May 13: Selected Writing Prompt

Rome Area Writers is holding its next meeting Thursday, May 13, at 6 p.m. via Zoom. The meeting will feature pieces written in response to a prompt submitted by one of our members.

The prompt, submitted by Kirsti Lund, is: “Write about a peace-loving person in charge of a constantly disruptive group, OR an adventurous person leading a timid group bent on safety no matter what.”

The RAW officers selected this prompt from a number of member submissions, and we were glad to have so many to choose from!

The meeting link will be emailed to current members. If you’re interested in attending the meeting and are not yet a RAW member, please contact us to request the link. We’d be happy to have you!

April 8: Guest Speaker Mary Anne Edwards

Rome Area Writers is holding its monthly meeting Thursday, April 8, at 6 p.m. via Zoom. The meeting will welcome our guest speaker for the month: Georgia writer Mary Anne Edwards, who will talk about her experiences as an independent author.

Edwards is a mystery author working on the seventh novel in her Detective Charlie McClung series. The first book, Brilliant Disguise, was released to critical acclaim in January 2014. A Good Girl, Criminal Kind, and Sins of my Youth quickly followed. Flirting with Time, the fifth book, was released on June 30, 2017, and the sixth book, How Deep is the Darkness, was released December 2, 2019.

The title for the forthcoming book is Complex Kid, and Edwards is planning at least three more books after that.

As part of a new feature from RAW, we asked Edwards three questions about her work:

Q: What book has influenced your writing the most? 

A: The Midsomer Murder series by Caroline Graham. The lead detective is a regular guy and has a good marriage.

Q: If your characters were real people, which one would you want to meet for coffee?

A: Joan Delany. She is Marian Selby’s best friend. Joan has an interesting past.

Q: Which line from your books are you most proud of?

A: I have a couple of favorites. From How Deep is the Darkness: “He’d seen enough bodies to know when dead is dead. And Myron was dead.”

A Good Girl: “Ah, now my pet, you’ll be callin’ me, Ma. Me gynecologist calls me Mrs. McClung.”

Sins of My Youth: “A pinprick of blood bloomed from his Adam’s apple.”

You can find more information about Edwards and The Charlie McClung Mysteries on her website.

We’re proud to welcome Mary Anne Edwards and we can’t wait to hear from her next week! The meeting link will be emailed to current members. If you’re interested in attending the meeting and are not yet a RAW member, please contact us to request the link. We’d be happy to have you!

February 11: Character Arcs

Rome Area Writers is holding its monthly meeting Thursday, February 11, at 6 p.m. via Zoom. The meeting will feature a presentation about character arcs. We will discuss why character arcs are important to a story and how we can develop effective, engaging character arcs.

The meeting will end with a prompt for March: Write a scene with two characters in which one character has remarkably changed. This change can be for good or ill, and the conversation can be positive, negative, happy, or tense. Consider for the prompt: What questions could the characters ask each other? What would they think, or feel, about the answers they get? Are they in agreement at the end, where they started, or further apart?

The meeting link will be emailed to current members. If you’re interested in attending the meeting and are not yet a RAW member, please please contact to request the link. We’d be happy to have you!

October 8: Painting With Words

Rome Area Writers is holding its monthly meeting Thursday, October 8, at 6 p.m. via Zoom. The meeting will feature readings and responses to this month’s prompt.

Our prompt is “Paint With Words: Show, Don’t Tell.” We’re going to write a scene, or use an excerpt from a piece we’re working on, that demonstrates how we show emotion, action, setting, character thoughts, and other details in our writing rather than telling them to the reader. We ask that prompt responses not exceed 1,200 words. We’ll then read our work at October’s meeting.

The meeting link will be emailed to current members. If you’re interested in attending the meeting and are not yet a RAW member, please contact us to request the link. We’d be happy to have you!

Revisiting Childhood Favorite Reads

I have always been a re-reader. Growing up, when I found a book I adored, it was not unusual for me to read the darn thing two or three times within a few years (or months…) Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine was one such favorite that probably got read something like eight times during the years spanning elementary and middle school. I can still recall the fervent adoration I held for that book. It is one I have savored and one I intend to re-read again with any children I’m blessed with.

I am in the process of adopting a newborn and I’m thinking about all the beloved books of my childhood and wondering, “What books will they read over and over again?” and “What books will they cherish and love for their entire life?” I have so many stories I want to share with my future child. So many tales that stirred in me fervent love and sorrow and excitement.

Books like Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, and Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier. I will admit I have a fiery passion for fantasy stories. Most of my shelves at home are bursting with fiction tales set in imaginary lands with imaginary cultures and nations. I’m a sucker for ANY portal fantasies like The Unicorn Chronicles by Bruce Coville or The Rifter series by Ginn Hale.

Magic and fantasy creatures, too? Count me IN.

Now that I’m in my thirties, I have been systematically re-reading old favorites from my childhood and next up is the Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner. As a child, I read the first book in that series, The Thief on the recommendation from one of my best friends. I LOVED IT. When I grew up, I found out that the book has five sequels! I’ve slowly been collecting these sequels so that when I read The Thief as a grown up, I can follow it up with the rest of the series!

The reason I think many of us end up rereading childhood favorites is the comfort we derive from the beloved familiar. There is something uniquely satisfying about re-entering a world in which you experienced intense and very real emotions. There is nothing like the connection one feels with a favorite character or the fun hatred that comes from despising a particularly well-written villain (or, if you’re like me…the admiration you feel for that villain…)

I can still recall the pleasant, soft-edged memories I have of walking into my middle school library and finding, on a whim, Dragon Sword and Wind Child by Noriko Ogiwara. I was so taken with the unique and interesting story that I remembered it clearly all the way into college. I wanted to read it again so badly that I put myself on Powell’s Books list of rare books in order to obtain it as an adult. Months passed, but finally, the treasured tome was in my hands and it was a GORGEOUS edition complete with illustrations. And, just as in the case of The Thief, there is a sequel to Dragon Sword and Wind Child that I was able to purchase.

What about you? Are you a re-reader? Do you love revisiting old stories that have stuck in your mind for years? If so, what are your favorite books to re-read? Share with us in the comments below!

Leah Sherwin is a freelance writer and social media manager who writes fiction whenever she can squeeze in the time. A consummate geek, she loves to spend her (limited) free time reading, playing Final Fantasy XIV, learning Japanese, and watching anime and fantasy/sci-fi shows.