Yosemite Romance Writers & Desperate Hearts by Diane Story: Book Review

Mar 5, 2011 | Books & Tales, Contributors, Every Other Book, Marilyn Meredith

by Sheri Humphreys
& Marilyn Meredith

Sheri Humphreys shares with KRL about a wonderful writer’s group right here in the Fresno area, the Yosemite Romance Writers, and Marilyn Meredith then reviews a book by one of the group’s authors, Diane Story.

Two years ago a small group of women founded Yosemite Romance Writers, Inc. (YRW) as a chapter of Romance Writers of America® (RWA). Although the Fresno/Kings/Madera area had several different fiction writing groups established, nothing was available for writers specializing in romantic fiction. Yosemite Romance Writers, which meets in Fresno, currently has twenty-five members in various stages of their writing careers—some new to writing, some with completed manuscripts and seeking publication, and some with numerous published novels to their credit. A variety of subgenres of romance are represented, including paranormal, historical, romantic suspense, young adult, western, and contemporary.

The chapter’s monthly meetings offer opportunities to hone writing skills with speakers, workshops and writer resources. YRW also provides a forum where romance writers can encourage each other and become part of a fellowship of friends who share in the joys and disappointments of the professional writing journey.
Among this year’s YRW speakers are a literary agent and a New York Times bestselling author. YRW also offered members The Smooch, a romantic short story contest. Published judges provided entrants with detailed critiques of their work.

In addition to the benefits offered by Yosemite Romance Writers, members also have the resources of its parent organization, Romance Writers of America®. More than 10,000 romance writers and related industry professionals are members of RWA, a nonprofit organization and one of the largest writers’ associations.

RWA has 145 local, on-line and special interest chapters which offer education, networking and professional advocacy for individuals writing romantic fiction. Up-to-date details of the publishing industry are distributed each month and an annual national conference offers a multitude of professional opportunities. Workshops on everything from writing craft to submission to promotion of book sales and marketing are available from best selling romance authors and industry professionals. Conference attendees also meet literary agents and editors from top publishing houses. RWA sponsors the Golden Heart and the RITA awards. The awards pay tribute to excellence in unpublished and published romance fiction. The presentation ceremony is an exciting Academy Awards-type evening, the Golden Heart and RITA as coveted as an Oscar.

An award-winning member of YRW is Debra Salonen, whose novel Until He Met Rachel was just awarded Romantic Times Book Reviews Reviewers Choice Best Superromance of 2010. Salonen’s twenty-eighth novel, Return to the Black Hills, will be released in April followed in May by the final book in her 9-book Spotlight on Sentinel Pass series, A Father’s Quest.

Another published Yosemite Romance Writers member is Sharon Lathan, whose sixth book in her Darcy Series, The Trouble with Mr. Darcy, comes out in April. Lathan finds YRW “a fabulous collection of ladies who love writing, love romance, and love sharing themselves and their knowledge with others. Joining this group nearly two years ago was one of the best fortunes in my career path.”

Sheri Humphreys, current president of Yosemite Romance Writers, is seeking a publisher for her first novel. Humphreys says one of the best things about YRW is the face-to-face connection with successful authors. She regards Salonen and Lathan as mentors, friends and inspirations. “Debra, Sharon and the other YRW members make me believe I can succeed as a writer. Their support makes a huge difference.”

More information about YRW is available on their website or by emailing Sheri Humphreys at yrwpres@yahoo.com.

Check out YRW’s event page here at KRL to see what speakers they have coming up.

Sheri Humphreys lives in Clovis, is a retired nurse and the current YRW president. She writes historical romance and is seeking a publisher for her first novel.

Desperate Hearts by Diane Story

Review by Marilyn Meredith

For those of you who love historical romance, Desperate Hearts is for you. Set in Oregon Territory during 1866, Chantel Aubachon is the strong, beautiful heroine desperate to help the town she serves as mayor. The town is suffering because of nearby goldmines.

Determined to be a stumbling block to the mines, she dresses like man, wears a bandana over her face, and robs a stage, stealing the gold Harper Barnes has mined. What Chantel doesn’t know is Harper was taking the money to his aunt who desperately needs the money for an orphanage she runs.

It isn’t long before Harper visits Chantel and immediately realizes that she is the one who robbed him. Chantel feels an instant attraction to the handsome man, an attraction that is mixed with dislike and disgust because of the problems the gold mining is causing to the town. As in most romances, the sexual attraction between the two is immediate but there is much to keep these two apart. With plenty of action when both Chantel and Harper are being pursued, the story moves quickly as the reader sees both the hero’s and heroine’s lives being threatened as Chantel tries to find the missing gold and find out the answers to many questions including some about Harper.

Diane Story has written a quick moving and sensual romance with plenty of thrills and adventure to keep the reader turning pages.

Highly recommended for readers of romance.

Marilyn Meredith is a Springville, CA mystery author and an ongoing contributor to our Local Literary section. Be sure to visit her website; fictionforyou.com



  1. Kings River Life article on YRW | YRW News & Blog - [...] Follow this link to read the entire article: Yosemite Romance Writers in Kings River Life [...]

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