Newsletter of the Society of Southwestern Authors           Vol. 39, No. 1 Feb./Mar. '10


Upcoming Events

   February 13
Arizona Mystery Writers @10-2PM
HomeTown Buffet, River and Oracle
Writing Seminar "Writing Dialect"and "Point of View & Narrative Voices"
$22.50 Members, $27.50 non-members. RSVP Carol O'Mahony 520-760-3630 or email

   February 21
Forum @11:30-2PM
Four Points Sheraton
Laura Van Etten - "Recognizing Bad Writine"
(see article this page)

   March 13-14
"Tucson Festival of Books" on the campus of the University of Arizona. Watch for additional information about SSA's Booth (yes, we will have one) and how YOU can help.

   March 13
Congress/Wickenburg Chapter's Writers' Wriot
Noon to 7pm
Showcasing area writers and authors
188 South Tegner, Wickenburg, AZ

   March 21
Forum @11:30-2PM
Four Points Sheraton
Patrick Millikin - "Support Your Local Bookstore"
(see article this page)

   March 27
Free Writing Workshop @9AM-4PM
Lord of Grace Lutheran Church,
7250 N. Cortaro Road (at Ina Road),
Tucson, AZ
Allen Kates - "Writing Memoirs"

   April 24
Free Writing Workshop @9AM-4PM
Lord of Grace Lutheran Church,
7250 N. Cortaro Road (at Ina Road),
Tucson, AZ
Allen Kates - "Writing Novels"

   May 22
Free Writing Workshop @9AM-4PM
Lord of Grace Lutheran Church,
7250 N. Cortaro Road (at Ina Road),
Tucson, AZ
Allen Kates - "Self-Editing"

   June 5
Free Writing Workshop @9AM-4PM
Lord of Grace Lutheran Church,
7250 N. Cortaro Road (at Ina Road),
Tucson, AZ
Allen Kates - "Ghostwriting"

To R.S.V.P. Forum
Leave Phone Message
at 546-9382
or e-mail: WEDNESDAY before the Forum
$25 paid at the door

Recognizing Bad Writing

   Laura Van Etten, professor of Creative Writing at Pima College, has the dubious distinction of winning a "Bad Writing" contest. Her goal is to lead a short workshop on how to honestly recognize when certain prose should make you hold your nose when you think it is really great.

   Laura has an MA in creative writing from Northern Arizona University and an MFA in fiction from Colorado State University. She writes in both the fiction and creative nonfiction genres. She has taught writing courses for over seven years and participated in many writing workshops as a student, a writer, and an instructor. She has led writing workshops in women's shelters, detention facilities, and worked with community groups. Her awards have included selection for the AWP writer's contest and multiple University writing awards. Her most recent publication was a feature creative nonfiction piece in The Sun. She most passionately believes in the importance of the emotional truths of our stories’•real or imagined.

   Make reservations by February 17. Call 546-9382 or email

Support Your Local Bookstore

   Patrick Millikin will be speaking on how important it is for authors to support independent bookstores and what a bookstore manager wants to see an author do when they arrange a signing.

   Patrick is a bookseller, freelance writer and editor. For the past fifteen years he has worked at the Poisoned Pen Mystery bookstore in Scottsdale, AZ. His articles and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, including Publisher's Weekly, Firsts Magazine, Yourflesh Quarterly and Paradoxa. He is also the editor of the recent anthology, Phoenix Noir, featuring short stories of mayhem set in the underbelly of the great metropolis by such authors as Diana Gabaldon, Luis Alberto Urrea, Robert Anglen, and others.

   Reserve your place by March 17. Call 546-9382 or email

**NOTE: photo in print Write Word wasn't Patrick--this is his correct photo. Please accept my apologies. Mike :'}

Write Word Going Green

   In an effort to go green, we are going to publish the Write Word in PDF format from now on. We will be able to add 4-color pictures and get the newsletter out in a more timely manner. If you want to continue getting a printed Write Word, please send us a note by snail-mail to our address on the back page or by e-mail to and we will continue to send you a printed copy until you notify us differently.


