Newsletter of the Society of Southwestern Authors           Vol. 36, No. 1 Feb./Mar. '08


Upcoming Events

   February 17
Forum @11:30-2PM
Four Points Sheraton
John Vornholt,
"Punchy Paranormals and Fabulous Fantasy"
(see article)

   February 24
Readers' Theatre @2-4PM
St. Frances Cabrini Church
3201 E. Presidio (Country Club & Ft. Lowell area) Showcasing SSA Playwrights,
$10 admission includes refreshments
(see article)

   March 16
Forum @11:30-2PM
Four Points Sheraton
Deborah LeBlanc,
"Giving a Good Fright"
(see article)

   March 30
Readers' Theatre @2-4PM
St. Frances Cabrini Church
3201 E. Presidio (Country Club & Ft. Lowell area) Showcasing SSA Playwrights,
$10 admission includes refreshments
(see article)

   April 20
Forum @11:30-2PM
Four Points Sheraton
Kaye Patchett, Bunny Baderstscher, and Al Petrillo,
"Magazine Writing For Writers By Writers"

   April 27
Forum @11-3:30PM
Four Points Sheraton
Website Workshop,
"Website Creation by Non-Techies Who Have Done It"
$30 registration includes box lunch
(see article)

   April 27
Readers' Theatre @2-4PM
St. Frances Cabrini Church
3201 E. Presidio (Country Club & Ft. Lowell area) Showcasing SSA Playwrights,
$10 admission includes refreshments
(see article)

To R.S.V.P. Forum
Leave Phone Message
at 546-9382
or e-mail: WEDNESDAY before the Forum
$20 paid at the door

Punchy Paranormals and Fabulous Fantasy-
a "How-to" Session with John Vornholt

by Jude Johnson
   The whole fantastic realm of shape-shifters, vampires, werewolves, trolls... things that go bump in the world of altered reality are a specialty of our speaker at February's forum. On Sunday, February 17, John Vornholt will share his experiences and offer a fascinating look at one of the most popular genres in fiction: what used to be simply called "science fiction," which now encompasses paranormals such as ESP, inhuman creatures, magic, and fantasy.

   What are the parameters of writing in this genre? How do you decide what's realistic for a reader in a fantasy world, and how do you create an alternative universe? What makes for heart-stopping suspense that could apply to other genres? John's credentials as a best-selling Star Trek novelist rank him in the uppermost tier of the science fiction convention world and certainly prove he knows how to keep readers engaged in "space, the final frontier." But his creativity acknowledges no boundaries: he's written non-fiction as a freelance author, screenplays, and books for young adults and children. He has created a kingdom of trolls and expanded the adventures of a number of television series' characters long after the shows were off the air such as Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and The Secret World of Alex Mack.

   Visit for a comprehensive list of his books.

   Join us at the Sheraton Four Points Conference Center on February 17th and explore writing not only outside the box, but out of this world. As always, you can either call in your reservations to 546-9382 OR email by the Wednesday prior (in this case, February 13th).

Giving a Good Fright: Deborah LeBlanc

by Jude Johnson
   What really scares you? Ghosts, the dark, that big ugly dog down the street-everyone has something that they hesitate to confront. Writing horror doesn't necessarily mean gore and guts; according to the Horror Writers' Association, it's the suspense and fear, the heightened awareness and racing heartbeat that qualifies a story as horror.

   Deborah LeBlanc is an award-winning author from Lafayette, Louisiana who knows exactly how to elicit gut-tightening fear in her The Write Word Punchy Paranormals and Fabulous Fantasy-a "How-to" Session with John Vornholt readers. She's a licensed death scene investigator and an active member of two national paranormal investigation teams. She's a ghost hunter and loves to explore haunted places. On Sunday, March 16th, she's going to share the excitement of writing scary stories- writing horror.

   But Deborah isn't solely concerned with creaking doors and shouting, "Boo!" In 2004, she created the LeBlanc Literacy Challenge, an annual national campaign designed to encourage more people to read. She will also share her experiences on becoming involved in this project, and how we, as writers, can help promote literacy in our community.

   You can read more about Deborah LeBlanc, watch her book trailers, and read about her books on her website: and on her My Space page:

   Join us at the Sheraton Four Points Conference Center on March 16th. As always, you can either call in your reservations to 546-9382 OR email by the Wednesday prior (in this case, March 12th).

