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Southwest Valley Writer’s Conference — November 2, 2013

Welcome to the 4th Annual Avondale Writers Conference now being called The Southwest Valley Writers Conference. This one-day event is designed to allow you to connect with industry professionals and other writers who have gathered to share their knowledge and love of writing. Each fall, writers (and would-be writers) of all genres come to the Valley of the Sun to hear speakers and participate in workshops in order to hone their current skills and learn some new ones.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Ignite the Spark, Light the Fire”— Whether you are looking for an editor, or hoping to learn more about the aspects of plot and character, you’ll find many wonderful and useful sessions that will inspire you.

In past years, we have hosted notable authors, editors, and agents as speakers, including J. A. Jance, Peter Bowerman, and Laura DiSilverio. This year’s list of speakers is no less impressive.

Join us in Avondale, just southwest of Phoenix, for a day spent with others who are as passionate about writing as you are, and come away with tools and inspiration to take your own writing career to the next level.

Conference proceeds benefit The Friends of the Avondale Libraries, a Not-for-Profit (501c3) organization.

Call for Submissions for Four Chambers


Hey everybody! While I’ll be sending out a more formal promotional email mid-next week, Four Chambers is now accepting submissions! $200 in prizes! Every question you could have probably answered by the website, here (!


Friendly neighborhood community literary magazine Four Chambers is up to its armpits in submissions and is looking for a few people to help us out (reading between 5 and 10 submissions a week)! While there’s no monetary compensation, you’ll get to read (which is fun), you’ll be helping us out, and you’ll be doing a good thing for yourself and the community!

People who are interested should send Jake an e-mail at


Local Books – Mastering the Dream

Paperback        Kindle (No Kindle Version)

By Kelly Lydick (Author)

Poetry. “Only when The entire world looks different and I will never be able to see the old world again can the speaker of MASTERING THE DREAM maneuver through epistle, poetry, Jewish thought, late-night TV, Plath, tattoo parlors, and a fear of death to begin to answer herself. Reminding us that Information is not knowledge and questioning the boundaries between everything, between fiction and nonfiction, dream and reality, past and future, science and metaphor, she sets a third term between each–poetry, ecstatic vision, present, theology–in order to suggest some preliminary answers: there’s no such thing as either/or: there’s only and & and & and”–Brian Teare.

Writers of Southern Nevada Conference – October 11-12

I am writing in hopes that you will spread the word to your members about the Fiction Writing in the Digital Age conference that will take place October 11-12 at the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas. It will be a fantastic conference with info for writers at all stages in their careers. Focus is on both writing the best stories possible, as well as the different avenues for publication, including traditional print publication, epublishing with royalty paying publishers, or making a go of publishing on your own. Editors from both New York houses and small presses will hear pitches, as will agents. There will be successful authors from virtually every commercial genre, and every publishing format. Sign up now to save $50 off the registration price.

Plus, on Friday evening, there will be a mass “Atomic Booksigning” at Atomic Liquors, a downtown Vegas watering hole!

If anyone is interested, we would love to have you!

See for all details.

Local Books – Neworld Papers Series 1: The Historian’s Tale

Paperback        Kindle

by KB Shaw (Author)

s revealing the truth worth the disruption of a society?

Fallon lives in a peaceful world that has no concept of war, or murder, or even love. It is a society that prohibits histories and pledges itself to “The Service of Today and the Building of Tomorrow.”

Just weeks before he reaches adulthood, Fallon is torn from his sheltered life as a ward of the state. He is drawn into a subversive group that needs his secret talents and he quickly becomes a chronicler of discoveries that threaten to destroy the very fabric of Neworld.

Can Fallon handle the weight of the new responsibilities thrust upon him while he navigates relationships with the feisty redhead Aidan and raven-haired beauty Lenore?

Local Books – The Crossover Test

Paperback       Kindle (No Kindle Edition)

by Joseph Schwartz (Author)

James Conrad has one hell of a headache. In two days, he must drive to Montana with his self-absorbed, drug-addicted little brother named Rory, eulogize the father he barely remembers, and find his gun-toting, mysticism practicing mother, who is convinced she will be dead in a day. All standard procedure for the former Army Ranger, except for the man following them…a shape-shifter from another dimension…an assassin sent to kill them all.

The Crossover Test follows these four outcasts in a supernatural road trip across America, toward a violent and bizarre climax at the banks of the Missouri River and the gate to another world, where a family will confront the core of evil, discover the secrets of their mysterious past, grow closer, and most importantly, stay alive.