Susan M. Ballard's fourth novel, and her first western romance, Kate, will debut in January, 2010 from Goose Flats Publishing, P.O. Box 205, Tombstone, Arizona.
Sexy, savvy, smart, in love with one man yet drawn to another, Hungarian born blue blood Mary Katherine Haroney, aka Kate Elder, lives life on the edge. And the edge in Tombstone, Arizona Territory, circa 1880, is a dangerous place indeed.
Kate, like Susan's first three novels, Borrowed Time, Holliday in Tombstone and Death Takes a Holliday, will be available through her website at and from local shops and bookstores. They are also available through and their publisher at

Dianne Ebertt Beeaff's first novel, Power's Garden, was released in June of 2009 by Five Star Publications of Chandler, Arizona. The book weaves the tale of two southeastern Arizona families—one Texan, the other Mormon—whose cultures collide during trying economic times. As World War I rages in Europe, a crippling drought engulfs the Gila Valley. The Brennick and Beecham families develop an embattled but gripping relationship. The story is told against the background of an historical 1918 shootout in the nearby Galliuro Mountains in which several Mormon lawmen, along with the Texas Power family patriarch, were killed.
Meticulously researched, Power's Garden won Honorable Mention in Published Fiction in the Arizona Authors Association's 2009 Literary Contest and was a Finalist in Historical Fiction with the 2009 USA Book News National Best Books Awards.

Gail Gibbs is pleased to announce the publication of Vampire Rhapsody, a personalized romance e-book available at the website As with all titles, couples become the stars of their own personalized novel or e-book, by filling out an online questionnaire of 26 details, such as pet names for each other, names of best friends, favorite music, favorite perfume and cologne, and more. They can even choose whether the romance will be "wild" or "mild," resulting in an intimate reading experience.
In Vampire Rhapsody, the starring man and woman encounter a pair of love-torn vampires who entice them into a risky game that tests the love of both couples. This is the second time Gail had written for In 2002, Gail was one of ten winners in the tenth-anniversary writing contest, and her story "Passion Among the Stars" is included in the anthology Celebrating Romance, still available from the website.
Gail also had three other e-book novellas accepted by, and is looking forward to publication of those in 2010.

J.M. "Mike" Hayes is thrilled to "share with you the fact that my latest novel, Server Down, has been chosen as one of the five best mysteries of 2009 by Library Journal. The zany English family mobilizes when Mad Dog's house is blown up and he is wanted for the murder of a Tucson cop. Hayes blends humor, unforgettable characters, and a clever plot that is sure to stymie even the most astute reader.*
*from (scroll down to Best Genre Fiction). Also feel free to visit

Bob Natiello's humorous 950-word essay, "Stop Opposite Sex Marriage," was found worthy of publication by Poor Mojo's Almanac(k). It appeared on December 17th. SSAers can read it at
The Sirenland Writers Conference has chosen Bob to attend its annual workshop (March 21-27) in Positano, Italy. This is the second time Bob has been selected to attend this competitive workshop.

Mary Ann Hutchison's first novel, Moochi's Mariachi's, was seven years in the writing. Forged by their love of music and their dream, their teen friendship is tight. If they work hard and save money, Moochi, Chico, Ladybug and Turo will be able to leave their small Arizona town and take part in the International Mariachi Conference in Tucson. No worries, until the strength of their friendship is tested and then shaken by unforeseen problems that shatter their security and trust, forcing them to deal with an intolerance they've never felt before. The answers they need may lie in the desert that surrounds their world and has always offered them peace as well as danger.
Look for both of them at the Festival of Books in March, as well as the other places that books and their writers hang around in.

Kris Neri, new SSA member, has enjoyed numerous recent success. Her urban fantasy-mystery from Red Coyote Press, High Crimes on the Magical Plane, which features fake psychic Samantha Brennan and genuine Celtic goddess/FBI agent Annabelle Haggerty, debuted to great acclaim, including two strong cover blurbs from New York Times Bestselling authors, Diana Gabaldon and Charlaine Harris. She's also had a number of recent anthology publications, including her short story, "New Year's Eve Surprise," from the How NOT to Survive the Holidays; "The Gift of Christmas Past," in The Gift of Murder anthology; and "For the Love of the Grape," in Murder Past, Murder Present.

