Book Release Celebration for "To Travel Well, Travel Light"


Book Release Celebration 


Long Time FWC Author 

Rev. Mary Coday Edwards 

Sept. 28, 5:30 to 7 pm

Join Her At
18 N. San Francisco St.
Flagstaff, AZ
Light refreshments will be served.

"I served a god that didn’t exist …"

     To Travel Well, Travel Light is a story of the joys and pitfalls of living and working abroad for many years with children in tow. Mary, her husband Mike, and their two young sons moved to Peshawar, Pakistan, to help their Afghan friends rebuild their country after the Soviet departure in 1992. A USAID program brought educated young Afghan men to the Midwest to instruct them in public administration. Mary and Mike befriended them through a community friendship program, and these mujahideen persuaded this adventurous family to move to Peshawar. 

     Mary worked for an Afghan NGO as a consultant for construction projects inside Afghanistan, and Mike administered the Afghan Eye Hospital. Their older and outgoing son finished high school in Peshawar through a university distance-learning program and in the process learned to hang glide, met young people from all over the world, and grew fluent in the Pashtu language. Their younger son learned British English and had to be reminded by his parents that in the US, an eraser is not called a “rubber.” 

     The cover shows Mary in a chador. She wore that in public to protect her Afghan refugee friends from ultra-conservative Muslims who would punish Muslims who were suspected of consorting with loose Western women. She didn’t know it at the time of their move, but she was also wrapped in the chador of patriarchal, conservative Christianity, a religion that served a nonexistent male god that kept adult women as children. This family lived and worked abroad for 20 years, time enough for Mary to experience how her resistance to this religion found affirmation in wisdom ancient and modern and to rebuild her values with soul-driven goals. 


     Before becoming an internationally published author, Mary Coday Edwards was a project manager on multi-million dollar construction projects in the US and continued in this field when her family moved to Peshawar, Pakistan, where she was a consultant for post-conflict reconstruction projects in Afghanistan. A trailing spouse, she traveled the world with her family through her husband’s employment with CBM, a nonprofit headquartered in Germany. Her writing skills landed her jobs with international, English daily print newspapers, The Jakarta Post and The News, in Indonesia and Mexico, respectively. With her MA in Environmental Studies from Boston University, her articles and op-ed pieces on local and global environmental issues were published internationally.
     The many countries she has lived in—Pakistan, Indonesia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Mexico—provided her with the opportunities to pursue spirituality as expressed through the various worldviews she encountered. Mary took post-graduate studies in theological ethics from the University of South Africa, focusing on Ecological Justice: how to keep both the human species and the natural environment flourishing. Upon returning to the US after living abroad for almost twenty years, she became a nonsectarian spiritual growth facilitator and ordained minister through People House, a center for spiritual and personal growth based in Denver, Colorado. She’s been a regular blogger for People House for six years. 
      Mary spends her free time pulling invasive weeds from their small plot of shortgrass prairie land in Flagstaff, Arizona, where she lives with her husband and is within easy driving distance to their two adult sons and their families.

Compelling Openings Course

Hook Your Reader 
the First Page

A Uniquely Formatted Online Course to Create a Compelling Opening 

What to Expect:

  • Starting 9/14, participants have 12 days to watch instructional videos and do exercises via a private webpage. Participants spruce up or create a dynamic opening for a book, memoir, or short story of up to 300 words. 
  • By 9/25, opening pages are submitted to who will anonymously distribute them to participants via a link.
  • By 10/4, participants review other writers’ openings and answer three questions: 
    • Does it make you want to turn the page and keep reading? 
    • What hooked you? 
    • What would have been an even stronger hook? 
  • Instructor emails summary of participant feedback to each writer prior to 10/9. 
  • On 10/9, group meets on Zoom from 1-3 p.m. to review and discuss feedback received.


Registration Due by 9/14

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.

Introducing The House of Authors


HBO premieres the prequel to Game of Thrones 

8/21/22 at 9 pm EDT and 6 pm MST

The original Game of Thrones turned out to be one of the most popular shows HBO ever produced. So much so that they assigned their best writers to the show and hired excellent acting talent. The House of the Dragon prequel will likely get the same red carpet treatment. That means writers have an opportunity to learn from these top-of-their-game professionals.

Watch an episode and enjoy it. Then watch it again and take notes. Here are some handy forms to help you keep track of your findings.


Review Form


Writer Recap


Episode 1        

S1E1 Script



Episode 2 

S1E2 Script



Episode 3

S1E3 Script



Episode 4

S1E4 Script



Episode 5

S1E5 Script






If you notice something I missed, please leave me a comment below. I will keep track of all our findings and publish them on this Playlist and at this Website.

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.