Wednesday, November 30, 2022

New book release: Marky the MAGNIFICENT Fairy - by Cynthia Kern OBrien

Find this book in pre-order on Amazon HERE (2023 release)

 Believing in yourself isn’t always easy. Marky learns that firsthand when the other woodland fairies make fun of her. They laugh at her one small wing and say mean things about her fiery-red hair, her glasses and her freckles. It is hurtful, but through Marky’s determination, she helps them understand that everyone has exceptional qualities. Some are visible. Some are invisible. Through her kindness, Marky teaches her friends about self-love, confidence, acceptance, positivity and compassion. She reminds them they are magnificent. Readers of all ages learn to believe in themselves and the importance of treating everyone with respect and kindness.

About the author:

Cynthia Kern OBrien is the author of the A True Story by Granny debut picture book series: I Used to be a Fairy; The Tooth Fairy and the Baby Elf; and I Don't Want to Go to Preschool, the Fairy Queen Calls. A grandmother of three, she resides in California with her husband and Yorkshire mix, Pickles. OBrien finds inspiration for her writing in her grandchildren and their worldview, aspiring to teach young readers caring and kindness for people and animals of all stripes. Early on, her book series became a Readers Favorite and multi-award-winning recipient.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

New book release: GRACIE a rescue dog - by Marlene Baird

Find this book on Amazon HERE

 Marlene Baird is the author of four published novels: Murder Times Two, The Filigree Cross (The Salvation of Larry Broadfellow), Minnie and the Manatees, and Claire Walker, which are available at She took third place in the Lorian Hemingway International Short Story Contest, and has won several other awards. She is a member of Professional Writers of Prescott and Arizona Authors Association. On two occasions she has taken first place in the Arizona Authors Association's annual writing contest and serves as a judge for the contest. Marlene is a transplanted Canadian living in Prescott, AZ with her husband, Bob, and Gracie.

Gracie, on the other hand, belongs to no organizations. She is adept at eating, sleeping, hiding, walking and being petted. She can lift spirits and make a person laugh. She loves other dogs, snacks, and playing. She is a smart dog who has taught her people all of her tricks. Her ancestry is unknown.

Gracie was adopted December 15, 2020 from Yavapai County Humane Society in Prescott, Arizona. This is the story of how she became so important to the family that adopted her. The purpose of the book is to promote adoption of helpless animals and to thank all of those individuals who do this necessary work.

Monday, November 21, 2022

New book release: To Travel Well, Travel Light - by Mary Coday Edwards

Find this book on Amazon HERE

As a young mother, Mary moves from the US to Peshawar, Pakistan, with her family to help her Afghan friends rebuild their country, only to painfully watch her patriarchal Christian worldview tumble down and be rebuilt with soul-driven goals and values.

To Travel Well, Travel Light is a two-part memoir of an outward journey and an inward journey. Part 1 tells the story of the joys and pitfalls of living and working abroad with children in tow. 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.

They lived in Pakistan instead of Afghanistan because of security concerns. But with Peshawar’s ultra-conservative honor code of Pushtanwali, men threw rocks at Mary because of her exposed blonde hair, and she traveled through Pakistan’s tribal territory veiled and disguised as a good Muslim woman.

She worked for an Afghan NGO in post-conflict reconstruction projects inside Afghanistan, and Mike administered the Afghan Eye Hospital in Peshawar. Their older son finished high school in Peshawar through a university distance-learning program and, in the process, learned to hang glide, grew fluent in the Pashtu language, and met young people from all over the world. Their younger son attended pre-school with children from around the globe and picked up language peculiarities, such as calling an eraser a "rubber".

In Part 2, Mary narrates the crumbling of a worldview that no longer served her and the creation of its replacement.

This section opens in Indonesia where the family moved after living eight years in Pakistan. Mary worked as an editor for Indonesia's newspaper The Jakarta Post, and Mary toured and wrote about a rehabilitation and release sanctuary for majestic hawks and eagles located on one of the nation’s 17,000 islands. Rescue personnel ensured that these birds of prey did not become dependent upon humans and thus unable to survive in the jungles upon their release.

Mary compares the dangers of domestication of wild birds with Clarissa Pinkola Estés’ interpretation of the Red Shoes Fairy Tale. Dr. Estés explains how a woman can be metaphorically captured through coerced cultural conformity, overly domesticated as she tries to fit in, and then when she is free, goes feral. When feral, she is vulnerable to various wounding traps.

