On Feb. 20–22, aspiring writers covering all genres converged on the Tempe campus of Arizona State University for the annual Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference presented by the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing. They interacted with such professional presenters as Ron Carlson, author of ten books of fiction, including his newest novel, “Return to Oakpine;” Dana Stabenow, whose 30th novel, “Silk and Song,” came out in February 2013; and Deborah J. Ledford, whose latest novel is “Crescendo,” the third in her Steven Hawk/Inola Walela thriller series.
Rivers is a mother, writer, traveler, wife, thyroid cancer survivor and writing instructor. She can be found behind a camera or an acetylene torch, spending a day with a legislator or at the farmers’ market, with her nose in a guidebook mapping an adventure or responding to student writing. Her publishing credits include stories in The Arizona Republic, Raising Arizona Kids, Canyon Voices and PBS Filmmaker Jillian Robinson’s “Change Your Life Through Travel.” She has a forthcoming literary memoir about her search for identity and adventure while living in remote Alaskan villages, where she says she “chased grizzly bears and ran from grizzly men.”
Scottsdale-based Pohlman is a freelance writer, writing instructor/coach and Transformational Travel Retreat leader whose essays have appeared in Family Digest, Raising Arizona Kids, Guideposts Magazine, The Washington Times and other publications. Her book “Halfway to Each Other” tells her own true story of how she and her husband revived their marriage while spending a year in Italy with their family. In addition, Pohlman has written five short films, two of which won best screenplay awards in the Baltimore 48 Hour Film Project: “The Misadventures of Matilda Mench” in 2010 and “The Pen” in 2011. An expert in relocating, Pohlman grew up on New Jersey and has lived in Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, California, Italy and Arizona.
President/founder of the Scottsdale Society of Women Writers, a group she has built to number 75, and also of Brooks Goldmann Publishing Company, LLC, Brooks is the author of “Gifts of Sisterhood,” which she wrote as a remembrance of the sister she lost to lung cancer, and holds a master’s degree in organizational management. In addition to speaking on the topics of marketing and management, she also conducts workshops on overcoming grief. Brooks plans to publish her second nonfiction book, entitled “Captive No More,” in 2014.
Reiss serves as an adjudicator for the ariZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence, is a past president of the Phoenix Writers Club and has written for Examiner.com as the Phoenix Travel Examiner. She has published feature articles in local newspapers and magazines and was a contributing author for “The Wall,” the children’s book the Phoenix Writers Club compiled during its 80th-anniversary year. She also enjoys writing poetry and short stories for children and adults. Prior to turning to writing, Reiss was an actor in theater and films, handled casting for movies and commercials and worked in various production jobs for several independent features. She also taught the art of clowning and creative drama. In 2005 Reiss and fellow writer Rita Ackerman started Writers’ Inspiration Group, which meets weekly to help writers hone their craft.
Active in promoting sensible immigration reform, Lace became a proud Arizonan when he moved to the state in 1992. He is the author of “Tears of Esperanza: A Novel of Fury and Passion in Arizona,” which placed second in the published fiction category of the Arizona Authors Association’s 2013 Arizona Literary Contest. The debut novel takes a look at what the fight over immigration and border control policy in Arizona is like, from the streets of the barrios to the halls of the capitol. When not working as a federal law enforcement special agent, Lace enjoys writing, traveling and spending time with his family.
Kramme is a graduate of Cornell University, where she studied industrial and labor relations and where she says she “found out the acronym ILR stood for I Love Reading.” After what she terms “a long and exhausting career in the hotel industry,” the creative side of her brain kicked in and she discovered an equally strong love for writing. Her short plays, “Bad Travel” and Vaculux 4000,” were selected by the Arizona Women’s Theatre Company’s Pandora Festival of New Works during two consecutive contest years.
To see what these writers learned at the conference, click “View 6 photos.”
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