Compelling Openings Course

Hook Your Reader 
the First Page

A Unique Self-Paced Course to Create a Compelling Opening 

What to Expect:

On 9/14/22 participants are emailed access to a private website for the course. They have 12 days to watch 4 instructional videos while writing or rewriting an opening to their novel, novella, memoir, or short story. Up to 300 words allowed. All genres of fiction and memoir welcome. 

After first pages are submitted the instructor will email participants a link to a form with all the submitted openings. Participants have 9 days to answer 3 questions for each first page:

    • Does it make you want to turn the page and keep reading?
    • What hooked you?
    • What would have been an even stronger hook?

Authors are emailed the feedback from the other participants shortly before the last group Zoom meeting on 10/9 from 1-3 pm. At that meeting all openings will be discussed with opportunity to learn from the other participants of the course.

$50 Registration Due by 9/25

Limited to 15 participants

Register Here 



C. Alex Smith started her writing career as a political blogger on the Daily Kos in 2008. She was invited to be one of three editors on a well-researched weekly blog concerning economics, politics, environmental concerns, medicine, and science.  There, she cultivated far left celebrities to guest post on the blog including Robin Upton (host of  Unwelcome Guests), Gar Alperovitz (author of Beyond Capitalism), Roger Rothenberger (author of Beyond Plutocracy), and Prof. Richard D. Wolff (Economic Update, The New School in NY). She was also instrumental in getting the blog reposted on several political news sites and maintained the blogs social media presence. 

She moved on in 2014 to being the host of Spec Fix Pix, a podcast for fans of Sci Fi, Fantasy and Horror. 

After moving back to Arizona in 2018, she became a co-founder of Flagstaff Writers Connection. She continues to work for FWC to maintain their internet presence, host the local Critique Circle and Publishing Club, and to provide occasional workshops and courses on writing and the publishing industry.

Since 2008 she has been writing science fiction and alternate history. She has five complete manuscripts and three partial manuscripts. Two of her manuscripts took second place at the Arizona Authors Association Literary Contest.

Need Help Marketing Your Book?

Flagstaff Writers Connection 

hosts free, online group to help you 

Build Platform, Get Published, and Market Books?

Join the 

Pub Club

Members meet monthly for support, accountability, and education. We take turns presenting a topic related to the business of being a writer. Both traditional publication and self-publication are discussed. Handouts and worksheets are kept in a Drive File accessible anytime.

Future Meetings

July 23 at Noon: Book Launch Timeline by C. Alex Smith

Aug 20 at Noon: Media Kits by Barbara Mealer

Google Meet Link:

Instructions to join the meeting.

Calendar of All AZ Writing Events

Learn more at the Pub Club Webpage.

Let Them Talk!: Writing Compelling Character Dialogue

Arizona Authors Association Presents:
Writing Compelling Character Dialogue

A Zoom Workshop Presented by 
Award-Winning Author Penny Orloff

This Free Workshop Includes:

  • Exercises to help participants hear what their characters have to say, expressed in the characters' own voices
  • Examples
  • Discussion 

Saturday, July 9, 2022

10am-Noon MST online


Email Toby Heathcotte to participate.

Penny’s award-winning book                  Jewish Thighs on Broadway:  Misadventures of A Little Trooper

    Penny’s award-winning book

Jewish Thighs on Broadway:

 Misadventures of A Little Trooper

Penny Orloff was a working actor and dancer in Los Angeles when a Juilliard scholarship took her to New York. She sang more than 20 Principal Soprano roles for New York City Opera, and played featured roles on Broadway under directors Harold Prince and Joseph Papp. Theater, concert, and opera engagements took her all over the US, Europe, and the former Soviet Union. Her solo show, “JEWISH THIGHS ON BROADWAY" –based on her novel of the same name—toured the US for a decade, including a successful run off-Broadway in 2005. Her current show, “SONGS AND STORIES FROM A NOT-QUITE-KOSHER LIFE,” is on hold until the theaters open again.


She is the author of "Art as Lifework, Life as Artwork," a creativity seminar and workbook offered nationwide since 1991; and is still procrastinating on her new book, "Who Would You Be If You Had Nothing to Bitch About?" A Tarot reader for over 50 years, Penny has used the cards in her counseling practice for decades. She is a regular contributor of stories to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, and has worked for a dozen years as an arts journalist for various online and print media.

