Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Coloration for Authors: Part Two by Jeanne Burrows-Johnson

 Technical Aspects of Color 

An artist’s sense of color is normally reflected in their creations, so today’s discussion may be most appropriate to authors, especially those launching their first book or moving into a new series, genre, or nom de plume which may produce new design dilemmas… 

Even if you are an author under contract to a publisher who controls the art for your books, you may be able to offer input regarding the ambience you wish to see projected. Therefore, I suggest you contemplate artistic issues like color in advance of signing with a publisher. In fact, you may find that analyzing their artistic taste will help you select an appropriate publisher. I’m fortunate to have had the liberty of working regularly with an artist of my choice to develop the rich covers of the Natalie Seachrist Hawaiian Mysteries.


  


As a writer and design consultant, I often focus on color. One of my favorite questions for clients seeking branding advice is, “Have you had your color today?” On the surface, this seems like a simple question, perhaps referencing a bright scarf or sales banner. However, my question is directed at the person’s preferences in coloration.

If you are an author, the question addresses your approach to color in both the art and science of your writing…and how you envision the images to accompany your text. If your writing reflects your personal voice and style, choosing artistic elements may be straightforward. If not, research can ensure colors appropriate to your genre and writer’s voice.  

SELECTING COLOR Scientifically, colors [hues] are specific wavelengths of visible light. When considering coloration in your writing and for book jackets, one of the first questions you might ask yourself is, “What is my design aesthetic?” Also, “Does the style of my writing reflect my taste in art?” Do you like the detail of classism or the sharp clean lines of modern art? Do you prefer bright primary colors or muted tones? Like an artist, the author draws on a rich palette of images within their mind’s eye. But to effectively communicate through the images that accompany your words, this must be tempered by the expectations of the readers of the genre in which one works.

~ Lighting. The intensity and type of lighting affects one’s perception of tone [intensity of color] and shade [a mixture of black with color which determines how bright the color is]. 

~ Layering. The layering of color also affects our view of it. For instance, putting a red color on an ivory background will produce a color that has hints of orange. 

~ Tint. The tint of a color is determined by the amount of white it may have, which lightens the color.

FANTASIAS OF COLOR Before we look at definitions and samples of colors, let’s consider the historical and classical interpretations of color. Some colors, like the royal purple from Tyre, Lebanon, were originally drawn from rare and precious sources. To produce even small amounts of the Tyrian colorant, thousands of Mediterranean Sea mollusks [scientific name, murex brandaris] were needed for the dyes with which luxurious garments for ancient royals were fashioned. Another historically rare color was the crimson worn by Roman legionnaires and wealthy matrons. Traditionally associated with power and wealth, this color was obtained from the kermes vermilio planchon, an insect that grows on the kermes oak tree [quercus coccifera] of southern Europe. Although the means for obtaining and utilizing dyes and paints have changed dramatically through history, their inner meanings have remained linked to aspects of nature. 

 


To help you consider more than your personal preferences in color, let’s explore classical and traditional interpretations of colors and shades.

Red – This color is traditionally linked to sunsets, fire, blood, Mars the planet and Mars the Roman god of war. Red is now often associated with signature holidays like New Year’s, Christmas, and St. Valentine’s Day, as well as certain nations like China. This vibrant color is at the bottom of the color spectrum. It calls attention to anything depicted in it. Philosophically, it has been associated with licentiousness and the concept of Satan.



Yellow and Orange – Associated with the sun and gold, these happy and bright colors are used for many attention-getting purposes. Depending on their tone, they may announce deeply discounted items, or conversely, the richest and most valued products.  

Green – Representative of nature, green is often used for health and environmental topics, products, and services. Green hues are also used for military uniforms and equipment.

Blue – In daily conversation, blue ideally speaks of clear and serene waters and skies. In many philosophical traditions, it has been associated with purity and loyalty. Today, the color is often utilized by financial and insurance institutions wanting to declare their honesty, and by myriad healthcare industries wishing to project their dedication to the wellbeing of their patients and clients.



Violet and Purple– Although these colors are not adjacent on the color wheel, humans perceive them as related to one another. Located at the end of the visible spectrum of light [literally next to ultraviolet], violet is a spectral color that is less saturated [intense] and displays more blue. Purple is more saturated [intense, pure] and balances two spectral colors, red and blue. With both colors perceived as blends of blue and red, these rich colors remain linked to ancient concepts of royalty, power, and wealth.



