Regular meetings are held on the second Thursdays of each month, from 3:30 - 5:00 PM from September through April.

Meetings are held at: The Madison,18626 N. Spanish Gardens Drive; Surprise, AZ 85374

April 2008

Don't Let The Web GetT The Best Of You,
Be The Best On The Web

Michelle Laurienti

Michelle Laurienti is a co-owner of BBB Systems LLC and Voice of North America, Inc. located in Phoenix, Arizona. Her primary responsibilities for both BBB Systems and Voice of North America include project management for web sites and marketing.
Due to the political nature of the Voice of North America portals, Michelle plays an integral part in developing concepts for various sections of the sites, including articles, politics, and the upcoming election in 2008. Voice of North America is currently launched in all 50 states and is now actively marketing the Business Directory.

Maintaining a presence in her local community is essential to Michelle. She excels as a participating member of the Peoria Chamber of Commerce and was elected to the Board of Directors, and currently serves as the Board Secretary. Michelle’s company is also a member of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. Great social business networking is one of Michelle’s strongest qualities, allowing BBB Systems and Voice of North America to create and sustain vital connections and relationships in Arizona.

March 2008

Larry James

Larry James has been a full-time professional speaker, author, author/speaker and
 relationship coach since 1987. He fully acknowledges his responsibility to practice what he teaches; inspiring others by example. He is a gifted teacher who shares his inspired insight with clarity, style and good taste.

James’ purpose is “Helping Others Help Themselves.” He is totally committed to sharing ideas and information that will assist anyone interested in improving the quality of their life!

He is a world class authority. Larry’s seminars and keynotes for publishing and speaking groups are a result of his success as a professional speaker, publishing his books and his savvy regarding shameless self-promotion...with elegance and style.

 To learn more about Larry James visit his website:www.AuthorandSpeakersNetwork.com

February 2008
Terry Whalin

As an editor and a writer, W. Terry Whalin understands both sides of the editorial desk--as an editor and a writer. He worked as an editor for Decision and In Other Words. His magazine articles have appeared in more than 50 publications including Writer's Digest, The Writer and Christianity Today.  He is the creator and webmaster for Right-Writing.com.  

As a literary agent, Terry champions his authors in the same manner he helped them as an acquisitions editor except working with many different publishers. He handles a wide range of adult nonfiction and fiction projects for the Christian and the general market.

Terry has written more than 60 nonfiction books and his latest is Book Proposals That Sell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success (Write Now Publications). This book helps new and seasoned writers to shape their proposals to locate the best publisher. Another recent book is Running On Ice: The Overcoming Faith of Vonetta Flowers (New Hope Publishers). See more about his writing and purchase books at: Terry Whalin's Bookstore.

For more than 12 years Terry was an ECPA Gold Medallion judge in the fiction category. He has written extensively about Christian fiction and reviewed numerous fiction books in publications such as Faithful Reader.com and BookPage. He worked as an acquisitions editor in the book divisions of Cook Communications and Howard Books for over five years. On a regular basis, he writes about issues and insights about publishing called the Writing Life which includes over 580 searchable entries. Terry and his wife, Christine, live in Scottsdale, Arizona.

January 2008


Tina Gerow                                                                                                 

Tina Gerow has always had a passion for romance and anything paranormal.  And even in school, was encouraged to put her writing skills to good use, but always with the admonishment to ‘stop writing the weird stuff and tone down the sarcasm.’  But what fun is that?!  So, in 2003, she finally decided to try her hand at writing a novel, but still firmly embracing the ‘weird stuff and the sarcasm.’  Her first book, Into a Dangerous Mind, recently won the award for Romantic Times Best Small Press Contemporary Paranormal for 2006.    

Since then, Tina has published four more books, including the popular Maiden series.  She is also writing for Kensington’s Aphrodisia line as Cassie Ryanthe first of her three book erotic paranormal romance series released in August 2007.   

Tina, an Arizona State University alumnus, belongs to the Romance Writers of America, and is a past president of the local Valley of the Sun Romance Writers Chapter and an active member of the local Desert Rose chapter.  She’s an active speaker on several subjects including promotions, character creation, goals & motivation and more.  She has spoken at several RWA chapters as well as the Romantic Times Booklovers convention paranormal panel in 2006 & 2007, and has been asked back for 2008.

Tina lives in Arizona with her husband Jon, her son Darian and two orange tabby cats.  When Tina isn’t spending time with her family, she’s usually writing, or at some various and sundry writer’s conference, workshop or meeting.

Tina can be reached at tinagerow.com

January 2007

What Self-Published Authors and Small Presses Need to Know About Marketing

The only way a writer can improve their chances of being successful as an author is to have an understanding of the marketplace for selling books. This presentation brings more than 25 years of experience to writers and gives them a glimpse of how the major publishers in this country compete for shelf space and sales. It provides a unique perspective on how self-published, print-on-demand, and small publishers can be competitive.

