be read aloud and critiqued by members of GDRWA. Closed to guests.

March 20


June 19

Janna Bonikowski of the Knight Agency will critique pages of our members! Closed to guests.

September 18

Tori Lynne presents Sex Positive Writing for Romance. Open to guests.

December 11

GRDWA is on break for the holiday! We will meet at a location to be announced for dinner, prizes and fun. Closed to guests.

Isabelle Drake - pic

January - Isabelle Drake

How the Magic Happens: Scene Structure Simplified

Scenes are the building blocks of story, the chunks of action where the story unfolds. Each one contains a goal and conflict. Each delivers an outcome. Sound simple? It is. Then why can they so tricky to write? An a tangle to revise? The goal of this session is to demystify scene structure, offer the “rules” and then consider when and how to break those rules. *Bring one of your scenes in progress to make the most of the hands-on portion.

Isabelle Drake got her start writing confession stories for pulp magazines like True Confessions and True Love. Since publishing those first few stories she has written in multiple genres, earned and MFA in Creative Writing and became an English & Writing Professor. When away from her keyboard, she watches films, especially classic noir, horror and romance, and reads (of course). An avid traveler, she'll go just about anywhere--at least once--to meet people and get ideas. Find Isabelle as Isabelle Drake on Facebook, Youtube and Goodreads & @isabelledrake on Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr & isadrake on Snapchat.

February - Hero Night

Come join us for an evening of learning the ins and outs of being a hero so you can make the scenes in your story resonate with authenticity. See firefighter and police officer gear up close. Find out the right way to handle equipment or react to a situation. Ask questions and get candid answers from our panel of real life heroes!


March - Kathy Lyons

Kathy Lyons is the wild, adventurous half of USA TODAY bestselling author Jade Lee.


Having trouble locking down your characters? Every time you start a book thinking you’ve got them, do they wiggle away from you halfway through? Or maybe they just feel bland? Join USA Today Bestseller Kathy Lyons / Jade Lee in her Master’s Class in Characterization and get the answers you need. It’s not the typical fill out this character sheet thing. There are over a dozen different directions to explore your characters. Not all will work for you, but one might be perfect for your WIP and another will jump out for the next. Some techniques will naturally lead to more plot, others will inform the setting, and then there’s that all important love story. Every technique will make the romance richer and more deeply emotional.

April - Rachel Aaron

Rachel Aaron is the author of thirteen novels, including the award winning HEARTSTRIKERS series about dragons in magical Detroit and THE LEGEND OF ELI MONPRESS Fantasy novels, published by Orbit Books. She also writes Romantic Science Fiction under the name Rachel Bach. Other than her novels, the internet knows her best for writing very fast. Her bestselling writing book, 2K TO 10K: WRITING BETTER, WRITING FASTER, AND WRITING MORE OF WHAT YOU LOVE, has helped tens of thousands of authors double their daily word counts. To learn more about Rachel and read samples of all her books, visit!

2,000 to 10,000: How to Write Faster, Write Better, and Write More of What You Love

Multiply published novelist Rachel Aaron discusses how she increased her daily writing from 2,000 words to over 10,000 words a day without sacrificing quality or working herself to death. At a time when we're expected to produce quality fiction faster than ever, being efficient is key. This presentation will focus on practical strategies to help you cut through the dross and spend your precious writing time in the most productive (and fun) way possible. We'll look at world building, story structure, character driven plots, and how knowing what you're going to write before you write it can drastically improve your daily output. Whether you're a pantser or a plotter, it is absolutely possible to improve your writing speed and write more of the books you love!


May - R.C. Matthews

Top 5 Lessons for New Authors
R.C. Matthews provides insights to beginner and intermediate writers on the use of dialogue tags, how to identify and replace stilted dialogue, breaking away from boring prose or dialogue, the meaning of 'show, don't tell', and the dangers of overusing character names. The course also touches on five honorable mentions, including passive voice, dangling body parts, data dumping, starting your story too soon, and unnecessary filler words. *Members are welcome to email 3 pages one month in advance to for critiques.
R.C. Matthews is a member of GDRWA and the author of twelve contemporary and historical romances featuring bold, sassy heroines and magnetic alpha heroes. Warning! The chemistry between her characters is off the charts hot, so read at your own risk. You can find out more about R.C. Matthews and her works-in-progress at

June - Janna Bonikowski

Critique night with Janna Bonikowski of The Knight Agency.

Janna Bonikowski joined the Knight Agency in 2015
with several years of experience as both an
independent editor and a freelance editor for Lyrical
Press/Kensington. She holds a Bachelor’s degree
focused on business and economics, but her passion
for books made a career in publishing inevitable.
Janna is looking for established or new authors with
fresh, bold voices that keep her turning pages. She
craves authentic and diverse casts of characters,
and she loves stories that evoke emotion, whether
laughter or tears, especially when centered around
strong women.
Her current wish list includes romance of all types,
women's fiction, young adult, cozy mystery, and
upmarket fiction. She’s generally not the right fit for
horror or SF/F projects. More information on
submitting can be found at

Janna Bonikowski BW
RWA Conference Logo

July - RWA National Conference

Join Romance Writers of America for RWA2018 at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel in Denver, Colorado, July 18–21.