White – White is an achromatic color [without hue]. It reflects light and embodies all wavelengths of visible light. While many substances in nature are white, animals having pure white fur are rare, and therefore their pelts were historically associated with the power and wealth of royalty. Once difficult to achieve in consistent form, white colored clothing was often deemed valuable regardless of the type of fabric. It is historically linked to purity, cleanliness, goodness, and perfection. Like black, it is a good background for highlighting all colors. 

Black – Absorbing all colors of light, this achromatic color is the absence of all visible light and therefore color. Obtained by the mixing of all primary colors, black is linked to darkness, night, and evil in historical and religious writings. It is an excellent background for both vibrant and subtle colors.

Note: White and black are often paired for the expression of opposites, as in good and evil, the white hats of the good cowboys vs. the black hats of rustlers, the white dress of the bride and the black of a widow in mourning.



Gray – Also an achromatic color [without hue], gray is created by the mixing of white and black. Being neutral, this color is most often associated with somberness, dullness, boredom, uncertainty, and advanced age. 

Once you’ve completed your research and contemplation of coloration for your project, I suggest you write a paragraph outlining the design elements you desire in your current project or the overall style required by your series. Then play with a couple of sample color palettes. With colors identified by number in your art or text software program, this will facilitate communication with publishers and artists [or yourself, should you decide to self-publish].

Finally, I should caution you again that identifying the colors you wish to see on a book jacket is no guarantee of how the printed work will arrive at your doorstep. Even two editions of the same book, printed by the same company following the same instructions, can yield variations in color because of differences in batches of ink or toner, the moisture content of the paper used, and production executed on innumerable types and conditions of equipment. 

Wishing you the best in your writing, Jeanne Burrows-Johnson, author, design consultant, motivational speaker Additional in-depth tips for authors is provided at: https://blog.JeanneBurrows-Johnson.com Note: The menu is located on the left panel beginning after the Facebook logo You are also welcome to send me an email at Info@JeanneBurrows-Johnson.com


Jeanne Burrows-Johnson is an author, narrator, consultant, and motivational speaker who writes works of fiction and nonfiction. She is the author of the award-winning Natalie Seachrist Hawaiian Mysteries, featuring pan-Pacific multiculturalism and history in a classic literary form that is educational as well as entertaining. She was art director, indexer, and a co-author of the anthology Under Sonoran Skies: Prose and Poetry from the High Desert. Drawing on her interdisciplinary experience in the performing arts, education, and marketing, her authored and co-authored articles have appeared in literary, professional, and general readership publications such as Newport This Week, Broker World, the Hawai`i Medical Journal, and The Rotarian. To learn more about Jeanne, visit her website at: https://jeanneburrows-johnson.com  


Monday, November 29, 2021

The Arizona Authors Association has a new website!

We are now in transition to our new website at www.arizonaauthors.org. The old website, currently at www.arizonaauthors.com, is still up, but will soon be no more. By January, we will have both web addresses, .com and .org, pointing to the new website. We at Arizona Authors Association are excited about the new website and plan to add more features and capabilities in the new future. As we accomplish this time-consuming transition, please be patient with us if you do not see everything that was available on the old website. It will come, eventually! 

Kathleen Cook, editor of the newsletter, will be the first webmistress for the new site. Check out your own authors page and make sure all links are working and that everything is correct. If you find something amiss, please contact her directly at faerland@yahoo.com. 

The new site has options available that the old site did not. Firstly, it is much more secure. You’ll notice that the address starts with https, not http as our old site does. The https encryption system means that your info is totally secure and the page is “unhackable” by any normal methods. Also, you cannot be misdirected to an unsafe site. It’s as close to hackproof as anyone currently makes websites, so we should be able to enjoy that new security for years to come. 

Secondly, the new platform offers options that we may take advantage of in the future, such as creating a forum for our members to network, start groups, or just chat online. It will take a good deal of time for Kathleen to study all the new capabilities and enhance the site, but at least the possibility is there, which we didn’t have in our old site. 

Lastly, the new site can be much more easily SEO optimized, which means we’ll be able to “get it out there” in cyberland, enhance our page ranking, and attract new members. 