Mary uses Dr. Estés’ tale as a metaphor for her own life. In Chapters 19 to 23, she recounts how she was “captured” as a child. When set free in her late teens, she made unhealthy choices before joining the Jesus Movement, which morphed into the trap of patriarchal Christianity—a system of belief that denied adult women their agency and kept them as children.

She knew she had to flee that enforced childhood. Just as the hawk and the eagle needed a safe space to recover, Mary narrates in Chapters 24 to 30 how she found her safe space during her global travels in Pakistan, Tanzania, Kenya, and Indonesia. She dug out the buried parts of herself that had gone underground and, with that as her foundation, created a life-affirming worldview. Her initial guides were psychiatrist Carl Jung and the sixteenth-century monastic John of the Cross, both of whom affirmed her inner knowing.

A wise South African professor led her to more guides: physicists-turned-theologians Ian Barbour and John Polkinghorne and their research and comparison of religion and science. Through them she gained new ways of considering the natural and spiritual realities. These tools included critical realism; the use of metaphors, models, and paradigms in science and religion; and the philosophical implications of quantum mechanics.

This family traveled and worked around the world for almost 20 years before settling back in the States in 2011.

About the author:

Of the twenty years Mary Coday Edwards lived and worked abroad with her family, eight were in Pakistan, where she worked in Afghan refugee post-conflict repatriation and reconstruction projects. She is an internationally published author and worked as an editor for English daily newspapers in Jakarta and Mexico. With her BS in engineering, an MA in energy and environmental studies, and post-grad studies in ecological justice, abroad she worked and wrote on environmental sustainability issues at both global and local levels emphasizing the physical interconnectedness of all things.After living in Asia, Southeast Asia, East Africa, and Latin America, upon returning to the US she became a nonsectarian ordained minister through Denver's People House, where she has been a regular blogger for more than six years.

Monday, November 14, 2022

Energizing Your Marketing &Technical Strategies - by Jeanne Burrows-Johnson

Operational Organization For Authors & Artists

As I prepared to receive a new desktop computer, I realized it was a great time for pruning hardware and electric gadgets, as well as software—at least versions that were no longer relevant. This project revealed challenges that could have been avoided if I had simply reviewed my operations periodically. Other issues appeared unexpectedly, as during the review of book manuscripts.


While I awaited the arrival of my techie and her latest construction of a desktop computer, I examined the contents and arrangement of my office. Due to the wiring in the room, I was not able to arrange the furniture and equipment as I would have preferred, but everything is now functional and relatively aesthetically pleasing.

How appropriate are your office furnishings to your daily tasks? Would a simple change in your desk chair or adding a recliner enhance your working hours? If adding new pieces, consider using an L-shape to improve your work flow. I have a multi-level rolling table that I place alternately in front of chairs or perpendicular to my desk. I’ve found secondhand residential and office furniture stores, as well as retail stores that are closing, offer useful pieces with lift-up leaves and chair-side tables with electric strips. And don’t forget that shelving, craft, lap-top, and even puzzle tables can greatly expand functionality within a tight space.

Are there greater elements that you should spend the time and money to upgrade? Lighting is especially important to artists. Would louvres or other window covering improve productivity? What about adding a skylight or other lighting enhancement? I removed closet’s clothing bars and added shelving to accommodate office supplies and equipment (a process that can be reversed if needed). Are there other construction, floor covering, or painting projects you should consider undertaking? Depending on whether you take a tax deduction for your office, or you plan to sell your property, such expenditures may be appropriate. A tax professional can help you evaluate such options.


The world of technology is constantly evolving. Some emerging products are truly wonderful. Others, not so much. As with most authors, data storage is a major concern for me. With the arrival of each new product in the marketplace, the public is assured that we will never have to worry about the loss of information again. That’s proven to be about as real as the promise that the modern office does not need paper. But the need for varied forms of backups and even paper printouts continues. You may laugh, but I still have some files stored on floppy diskettes. Why? Because zip discs, CDs, DVDs, and even thumb drives can fail...probably at the worst possible moment. Sadly, I have sometimes failed to backup material, or to print out invaluable data I could not replace fully.

Here are examples of the unfortunate experiences of two colleagues to which you might relate. One of them spent months restructuring two books because when her computer crashed, she did not have printed copies of her manuscripts nor any other form of electronic backup. Another friend (very tech savvy) had a glitch occur when a thumb drive was plugged into his CPU. So, what are you doing to safeguard your precious words and images? I trust that you have multiple forms of data storage, as well as hardcopy backups. I believe the major issue in updating hardware is having the input of a techie who truly knows you, your needs, your technical capability, and the spectrum of features available in the products that you are about to purchase.