Classes – Effective use of setting – August 27, Sept. 3, 10, 17, 24 Oct. 1 (Scottsdale)

Effective Use of Setting 


Six Tuesdays

AUG. 27, Sept. 3, 10, 17, 24 Oct. 1

6:00PM – 7:30PM

Course fee: $225

Location TBD in Scottsdale

Class size limited to 10 




This is an intermediate class that will present the basic principles of setting, an important literary element that packs a powerful punch when used effectively. It will develop your ability to write strong scenes in any genre.  The class will combine the study of short stories, direct instruction, and weekly workshopping of writing exercises. 



Class Overview:

Week One:  Setting as the Backbone of Your Story

Week Two:  Setting and Character/Viewpoint

Week Three:  Setting and Emotion/Mood

Week Four:  Setting to Advance Plot and Increase Tension

Week Five:  Setting and Backstory

Week Six: Putting It All Together

Classes – Intro to Memoirs August 28, Sept 4,11,18,25, Oct 2 (Scottsdale)

Intro to Memoir/Fiction 

with award-winning author

Susan Pohlman

Number of sessions: 6 Wednesdays

Meeting time: 12:00 – 1:30 PM

August 28, Sept 4,11,18,25, Oct 2

Location TBD in Scottsdale 

Course fee: $225 

Class size limited to 10 




Memoir and fiction share the same story elements. Truth or fiction, your story must employ basic narrative technique. In this six-week course, you will learn how to focus your stories and tell them in a compelling way. 

This class is for the serious beginner. I will employ both direct instruction, workshopping, and the study of famous short stories for an interactive and enjoyable experience. 

Class Overview: 

Week One: Understanding the Difference between Memoir and Fiction

Week Two: Character

Week Three: Setting, Description, Theme

Week Four: Dialogue

Week Five: Scene, Summary, Exposition

Week Six: Putting It All Together: The Road to Publishing

Local Books – Halfway to Each Other: How a Year in Italy Brought Our Family Home

Paperback        Kindle

Susan Pohlman (Author)

The remarkable true story of a couple on the brink of separation who finds love again while spending a year in Italy with their family now including an update five years later.

Tired, empty, and disillusioned with married life, Susan Pohlman was ready to call it quits. As soon as she and her husband, Tim, completed their business trip to Italy, she planned to break the news that she wanted to end their eighteen-year marriage.

During their last day as they walked along the Italian Rivera, Tim fantasized aloud that, perhaps, they could live there. After initially dismissing the idea, Susan realized that she wanted to give their marriage another try and that maybe life in such a beautiful place could bring them back to each other.

Together with their fourteen-year-old daughter and eleven-year-old son, they leave the hectic life in Los Angeles for a more intimate lifestyle in Italy.

Susan’s funny, touching story reveals how stepping out of their normal day-to-day lives truly united her family in a whole new way. In this expanded paperback edition of Halfway to Each Other, readers will be able to enjoy the original story of their adventures — no cars, no television — and find out where they are today. When they returned to the United States, they went not to California, but to Arizona — and to a brand-new life.


Contest – Arizona State Poetry Society Presents “Poetry: A Garden of Diversity” – Deadline Sept 28th

“Poetry: A Garden of Diversity”
Recognizing the infinite variety of expression coming from the muse, ASPS lists here topics which will nurture the poet’s artistic choice. We look forward to reading a whole garden of variety in this year’s Fall Contest.
Arizona State Poetry Society thanks all our sponsors for their generous support.

1. MY GARDEN GROWS LIKE THIS Diversity in life, in romance, in the world around us. Wax poetic in your own individual way. Any format. 60 line limit. Sponsor: Anonymous ASPS Poet

Prize: 1st 250, 2nd 150, 3rd 100

7. THE SKY IS FALLING Wax poetic about any kind of weather; it’s happening all around us. Any format Sponsor: Mustang Poets, Scottsdale

Prizes: 1st – $50, 2nd – $35, 3rd – $15

2. ASPS LEGACY AWARD Any form Any subject Sponsor: Arizona State Poetry Society

Prizes: 1st – $100, 2nd – $65, 3rd – $35

8. RHYMING POETRY Any subject Any form Sponsor: Sun City Poetry Society

Prizes: 1st – $25, 2nd – $15, 3rd – $10

3. FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH Commentary on the poetic life and contribution to our world. Dedicated to Priscilla White and Eleanor Cummings, Mothers & Poets Emeritus Any form / Any subject Sponsor: Christy White and Carol Hogan

