Kathleen Cook is a free-lance editor and the author of twenty-one books. A former copy writer/editor for Demand Studios, she also served as the Fictional Religion Editor for the ODP (Open Directory Project). She is currently the Arizona Authors Association newsletter editor. Contact Katy at: email@example.com
Ah summer! After planting thirty tomato seedlings this morning, I came inside and started on this column. The fresh air still in my lungs, I marveled at how fortunate I am to be able to do the things I do, both in my garden and in this organization.
I think of the Arizona Authors Association as a garden, in a way. Two years ago, we were restarting from nearly the ground up, once again. It wasn't easy, trying to convince long-term members to keep sending in their membership fees when our legs were still shaky. We had to convince them that we were on the right track again, and working our way towards our former glory. Luckily, many of them stuck with us during the bad times and now enjoy the revitalized association that we have always loved. It reminds me of the year there was a bad storm and destroyed nearly my entire garden of precious seedlings. I had to salvage what I could from what was left. Miraculously, a few plants survived and wound up being the best ones I'd ever had, beautiful, healthy and bountiful. The AAA has bounded back in the same way
We have so many things planned for the future! The association purchased an upgraded membership in Zoom because of the pandemic, but we discovered that more people attend the Zoom workshops than we had in our library-based workshops before the pandemic. Fantastic! We can now bring top-notch workshop presenters to you in your own home. The next presenter is Donis Casey, a brilliant writer and a wonderful teacher. I'm going to attend her workshop on June 5th, coming up in just a few days! Will you?
In July, Toby (Heathcotte) and I will be hosting another Zoom book fair, and Jane Ruby will be joining us! The last one was so much fun that we just had to do it again. It's open to the public to attend, but only members may showcase their books. I'd love to meet you there, and best of all, it's FREE! Come on; I’m sure you have a book gathering dust that you’d love to tell us about. I’d love to hear about it!
I’m also hurrying to dust off a book or two for the 2021 Arizona Authors Literary Contest. The DEADLINE IS LOOMING! We’ve got THIS MONTH to get in our books, folks, so let’s make sure that Jane Ruby, our Contest Coordinator, has as many books as my garden has seedlings! With our new Oldie But Goldie category and a renewed interest in the contest in general, this may be our best year ever.
Remember, too, that there are critiques available for all unpublished contest entries, for an additional fee. I spent many years as an editor, and I know that the price of the critiques is very low in comparison to professional reviews. If you aren’t sure whether your unpublished entry is good, why not try it anyway and ask for a review? You may receive valuable advice that will help you to win next year’s contest.
While I am sad that we have lost a few good members, I’m so grateful to all the ones that we’ve retained, as well as the new ones that keep joining. That’s how it is in a garden, even a flourishing one like ours. I want you to know that you fit perfectly in this lovely garden we call the Arizona Authors Association, and that each of you are valued and beautiful.
So many more things will happen in the future. With our professional Zoom membership, be on the lookout for more workshops, more book fairs, more of everything! What would you like to see the Arizona Authors Association do in the future? Write to me or Toby and tell us! We’d love to hear from you and we’d certainly take your ideas and suggestions under consideration.
Well, I’m off again to plant some huckleberries. What will you plant today, either in a garden, in a notebook, or in that new book you’re writing? Keep it up; stick with it, and never let adversity cause you to despair. Eventually, we all grow and thrive and learn! Let’s keep doing all three together, and thank you so much for being a part of this wonderful association!