Want to learn the nuts and bolts of writing a mystery for publication? Or learn how to create a winning children’s picture book? Write short stories, novels or young adult books? Mingle with successful authors? Get a mystery writer’s autograph? You can do any or all of the above in the Valley of the Sun during the month of February as the Phoenix area will host a variety of book signings, workshops, conferences, and writers’ meetings. Check out the possibilities below.
Tuesday, Feb. 5, 7-8:30 p.m.: New York Times bestselling author J.A. Jance will sign “Deadly Stakes,” which is an Ali Reynolds novel, at The Poisoned Pen Bookstore, 4014 N. Goldwater Blvd. in Scottsdale, Ariz. In addition to the Ali Reynolds series, which is set in Sedona, Ariz., Jance is the author of the J.P. Beaumont series (set in Seattle), four interrelated Southwestern thrillers featuring the Walker family, and the Joanna Brady series (set in Bisbee, Ariz.). Born in South Dakota, Jance grew up in Bisbee and now divides her time between Tucson, Ariz. and Seattle.
Thursdays, Feb. 7-28, 7:10-9 p.m.: Mesa Community College Downtown Center, 145 N. Centennial Way, Mesa, Ariz., hosts a fiction writing workshop. The workshop covers short stories, novels, children's books and young adult books. Cost is $49. To register call 480-461-7493.
Saturday, Feb. 9, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.: The Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators presents a workshop entitled “The ABC’s of a Successful Picture Book: A Workshop for Picture Book Writers & Illustrators.” The workshop features award-winning author/illustrator Wendy Watson and New York Times Bestselling author/illustrator Nate Evans. Location is the University of Phoenix main campus, 1625 W. Fountainhead Parkway, Tempe, Ariz. For more information, contact Michelle Parker-Rock at RegionalAdvisor@scbwi-az.org.
Saturday, Feb. 9, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.: Learn to prepare a mystery manuscript for publication at the Third Annual Mystery Writers Workshop sponsored by the Desert Sleuths chapter of Sisters in Crime. The free “NUTS & BOLTS: Fine-tuning Your Mystery for Publication” workshop will be held at the Scottsdale Civic Center Library, 3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd., Scottsdale, Ariz. It includes such topics as “Plots That Kill,” “Scene of the Crime” and “Getting Your Cop Facts Straight.” No pre-registration is needed.
Saturdays, Feb. 9-March 2, 10 a.m.-noon: Southeast Regional Library, 775 N. Guadalupe Rd. in Gilbert, Ariz., hosts a fiction writing workshop covering short stories, novels, children's books, and young adult books. Cost is $50, with a $10 copy fee paid to the instructor. To register, call (480) 503-6200.
Saturday, Feb. 9, 8:30 a.m.–4:45 p.m.: Changing Hands Bookstore offers the Indie Author Publishing Conference at the Burton Barr Central Library, 1221 N. Central Ave. in Phoenix. For more information about the conference, call 480-730-0205. Cost is $135. Register online. Sessions include information about digital publishing, marketing, the legal and business aspects of writing, and more. Among the presenters is Stella Pope Duarte, author of such books as “Writing Through Revelations, Visions and Dreams,” “Women Who Live In Coffee Shops And Other Stories,” “If I Die in Juárez” and “Let Their Spirits Dance.”
Saturday, Feb. 9, 5-7 p.m.: Writers will have a chance to present their best one-minute “elevator pitch” to a panel of book experts at the Pitchapalooza at the Burton Barr Central Library, 1221 N. Central Ave. in Phoenix. The panel includes Changing Hands Bookstore co-founder Gayle Shanks, Poisoned Pen Press acquisitions editor Annette Rogers, Knopf Random House Canada senior editor Paul Taunton, author David Henry Sterry and literary agent Arielle Eckstut. The Pitchapalooza is a free event presented by the Phoenix Public Library and Changing Hands Bookstore.
Saturday, Feb. 16, noon-2:00 p.m.: The Phoenix Writers Club meets every third Saturday of the month at the Bluewater Grill, 1720 E. Camelback Rd. in Phoenix. This month’s speaker is Marshall Shore, “who will unlock for us the history of Phoenix, as only a curious ‘information curator’ can do,” Cindi Reiss, PWC’s president, said in the club’s February newsletter. Nicknamed Phoenix’s unofficial hipstorian, Shore entertains and educates audiences about Arizona history with his show, “Retro Spectacular.” Shore grew up in Odell, Ind., went to New York at 23, and now resides in Arizona. To attend the meeting, please email Eileen Birin at email@example.com by Feb. 14 for reservations.
Wednesday, Feb. 20, 7 p.m.: Lisa Peloza will present “A Comprehensive Firearms Workshop” at the monthly meeting of the Desert Sleuths chapter of Sisters in Crime. The meeting will be held at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, 4000 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, Ariz. Peloza is employed by the Arizona Department of Public Safety and is assigned to the Central Regional Crime Laboratory in Phoenix. As a firearms examiner, her primary concern is to determine from the evidence whether a bullet, cartridge case, or other ammunition component was fired by a particular firearm.
Friday, Feb. 22-Sunday, Feb. 24: The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University presents the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference. The conference, held on the ASU campus in Tempe, Ariz., will feature fiction, popular fiction, nonfiction and poetry sessions. Speakers include Jewell Parker Rhodes, the award-winning author of such books as “Voodoo Dreams,” “Magic City” and “Douglass’ Women”; and Betty Webb, author of the Lena Jones mystery series and the Gunn Zoo mystery series. Two evening receptions with food and a cash bar will give participants a chance to socialize with fellow writers and faculty. Register online by Feb 15.
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