DARA News



We’ve all heard it, that our strong heroines are “unlikeable.” Romance author Angelina M. Lopez’s novels about strong women and worthy men “thrum with desire, while still delivering knockout twists and turns” (Entertainment Weekly) and are “sexy, emotional and pitch-perfect” (NPR). Angelina will break down how to create unique alpha heroines – regardless whether she kicks ass or not -- that your readers will root for. She’ll discuss what makes an alpha heroine (it’s not what you think), tips for bumping up the “alpha” in your female characters, and how to wrestle the “unlikeable” elephant in the room. Join us for a short social time at 9 am central time, followed by a brief business meeting at 9:30 am. Our speaker starts about 10 am. DARA meetings are held the fourth Saturday of each month from January to October. We're currently meeting on Zoom -- to invite a friend, please contact our Membership Chair, Priya Ardis, at info@dallasarearomanceauthors.com. About Angelina M Lopez When my kindergarten teacher asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up, I wrote "arthur." Since then, I've been a journalist for an acclaimed city newspaper, a freelance magazine writer, and a content marketer for small businesses. And I learned how to spell the word “author” correctly. I write sexy stories about fierce women and the men lucky to fall in love with them. I’m a lifelong romance reader and fan, and a champion of the concept that good art doesn’t have to make you feel bad. Romance writers are re-writing the script about the meaningfulness of pleasure, joy, escapism, and fantasy in art, and I’m proud and honored to be part of that movement, a movement led primarily by women, for women. Unfortunately and for too long, women who looked like me writing characters of color didn’t get a seat at the table. Today’s romance authors are changing that. I like to say I write adult fairytales when I’m discussing the escapism and over-the-top bonkersness of my books. But my belief that people of color deserve to be the recipients of joy, pleasure, fantasy and happily ever afters is very, very real. The fact that my parents own a vineyard certainly seems fairytale like. I can’t promise I will always write about wine like I did in my first series. But my Instagram seems to showcase that pleasure of the moments — wine, cocktails, food, fun, family, friends, Supernatural — will always be part of what I deliver. My first book in a new high-heat, small town, Latinx series, After Hours on Milagro Street, is a book very close to my heart. It’s about my family, a large, multi-generational Mexican-American family in southeast Kansas, and I’m thrilled it’s already received two starred reviews and raves from Entertainment Weekly and Booklist! It will be available July 26. The first two books in my first series — Lush Money, named a Top 10 romance debut of 2020, and Hate Crush — also received rave reviews from Entertainment Weekly, NPR, and Booklist. To learn more about Angelina, visit her at http://www.angelinamlopez.com/

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Everyone is invited to join us on June 25 to hear Michael La Bonn talk about how to Be a Writing Maching. Join us for a short social time at 9 am central time, followed by a brief business meeting at 9:30 am. Our speaker starts about 10 am.

DARA meetings are held the fourth Saturday of each month from January to October. We're currently meeting on Zoom -- to invite a friend, please contact our Membership Chair, Priya Ardis, at info@dallasarearomanceauthors.com.

About Michael La Ronn

Michael La Ronn is the author of over 80 science fiction & fantasy novels and self-help books for writers. His books include The Good Necromancer series, The Last Dragon Lord series, and the Android X series, to name just a few. His writing is about heroes rising up against incredible odds to be the best possible versions of themselves.

Michael devoted himself to the writing life in 2012 after a near-death experience with a deadly illness. Realizing that life was too short to die without pursuing his passions, he dedicated himself to being an industry-savvy author, marketer, and entrepreneur.

When he’s not writing novels, Michael runs the popular YouTube channel, Author Level Up, where he publishes weekly advice videos for writers. Author Level Up has over 40,000 subscribers and nearly 2 million lifetime views.

To give back to the community that has given so much to him, Michael also serves on the staff of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) as their Outreach Manager. ALLi is a nonprofit for self-published writers whose mission is ethics and excellence in self-publishing. He co-hosts the AskAlli Member Q&A Podcast where he answers new writers’ most burning questions about self-publishing.

Michael is a dynamic public speaker and is an expert on productivity, writing business & craft. His main focus is writing the best books he can and helping other writers to do the same.

Michael was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri and is a proud St. Louisan. He currently lives in Des Moines, Iowa with his wife and his daughter.

You can find his fiction at michaellaronn.com and his videos and books for writers at authorlevelup.com.




If you’re writing fiction, chances are a legal thread runs through your story. On screen or on the page, legal issues are often central to plots and backstory.


In mysteries and thrillers, past crimes may surface with present ramifications. Law enforcement officers and P.I.s need to know what’s legal and what isn’t. Amateur sleuths—the chef, gardener, or librarian—may start digging because they fear police won’t investigate or will nab the wrong suspect.


The law figures in mainstream and literary novels, too. And legal plots don’t require a crime. With a good storyteller, civil law can be gripping. Think of the possibilities in adoption (Jacquelyn Mitchard’s A Theory of Relativity; Ann Patchett’s Run), inheritance (Dickens’ Bleak House), even insurance (Double Indemnity, Billy Wilder’s movie based on James M. Cain’s novella).


But the law can be confusing, too. It changes constantly, and varies from state to state. Information and misinformation abound. Plus most of us, thank goodness, live happy lives without facing serious legal trouble. What follows is one lawyer-novelist’s list of common mistakes—and tips on avoiding them.


Everyone is invited to join us on May 28 to hear Leslie Budewitz explain the mistakes authors make when writing about the law. Join us for a short social time at 9 am central time, followed by a brief business meeting at 9:30 am. Our speaker starts about 10 am.


DARA meetings are held the fourth Saturday of each month from January to October. We're currently meeting on Zoom -- to get an invite to the Zoom room, please contact our Membership Chair, Priya Ardis, at info@dallasarearomanceauthors.com.


Naima Simone

About Leslie Budewitz


Leslie Budewitz blends her passion for food, great mysteries, and the Northwest in two cozy mystery series, the Spice Shop mysteries set in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, and the Food Lovers’ Village mysteries, set in NW Montana. She’ll make her suspense debut with BITTERROOT LAKE, written as Alicia Beckman, in April 2021. A three-time Agatha-Award winner (2011, Best Nonfiction; 2013, Best First Novel; 2018, Best Short Story), she is a past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America. She lives and cooks in NW Montana.

Suspense Magazine calls her books “pure enjoyment.” Library Journal reviewer Lesa Holstine calls them “a treat for the senses.”

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