Find out more about Penny and her work                                                                                                                                   

In Celebration of James Oscar Phillips

James O. Phillips worked for Minnesota Power in Duluth until 2015. He was one of the four permanent speculative fiction members of the local Lake Superior Writers for over 17 years. He maintained a strong connection with this writing group, meeting with them via Skype, even after moving to Flagstaff.

Jim developed a passion for butterflies while living in Minnesota. He did not collect them, however. He counted them. In fact, he hosted a butterfly count near his home in Saginaw, Minnesota (near Duluth) almost every year while he lived there. After moving to Flagstaff, Jim continued his long-time membership in the Northern Crescents Butterfly Club in Duluth. He kept in touch with the club, welcoming many of its members into his home in Flagstaff. He shared with them his "Arizona butterfly discoveries."

Flagstaff’s bright forests, dark skies, and Lowell Observatory were perfect for Jim’s retirement. In addition to butterflies, he loved hiking and astronomy. He hiked the cinder cones around Flagstaff on a weekly basis. Lenox Crater was one of his favorites

Arizona's unique, fire-branded geology fascinated Jim. Friends who visited from Minnesota were treated to a guided tour by Jim, who had a reputation as one of the best guides in the state.  

Shortly after his arrival in Flagstaff, he attended a science fiction workshop at Lowell Observatory. Nancy Brehm and Barbara Shovers were discussing co-founding Flagstaff Writer’s Connection at that time, and Jim met with them about developing a critique group for speculative fiction writers.

He ran the Flagstaff Speculative Fiction Critique group until the pandemic forced the group to stop meeting in person. Jim kept in touch with the group's members and was making arrangements for the group to start meeting again when he passed away of natural causes in his home during the second week of April. 

The writing communities of Duluth and Flagstaff will fondly remember Jim for his scientific curiosity, love of all things science fiction and horror, his wicked sense of humor, his keen editorial eye, and his promotion of the Oxford comma. 

He is survived by his sister, Leona Claire Fitzmaurice, his brother, Carl August Phillips, as well as Carl's daughters, Candice Pemberton and Rebecca Peterson, and their children and grandchildren. His two beloved cats, Domino and Leopold, are currently recovering at High Country Humane. They will likely be up for adoption next week. Check the website for their pictures if you are interested in adopting these older, well-behaved cats.

"No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away." -- Sir Terry Pratchett

Polish Your Poems with Brian Evans-Jones

 Flagstaff Writers Connection 

is pleased to present a 

Poetry Workshop 


Brian Evan-Jones.

April 30th
12-3 pm

The hardest part of poetry isn’t writing the first version: it’s knowing how you can redraft to make your idea fulfill its potential. Even experienced poets can find themselves scared to push a poem as far as it will go, while beginners may not know what to do beyond changing a word here or there. In this workshop, poet and teacher Brian Evans-Jones will show you how you can radically rework your poems in three vital areas: structure and overall ideas, form and approach, and power of language. Through practical writing exercises, you’ll learn key things you can do to take a poem from OK to good, or good to great! 


Suitable for all levels. 

Please bring 2-3 unfinished poem drafts of your own to work on.

Register Here

Comments from Other Participants in Brian’s Workshops 

“Great workshop, really enjoyable and well executed!”

“Brilliant, will definitely help in the future.”

 “Very inspirational.”

“Really great workshop. I feel much less scared about attempting poetry. I am pleased with my progress today and the constructive feedback.”

“Brian’s enthusiasm was infectious.”

“A valuable experience that I'm sure will help me to improve my writing.”

“It was wonderful to get exposure to a fine teacher. A different view, many wonderful points and observations and you were so generous in your instruction.”

“I loved all the tips/methods you recommended we try to use in our poems.”

“I liked your participation with our work, including suggestions.”

“Enjoyed selection of poems; liked having aspects of craft pointed out.”

“Thank you so much for a great workshop; it was wonderful to work with you again.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed this workshop.”

