Alan Black Helps Writers Find Their Own Feet With Figures of Speech

Multi-genre author, Alan Black, spoke at Dog-Eared Pages Used Bookstore last week. His subject was “figures of speech.”

Whenever this came up during my school days I tuned out; boring. That is until the teacher had to say “onomatopoeia” a few times.

I always learn interesting things from Alan, but this time I had fun too. I had no idea focusing on figures of speech could bring so much interest to writing.

There are 240 figures of speech in the English language with numerous variations on many of those. Alan Black

Some of the ones you may be familiar with are personification, simile, metaphor, implication, allegory, hyperbole, and oxymoron. Alan mentioned many more and gave fun examples to go with them.

I went on the internet to check some of my spellings and was overwhelmed by the number of Web sites that focus on figures of speech. I’m going to make an effort to study more of these.

Thanks, Alan, for making writing a bit more fun and interesting.



Author: Steven P. Wyner

Steven P. Wyner spoke at Dog-Eared Pages Used Books a couple of weeks ago. He writes fiction set in the Phoenix area, where he has lived since 1981. One of his pet peeves is inconsistencies in books and movies and he set out to write well-researched stories that Google searchers won’t be able poke holes in.

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As a paralegal and ghost writer Steve draws on a number of cases he has viewed over the years. He uses various characters and composites of people he has known to develop the characters in his series of books.

Murder on Camelback Mountain was a fun read about a private detective caught up in a local murder as a suspect. Herb Nash introduces himself and the city to the reader in a fast-moving story.


When Steve sat down to write the characters started “jumping out of the keyboard.” He then moved on to interview them just like he would the clients he interviews for the lawyers he works for.

He suggests that writers visit the place and “inhale” it.

Murder on Camelback can be found on Amazon or through his Web site.  The second novel in the series will be available soon. He has already started writing the third.


Speaker – Ann N. Videan

Full of energy and ideas,  Ann N. Videan was the guest speaker at the Friday Night Writes at Dog-Eared Pages bookstore recently. The good news is she will be speaking for the Writer’s Connection Workshop at Desert Foothills Library, in Cave Creek, Arizona on June 5 from 1:00 to 3:00.

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Ann opened with the advice, ” Don’t ignore your intuition.”

She gave us a list of resources and ideas for all aspects of writing, publishing, and marketing.

Some of her suggestions included:

Read what you love and what informs you.

Start networking through local and national clubs.

Join critique groups on-line and in person.

Make time to write.

Market while you are writing. Use social media, the press, and word-of-mouth.

Her favorite books on writing are: Goal, Motivation & Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction by Debra Dixon and The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler.

Ann also explained the differences between ISBN numbers, Barcodes, and Library of Congress numbers.

Ann’s books include Song of the Ocarina and Rhythms & Muse.

To learn more about Ann Narcisian Videan, her books, and her services for writing, editing, self-publishing and word-of-mouth marketing visit her blog here.

To learn more about the Writers Connection at Desert Foothills Library and find out how to register for Ann’s free workshop visit here.

Speaker – Billi Joy Carson: Editor and Writer

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” Pablo Picasso

Although talking about writing Billi Joy Carson started her recent talk at Dog-Eared Pages Bookstore with this quote. As an Editor, Ghost Writer, Blogger and a number of other titles Billi Joy knows about the love/hate relationship many writers have with grammar and editing.

One example, that some of you will remember from the movie/book Love Story was how e e cummings actually changed his name so he could break the rules of capitalization and punctuation.


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As you can see from Billi Joy’s photo she is full of energy and humor. She made grammar fun, even for this reluctant editor.

A few helpful suggestions Billi Joy shared were:

**Readers don’t read like you talk so don’t write that way.

**”Enthusiasm always trumps good writing.” Her example was the Twilight series, which I haven’t read, so judge for yourself.

**If you submit “lazy work” to major publishers you won’t make it through the first read. Even a misplaced comma can put your manuscript      on the back burner.

Some of the books Billi Joy suggested are:

Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss

Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors by Kathy Ide

Writer to Writer: Lessons Learned From a Lifetime of Writing by Cec Murphey

The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style by Robert Hudson

New World Thesaurus

Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary

Chicago Manual of Style: 16th Edition (fiction) and the Associated Press Manual of Style (articles)

And finally:

Decide what your actual goal is.

