I’m lucky enough to live near a wonderful little used book store: Dog-Eared Pages. The owners Tom and Melanie go out of their way to

help readers find books and promote local authors.Tom and Anna Questerley

Melanie also writes under the name Anna Questerly. Her latest book, Pangea, is a utopian fantasy that

will make you wish you lived there.





Saturday was their Authorpalooza with twelve local authors displaying their books and fun door prizes offered by each one. Here’s a bit about each of those authors so you can go check out their books yourself.

Leslie Jones     Leslie Jones writes military romantic suspense. Night Hush is her debut novel and I’m sure we will be seeing many more.


Lizzy Ford


Lizzy Ford has over forty books to her name.

She writes dark, contemporary and teen romance.

Her book about time travel and the West caught my eye.

I also like her blog name:




Alan Black  Alan Black is a prolific multi-genre author. His books include science fiction, historical, Christian and young adult.

Tim Gallen Tim Gallen is another new author with an intriguing fantasy novella, Niscene’s Creed.

T. L. Smith      Science fiction author, T. L. Smith, spent time in the military and uses that experience to add life to her writing.

Tray Goodman Tray Goodman is a creative director at Creative Minds Media, LLC. His book Crushing Your Box is a “modern guide to finding your creative positive energy source.” He will be giving a presentation this Thursday, April 23, in Phoenix, Arizona. You can learn more at his website.

Michele Venne Michele Venne is another multi-genre author. Her books include poetry, romantic suspense and historical fiction. I didn’t get a picture of the framed photo/poem I won as a door prize. It will find a special place in my home soon.

Les Brierfield Les Brierfield and E. C. Brierfield are a writing couple. I missed E. C. but you can learn more about him here.

Kris Tualla and Friend      Kris Tualla is an energetic historical romance writer who’s slogan is “Norway is the NEW Scotland.” Kris and “friend” are proving that not all hunks wear kilts. She will be making my black fan famous on the cover of her newest novel soon.

V. S. Nelson V. S. Nelson writes paranormal romance and more. Intrigued by Native American culture and mythology she weaves intriguing stories. I was interested to see a list of writings on other subjects on her web site.

Lynn Rush Lynn Rush is a new adult author who also writes under the name Reese Monroe. I also won her door prize, a little safe full of goodies (her little friend Alastair is sitting on top of it in the photo.) Now I’m going to read her book Frostbite to find out what the connection is to the safe.

Local authors are wonderful people and so fun to spend time with. I always learn new things and am amazed at all the talent in our state. Wherever you live take the time to find the local authors and give them a pat on the back for sticking to their dreams.








Author: Elizabeth Parker

I am constantly amazed at all the authors who live in the Valley of the Sun. I keep meeting and learning about new ones. New to me, anyway.

Elizabeth Parker is the author of Gilded Splendor, a historical romance, and has been published in British Heritage, Wild West, Mountain Living, Historic Traveler and others.

She is from Nebraska and I’m from Kansas. I’ve also been published in Wild West and had another article accepted just this week. She has been married for over 30 years and has one daughter, just like yours truly. She loves the movie Tombstone and well, I think perhaps we were separated at birth.

Elizabeth is now an editor/evaluator for Author Solutions, an online subsidiary of Penguin Random House.

During the Friday Night Writes meeting at Dog-Eared Pages Bookstore Elizabeth spoke on “The Art of Emotion: Getting Your Readers to Feel.” It is all based on the theory that readers should always feel what the character is feeling. She told us a number of ways to accomplish this including using the characters voice instead of telling the reader.

She often referred to Hemingway including examples from Death In The Afternoon which she described as partly a book on writing.

I hope I get another chance to hear Elizabeth speak. In the meantime I will be spending some time reading her blog.

  author 008Enjoying the great Arizona weather.

Author: Chris Benguhe

I’ve missed a couple of meetings of the Writer’s Connection at the Desert Foothills Library in Cave Creek, Arizona. This month’s speaker made up for that.