As always, projects like this take many hundreds of hours to complete. Please be patient, but don’t hesitate to contact Kathleen if you find an error on your page. Those take priority over anything else! If you haven’t yet updated your web page on the old site, you may send Kathleen a photo and short biography. (200-500 words is ideal, but you may use more if you need to do so.) Please be sure to send a photo with “portrait” orientation (ie, taller and more narrow instead of shorter and wider). The dynamic pages in use on the new site do not handle “landscape” orientation pictures on the member pages, which are all uniform in appearance for a more professional look. If you must send a landscape-oriented picture of yourself, the Arizona Authors Association retains the right to edit as needed. However, you are the ultimate authority for your page, and anything you don’t like will be removed upon request. 

Enjoy the new website! https://www.arizonaauthors.org







Monday, November 22, 2021

Pictures from the 2021 Arizona Literary Awards Banquet - November 6, 2021

Slowly the pictures are starting to surface from the November 6, 2021 Arizona Literary Awards Banquet. Here are the hosts, Toby Heathcotte, current President, and Vijaya Schartz, Former President and current Blogmistress.

 


The theme was 'Those were the days, my friend..." and many attendees, mostly nominees for the awards and their guests, chose to wear a costume. Here is the costume contest winner, Miss Butterfly in all her splendor. The costume is based on one of her published children's books.

Costume contest winner - Maureen Scanlon
Other notable costumes:


It was a wonderful event. The Mexican buffet was fantastic, and the deserts divine.



Then came the time for the awards, recognition, and speeches from the winners. On the left, Janet Crum, and on the right, Maureen Scanlon. 



More pictures of costumed guests: Here Marty Feess and guest.

And, of course, group pictures:



And don't forget to purchase the 2022 Arizona Literary Magazine, which features all the winning entries. Click on cover to purchase on Amazon.



Friday, November 19, 2021

The 2022 Arizona Literary Magazine is out!

Click on cover to get it from Amazon.


Monday, November 15, 2021

Tripping Trip to the Mall - We live in a changing world - by Vijaya Schartz

It had been a while since I last visited my favorite mall, my old stomping ground, the Arrowhead Mall in Peoria, the West Valley of Phoenix AZ. I used to walk there with a friend on weekend mornings, when the scorching heat didn’t allow hiking on the mountains.

On this particular Saturday morning, my Tai-Chi class in the park was cancelled, so I decided to revisit the Arrowhead mall before hours, and walk around to get some exercise. Lots of people do it to get their steps in the early morning.

To my surprise, many of the familiar stores were gone, sometimes showing shiny black walls or mall ads for the new upcoming stores.

But what surprised me the most was the kind of stores that replaced them. Instead of “Forever 21” was a very spooky Halloween store. Well, tis the season, and this is probably a seasonal opportunity. Unless this new store changes its theme for each season… Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, Mardi-gras, Easter, Weddings, Mothers’ Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day, etc.

A CBD Emporium in the mall? You better believe it. It’s legal in Arizona, and apparently it has become mainstream. Maybe this new and very lucrative business will rescue the malls from impending bankruptcy.

A shooting gallery, with airsoft guns, 50 shots for $9.99. Camo walls, military videogame style décor, and realistic looking guns. There used to be arcades in the malls, not anymore. But this isn’t a store for young children (at least, I hope not). It’s just a fun and game shop at the heart of the mall to practice your targeting skills. What does it say about our society?

The Disney store is getting bigger. T-Mobile has a larger space. A new game shop popped up. Not that surprising since videogames are definitely popular. Some of my old favorites survived, like Charlotte Russe. The Apple store is not going anywhere soon. There was a line in front of it, hours before opening time.
 


In a clothing store window, I saw a pair of jeans with wide bell bottoms, like the ones I used to wear in the sixties. It was presented as the “brand new” style of jeans. Oookaaay… new? Really? Like the brand-new revolutionary way to remove your makeup with this fantastic and totally new product called witch-hazel? For real? Don’t laugh it was a big commercial on TV. Then, the original company that had launched witch-hazel a long time ago did a commercial of their own, advertising selling it for over 150 years. I guess young advertisers should research the history of the products they promote.