Are you writing just to make money?

Are you writing to reach out to just one person and make a difference?


Visit the following sites to learn more about this fantastic speaker at Billi Joy Carson and Editing Addict

twitter: @EditingAddict12

Marcia Fine and One Book Arizona

Another great meeting at Desert Foothills Library in Cave Creek, Arizona featured Marcia Fine.

Marcia grew up with her grandmother and mother in South Florida. She knew from an early age that her family had a unique story. Her grandparents were from Warsaw. Although they left before the Nazi invasion many family members didn’t make it out. As an adult she received a stack of letters written in Polish, Yiddish and High German from her grandmother.

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She pulled the story together into a novel based on her family history. Paper Children: An Immigrant’s Legacy is an amazing story of three women coming into their own. It has won numerous awards and led Marcia, a past English teacher, business owner, and motivational speaker to share her talents with others.

At DFL Marcia had the audience write about their own memories. She helped, through various questions, to find the stories that need to be written and get started on that important journey. Try writing about the following question from her list: Were there any family feuds?

You can learn more and see the cover photo of her grandmother by going to Paper Children on Facebook and pressing “like.”

Marcia shared actual letters with the audience. The Nazi emblem has been stamped on the envelopes.

Marcia is currently touring Arizona as the winner of One Book Arizona a literary program for promoting local authors. The Blind Eye is about parallel stories set in 15th century Portugal  and Spain when a family is forced to flee because of their religious beliefs. The story links to a modern woman with a new career and an unexpected romantic relationship.

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Marcia’s writing career started with a series of satyre books about her life and some of the people she has known since moving to Scottsdale, Arizona.  She had the room laughing along with her as she read from many of her books.

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One Book is a nationwide literacy program which started in Arizona in 2002. Each year adult, children’s, and now teen books are chosen for everyone to read and attend community events.

For more information on the promotion of literacy in Arizona visit One Book Arizona. Those from other states can learn about their own state activities at One Book.


On-Line Writing Classes

I love going to writing workshops, seminars, and discussions. I love being around writers and I always learn something. I always take a lot of notes and pictures and pick up every handout, and card or bookmark I can find. Since I started this blog I’ve been especially determined to gather all I can.

The problem is I don’t go back to those notes and handouts. I get all inspired and anxious to write but it doesn’t last through my day-to-day life. Another big problem, for me, is that I write articles on Old West history. Although some of the information I learn can be applied to all writing the inspiration tends more towards fiction.

I like to write fiction. One of my dreams is to write a cozy mystery, or a ghost story, or . . . well, you get the idea. Through my writing group I start a lot of stories but I seldom follow through with them. They are sitting on a shelf or a few have even made it into the computer.

When I won an on-line writing class at a recent all-day seminar I wasn’t sure I’d take advantage of it. I’m so glad I did.

The class I won was through Laurie Schnebly Campbell. She has a variety of classes which build on each other. Each workshop is a series of email lectures including homework assignments. Classmates may also chat with each other. desert rose 030

Some of her classes are through WriterUniv.Com and others through other such organizations but they can all be reached through her site at Laurie Schnebly Campbell.

I signed up for “Plotting via Motivation” thinking I would start on that ghost story novel.

What an amazing experience. Because I was working every day and had those assignments to turn in by the end of the three weeks I had pages and pages of information ready to start writing. I knew all my characters and why they were doing what they were doing.

The notes and information didn’t disappear into my file drawer. I printed out the lectures and assignments and took them everywhere and worked on my story every day. I loved it. I learned so much because I was applying the information and Laurie’s great comments directly to my own work.

Well, I couldn’t stop there. I signed up for the next class, “Master Class: From Plot to Finish” and ended up with a scene by scene “outline” of the novel. It’s all very basic and I’m sure things will change as I get into the actual writing but I’ve never gotten this far with all my fits and starts.

I’ve done National Novel Writer’s Month and have 50,000 words written for a number of books but I never went back to them. I’ve taken creative writing classes and attended many workshops. Nothing has gotten me going like this.

I had no idea this would be so beneficial. A special thanks to Laurie for introducing me to this mode of learning/writing. I have another one of her classes on my to-do list.

I know there are other classes out there so if you have taken an on-line class that was especially helpful please spread the word through a comment below. Then go check out Laurie’s classes. If you haven’t taken one before you will be so glad you did.




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.









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