Jerry's career in publishing began as a Sales Rep for Random House. In 1979 he joined the book division at Warner Communications, where he spent more than twenty years in sales and management. During that time the company expanded to become The Time Warner Book Group. Over the years Jerry has worked on books written by such best-selling authors as: James Patterson, Nicholas Sparks, Michael Connelly, Alice Sebold, Sandra Brown, David Baldacci, Nelson DeMille, and Scott Turow, all #1 New York Times best-selling authors. He has also worked on such huge multi-million copy best-selling titles as: The Bridges of Madison County, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Simple Abundance, Scarlett, and Lovely Bones. He retired as Vice-President Sales Director in 2003.
Jerry is the founder of the information resource for authors WritersReaders.com .

February 2007 (First Monday)

Getting the most out of media

Being an author is so much more than just writing a book. When it comes time, how do authors get the most out of the media?

Michael R. Mennenga, Director of FarPoint Media as well as the engineer and host of "The Dragon Page Cover to Cover", "Michael & Evo Wingin' It!", and "Slice of Scifi", will discuss how we can get the most out of the media.


March 2007

Podcasting: How and why for authors

Evo is the poster child for Type A personalities the world over.
Washed-up musician, tree-hugging herbalist, heretical-but-ordained minister, talk-radio personality, advertising executive and technology innovator; all wrapped up in one single-serving package. In the podcasting world, Evo tends to infect others with the podcasting bug, from budding show hosts to the people behind the scenes finding new uses for podcast technologies.

His first podcast was available on October 14, 2004, though many listeners to his program had been downloading .mp3 files directly from his website since 2002. In November 2005, Podcasting for Dummies was released to the masses, penned by Evo and Tee Morris.

In early 2006, Evo and his partner Michael R. Mennenga formed FarPoint Media, an "incubator" of sorts to develop and distribute original media productions. Farpoint media acts as the parent company to not only Evo's three podcasts (including the award-winning Slice of Scifi which is carried on XM Satellite Radio), but a variety of other podcasts for which Evo serves as the executive producer.

Evo's latest and perhaps most ambitious project is Podiobooks.com, an online "library" of freely available books released in serialized podcast form. Podiobooks.com is a fresh look at the technology behind podcasting, showcasing how the underlying principles can be modified to meet specific needs of emerging marketplaces.


October 2007


Dr. Frederick Ramsay was born in Baltimore, the son of a respected teacher, researcher, and scientist. He is a graduate of the McDonogh School and Washington and Lee University. He received his doctorate from the University of Illinois.  After a stint in the Army, he joined the faculty of the University of Maryland, School of Medicine, where he taught, engaged in research, and served as an Associate Dean. During this time he also pursued studies in theology and in 1971 was ordained an Episcopal priest. In 1991 he accepted a full time position as Rector of Saint Andrew’s Church in Pasadena, Maryland. He is now retired from full-time ministry.

Best known as a mystery writer, in Judas, Ramsay here tackles a different mystery—that of Judas Iscariot’s betrayal of his master and friend, Jesus of Nazareth. It is a puzzle that has challenged and frustrated him for years.

Frederick Ramsay is one of the co-authors of The Baltimore Declaration, a tract that created a minor firestorm in the church. Judas: The Gospel of Betrayal, while a fictional account of the life of that enigmatic figure, promises to raise many questions about Jesus, his followers, and the canonical gospels. He is an iconographer, an accomplished public speaker and once hosted a television spot, Prognosis, on television. He is a frequent workshop leader and speaker at The Southern California Writers Conferences.  He currently lives in Surprise, Arizona with his wife and partner, Susan.

Contact Fred at ramsaybooks@att.net  or visit his website  http://www.frederickramsay.com

November 2007


Every agent, editor, publicist and writing manual insists critique groups offer the most efficient, inexpensive and best support a writer can get.  These advisors emphatically endorse the critique group idea and suggest from completion of chapter one every writer join a group. Yet, in interviews of best?selling authors, their perspectives indicate something quite different. We'll discuss the advantages to a writer, the disadvantages, when the time is right to join and when you should quit, and the rules every critique group should enforce. Contrary to the Carte Blanc advice to rush into joining a group, a writer needs to be well prepared ahead of time and must know what to expect.  A wrong choice can create encompassing writer's block and may destroy a writer's future.  Since we're contemplating arranging critique groups for WVAA, please come prepared to voice your needs or any experiences--positive or negative.  

Nancy Damato, born in Springfield, Illinois, lived in that state from the southern most tip, deep in the Shawnee National Forest, to the northern border with Wisconsin.  She graduated from the University of Illinois and embarked on several careers, as a teacher, on government staffs for both state and federal agencies, and operated her own insurance agency before retiring to Arizona.  “A child with ‘a vivid imagination,’” Nancy says, “she always wanted to write and finds fulfillment in retirement by creating character’s stories for others to enjoy.”

The Pawn became her first novel released; an historical fiction starting in 1879 begins a three generation tale of the Taylor banking family. The Pawn takes us from a strict religious sect in Illinois to an “ordinary house” on the waterfront of St Louis and onto the copper mines in the foothills of The Mule Mountains, Bisbee, Arizona. Her second book, Belonging, introduces a young woman without roots who chases a dream that leads her on a dangerous journey away from the one person who has the answers. Separate Worlds, scheduled for release December, 2007, forces us to live WWI through the eyes of siblings caught in Italy, France and Belgium.

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