Readers Theater for Plays and Other Scripts

   Beginning in February, SSA is sponsoring a monthly Readers Theater and is seeking submissions from members only of plays and simple movie and television scripts.

   A Readers Theater is a performance platform where actors read stage directions and dialogue from scripts to a live audience. There are no sets, costumes, or props. It is an opportunity for writers to have their characters come to life and speak the lines written for them. It is a development process that allows the audience to respond to the essentials of the writer's story and characters.

   Plays and scripts of varying lengths will be read in this series. Full-length scripts (up to 120 minutes in length), One-act pieces (20-60 minutes) and 10 minute plays will make up a monthly performance of approximately 2 hours in duration. SSA members may submit any of the above to be considered for the Readers Theater.

   Writers will be paid a modest honorarium based on the length of the script and have an opportunity to receive feedback from the audience.

   The Readers Theater will take place on the last Sunday of every month on the stage in the hall of St. Frances Cabrini Church, 3201 E. Presidio. Admission is $ 10.00 per person for the performances and complimentary refreshments. Proceeds benefit SSA and the church's work with families in need.

   All genre's are welcome, but submitted scripts must be appropriate for a general audience. That means scripts with obscene language, overt sexual content, or violence will not be accepted for readings.

   SSA Treasurer and professional playwright, Carol Costa, will oversee this endeavor. Other SSA members with experience in live theater will help read and evaluate the submitted scripts.

   To have your script considered for the Readers Theater, please send one copy to: SSA, Readers Theater, P.O. Box 30355, Tucson, AZ 85751. Scripts will not be returned unless a return envelope with sufficient postage is included with the submission. Electronic submissions will not be accepted at this time.

   For questions regarding the SSA Readers Theater contact Carol Costa: phone-326-4146 or e-mail:

   The Readers Theater is an opportunity for all members to learn more about plotting, character development, and dialogue. We hope that members will attend performances and bring their friends.

Website Creation by Non-Techies
by Jude Johnson
   Have you wanted to have a website to promote your writing but felt intimidated? Do you feel too confused by Websites For Dummies? You aren't alone. So bring your laptop Sunday, April 27, from 11AM to no later than 3:30 PM at the Four Points Sheraton Conference Center - SSA is sponsoring a one-day workshop!

   Practical information for non-tech-savvy writers will be shared by authors who aren't computer whizzes yet maintain their own websites. The program will include:

  • Two hours of practical information WITH HANDOUTS explaining domain names, where to host, available software, to hire or not to hire a web designer, getting your site into search engines, setting up Paypal, etc.
  • 30 minute break with box lunches.
  • Two hours of very basic practice making a webpage using:
    • HTML layout,
    • how to put pictures or slide shows onto your page,
    • linking to other pages and/or websites.

   The cost: $30 per person for the 4.5 hour workshop. (Considering many web designers charge at least $50 per hour, this is a real GONGA, neighbor.)

   Registration forms will be available at the Sunday Forums February 17 and March 16, as well as in this edition of The Write Word. Or you can email Jude Johnson:


Dale Adam's Echoes of a Love Story reveals a history never before written. With over a hundred photos and excerpts from diaries and letters, Echoes spans the lives of two who pioneered the Southwest and Mexico. Echoes reflects Dale's casual approach to a story-tell it as it happened and don't forget the funny part!
The books are priced at $23.00 (including shipping) and can be mailed immediately. Don't worry about payment; just send me your address and then return a check when your book arrives. What could be simpler than that?
9030 E. 20th St., Tucson, AZ 85710
520-296-8043 -

Roni Ashford's 2nd published book, a non-fiction, bilingual picture book published by the Arizona- Sonora Desert Museum was recently released, July 2007. We just found out that it has been recognized as one of 2007's Southwest Books of the Year! Signed copies are available through www.rainbowbridgesR

John Borchardt has two articles scheduled for publication in The Writer: "Covering Conferences for Fun & Profit" (March) and "What Toastmasters Can Do for Writers."
He is also the author of two articles on writing published in recent issues of the online magazine WritersWeekly: "Breaking into Business Magazines and Newspapers" and "Letters of Introduction - A Profitable Alternative to Queries."
His article on the endangered northern Pacific right whale appeared in the Fall issue of Ocean Magazine.

