Vol. 3, No. 18 April/May '04

18 SSA Writers' Forum
Sheraton Four Points

Speaker: Betty Webb

Topic: "Inspiration from Newspapers"
(see article - this page)

16 SSA Writers' Forum
Sheraton Four Points

Speaker: Mike Alvarez

Topic: "Reversing Failure"
(see article - this page)

To R.S.V.P. Luncheon
Leave Phone Message
at 546-9382
before noon the
Wednesday before Brunch

$20 members and non-members

Forum buffet style brunch menu includes mouth-watering vegetarian lasagna, juicy London Broil, fresh fruits, green salad, sauteed vegetables, baby potatoes, rolls, butter & assorted cakes.

From Journalism to an Arc of Fiction

Betty Webb
   Stories ripped from headlines have offered inspiration for fiction writers at least since Theodore Dreiser, in the early 20th century, found in the pages of a newspaper the embryo of his classic novel An American Tragedy. Betty Webb, keynote speaker for the April 18 SSA Forum, firmly believes newspapers remain the single best source for great fiction.

   Be sure to read your Sunday morning paper before this presentation, because Betty will be using it to discuss turning headlines into novels. She will illustrate questions you must ask yourself about turning a newspaper story into a novel with a fictional arc of action: How can you make fictional characters real? How do you avoid getting sued? What three writing sins will kill your novel?

   Betty Webb's novel Desert Wives (Poisoned Pen Press, 2000), an exposé of the abuses of contemporary polygamy, is the second of her newspaper-based Lena Jones mysteries. Desert Wives sparked a petition in the Arizona legislature to end polygamy, is being developed for a made-for-TV movie, and has been optioned for a television series. According to Marilyn Stasio, crime fiction reviewer for the New York Times Book Review, "If Betty Webb had gone undercover and written Desert Wives as a piece of investigative journalism, she'd probably be up for a Pulitzer . . . the factual details ‹ supported by research cited in an afterword ‹ are eye-popping." (Taken from True Lies: Libraries, Research, and the Facts of Fiction, Presented at the Cooperating Libraries in Consortium annual retreat, November 2003 ‹ www.barbarafister.com/TrueLies.html) regularly appear in the Scottsdale Tribune.

   Betty's feature articles, well-known author interviews, and book reviews regularly appear in the Scottsdale Tribune.

   Phone in Forum reservations (546-9382) by Wednesday, April 14, 2004.

The Glass Half Full

   Mike Alvarez unwittingly launched his writing career the day he made up a story to save his neck from a bully. In the process, he discovered how to turn a setback into an achievement. In his presentation to fellow-members on May 16, Mike will speak about early misfortunes forming the foundation for writing. "Behind every rejection is a lesson to be learned and another market to be discovered," says Mike. Citing examples from his self-published book, Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Writers (Xlibris, 2000), Mike will explore the valuable lesson that nothing is wasted on a writer.

Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Writers    Mike has been writing for over thirty years. His stories, poems, and articles have appeared in the Arizona Daily Star and Writer's Digest. His story, "The Human Element," was included in the anthology, Computer Legends, Lies and Lore (Ageless Press, 1994). Mike has published two Nick Madrid mysteries, Deliver Us From Evil (iUniverse, 2003) and The Last Place God Made (Xlibris, 2000), a young adult novel, The Treasure of the Santa Ritas (Xlibris, 2001), and is eagerly awaiting the imminent release of his newest mystery, Kino's Gold (Publish America). Mike's enthusiasm for his craft energizes classes at Pima Community College, where he's been teaching writing since 1990.

   Phone in Forum reservations (546-9382) by Wednesday, May 12, 2004.


Dale Adams has come up with a Three-bagger to kick off 2004. "My Grandmother's High Speed Funeral" was published in the March issue of Tombstone Times. "Memories of a Little Kid" was accepted by the Cochise County Historical Society for mid-year release. And Dale's very personal true story, "You're Going to Lose Your Son," about a precarious father-son bond and a perilous flight in a small airplane, appeared in the February issue of America's Flyways Magazine. It is also a narrative of a mother's insight and desperate ultimatum. "This was such a personal experience that I couldn't consider publishing for many years, a full generation, in fact. Now, my son exhibits a rapport with his own son that I would have envied years ago. Bottom line, I guess, is a happy ending."

Mike Alvarez's novel Kino's Gold (Publish America) will hit bookstores in April or March, depending on how fast the publisher gets stock to the booksellers. Kino's Gold is a fast-paced suspense novel about the search for a buried Spanish treasure trove. The story, set in the Southwest, is based on a legendary treasure supposedly buried during the time of Father Kino. Mike says, "I knew this story would make a great suspense thriller and hope readers feel the same as I do." Kino's Gold will be available soon through all regular retail outlets and from Publish America.

Lynnette Baughman's fourth mystery, Vegas Centennial: an Olivia Wright Mystery, will be published in May 2004 by Wings ePress in ebook and trade paperback. Vegas Centennial, sequel to Thin Disguise, is the story of how one Las Vegas family's century of secrets leads to murder on the eve of the gambling Mecca's centennial celebration. Available at Wings website www.wings-press.com. Lynnette's new website is up, too ‹ visit her at: www.vegascentennial.net

Pearl Gladwyn Burk will be signing copies of her historical novel, Crossing Sand Creek Sunday, April 18th at 2pm Barnes & Noble (Foothills Mall) Pearl tells of a Mennonite immigrant family's struggle as they leave their Russian home for Newton, Kansas in 1877, where the aura of the Chisholm Trail days still lingers. In response to questions about the people in this story, Pearl will give a talk about them at her signing and share her own experience. Crossing Sand Creek can be purchased at publishamerica.com, other online bookstores and at Barnes & Noble at her signing.