The RWA Conference is the place where career-focused romance writers gather to make lasting connections and grow their careers—and so much more. When 2,000 romance writers and industry professionals assemble in one place, the sense of community is undeniable.

At the conference, career-focused romance writers can anticipate:

  • education and information,
  • networking with fellow writers,
  • interaction with editors, agents, publishers, vendors, retailers, and other romance publishing industry professionals.

August - Alyssa Alexander

Alyssa Alexander is an award-winning author who survives the cold Michigan winters by penning romance novels that always include a bit of adventure. Her books have been translated into multiple languages, received Top Picks from RT, Publisher Weekly Starred Reviews, and were nominated for RT Best First Historical and the Best First Book Rita®. She has been called a "talented newcomer" and "a rising star you won't want to miss."

The Funnel of Love: Plotting from a Pantser Beginning - Are you a panster? A plotter? Somewhere in between? This workshop will show you how to start with a broad idea and narrow it down to a usable, detailed outline to plot your book. If you prefer to pants your way through a manuscript, you can stop at any stage of the plotting program that works for you. You only have to be as detailed as you want to be. Be sure to arrive armed with paper and pencil!

old typewriter with a red rose

September - Tori Lynne

Tori Lynne is a Sex Educator based in Southeast Michigan. She loves to teach people about pleasure, consent, and sex positivity. She has always been the go-to resource for questions relating to sex and sexual health amongst those that know her. Tori is one of the founding emissaries of the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Sex Geekdom. She believes that finding the Sex-Positive Community has enabled her to help educate new people while connecting her with mentors and peers to support her in that endeavor. Tori’s passions include educating people about alternative lifestyles; helping people to overcome shame relating to sex, sexuality, sexual identity, and lifestyle choices; and creating safe spaces. She feels strongly about helping those that want to break social scripts to find paths that feel authentic to them—as a Beacon of Permission she often finds these opportunities and is able to help people with compassion and empathy.  In addition to being a Sex Geek, Tori is a grammar nerd, supporter of the Oxford Comma, and Joss Whedon fan.

Sex Positive Writing for Romance
Tori Lynne will discuss the topics of sex-positivity, consent, and social scripts. She will discuss ways to eliminate slut-shaming, harmful social scripts, and other sex-negative romance blunders from your writing while not diverging from the story you intend to tell. Tori believes that writers and entertainers have the responsibility to write realistic romance and break traditional sex-negative social scripts. Media molds our expectations of reality (even through fiction/fantasy) and your writing has the ability to change the world—let’s find ways to make the world better! This workshop will discuss common pitfalls as well as some tactics for avoiding them.
Topics that will be focused on:
·      Consent
·      Safer/Risk-aware Sex
·      Negotiations
·      Shame
·      Social-scripts

October - Aliza Mann

Welcome former GDRWA president Aliza Mann for a fabulous presentation on "Creating the Perfect Presence." The publishing industry can be a brutal place, especially for authors who are usually introverts. It doesn’t get better when it’s time to walk out there to face agents, publishers and readers. It is more important than ever to build a presence, which will further your career and market your books. There are three key influencers to how you, the author, is perceived and all of them are 100% within your control. This presentation is intended to give you helpful tips to help you cultivate your brand, without pulling your hair out.

Couple kissing at the bench at alley.

November - Critique Night

Every year we dedicate one meeting to critique night. Please bring 3 printed pages of your current work-in-progress to be read aloud and critiqued by our GDRWA members. All authors bringing pages must notify the president in advance of the meeting at as there is limited time for 8 - 10 critiques. First come / first serve.

December - Celebration!

Members of GDRWA are welcome to join us at a location to be announced on the second Tuesday of December at 6:30 p.m. to celebrate another year of our chapter, recognize the winner of our Joan Shapiro service award for 2018, receive prizes, and have fun! An invitation to sign up will be mailed in November 2018 by the chapter president.


Holiday Party 2017
Stack of books isolated on the white

A Recap of 2017 Speakers

Jan - Sonali Dev - Culture of Your Story

Feb - Sylvia Hubbard - Master Your Website

Mar - Matrice Hussey - What an Editor Wants

Apr - Elizabeth Harmon - Falling for Beta

May - Hero Panel - Life in the day of a hero!

Jun - Donna MacMeans - How to Make Your Readers Love Your Characters

Jul - National RWA Conference in Orlando

Aug - Beth Yarnall - Going Deep Into Deep Point of View

Sep - Danica Winters - Social Media and Marketing

Oct - Practice Your Pitch with GDRWA

Nov - Critique Night

Dec - Holiday Party

How to Join...

General membership in GDRWA is open to all persons seriously pursuing a writing career in the romance genre.  Associate membership is open to other related professionals, who are members in good standing of National RWA. Click here to find out more.