Another issue I face is checking the synchronization of various electronic gadgets. Most important to me was ensuring that my tablet was in sync with my desktop computer. First there was the matter of passwords. For me that’s simple, because unless I’m travelling, I minimize the use of passwords. Encryption is another issue, and again, I suggest you confer with a techie who can provide consistent advice. 

Next are phones. You may laugh at the idea of hardline phone service, but if there is ever a major power outage, a cell phone will only be serviceable as long as the last charge it received. Therefore, our household has both hardline and cell phones. If you have been following the scandals and crimes regarding phones, you already know that your cellphone data is subject to being hacked.

Some electronic devices do not require much maintenance. This includes e-readers, since e-books can be accessed on your desktop or laptop computer, tablet and smartphone. One thing I urge you to think about is that the number of images you have stored on any device can become unmanageable and you should consider backing them up, just like your text files.


 Many software companies are forcing users of their products into subscription programs to maximize their profits…and to force acceptance of changes the company wishes to foist on the public during regular updates. Personally, I’ve been very displeased with such updates that often lessen, rather than enhance, functionality.

While I greatly dislike the cost and complexity of subscription services, there’s little you can do to avoid them. Even if you have an original CD or DVD of a program, you may not be able to install it if it’s not compatible with your new operating system. As I watched this growing trend a few years ago, I rushed to buy the last versions of programs that were still available on CDs or DVDs. I recognize that eventually even these versions of programs will become obsolete as updated operating systems refuse to recognize them. But for the foreseeable future I am able to massage images that I have designed for the projects I am now undertaking.


Many people find the Cloud their preferred method of backup. But how do you feel about your original creations being available to sharp hackers cruising that universe? To avoid this, you can use a cloud service with patented and standardized encryption design. I should note that my designer uses Cloud services, over which I have no control. Also, remember that once you have uploaded your work to any website, it is available to the public.

In closing this article on operational organization for authors and artists, I suggest you ask yourself, “What will happen to my copyrights of material I have saved to my websites and the Cloud when I die?” Consider ensuring that you have legally stipulated beneficiaries who will receive the benefits of your labors once you have departed from this plane…

Wishing you the best in your creative adventures,
Jeanne Burrows-Johnson, author, narrator, consultant, and motivational speaker 

For more ideas to aid your career as an author or artist, visit: Author Website:
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Marketing Website:
You can email me at 

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. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Announcing the winners of the 2022 Arizona Literary Awards



1st place Fiction
Second place Fiction
Third place Fiction


1st Place Nonfiction
2nd Place Nonfiction
3rd Place Nonfiction

Honorable Mention Nonfiction


1st Place

2nd Place
3rd Place

Honorable Mention


2nd Place

1st Place


1st Place
2nd Place
3rd Place


Honorable Mention

Sunday, November 6, 2022

The 2023 Arizona Literary Magazine is now on sale

You can now order a copy (or 2 or 10) of the 2023 Arizona Literary Magazine, publishing the winning entries of the 2022 Arizona Literary Contest.

Click here to order it on Amazon. 

Friday, November 4, 2022

New book release: JESUS, HIS BROTHER, AND PAUL - by Dr. Diane Cheney

Find this book on Amazon HERE


Using analysis of recent archaeological discoveries and her extensive education in psychology, theology, and biblical archaeology, Dr. Diane Holloway Cheney is bringing a fresh new take on the lives and ministries of some of the most well-known New Testament figures: Jesus, his brother James, and the apostle Paul.

Jesus, His Brother, and Paul: Their Lives and Archaeological Evidence provides a fascinating quest for truth about these famous men—these founders of Christianity—and their relationships with each other. It examines how Christianity transformed from its beginnings with Jesus and James into something that has lasted through the centuries. It even looks at how Jesus’s against-the-grain decisions invited worldwide acceptance, far beyond what he had ever envisioned.

Perhaps most importantly, this book poses the question: Is the current version of Christianity better or worse than Jesus’s original vision? Read these pages and judge for yourself.

About the author:

Psychologist, world traveler, and armchair archaeologist, Dr. Diane Holloway Cheney is an impassioned biblical commentator. With her impressive education and experience, she is a current member of organizations like the American Psychological Association, the International Society of Political Psychology, the Archaeological Institute of America, the Biblical Archaeological Society, and the American Medical Writers Association. This book is one of her many contributions to the conversation about the New Testament, and with it she hopes to shed some light on Jesus's vision for Christianity-and how it compares to Christianity today.