Chris Benguhe, former celebrity reporter, now inspirational author and speaker, creative writing instructor, ghostwriter and Catholic Sun columnist grew up in Phoenix and attended ASU first as a medical student and later as a journalism student.  He has followed where life has sent him and the first job he was offered after college was for The National Enquirer which took him to the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles for ten years. He has some amazing stories to tell.

Chris has numerous books and has also written for People Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post and the Catholic Sun. He taught through the Virginia G. Piper Creative Writing program at ASU. He is now a creative writing coach, speaker and columnist. Learn more about Chris here.


The workshop was on character development and his approach is unique and inspiring. He taught us

how to use people we know and even our own experiences to develop characters which lead to the

development of plot. He says all writing is basically psychoanalysis of life.Chris Benguhe 1

He also used the basics of journalism to ask questions about each character:

Who, What, When, Where, Why and How.

author 004

Although Chris lives in Phoenix he travels the country giving motivational talks and

working with writers. Remember his name and if you get a chance make sure and hear him speak.

Chris is also involved in The Writing Your Life Project which he discusses here.

Short Fiction: An Overview

Wherever I go I hear the words “flash fiction” or “short-short fiction.” I’m asked what these things mean in my book discussion group and they are discussed in my writing groups. I decided to do a bit of research and bring it all together here.

The main problem with all of these types of writing is the names change as do the requirements. I found different definitions on different sites. Here’s the breakdown as close as I can figure it out.

First of all, short fiction should have a beginning, middle and end. In other words, it should tell a story. There should be as setting and one or more characters along with some conflict and a resolution. The title may or may not be part of the word count.

Fifty-five Fiction: exactly 55 words

Drabble or Micro Fiction: exactly 100 words

Flash Fiction or short-short story:  100 to 1,000 words

Short Story: 1,000 to 7,500 words

Novelette: 7,500 to 20,000 words

Novella: 20,000 to 40,000/50,000 words can be made into a chain-novel

Novel: 50,000 to 110,000 words

Short stories have been written by most authors of the past. Hemingway was a master of short stories. As periodicals disappeared short stories became harder to publish. Anthologies were about the only outlet for short fiction. As self-publishing becomes a major force in the field many authors or groups of authors have published their own anthologies. Literary magazines published by universities and other organizations are available in print and in e-form.

Readers often prefer something short as many can’t seem to find the time to dig into a novel. Young adults seem to be especially drawn to reading and writing short fiction.

It would seem that writing short would be easier but it is actually harder to write short. It takes practice and determination to make every single word count. It is great practice. Give it a try with this prompt: an abandoned car.


You can also check out these contests: (I don’t know anything about these so be sure to do your research on their validity and on any contests you hear about.)

WOW – Women On Writing

Writer’s Digest Short-Short Story

Freelance Writing

Happy writing and good luck.


Desert Foothills Library: Cave Creek, Arizona. Free Events for Writers.




MIM 002

Desert Foothills Library, Cave Creek, Arizona


Desert Foothills Library Writers Connection

January 9 ● 1-3pm (special date: 2nd Friday in January)


Large publisher? Small traditional press? eBook publisher? Self-publishing? Should you find an agent? Follow the trends? In the ever-changing landscape of publishing, making the right choice at the right time for your particular kind of writing is paramount… if you want to survive as an author. As for self-promotion, there are so many opportunities on the Internet these days, it’s easy to get let it consume your entire writing time. Which venues are worth pursuing? Should you pay for advertising? What really works? It changes monthly. Get the latest tips from Vijaya Schartz, an experienced, award-winning author who’s been through it all. Advance registration required: 480-488-2286.

February 6 ● 1-3pm


In an encouraging, insightful presentation, Scottsdale Society of Women Writers president/founder Patricia L. Brooks helps you capture your untold story that must be told.  Her workshop shares why & how to face your fears, get past the facts & conquer the story’s spiritual & emotional truth so you can write this memoir to your satisfaction. With tips and techniques from her daring second memoir, Patricia will inspire you to take the necessary steps to keep a daily journal, write weekly goals & make no excuses about your writing. She’ll stimulate your creative talents by showing you how to break through your silence to find your voice & give yourself permission to write your truth.  Advance registration required: 480-488-2286.

