Newsletter of the Society of Southwestern Authors           Vol. 40, No. 2 April—May '11


Upcoming Events

   April 2
Metro Phoenix Chapter Meeting @ 10AM
Mike Bercaw and Jessica Tribble "Publishing in Today's Markets." Scottsdale Civic Center Library.
Info: Carole Schoneman at or 480-831-3685
(More info on SSA-MPC page)

   April 4
Santa Cruz Valley Chapter Meeting @ 1—3PM
Ashleen O'Gaea "Writing Witches: An Introduction to Neo-Paganism." Conrad Joyner Library in Green Valley.
(More info on SSA-SCVC page)

   April 12
Arizona Mystery Writers @ 10AM -2PM
Morning: Detective Ben Jimenez, with the Tucson Police Department, will speak about some of the latest death cases and how they were solved. Afternoon: Elizabeth Gunn, "To Write a Mystery, Use What You Know." Home Town Buffet. $17.50 non-members. RSVP Molly 624-0792 or email

   April 17
SSA Forum @ 10AM—1PM
Four Points Sheraton
Grael Norton - "The New Golden Age for Authors"
(see article this page)

   May 2
Santa Cruz Valley Chapter Meeting @ 1—3PM
Eleanor Kedney of the Writers' Studio on "Creating a Compelling Narrative Voice." Conrad Joyner Library in Green Valley.
(More info on SSA-SCVC page)

   May 14
Arizona Mystery Writers @ 10AM-2PM
Morning: Tom Koukalik Tucson Police Department Bomb Squad. Afternoon: honoring our long-standing members, elections, and a special writing exercise Home Town Buffet. $17.50 non-members. RSVP Molly 624-0792 or email

   May 15
SSA Forum @ 10AM—1PM
Four Points Sheraton
Ross Browne - "How to Evaluate Your Own Novel: a guide for writers considering self-publication"
(see article this page)

   May 27-29
Pima Writers' Workshop
Pima Community College West Campus—$100
For all writers, beginning and experienced. Opportunities to talk and consult with professional writers and agents, as well as to write—register by May 7 to have manuscript reviewed.
(see brochure)

To R.S.V.P. Forum
Leave Phone Message
at 546-9382
or e-mail: WEDNESDAY before the Forum
$20 with reservation or
$25 paid at the door

The New Golden Age for Authors

   It's rough out there for books. Readership is down 20%. Trade publishers are cutting back on their lists and spending less on marketing their titles. Many bookstores are closing their doors for good. So why is now the best time in history to be an author?

   Join us April 17th to find out:

  • Why it's a new Golden Age for authors
  • The most important factor that determines your success
  • How highly successful authors publish their books
  • The secret hierarchy of bookselling
  • How to really make money as an author

   You won't want to miss this career-changing event!

   Grael Norton of Wheatmark, Inc. helps authors get their manuscripts ready for market and coaches them on publishing success. He's also a Senior Faculty member of the Authors Academy, where published and aspiring authors learn how to sell more books. To learn more, visit

   Don't forget to call in your reservations to 546-9382 OR e-mail by the Wednesday prior (in this case, April 13).

How to Evaluate Your Own Novel:
a guide for writers considering self-publication

   With the explosion of options now available to writers who decide to publish outside the "permissions model" of traditional publication come two very real challenges for the entrepreneurial author: how to know if a manuscript is ready for publication and how to publish a book of real quality without the support of in-house editorial staff at traditional publishing houses.

   While there aren't any single measures of quality that can be universally applied to the evaluation of a novel or assessment of its potential to sell, there are plenty of good questions a conscientious writer can ask to get a more objective handle on how well or how poorly a novel is conceived and executed, such as:

  • whether a manuscript is truly ready for publication in the first place
  • how a manuscript might be improved to give it better odds of selling well once published
  • talking points to get more mileage out of feedback from readers and critique groups
  • insights on how you can raise the bar on a manuscript that may already be quite good but isn't as captivating as it could be.