A Pangaea Dinosaur Grill in the food court. First, I thought it was a Halloween feature, but no. It’s a true food court franchise. With realistic dinosaur head sticking out of the serving counter, and a dedicated line for the kids to take selfies with the dinosaur head. I’m sure they love it. Very smart way to attract customers.


A Sunglass Hut Ray-Ban window, advertising first generation smart glasses that can film and record and transmit or upload everything you see to Facebook. Spy technology? Or an obsession to record every minutia of our lives?

Do you see a trend emerging? You are right. Here is the cherry on the cake.


There also was a new SELFIE STORE. I was curious. It’s a store where, for as low as $18, you may use one of their photography booths and cubicles to take your own selfies. The small cubicles offer different color backgrounds and settings to choose from, and a photo friendly lighting. Having your picture taken at the mall just took a completely different meaning. The last time I did it, the trend was glamor shots… but I’m dating myself. Oh well…

Other than that, I had my exercise. Life is never boring.

For out of this world entertainment, read my award-winning sci-fi novels with lots of action and romance. Find all the links on my website and retailer pages below.

Vijaya Schartz, author
Strong Heroines, Brave Heroes, cats

amazon - B&N - Smashwords - Kobo - FB 

Friday, November 12, 2021

Congratulations to the Winners of the 2021 Arizona Literary Awards in NONFICTION category

FIRST PLACE NONFICTION - Military Wives in Arizona Territory: A History of Women Who Shaped the Frontier - by Jan Cleere



When the U.S. Army ordered troops into Arizona Territory in the 19th century to protect and defend the new settlements established there, some of the military men brought their wives and families, particularly officers who might be stationed in the west for years. Most of the women were from refined, eastern-bred families with little knowledge of the territory they were entering. Their letters, diaries, and journals from their years on army posts reveal untold hardships and challenges faced by families on the frontier. These women were bold, brave, and compassionate. They were an integral part of military posts that peppered the West and played an important role in civilizing the Arizona frontier. Combining the words of these women with original research tracing their movements from camp to camp over the years they spent in the West, this collection explores the tragedies and triumphs they experienced.


Author, historian, and lecturer Jan Cleere writes extensively about the people who first settled in the desert southwest. Always on the lookout for the stories of early pioneering women, her books reflect her love of the west and her knowledge of western history.


Her monthly column, "Western Women," appears in Tucson's Arizona Daily Star newspaper, and she is a presenter for the Arizona Humanities program Arizona Speaks. The Arizona Newspapers Association honored Jan for a series of historical profiles she wrote for Phoenix Woman Magazine, and the Nevada Women's History Project names her to its Roll of Honor for her significant contribution in the preservation of Nevada women's history. Her freelance work appears innational and regional publications.




SECOND PLACE - NONFICTION - ONE HUNDRED SIXTY ACRES OF DIRT - by Marsha Arzberger


One Hundred Sixty Acres of Dirt tells the tales of remarkable people―farmers, cowboys, pioneer women and schoolmarms and their journey dealing with rustlers, droughts, Apaches, and straying husbands. It is the story of how they persevered and survived.

It was their dream to own their own land. The pioneer families traveled a thousand miles to claim their homesteads in Arizona Territory. It is a beautiful country, but a tough life. Those who persevered met the challenges, raised their families, and prospered. Their determination was inspiring. They were strong and they left a legacy of courage. The histories came from personal journals and scrapbooks. One Hundred Sixty Acres of Dirt is a carefully researched historical account of these stories that are filled with the emotions and passions of the people that lived them: their daily lives, joys, and tragedies.


Marsha Arzberger flies her Cessna Skylane when she travels from the ranch near Willcox, Arizona. She is a rancher, a cowgirl, a retired Arizona State Senator, a former Dean of a Junior College, and an author. She has a Bachelor's degree and a master's degree. She was an elected State Senator for four terms and Senate Minority Leader. She and her late husband flew search and rescue for Civil Air Patrol. Marsha published a historical romance novel in 1982, switched careers, and then came back to writing.
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THIRD PLACE - NONFICTION - REMOVE TO PLAY by Lia Woodall




Lia Woodall (she/her) is an award-winning essayist who experiments with form to explore her experiences of twin loss to suicide and the roles played in her family of origin. Her hybrid chapbook Remove to Play (The Cupboard Pamphlet, 2020) was the 2019 contest winner. Words published or forthcoming in Best American Experimental Writing 2020 (digital edition), under the gum tree, Literal Latté, Sonora Review, Crack the Spine, The Rumpus, and South Loop Review. She has been recognized with Pushcart Prize nominations and as notables in The Best American Essays series. She currently lives in Phoenix on territories of the O'odham Jewed, Akimen O'odham (Upper Pima) and Hohokam Peoples, where she is at work on a collection-across-genre called "Leaving Twinbrook: A Memoir of Duality."