March 6 ● 1-3pm


How does your main character like their eggs? You don’t know? Character is PLOT! Once you know your characters inside and out, they will tell you everything you need to know about where your story is headed. But you can’t tell your characters who THEY are; you need to listen to what THEY are telling YOU. How you do that? Find out from Chris Benguhe, former celebrity reporter, now inspirational author and speaker, creative writing instructor, ghostwriter and Catholic Sun columnist. Advance registration required: 480-488-2286.

April 10 ● 1-3pm

(special date: 2nd Friday in April)


Join Maria Crimi Speth, Intellectual Property Attorney & author of “Protect Your Writings” for a comprehensive yet easy-to-understand presentation of laws that affect writers and their creative work. You will learn everything you need to know about the laws relating to writing books, articles & blogs & how to AVOID making common, costly legal mistakes. Advance registration required: 480-488-2286.


55 word contest

Over the summer the Phoenix Writers Club had a 55 word contest for members. We were to write a story (with a beginning, middle and end) in 55 words. Some of the members were judges and the winner won $55.00 with second at $44.00 and third at $33.00. The rest of us received certificates and all were published in the newsletter.

Here’s my submission:

“The Shoot”

The vacant windows of the abandoned farmhouse beckoned to me. I imagined the photos I’d create and raising the camera I stepped into the overgrown yard. Lost in the viewfinder I moved forward until my foot hit a wooden step. Anxious to go inside I stepped up on the porch.



I ran.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~misc 3176

It is fun to do challenges and try new things. We are all aware that publishing is changing. Genres are blending and eBooks are taking over. Flash fiction meets the needs of people who want something short they can read on the run.


Keep challenging yourself as a writer.


Take your first steps with something new, just like my mom in this photo.

Author Barbara Hinske Does It All

Barbara Hinske was the featured speaker for The Writers’ Connection at Desert Foothills Library in Cave Creek, Arizona. She lives in Phoenix and is an attorney. She has written two books. They are fun and entertaining with strong characters. What she does to promote her writing is amazing.

Barbara’s first book, Coming to Rosemont, is about a forensic accountant, Maggie Martin, who inherits Rosemont, a beautiful home in the Midwest. She moves there and finds corruption, a furry friend, new love and a town that quickly becomes home. Book two, Weaving the Strands, takes Maggie deeper into the city council corruption and the joys and problems of living in a small town.

desert rose 027

Both books have been self-published and Coming to Rosemont has sold over 40,000 copies, mostly in eBook format. Her marketing strategy includes a strong internet presence, word-of-mouth and public speaking. She was named the top debut author at her first appearance at the Tucson Festival of Books. Rosemont was also named the best in women’s fiction by BookBub.

On her blog, and linked on Facebook, Barbara writes her ‘bedtime stories.” The first one was “The Night Train,” written in 100-300 word sections, four nights a week. Her first installment had 6,000 hits. She is now writing “The Enchanted Bookshop.” Both can be found through her Web site, blog and Facebook. Besides a regular FB page it is important to have an author page which is separate but linked.

It is vital that self-published authors have their manuscripts proofed. She hired people both for the line edits and proofreading. The same goes for formatting and cover design.

She says to “just ask people” as professionals are often willing to help and sometimes the rules can be set aside.

Long before the book is finished the author must start building her email list and learning about all the possibilities for promotion and sales. Barbara reads and studies writing and publishing every day. She keeps up with trends and new avenues for promotion. Book reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are important. Special promotions through Amazon, BookBub, and other online sources can make a big difference but be sure to read all the fine print.

Besides her “bedtime stories” Barbara has a “Downton Abbey”fan page on Facebook. She has recently been asked to write the reviews which may lead to a permanent paying job.

Barbara shares her vision of the perfect home in the guise of Rosemont on her pinterest account.

With all of that marketing and social media Barbara continues to write. She gets up every morning and spends two hours “duct taped” to her office chair. Evenings are for social media.

Barbara Hinske is knowledgeable and inspiring. Remember she does all of this on top of a full-time job, caring for her home, husband and two spoiled dogs.






Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 368 other followers