   The presenter: Ross Browne has been editing books since 1992 and developing workshops and seminars for writers since 1997. He has worked closely with hundreds of authors during his time with the nation's oldest freelance editorial firm and helped dozens of debut authors find agents and land their first traditional publication contracts. He has also reviewed manuscripts for a top New York literary agency where he discovered a manuscript from a debut author that went on to become a national bestseller.

   Ross is now owner and managing editor of The Editorial Department, LLC. Founded in 1980, The Editorial Department employs a team of 21 editors and consultants who offer a complete menu of editing, consultation, book design, and book/authors marketing services for writers and screenwriters. His company's clients range from new writers seeking publication for the first time to veteran writers looking to take their careers to the next level, as well as authors of several national bestsellers.

   Join us at the Sheraton Four Points Conference Center on May 15, 2011, for an enlightening brunch with Ross. As always, you can either call in your reservations to 546-9382 OR e-mail by the Wednesday prior (in this case, May 11).

Forum Mechanics: Maintaining $20 Price

   The Wednesday before each Forum, I guarantee the number of people who have made reservations by telephone (546-9382) or email at to Sheraton Four Points. We pay for that number of people. If you don't come, we still pay, so we will bill you $20. If you come without reserving, you'll pay $25 at the door. This will hopefully discourage drop-ins. Please understand that we only strive to break even.

                                                                         Concy Richardson, SSA's Forum Chair


   Dan Baldwin's novel, Caldera, is about a man's lifelong, dangerous and heartbreaking pursuit to define, discover and preserve his family. Three forces shape his life: the love of his surrogate father, a Pima Indian farmer/warrior; the indifference of his natural father, a mountain man who stumbled into a fortune in gold; and the hatred of his step-mother, a bordello madam. He is at first a happy-go-lucky kid in the boom town of Privy, Arizona Territory. He becomes a Confederate scout, husband and widower, madman, cold-blooded killer, hero and enigma. His quest leads to a violent confrontation with the three forces and a mortal enemy.
Caldera will be published by Red Willow Digital Press and will be available through three major distribution channels: Smashwords (Apple, B&N, Kobo and Diesel), Amazon, and Google eBooks.

   S.M. Ballard, Anna Nickell, Naaman Nickell and the Sulphur Springs Valley Historical Society are pleased to announce the upcoming Images of America, Pearce/Sunsites book offered by Arcadia Publishing. This book is the culmination of months of research by the authors and contains images and information sure to delight those interested in history in general, and in the history of Cochise County in particular.
Pearce/Sunsites begins before the existence of the town of Pearce and includes info on the Apache, ranchers and miners and continues on into the gold strike at the Common-Wealth mine and the beginnings of the town. Chapters include the birth and death of the Common-Wealth, the people of Pearce, the businesses and the town of Pearce today. The book then segues into the development of Sunsites from its earliest days to the present. As with all Arcadia books, Pearce/Sunsites is loaded with never before seen photos and information.
For more information, please contact S.M. Ballard via her website at:

   Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford won 2nd place for My Nana's Remedies/Los remedios de mi nana in the Children's Picture Book category at the first annual Royal Dragonfly Book Awards contest. "Winning any place in the Royal Dragonfly Contest is a huge honor because in order to maintain the integrity of the Dragonfly Book Awards, a minimum score is required before a 1st or 2nd place or Honorable Mention will be awarded to the entrant—even if it is the sole entry in a category," explains Linda Radke, president of Five Star Publications, the sponsor of the Dragonfly Book Awards. My Nana's Remedies/Los remedios de mi nana is "an important addition to the children's literature of the Southwest that celebrates the intergenerational love, respect and interdependence between a grandparent and grandchild" and "needs to be in every library, every classroom and every home." It retails for $15.95 and can be purchased at,, Barnes & Noble, or Antigone's.