HONORABLE MENTION - NONFICTION - MY DOG IS MY RELATIONSHIP COACH - by Maureen Scanlon




Explore the answers to relationship questions no matter what stage of the love game you are in.

My Dog Is My Relationship Coach is a guide to relationships that takes its lead from the pets in our lives and the unconditional love they offer. In our search for love, companionship, and "the one"-as well as during our maintenance of a romantic relationship-we often lose sight of our true selves and what we deeply desire in a life partner.

This book will help you to see clearly what it takes to heal yourself, enhance your marriage or romantic relationships, and realize the whole person you were meant to be while in a relationship or searching for that perfect mate. With tips, examples, and anecdotes, this guide shares the meaning, clarity, and deep connections that enhance the journey of finding or loving "our person."

Author Maureen Scanlon, certified in life coaching, NLP practitioner training, is a relationship expert and spiritual coach who is passionate about teaching and guiding us to nurture our relationships. Through her books, workshops, and YouTube videos, Scanlon has found that following our furry friends' outlook on relationships adds warm and relatable clarity and inspiration to those who are stuck on the "relationship hamster wheel."



Maureen Scanlon is the founder and CEO of Maureen Scanlon Life Coaching. She is an author, relationship expert, motivational speaker, positive change integrator, and spiritual coach who has successfully helped many people, from experienced professionals to young adults, make positive changes to overcome past experiences and negative thinking. When Maureen is not working to change the world, you can find her at home relaxing in Mesa, Arizona, with her husband, Dennis, and her furry babies, Jade and Brodie. She is also the mother of three adult children and grandmother to three grandchildren whom she adores

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Congratulations to the 2021 Arizona Literary Awards winners in the "OLDIE BUT GOLDIE" category



FIRST PLACE - OLDIE BUT GOLDIE - PARIS LAMB by Marcia Fine




The suspicious death of an esteemed professor thrusts biblical archaeologist, Michael Saunders, to the forefront of a rare antiquities auction. Coupled with an academic meeting in New York, he is beckoned from a Paris vacation to authenticate the priceless artifacts known as God's Gold. The objects, a candelabrum, silver trumpets and a sacrificial table, from Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem have traveled through the hands of barbarians and Vandals, to find their way into the Vatican for safe-keeping. Released onto the open market, world powers vie for the treasures. Impulsively, Michael returns with his Paris lamb to encounter the opposition. Michael's stance that the objects are authentic sparks confrontations with other archaeologists as well as a sinister cabal of Chinese investors. In defense of his research, his anger compounds what he feels about a revealed family secret. At the auction his life changes forever. A robust, satisfying read with a captivating love story that journeys from Paris to the Ivy League, New York, Miami and beyond.


Award-winning author and speaker Marcia Fine has written eight novels, including THE BLIND EYE—A Sephardic Journey, historical fiction chosen by the state library of Arizona for ONEBOOKAZ 2015. PAPER CHILDREN—An Immigrant’s Legacy has been a finalist for three national prizes. PARIS LAMB, her sixth novel, deals with anti-Semitism in the 1950s. She has also written the only satirical series about Scottsdale. Her novel, HIDDEN ONES—A Veil of Memories released in 2017, examines Sephardic Jews in Mexico during the Inquisition. With an interest in epigenetics she examines how trauma is passed on in families. Marcia has a BA from Florida State University and a Masters from Arizona State University.


