A Fond Farewell to an NJRW Friend

Life has its ups and downs. But knowing this doesn’t make it any easier when we lose a friend. Unfortunately, a dear NJ Romance Writer member, Valerie Luna, passed away a few days ago. This tragedy is a loss for her family as well as the NJRW family.

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Having only been a member of NJRW for four years, I haven’t known her long, but did get to spend time with Val at RWA Nationals in New York a few years ago. Val also served as a category coordinator for NJRW’s Golden Leaf contest for many, many years. As co-chair, I had the pleasure of talking with Val about how much she enjoyed reading the entries, collecting the scores, contacting the finalists, and handing out the awards.

Until this year, Val also served as NJRW’s basket chair. Each year she would collect books and other assorted donations, store them in her house all year, and host the conference committee when we came over to assemble the baskets. The one year I went to help, we must have assembled 60 or 70 baskets!

When I joined NJRW, Val served on the NJRW board as Hospitality Chair. Each month, she’d greet anyone visiting, welcome new members, and acknowledge our published authors. She’d also get the fun of handing out Hershey kisses to all members who submitted their writing (to an agent, editor, contest, etc), and Hershey Hugs to those who were rejected. Anyone who had good news to share was presented flowers. Val also handled matching up critique partners. It took me a good year of attending the NJRW meetings before I got up the nerve to ask for a critique partner. When I did, Val matched me up with Femme Joanna, for which I’m eternally grateful!

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Femmes Joanna, Michele, and Jaye may remember Val’s love for lighthouses. I’m sorry I never got to write that lighthouse scene for you, Val, but when I do, I’m dedicating it you!

Val, you’ll be missed forever and always be remembered for your loving nature, positive attitude, and bright smile. May you be at peace and spend eternity writing happy ever afters.

If you’re so inclined, please share your special memories of Val, as we pay tribute to this special woman.

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