Margaret Regan's new book, The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories from the Arizona-Mexico Borderlands, was published by Beacon Press in February. Margaret is a freelance reporter who has written about the border for the Tucson Weekly since 2000. As a work of narrative journalism, The Death of Josseline tells the stories of real people caught up in the chaos along the border: the migrants trying to cross (and sometimes dying), the Border Patrol agents trying to catch them and the activists trying to save them. Other characters include the Pima County Medical Examiner who autopsies the bodies of the migrant dead, the ranchers coping with the onslaught of migrants and Border Patrol agents on their lands, and environmentalists who are charting the impact of the border wall on the desert's fragile flora and fauna.
An early review in Kirkus Reviews concluded: "Regan puts a human face on the multiple problems created by desperate, poverty-stricken people entering the United States illegally to look for work, and the costly measures taken by the American government to secure its borders." In Booklist, Deborah Donovan wrote: "Regan, a Tucson journalist, has compiled a compelling chronicle of the flow of migrants from northern Mexico into the 'Tucson Sector' of Arizona, distilling the many facets of this phenomenon into an enlightening account. She focuses on one border crosser, 14-year-old Josseline Hernandez, who in January 2008, left with her younger brother in a group heading eventually to Los Angeles, where their mother was waiting. Ill from prolonged exposure, Josseline was left in the desert to die by her well-paid guide, or coyote. In exploring that death, and the nearly 1,600 other migrant deaths in the Arizona desert between 2001 and 2009, Regan interviews the Border Patrol, vigilantes, members of the human rights group No More Deaths, and Tohono O'odham tribal members, on whose land 83 bodies were found in 2007 alone. She also speaks with migrants, many of whom have tried multiple times to cross Arizona's 'killing field,' created when restrictions tightened around such border cities as El Paso. Regan doesn't offer any solutions, but her brutally honest depiction should be read by those who will."
Margaret will read from her book at 7 p.m., Friday, February 19, at Antigone Books, 411 N. Fourth Ave. She will be interviewed by Bill Buckmaster on Arizona Illustrated KUAT Channel 6 at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, February 23. She will do another reading at 2 p.m., March 6, at Clues Unlimited: A Mystery Bookstore, at 3146 E. Fort Lowell Rd. And she will speak on a panel about the border at 1 p.m., Saturday, March 13, at the Tucson Festival of Books, in Room 120 of the Integrated Learning Center on the University of Arizona campus. A book signing will follow at 2:30 p.m.

George Smith's Gold, Silver and Guns has been accepted for the UA Bookfest, March 13-14, 2010. "I will accept the invitation; it just may be the energizer for Book #2 (a sequel) which has been languishing on my desk for the past month. A professional editor here tore it apart, but of course, will eventually make it a much better book."

Hugh Starkey had two poems, "The Dirty Sock" and "The Storm," published in the Fall 2009 issue of Calliope. "The Storm" is our featured poem on the back of the Write Word.

Karen Troncale's latest children's story, "Time of New Life," is published in the January 9, 2010, issue of Guide magazine. Guide is a Christian story magazine for young people provided by Seventh-day Adventists ( The story is about the birth of a foal. This is her 25th story in this magazine. She has also created a blog-site called Writing Success! Yes! for children's writers to "toot their horns" about their successes both large and small. If you would like to be featured on it, leave a comment on her website: or email her at:

Betty Webb has GREAT NEWS! "Library Journal chose my new Desert Lost as one of the Top Five Mystery Novels of 2009! This is a major kudo, folks, and I'm as thrilled as I can be."
Desert Lost will debut at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, December 5, at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore, in Scottsdale, Arizona. "Then I'll be leaving on my whirlwind California tour, returning in six days to begin work on Desert Wind, the 7th Lena Jones mystery. To find out if I'll be in a city near you, check my Signings Blog at
In Desert Lost, Lena discovers that the polygamists she first faced down in Desert Wives have opened a small colony in Scottsdale. This time, Lena finds out that when one man can have 10 wives, 9 men will have none. And the prophet of Second Zion knows just how to get rid of the competition—even when the "competition" is comprised of boys as young as 14. But why do their mothers not protect them? When Lena finds out the answer, she is even more shocked.
To celebrate the release of Desert Lost my web site is undergoing a major redesign. Check it out at If it's not finished by the time you read this, keep checking back. Those web sites are killers to work with!
And if you're an aspiring writer, check my Writing Tips blog at

Donna J. Young's second book Mirror to Goa: Identity and the Written Word in a Small Society is being released on January 30 through publishing house Goa 1556, in Goa, India. A book launch is being planned in Panjim (Panaji), Goa, India, and will be shown on You Tube. The book analyzes how Goan Identity has changed since the nineteen sixties, and how these changes are revealed in Goan literature. The first section gives a brief history of Goa, and explains how the area went from a Portuguese colony to a state in India. The second section explains the language controversy and the reasons language is an essential part of Goan identity. The third section deals with effects of the Goan Diaspora. The conclusion discusses the need for Goans to define their identity as the state becomes a popular European vacation destination. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in India, cultural studies, literature, or history. The book will be available through and Goa 1556 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

Bob Hunton:

Donna Young:

Carol Costa:

Recording Secretary

Writing Contest
Mike Rom:

Member Chair
Penny Porter:

Corresponding Secretary
Jane Eppinga:

Forum Program & Conference Chair
Donna Young:

Members at Large
Dewanne Hopson:
Sally Lanyon:

Critique Group Coordinator
Barry Webb:

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