SECOND PLACE - OLDIE BUT GOLDIE - JEWISH THIGHS ON BROADWAY by Penny Orloff




Based on her hilarious solo show, Penny Orloff's novel is populated by an oddball immigrant family, on-again-off-again lovers, diets from Hell, and a Rogue's Gallery from the Showbiz underworld; and every scene has readers laughing out loud.Abigail Paine, born Miriam Rosen, has been in love with Show Business since childhood, perpetually fantasizing herself as the Little Trouper Who Finds Stardom and True Love by the end of the movie. After a hundred shows and a hundred one-night stands, love and fame still elude her, and she'd rather suck a tailpipe than face another audition.Complicating her search for the Busby Berkeley ending is her primitive alter-ego ¿ The Beast. This creature can track, kill, dismember and devour an entire cheesecake; can kick the sh-- out of smaller muggers on the sidewalks of New York; and can't say no to recreational sex with a famous director on the Third Ring of the New York State Theater while a public tour is in progress.When Abigail finds love at long last, she is faced with an agonizing choice: Showbiz or The Guy. As she laments, 'Breaking into this Business is like breaking into Fort Knox; breaking out, we're talking Alcatraz.'


Penny Orloff, LA actor/dancer and author, relocated to NYC with a Julliard scholarship. She sang 20 roles for NYC Opera and played featured roles on Broadway. Her solo show, "Jewish thighs on Broadway," toured the US for 10 years. Her new show, "Songs and Stories from a Not-Quite-Kosher Life," awaits reopening of theatres. Author of "Art as Lifework, Life as Artwork" and "Who Would You Be If You Had Nothing to Bitch About?" she also published 3 stories for Chicken Soup for the Soul, served as arts journalist for 10 years, and has read Taro cards professionally for decades.






THIRD PLACE - OLDIE BUT GOLDIE - SYMBOLS OF THE GRID by Jeri Castronova




A mysterious golden disc is found under the Coliseum. A journal surfaces purportedly written by Mary Magdalene. A lost Orb is discovered in Glastonbury under the legendary site of the church built by Jesus himself. Dr. Sydney Grace stands poised at the center of an earth-shaking mystery. One step ahead of the horrific duo--the Vatican and the Sicilian mafia--her success could validate the Mayan prophecies and bring a fateful collapse to the Vatican.


Jeri Castronova, PhD, spiritual psychologist, award-winning author, healer, artist, and world traveler, trained in traditional clinical psychology and did a mid-career leap due to life-changing experiences in Egypt, Greece, Britain, Ireland, and Italy. With 30 years' experience in the healing arts, rebirthing the Divine Feminine, past life regression, and Egyptology, her fiction and nonfiction books bring new understanding of ancient wisdom, hidden history, the Emerald Tablets, and the Atlantean Mastery Game Board. Her inspiring, original lectures and workshops are presented at local and international conferences.




HONORABLE MENTION - OLDIE BUT GOLDIE - YOU WANT MY DOG TO GET A JOB? by Lynn Marie Lusch




This book series is about seven-year-old Lindsey, her family, friends and pets. The characters are consistent throughout the books, to help the reader establish a friendship with them. These short stories, some of which are mysteries, help the reader get involved in the life of this second grader. Incidents at school or home are shown from her perspective to enable the reader to relate to her. The positive ways shown to Lindsey by parents and teachers, will be examples to young readers.
In this story, Lindsey's second grade homework assignment is the best she's ever had! The whole class gets to imagine they have any kind of pet they want, and write a story about it. The catch is, the pet must come to life and have a job. Each student must explain what the job is, what they do, and where the job is located. They write a story using their imagination in ways they never have before. Every student amazes themselves with what they've created. This is a "must read" for any child that loves to make-believe, or for encouraging the development of their imagination. A dinosaur as a pet? Why not?


Lynn Marie Lusch has been an Arizona resident since 2005, living in Chandler with her husband Tim, and their dogs. She is the mother of two daughters, faithful student of the Positive Thinking philosophy, and believer in the Law of Attraction. It wasn't until she was in her thirties that she discovered these teachings. There was one question she always asked herself when introduced to a new book on these subjects: Why wasn't I taught this as a child? Lynn's children's book series contains messages of positive thinking by facing a problem or issue from a different standpoint, on a child's level.








Sunday, November 7, 2021

Congratulations to the winners of the 2021 Arizona Literary Awards in Published Fiction category


FIRST PRIZE - FICTION - BLOOD AND SILVER - by VALI BENSON

What is a twelve year old girl to do when she finds herself in the silver boom town of Tombstone, Arizona, in 1880, and her only home is a brothel and her only parent is a drug-addicted mother? If she is Carissa Beaumont, she outsmarts the evil madam and figures a way out.

