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Bio and Vision Statement for Karen Steele
Candidate for RWA Director
Region Three

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  1. 1. Election Statement August 21, 2009 Karen Steele Writing as Ember Case C A N D I D A T E F O R R W A D I R E C T O R , R E G I O N T H R E E BIOGRAPHY CANDIDATE Q & A Basic Information: Member of RWA since __2006__ PRO Member Published in novel-length romantic fiction? __No___ Published in any other genre or form? __Yes__ Karen Steele lives with her husband and two children in Flor- Please list recent publications and publishers. ida. Under the name Flawed, from Samhain Publishing. Ember Case, she Hunting the Huntress, from Samhain Publishing writes for Samhain Publishing. (Cont. on page 2) Karen joined Passion- ate Ink in 2006. She has served the chap- ter as Treasurer, Web- site Administrator, V I S I O N S T A T E M E N T Contest Coordinator, and on numerous The national organization and its chapters must continue to move forward in their efforts to find committees. She is new and innovative ways to advance the interests of their members. Changes in how books are also a member of ESPAN and the First published have affected every publishing house from New York to London and the smaller pub- Coast Romance Writ- lishing offices between. Advances, print runs, and marketing have all felt the impact. These ers. An active mem- changes have come more frequently in the past few years than at any time since the Gutenberg ber of Romance Writ- press, and have created ripples that are impacting every aspect of publication. ers of America, she has previously served as contest judge and Already these changes influence writers and readers through changing markets and financial conference volun- dynamics, and they will continue to present both opportunities and challenges to the nearly teer. 10,000 members of RWA. To advance the professional interests of its members, the organiza- tion will need to widen its horizons and expand efforts to educate itself and all of its career- Karen is also a graphic artist, and has focused writers on these rapidly shifting markets. There is no single "right" way to write; there been a small business is no single "right" way to publish. I wish to work with the board as RWA continues to grow owner for over 15 into an organization that serves and advocates for every one of its members. years. To learn more about her writing, visit Please contact me at ember @ with any questions. I’d love to hear from you!
  2. 2. PAGE 2 Please list your previous service at the national or chapter level. I joined Passionate Ink in 2006. Since joining I have served the chapter as Treasurer, Website Administrator, Con- test Coordinator, Booknotes and Bookshelf Coordinator, BIAW organizer, Literacy Basket coordinator, and on nu- merous committees such as contest restructuring and event planning . I am also a member of ESPAN and the First Coast Romance Writers. I have volunteered to serve on national com- mittees or task forces although I have not yet been tapped to serve, and have previously served as contest judge for the Golden Heart and conference volunteer at the 2006 and 2008 conferences. List your chapter affiliations and/or memberships in other writers' organizations. Passionate Ink is the chapter with which I have been most closely involved. I applied to join Passionate Ink at the same time I joined RWA in 2006. I’ve also found great support in the online chapters with ESPAN, FF&P, RWAOL, and most recently with the enthusiastic and talented writers of the First Coast Romance Writers, my local chapter. I am also an active member of Romance Divas, a dues-free online group for romance writers. I’ve been a modera- tor there since soon after joining in 2006, and since have helped develop or moderate the blog, newsletter, forums, author and publisher chat areas of the community. Additional Information: Do you have any relevant experience outside of RWA or what chapter service (volunteer or paid) do you have that would be a benefit to the organization and your board service? Outside of RWA I’ve had a broad range of work experience that ranges from several years as event planner and or- ganizer for two national corporations, to fifteen years as a small business owner serving individual client needs. I’ve been an active member of the PTA at several schools, as well as volunteering in their committees and fundrais- ers. These experiences have taught me that willingness to face hard work, an open mind to all ideas and view- points, and clear communication are the strongest tools for approaching any job. Serving on the board of a chapter with several hundred members has given me a deeper appreciation for the di- verse backgrounds and interests of RWA’s membership. But it has also proven to me that at the core we are all interested in the same thing. We are all writers looking to learn, to meet other authors and publishing profession- als, to grow our craft and our careers. These shared goals and interests are what bring us together and give the organization its strength. Do you feel RWA is meeting the needs of its members? Why or why not? I believe the past few years have presented the board with an unusual combination of challenges. As the industry undergoes rapid change publishers have already begun to explore different financial models, technological ad- vances, and marketing opportunities. The future boards of RWA must act responsibly to educate both the board and the organization’s members on what these changes will mean to their careers.
  3. 3. PAGE 3 What do you feel is your best accomplishment within RWA to date? During my time as a chapter member I’ve been involved in projects such as website redesign and new software integration, communications and publications expansion, bylaw revision, contest coordinator, and streamlining of membership renewal. But I think my proudest moment was in 2008, when I was awarded the Angela Knight Ser- vice Award by the Passionate Ink chapter. Angela Knight was one of the founders of Passionate Ink, and has con- tinued to demonstrate dedication, loyalty, and exemplary service to the chapter. She is also an amazing person, in addition to being a talented, hard working author. Being chosen to receive an award bearing her name was an overwhelming honor. Why did you join RWA? Why do you continue to be a member? I joined RWA when I committed myself to making writing a career. The professional support and personal connec- tions I have found in RWA have helped my growth as a writer, and helped me develop a strategic plan for my own writing career that includes craft, research, and career development. I continue to be a member due to my belief in the organization, and because of the relationships with other like- minded authors I’ve formed. The energy and enthusiasm of the other writers in RWA is a powerful motivator, and the friendships I’ve made here are amazing. There’s no friend like a friend who’s also a writer. If you could improve one thing about RWA, what would it be? I admire the hard work done by so many previous board and staff members over the past several decades. They have selflessly given their time and more than a little sweat and tears to develop Romance Writers of America into an organization that puts advancing the interests of its membership first, and is still able to grow and change as the needs of its members change. I would like to see the board better educate itself so it is positioned to make decisions and take action based on current information about the industry. Decisions that are made proactively rather than in reaction to change, while embracing the ideal in the policy manual of “with future focus rather than past or present”, will allow the board to govern and serve its membership from a position of strength. Why have you chosen to run for office? I believe wholeheartedly in the principles and goals with which RWA was founded. The 37 original members of RWA united with one common purpose, to grow their careers, and with a willingness to support one other as they all strived to reach their goals. This shared pursuit is just as important for our members today as it was nearly 30 years ago. No member has to feel alone when they have thousands of fellow writers around the globe to turn to with their successes or problems. It will take strong leadership to continue guiding RWA as the organization faces new challenges and explores devel- oping opportunities. I believe the organization needs board members committed to educating themselves on where Romance Writers of America came from, and looking with sharp eyes at where insightful and balanced leadership can take us. My enthusiasm for hard work, open mind to new approaches, and belief that RWA can continue to develop and grow have led me to run for office. What issues would you feel compelled to bring to the board during your tenure? What plans or projects do you feel it would benefit RWA to address? The issues and concerns brought to me by the members I would represent would be my compelling focus. As a re- gional director it would be both duty and privilege to hear from any member of RWA who has questions or sugges- tions, and become their voice on the board. Romance Writers of America has laid a strong foundation of support for the national organization. I would like to explore different ways that strong foundation can be used to bring the many diverse members of RWA together, instead of building walls of division between them.