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Bell Acres resident co-founded local chapter of romance authors

| Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, 4:04 p.m.
Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Author Sheridan Edmondson works on her third novel at her desk inside her Bell Acres home Friday, Aug. 23, 2013.
Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Author Sheridan Edmondson poses for a photo at her desk inside her Bell Acres home Friday, Aug. 23, 2013.
Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
A kitten named Leia lays on a desk while author Sheridan Edmondson works on her third novel inside her Bell Acres home Friday, Aug. 23, 2013.

The main goals of the Three Rivers Romance Writers group are education, togetherness and — ultimately — publication.

“Mostly writers are solitary people, but I think they want to connect. They just don't know where to go. So, I'm hoping getting the word out about this group will bring more writers together,” said Sheridan Edmondson, of Bell Acres, co-founder of the group with Sheila Larkin of Hampton.

The club, formed in January, meets at 10 a.m. on the fourth Saturday of each month, mostly at Sewickley Public Library, 500 Thorn St., and occasionally at the Bridgeville Public Library.

So far, it has attracted 22 members.

Although several members and former members have published books, Edmondson said most have not.

They attend meetings to learn about a variety of writing topics, mostly from those who have had stories published.

Afterward, members and speakers often go out for a bite, where members are encouraged to “pick the brains” of the author.

Last week, Stephanie Keyes of Bethel Park, who has penned several fantasy romance novels through Michigan-based InkSpell Publishing, spoke about “Showing, not Telling.”

Keyes, a member of the group, said it is important to connect with other writers whenever possible.

“Not only can you learn from them, but it works the other way around. Information sharing amongst fellow writers is simply invaluable,” she said.

Keyes said members are working to “fill a gap in this area. The program is well thought out, and the members are enthusiastic.”

Bonnie Forsythe of Butler, a member who spoke to the group about critiquing others' work, said the club “is truly a writers' community.

“I have learned that making the hour drive south has been well worth my time, not only because we've had some terrific presenters at our meetings, but because I've met some wonderful local writers and have fostered professional relationships within the group,” said Forsythe, an unpublished author who writes contemporary romance, paranormalromance and urban fantasy.

Other scheduled guests include Gwyn Cready, of Mt. Lebanon, a supporting club member, who will speak on “When Bad Things Happen to Good Authors,” at 10 a.m. on Sept. 28 in the Bridgeville library.

She has received theRomance Writers of America RITA award for Best Paranormal Romance, named after RWA's first president, Rita Clay Estrada, and RWA's Golden Heart award for unpublished works.

Both are given each year at the organization's conference. She is the author of six novels through Pocket Books of New York.

Shannon Godwin, an editor with Entangled Publishing LLC, an online, e-book publishing company, will speak about the publishing industry on Oct. 26 in the Sewickley library and take “book pitches” from club members.

The club will raffle off a critique with her for members.

Edmondson said a former member received a 10-book deal with Entangled publishing house.

The group is planning a writers' retreat the second weekend in October.

“It will be a time when members can focus on their writing, bond with other writers and have some fun,” said Edmondson, who has written three yet-unpublished historical romance novels and is working on a fourth.

Before starting the group, she and Larkin attended a romance writing group in Cleveland for three years, but wanted something closer to home.

They decided to form their own group, which is in the process of becoming a RWA chapter.

So far, she said, all members are women and romance writers, but the group is open to men and writers of other genres.

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or jbarron@tribweb.com.

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