After tricking the madam, Miss Lucille, into summoning a doctor for her mother, Lisette, she discovers that Miss Lucille has been drugging her. She and the kind doctor make a plan to try to save Lisette by dosing her down on the drug.

Doctor Henderson tells Carissa that the only source for the drug is a Chinese immigrant named China Mary, who lives in Hoptown, at the other end of Tombstone. Carissa has no choice but to go to the powerful woman for help. Many say that China Mary is the one who really controls Tombstone.

China Mary admires Carissa's brave spirit, and uses her influence to get her a job at the new Grand Hotel, which will free Carissa from her many duties at Miss Lucille's. She will work along with Mary's twelve year old niece, Mai-Lin. The two girls become fast friends.

Then, disaster strikes, and the two girls must work together to stay alive.


Vali grew up in the Midwest. She now lives in Tucson with her husband, two sons and grandchildren.

After graduating from the University of Illinois, Vali started and sold two successful businesses before she decided to pursue her real passion of writing. She published several articles in a variety of periodicals, including History Magazine before she decided to try her hand at fiction.

In April of 2020, Vali published her first novel, “Blood and Silver”. That same month, she was also made a member of the Western Writers of America.



SECOND PLACE - ON TRAIGH LAR BEACH - Stories by DIANNE EBERTT BEEAFF



Erica Winchat, a young writer overwhelmed by the stress of her first book contract, discovers thirteen curious items tangled in the flotsam on the Scottish beach of Tràigh Lar. Erica tells the intriguing story of the owner of each of these items, uncovering a series of dramatic events—from a Chicago widow’s inspiring visit to Quebec City to a shrimper’s daughter facing Tropical Storm Ruby in North Carolina.


Dianne Ebertt Beeaff has been a free-lance writer for many years, beginning in the area of magazine journalism. More recently she has had six books published, from memoir to poetry to historical fiction. Her latest book is the short story collection ON TRAIGH LAR BEACH (She Writes Press 2020)






THIRD PLACE FICTION - DESERT FOUNTAINHEAD - A Tale about the Borderlands - by ROBERT MAREK



Water spells life on the high desert: A migrant is found and rescued at the point of death; a village finds its supply failing; a rancher loses his water source in a drunken card game; a developer's reckless plan to build grandiose winter homes arouses a deadly protest; and an end-of-life experience inspires a hapless desert wanderer to find redemption through altruism and forgiveness.


About the author:

Robert Marak, writing as Marek Friedl, has lived a dozen years south of Tucson, where he has hiked many dozens of miles in the arid hill country near the border. He learned to cherish this spectacular landscape, both precious and precarious. He found time to work with a nonprofit charity and learned of the challenges presented by immigration, water scarcity, and development. The Groundwater Management Act of 1980 forms the underlying context of the novel. The writer has pursued interests in document conservation, the environment, woodworking, and public policy.



HONORABLE MENTION - NEEDLES ARIZONA by Bill Coates





Billy Olson is an Arizona cactus cop on the hunt for a pair of misfit brothers on the run with a rare crested saguaro. The McFinneys leave a trail of assault and mayhem wherever they go. They're suspected in the murder of the man who stole the cactus from the estate of a dollar-store magnate. Olson is joined by Jane Fillmore, a sheriff's deputy who's fit and handy with firearms. Olson, not so much. It didn't help he abandoned the traditional Pima diet handed down by his grandmother. Instead, he dines on high carbs and beer. He can still follow a clue, as he and Fillmore chase the McFinneys to the desert sanctuary of one William Upchurch, leader of a cult of cactus worshippers. He awaits the crested, the cristate, hoping to tap into another dimension.


Bill Coates was born at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix, August 1950. His mother had struggled to lift a gate to irrigate the lawn. She slipped and fell into the irrigation ditch. She went into labor. So began Bill's first day. He attended high school and college in Phoenix and Tempe. Later, in Tucson, he received a master's in journalism. Coates worked for a number of newspapers in the years since. They included a monthly that covered Arizona Indian tribes, the Phoenix Gazette, the Arizona Capitol Times and lastly, the Casa Grande Dispatch. He has written three books, including Needles Arizona.