Norma Connor's "The Wreck of the Hustler" was published in the August issue of Flight Journal Magazine. It is the true adventure story of Navy EOD divers searching for the wreck of the supersonic test bomber B-58A that crashed in Great Salt Lake with two test pilots on board and explosives contained in capsules under the ejection seats. Her husband, Lt. (j.g.)
Jim Connor headed the operation. It is a story of cooperation between the Air Force and the Navy. To read the article, photos included, go to flightjournal. com, select article archives and put •Wreck of the Hustler' in the search box. Enjoy a bit of military history.

Joan Fox's previously published short story, "Hunting at Night," appears in an anthology called Listening to Cougar with an introduction by Jane Goodall.

Elizabeth Gunn inaugurates her new southwest series this month with Cool In Tucson. First Tucson signing will be at Clues Unlimited Sunday, February 17, at 2 p.m. "Please stop by and say hello if you have time." Meantime, for a short sample, go to: ~pgunn18/CoolInTucson.html

Ken Lord has had his short story, "The Suspicious Death of a Codfish Aristocrat," published in the Wrangle St. Elias News in McCarthy, Alaska. The story recounts the 1918 murder of the town's most notorious prostitute, Rose Silberg, by McCarthy merchant Gustave Priesner. Should you wish to read the story, you can find it at

Ashleen O'Gaea had two successes: 1) "Like Sam Turner (and no doubt many other members), I reached my 50,000-word NaNoWriMo goal. This was my first time-I hadn't heard of it before Sam glad-mouthed it at the November SSA Forum-and I'm already thinkin' on what to write in 2008." (see
2) "On the first of November, I signed a contract with Adams Media for a book, tentatively titled Spells on the Sly, which, to the best of my speculation, will come out sometime in the first half of 2008. Some of its spells are based on traditional charms, and others are original. They're all for people who need simple, innovative, informal and ethical magic that uses what most of us already have handy."
Re my writerly life and my priestessly life, and lots in between, check out my

Mike Rom and John Gentile have photographs in the Blue Raven Gallery and Gifts' "Art of Architecture" show, Feb. 12 through Mar. 15. A portion of proceeds will go to Habitat for Humanity Tucson. For location and hours go to

Ann Staadt's latest book The Woman in the Blue Mercedes rolled off the presses in December. The romantic suspense story revolves around a kidnapping and a romance between two people with conflicting family backgrounds.
"This novel is my sixth book to be published and since I've worked on it for about ten years I'll be glad to finally see it in print."
"I'm a SSA member who lives in Indiana but I often come to Tucson for a time in the winter. Thus I've enjoyed many of SSA's writer's conferences." If you need more information you can go to

Mickey Thomas' poem was published.
Claudia said, "That's not a poem. It's just a bunch of sentences."
A judge in SSA's 2006 poetry contest said it's "A beautiful love poem."
The editor of the literary journal, Blood and Thunder-Musings on the Art of Medicine said, "Your poem, 'The Last Night' has been accepted for publication in our fall issue, 2007."
So, I guess it's a poem, after all. To read "The Last Night" on line, go to

Betty Webb has a new mystery novel, Desert Cut, out in February and will be starting her national book tour then. Betty already has several local signings set up-Poisoned Pen on Feb. 16, Changing Hands Feb. 26, and Scottsdale Barnes & Noble March 15-and in Tucson, Clues Unlimited March 1 at 2 p.m.
A retired journalist who has interviewed everyone from U.S. presidents to Nobel prize-winners to the homeless, Betty's books are all based on real events-news stories she's either covered herself or seen in other newspapers.
Poisoned Pen Press also just bought a brand new series from her-a series set in a California zoo. The first book in the series, The Anteater of Death, will be released in March 09. Those interested in more information may check her updated web site at

The Write Word
published bi-monthly by the Board of Directors
of The Society of Southwestern Authors
P.O. Box 30355, Tucson, AZ 85751

Mark Sneller:

Penny Porter:

Carol Costa:

Recording Secretary
Carroll Rinehart:

Member Chair
Penny Porter:

Corresponding Secretary
Ruth Beach:

Conference Co-Chair
Penny Porter:
Carol Costa:

Conference Interview Chair
Sharon Landeen:

Writer's Contest
Mary Ann Hutchison:

Forum Program Chair
Jude Johnson:

Member at Large
Dewanne Hopson:

SSA Chapters Chair

Mentoring Groups
Sam Turner:

Write Word Editor
Mike Rom: (520) 410-1294 (beep)

SSA Home Page:

Mike Rom: (520) 410-1294 (beep)

NOTE: Deadline for next issue is the 15th day of March