   Susan Dawson-Cook's new DVD, Personal Best Stretch: Move Better Than Ever, is out. Filmed at the La Hacienda Club at beautiful SaddleBrooke Ranch, Personal Best Stretch is designed to help every participant reach their movement potential. Daily stretching increases range-of-motion in muscles and joints, lengthens muscle tissue, releases toxins in tissues that cause pain and discomfort, and helps you feel more relaxed. This 45 minute program includes detailed explanations on safe execution, modifications, and applications for different activities.
For more information or to order, you can check out my website at or view a short youtube clip from the program at "Thanks for taking a moment to read about my exciting news!"

   Sandra Farris' book, Obituary Column, has been made into a movie called The Treasure Within.
"There is a link on my website, and facebook page where you can see the trailer—on my website, the link is under Obituary Column and is at the bottom of the page."

   Lauren Grossman's Once in Every Generation is now available at the Kindle store ( "I made a decision to convert my book to Kindle format. Too many people asked me if it was available as an e-book. I caved. It seems there is no escaping the future."
Also, please take a moment and view the book trailer for Once in Every Generation, now available on "Video trailers are fast becoming an essential part of book promotion. While this is all news to me, apparently millions of savvy internet readers (and I never claimed to be savvy), are using video book trailers as a way to find their next read. Please share this on Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, or however you can spread the word. I'd really appreciate it!" (if for some reason this does not link, go to and type in the book title.)

   Mabel Maglone Leo says "With more books being read on Kindles than from the bookstores, I decided to take the leap and join the crowd. My book, Because We Are Friends, is now available on your Kindle. This book includes my award-winning short stories, poems, memoirs, and articles.
In Dear Sweetheart, the first book of the Sailor Springs Series, Norma learned the truth from Charlie Doyle's wife about his mad obsession with her and left him writhing in agony on the bed of silk sheets. Now, in Deadly Choices, the second book of the series, Norma flees to her hometown, Sailor Springs. Charlie follows, discovering along the way a new thrill, watching death creep through a human body. His killing spree continues as he waits for his Norma Sue at the perfect burial place, Soft Pond.
Leo hopes to have the third book, Dark Secrets, ready for your Kindle in time for summer reading. Here's a hint of what's to come: Soft Pond held Charlie Doyle's victims deep in its bottomless mud. Draining the pond to recover the remains of his madness exposes a murder victim hidden for over fifty years. Norma Sue and the man who rescued her from certain death found themselves drawn into the mystery by the one person who knew the truth—the killer.
Her children's book, Yahoodywho, and America—The Italian Dream will also be available on Kindle "Happy reading!"

   Susan Cummins Miller's fifth novel, Fracture, was just released from Texas Tech University Press. In it, geosleuth Frankie MacFarlane and Philo Dain track a stolen coin collection—and a murderer—from the sunbaked Tucson Basin to the fault-scarred hills of the San Francisco Peninsula. A longer synopsis and local signing announcements are posted on Susan's website:

   Geoffrey Notkin's documentary TV series on the Science Channel, Meteorite Men, has been picked up for a third season, "and we'll be filming over the summer, with new episodes airing late in the year."
And "I just published a new book, Meteorite Hunting: How To Find Treasure From Space, which focuses on my specialty of meteorite science. It includes a lot of photos and anecdotes from my TV show, and has been well received by my colleagues:"

   Bonnie Prudden's Myotherapy: Bonnie Prudden's Complete Guide to Pain Free Living has been reissued at $19.95. You can order through her website, or from

   Sandra Lee Smith, writing her children's books as Sandy Wardman, sold two picture books, Percival the Naughty Prairie Dog and Hector the Gila Monster. They will be out this spring.

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:

Jay McCall:

Recording Secretary
Sally Lanyon:

Writing Contest
Mike Rom:

Member Chair
Penny Porter:

Corresponding Secretary
Jane Eppinga:

Forum Program Chair
Concy Richardson:

Members at Large
Mark Jepperson:
Mike Nicksic:
Carroll Rinehart:
Danette Young:

Writing Group Coordinator
Barry Webb:

Speaker's Bureau Coordinator
Carolyn Harris:

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

SSA Home Page:

Mike Rom:

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