Critique Group Profile: Broken Writers

I belong to three separate critique groups, all of which offer support and varying shades of purpose in my writing life. I wanted to take this time to profile the lovely ladies who keep me sane and make me a better storyteller. Both roles are equally important and appreciated!

Today I'm talking about the Broken Writers. All of us are relatively local, and we meet monthly in Chicago for in-person gab sessions, goal-setting, and general therapy. We'll called Broken Writers because, well, part of our gab therapy is bitching about what ails us physically. We're not old...we're just faulty.

Deb Gross doesn't have a homepage, but you can read about her on Brenda Novak's list of folks who contributed time to her recent auction. A former corporate warrior, Deb is snarky, quick, and incredibly driven. I rely on her when I need a tiger who's got my back, or when I need someone to find me tasty adult beverages. She's been on a hot streak lately with several contest placements for PRIOR SINS, her dark, nasty-ass thriller.

Joelle Charbonneau-Blanco doesn't have a homepage yet either, the silly girl. She's a mother, model, actress, singer, and writer of fun, funky mysteries. Just having landed her dream agent, she's set to take the world of mystery publishing head-on. She and Deb are very tight, having bonded over the excruciating trial of putting on Chicago North's Spring Fling conference in 2008. She's the most consistently optimistic person I know, and no one can stay in a bad mood around her. Well, at least I can't!

Nancy J. Parra is a jack-of-all-romances, having published nine titles with Avalon. She keeps her options and her creative mind open, while staying very market savvy. I lose track of how many submissions she has out there at any given time. Nancy is wry and quiet, especially compared to the rest of us talkative bitches, but her comments are always spot-on, regarding both the publishing business and particular manuscripts.

Liz Powell, now going by Mari, is my very dear friend. Back before we knew each other, she was one of the judges who helped WHAT A SCOUNDREL WANTS final in the Wisconsin RWA's Fab Five. Later, when I joined WisRWA's loop and mentioned that I'd moved to Kenosha, she contacted me and asked if I wanted to meet up. We hit it off straight away and have been close ever since. She was one of the first people I called when I sold. Oh, and did I mention that she was RITA nominated?? She is, quite simply, an incredible writer.

Love you gals! See you in July!

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