Prizes: 1st – $100, 2nd – $65, 3rd – $35

9. HUMOR – In good taste Any form Sponsor: Northern Arizona Poets Prizes: 1st – $25, 2nd – $15, 3rd – $10
4. EXPRESSING BELIEFS IN ALL WAYS Any subject – 80-line limit Long poems – any form Sponsor: Molly Saty

Prizes: 1st – $50, 2nd – $35, 3rd – $15

10. VACATION TIME Any subject, Any form Sponsor: East Valley Poets, Tempe Prizes: 1st – $25, 2nd – $15, 3rd – $10
5. STIRRING THE POT Current events, state of the world, criticisms or politics Any form – 60 line limit Sponsor: Ameriprise Financial, Sun City

Prizes: 1st – $50, 2nd – $30, 3rd – $20

11. SHORT FREE VERSE Any subject 24 Line limit Sponsor: Tucson Poets

Prizes: 1st – $25, 2nd – $15, 3rd – $10

6. POETIC POSTINGS Original poetry posted by author on Face-book. The date posted on their wall must be noted in parenthesis after title.Any form Sponsor: Glendale Poets

Prizes: 1st – $50, 2nd – $30, 3rd – $20

12. PICK YOUR FORM Any subject Any recognized form (excluding free and open verse) Sponsor: Carol Hogan

Prizes: 1st – $25, 2nd – $15, 3rd – $10

ELIGIBILITY: Open to all poets and aspiring poets. All are welcome here.
QUALIFICATIONS: Any original, unpublished poem not currently submitted to other contest(s). Poems which have previously won $10.00 or more are not eligible for submission. Submissions must observe specified subjects, forms, line limits and format as specified in the category description. There is no refund for disqualified entries. All entries should be titled. (The use of the first line of any poem may suffice for a title.) Any number of poems may be entered in each category, but each individual poem may be submitted only once per entire contest. Submit entries at any time; all entries need not be sent in at one time. Fees must accompany submissions.
FORMAT: Submit two (2) clearly typed copies of each poem (in English only), on 8-1/2″x11″ white paper, without lines or illustrations. Submit each poem on a separate page; no staples, unless an individual poem exceeds one page. No entries will be returned. Please read instructions carefully. Call or email if you have questions.

LINE LIMIT: Unless otherwise specified in the contest description, each entry has a 40-line limit. Spaces or breaks between stanzas or for effect will not count as a line. Introductory or editorial remarks, quotations, dedications, etc. will be counted line by line in the total line count. Free verse may be submitted without line or paragraph breaks. Lines for this format of entry will be determined by the margin settings of Sandcutters and category line count will be enforced.
*** SPECIAL FOR MEMBERS ONLY: $2 DISCOUNT ON Categories 1, 2 and 3! ***
ENTRY FEES: Per poem:
Category 1 . . . . . .
Make checks or money orders (US funds only) to:
Category 2 & 3
ASPS Annual Contest
Categories 4 thru 7
Categories 8 thru 12
DEADLINE: Received by 11:59 pm, September 28, 2013. Send First Class or Priority Mail only (not Registered or any form of delivery requiring signature). Mail entries and #10 (business) self-addressed stamped envelope to:
Carol Hogan, Contest Chair
ASPS Annual Contest 2013
10401 N. Cave Creek Rd. Lot 116
Phoenix, AZ 85020
JUDGES: Qualified non-ASPS members. Decisions are final. List of judges to accompany results sent via SASE, provided by contestant, at completion of competition.
PRIZE WINNERS: Awards (certificates. & prize checks) not claimed at the ASPS Annual Fall Conference, November 16, 2013, will be mailed to winners. Winners: please deposit checks as soon as possible. First, second, and third prize-winning poems will be read at the Annual Fall Conference of the Arizona State Poetry Society and published in the ASPS journal, Sandcutters. Winners will receive a copy. Sandcutters claims first publication rights. Poets receiving Honorable Mentions will be listed in Sandcutters. (Publication of HMs’ poetry will depend on space, discretion of the editor of Sandcutters and permission of the author.) All awardees will receive certificates. (Non-winning poems will be destroyed.)
Arizona State Poetry Society is a non-profit organization founded in 1966 in Phoenix, Arizona, and is a member of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. Membership is $20.00 per calendar year. Membership information is available at
!!! Special membership discount for those submitting poetry to this contest; discount available to renewing members also: $18 – good through 2014. !!!