Brian Evans-Jones is a former Poet Laureate of Hampshire, England. He won the 2017 Maureen Egen Award from Poets & Writers and his poems have appeared in competitions, magazines, and art events in America and the UK. He has also taught hundreds of poets in workshops, courses, and online in both countries. Through his monthly poetry club Poetry Parlor, he specializes in helping poets of all levels learn how to improve their individual poems and their knowledge of the craft. He publishes free resources on poetry and creativity at his website The Poetry Place.

Build Your Own Website with Google



Build Your Own Author Website 



Join us at

Noon (MST) 



on Google Meet

(Instructions to join the meeting.)


Firecreek Coffee in Flagstaff

22 W Historic Rte 66, Flagstaff, AZ
Mobile COVID-19 testing kicks off at Xavier University | Uptown Messenger

Due to a 10% rise in Covid Cases in AZ the live portion of this workshop has been canceled.

Before the Workshop

This webinar will show you how to work with Sites. Press "Register to Watch on Demand" button.


1. Introductions.

2. Create Your Own Custom Website on Google in about 90 min or so. What you will need:

  • A Computer
  • A high speed internet connection.
  • $12 to register a domain name for a year with Google. I recommend a version of your real name or your pen name, like If you have a common last name, try using "author" before your first initial or first name and then your last name. ""
  • Pictures that you own or that are in the public domain, so you are allowed to use them on your website. Think about a banner picture and a picture of your lovely face at least.
  • Some words. A description of what your site is about. Your bio. Your first blog post. Some content.
  • •  Brainstorm what you want your website to do. Get you speaking gigs? Be a place to showcase a screenplay? Sell your novels? Accumulate a fandom? Just for your family and friends? Store important files? A hub for your critique group? Make a list of what you want your website to do.
  • •  How do you want visitors to your website to react? Buy something? Sign up for your newsletter? Make a comment? Make another list.

Drive Folder of Worksheets for this Event (Under construction)

3. Accountability Moment: 

  • We will state a plan for the next month.

See more about the Pub Club at Our Website

Contact us at

Arizona Authors Literary Contest


AZ Authors Association Literary Contest and Awards

***Entry Form***

Unpublished Categories                                             Published Book Categories

Poems                                                                                       Fiction
Short Stories/Essays/Narrative                                                 Nonfiction
Essays, Articles, True Stories                                                   Juvenile/Young Adult
Novel, Novella                                                                           Oldie but Goldie

First Prize All Categories
$100 & Publication or feature in Arizona Literary Magazine
Second Prize All Categories
$50 & publication or feature in Arizona Literary Magazine
Third Prize All Categories
$25 & publication or feature in Arizona Literary Magazine

First & Second Prize Winners
In Poetry, Essay, Short Story 
Nomination for the Pushcart Prize

All Winners, Including Honorable Mention, will be featured in the Arizona Authors Literary Magazine. Since it began in 1978, the Arizona Literary Magazine has launched the careers of many authors.
2021 magazine.jpg

Contest Rules & Submission Guidelines

  • Winners in unpublished categories automatically consign first serial rights to Arizona Authors Association (right to print an excerpt in Arizona Literary Magazine first). If an entry is published after the deadline, the author must withdraw that entry.
  • Winning entries will be published or featured in the 2022 Arizona Literary Magazine.
  • Entries will be accepted now until postmark no later than July 1, 2019.
  • Unpublished categories: Three copies of each entry must be provided. No author name anywhere other than on entry forms.
  • Published categories: Two copies of each entry. Published E-books must be submitted in print & bound form like a gallery or ARC.
  • All published books including E-books must include ISBN, copyright dates, and publisher information.
  • Except for poems, all unpublished manuscripts must be double-spaced, with 12-point font and 1-inch margins, stapled or paper clipped.
  • Page numbers & titles on header—all pages.
  • For multiple entries fill out a separate entry form for each entry. You may copy form from our website or photocopy from an original.
  • Unpublished novels & novellas must be completed and available upon the judge’s request.
  • Manuscripts will not be returned except with critiques. Published books will be donated.
  • All finalists will be notified in advance of awards.
  • The judges reserve the right to switch the category for an entry, to cancel a category if the number of entries is insufficient, or to decide not to have a winner if the level of the best entries is not up to publishing industry standards.
  • Any entry not following guidelines will be disqualified without notifying the author. No refunds to disqualified

>>>DEADLINE: July 1, 2022<<<