Susan Cummins Miller was awarded a winter residency during February, 2004, at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Woodside, California. Susan's newest Frankie MacFarlane mystery, Detachment Fault (Texas Tech UP), set in Tucson, Rocky Point, and the Arizona/Mexico borderlands, arrives at bookstores in late April. Death Assemblage, the first in the series, is now out in trade paperback from TTUP. Susan will be teaching, participating in author-panels, giving readings, and signing copies of her books at the

Sisters in Crime Booth
*Arizona Book Festival, Phoenix
April 3rd from 1 to 4pm
Other signings:
*Clues Unlimited Bookstore, Tucson
April 23rd at 5:30pm
*Readers Oasis Bookstore, Tucson
May 1st from 2 to 4pm

For more info check out Susan's website on:
http://hometown.aol.com/stmiller46/ myhomepage/index.html

LaVerne Harrell Clark's short story, "Once Again on All Soul's," features in a new anthology, Let's Hear It, edited by Prof. Sylvia A. Grider and Dr. Lou H. Rodenberger and recently released by Texas A & M University Press. LaVerne's story is accompanied by an in-depth biography and critical assessments of her life and writings. The review of Clark's literary history spans thirty-seven years from her 1967 University of Chicago Folklore Award through the 2003 second printing of her novel, Keepers Of The Earth (Cinco Puntos Press, 1998) winner of the 1998 Best First Novel: Medicine Pipe Bearer's Award from Western Writers of America.

Ken Iserson's second edition of his popular book, Get Into Medical School! A Guide to the Perplexed, appeared compliments of Galen Press, Ltd ‹ www.galenpress.com ‹ on April 1st. Truly everything anyone needs to know, at $36.95, it is 512 pages in 8 1/2 x11" format and contains 96 tables and charts detailing all U.S. and Canadian M.D./D.O. medical schools. Galen Press is offering SSA members a 20% discount for orders before May 1, 2004.
Contact Galen Press at:
ph: (520) 577-8363
email: sales@galenpress.com

Ed Kostro's Western novel, Gold River Canyon, has recently been published by Booklocker. A synopsis of the book, set in Arizona in the late 1870s, can be found at www.booklocker.com/books/1403.html. Ed's recently published nonfiction animal memoir, Curious Creatures ‹ Wondrous Waifs, My Life with Animals, has received rave reviews. A recent recommendation from Midwest Book Review is available at: www.midwestbookreview.com/ibw/ jan_04.htm#pets

Fran Lenzo is thrilled to have been notified by Coping with Cancer magazine that her essay, "A New Life," and poem, "All of Me," have been accepted for publication in an upcoming edition. Fran's article and poem will be read by more than 1.5 million people in the waiting rooms of America's private practice oncologists and cancer treatment centers. Fran says she's learning that if you keep sending in submissions, eventually you are accepted and don't have to place another rejection in the They Know Not What They Know! file.

E. J. (Mac) McGill's short essay, "Old Bones" can be read in the Spring issue of Flashquake, online at: www.flashquake.org/nonfiction/ oldbones.html
Based on a personal skiing injury that occurred on Mount Lemmon, "Old Bones" asks the question, "Is life without risk really a life?"

David Skramstad, promoting his mystery novel, The Murder at Gates Pass (PublishAmerica, 2004), was a featured guest in February on The American Spirit, broadcast live from the Access Tucson studio on the Tucson Cox Channel 72/73/74. The American Spirit is produced and hosted by Stuart Thomas and airs from 6pm to 7pm Tuesdays and from noon to 1pm on Saturdays. David is donating all proceeds from the sale of his book, set in Tucson, to Habitat for Humanity in Tucson.
Further Information:
Stuart Thomas, Producer, Access Tucson,
ph: 722-2837
website: http://access.tucson.org
Author Support at Publish America:
ph: (301) 631-0747
David A. Skramstad
email: davidavriel@earthlink.net
website: www.wordslinger.info
ph: (520) 327-3443

Bev Van Horn will be signing her book Best Friends Are Like Suspenders: They Hold You Up When You Are Falling Down on Saturday, April 3 at 2pm Barnes & Noble (Foothills Mall)

Jim Woods' account of his world hunting experiences, Honk If You Love Geese and Other Hunting Stories, will be published by PublishAmerica in 2004. Several of Jim's stories making up the book have been previously published as articles in national outdoors magazines.

Mark members' signing dates on your calendar, and make a point of lending them your support!

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

Chris Stern: (520) 743-0940

Vice-President & Membership Chair
Penny Porter: (520) 296-5299 (FAX: 296-0409)

Recording Secretary
gael Mustapha

Jay McCall: (520) 887-7847

Luncheon Forum Chair
Connie Kazal: (520) 682-8009

Write Word Editor
Jean Walsh: (520) 744-0552
e-mail: SSAwriteword@aol.com

Associate Editor:
Diane Vanover

SSA Home Page:


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

Deadline for next issue is the 21st day of May