Fourth annual Write On! workshop

A free book writing seminar (win #1) from four established local experts (win #2, all members of the Scottsdale Society of Women Writers. You have everything to gain (win #3) from the time you invest.

Nothing should keep you from RSVPing… right now. Just sayin’.

write on flyer 2017

Eight top writing and vocabulary secrets from established authors – ALWAYS

At our Alliance of Literary Writers, Authors and Yabbering Scribes (ALWAYS) gathering this week, five established writers shared their top writing secrets and vocabulary words for this month. Now you can benefit from them, too!

  1. Find font symbols
  2. Write every day
  3. Find speaking opportunities
  4. Create an em-dash
  5. Association for mystery writer
  6. Product placement in books
  7. Vocabulary suggestions
  8. A.Word.A.Day link
Visualize Your Vocabulary, Shayne Gardner

Visualize Your Vocabulary, Shayne Gardner

1. Shayne Gardner — who just published Visualize Your Vocabulary: Turn Any SAT Word into a Picture and Remember It Forever (Volume 1) with illustrations by Kris Hagen — provided a tip about finding special font symbols on a computer.

According to Microsoft Word’s help function, “You can use the Symbol dialog box to insert symbols, such as ¼ and ©, or special characters, such as an em dash (—) or ellipsis (…) that are not on your keyboard, as well as Unicode characters.” Here’s how.

Emma Dilemma series, Patricia Hermes

Emma Dilemma series, Patricia Hermes

2. Patricia Hemes, a multi-published author of the Emma Dilemma series among others, suggested simply that if you want to be a writer, you need to set time to write every day.

3. She also asked about speaking opportunities in the Phoenix area, and we suggested she contact the National Speakers Association headquartered in Tempe, Ariz.

4. Laurie Fagen, co-author in SoWest: Crime Time, a  Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths Chapter Anthology (Volume 5), led us to a discussion about dashes. We differentiated these, and shared how to create them in Microsoft Word:

  • Hyphen (-), used to connect words
  •  En-dash (–), for connection ranges or dates
  • Em-dash (—), what most people call simply a “dash,” signifying a break in a thought or longer pause or interruption in dialogue
SoWest: Crime Time anthology, Laurie Fagen

SoWest: Crime Time anthology, Laurie Fagen

5. By the way, Laurie is the current president of the Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths. This association for mystery writers meets the third Wednesday of the month at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria in downtown Scottsdale, Ariz.

6. Ann Videan (that’s me), author of Rhythms & Music women’s novel and soundtrack, and The Delfaerune Rhapsody series, suggested authors look into product placement in your books to develop additional revenue streams. She explained that this simply involves mentioning brand names in your story and approaching the company about supporting the book for its publicity value to them. She recommended this HowStuffWorks article to learn more.

Song of the Ocarina, Ann Videan

Song of the Ocarina, Ann Videan (book 1 of the Delfaerune Rhapsody series)

7. Our topic, vocabulary, helped unveiled several new fun words or phrases we can can all incorporate into our writing.

  • brilliant: popular in the United Kingdom, meaning cool, great, or an outstanding performance, concept, or product
  • mind the gap: a  phrase to warn passengers to be careful while crossing the gap between the train door and the station platform.
  • go to the loo: an informal, more polite way of saying you’re headed to the bathroom, or going to the toilet

(From these first three, can you tell Laurie just returned from a trip to Europe?)

  • kerfuffle: disturbance or fuss
  • ostentatious: fancy, showing off wealth of knowledge to gain attention
  • ambitious: desiring to be successful, famous, or powerful; not easily done or achieved
  • grawlixes: typographical symbols standing for profanities, appearing in dialogue balloons in place of actual dialogue
  • ar·sy–var·sy: backside forward, head over heels, topsy-turvy
  • interrobang: a printed punctuation mark (‽), available only in some typefaces, designed to combine the question mark (?) and the exclamation point (!), indicating a mixture of query and interjection
  • histrionic: over-the-top melodramatic or theatrical
  • opprobrious: expressing scorn or criticism
  • disconcert: unsettle, disturb the composure of

(These last three are Shayne’s favorites from his new vocab book. Weren’t we lucky to have him attend today and share such cool words?)

8. For an introduction to a new word every day, complete with pronunciations, Laurie suggested subscribing to’s A.Word.A.Day.

Care to add your own tips or favorite words?


How to Catch Your Dream: Immediate Ideas

Recap of the “Catch Your Dreams” writing workshop and brainstorm for the Scottsdale Society of Women Writers, Jan. 26, 2011
By Ann Narcisian Videan

©2010 ANVidean

Do you have a life dream you want to catch and live, but can’t get past everyday reality? Need a jump-start to move you toward your goal?

In our January brainstorming session, we talked about how – by listening to intuitions, using available resources and taking action – you can find true fulfillment, just as I have, and also as my heroine does in my novel Rhythms & Muse.

I asked participants to express their life dream and, with input from everyone in the room, we shared the ideas, resources and support recorded in this blog post.

Expect to gain at least one, but probably many, positive action items to help you take the next step with your writing, or life goal.


Writing Goal #1: Publish a historical fiction book for young adults.
Next step: Get started.

Ideas Resources/Action Items
Research how it’s done. • Read books on the topic.
• Attend professional meetings. Scottsdale Society of Women Writers is a good start.
Take a writing class. Check out Gotham online writing workshops.
Contact Stella Pope Duarte, author of If I Die in Juarez. Duarte teaches classes at Paradise Valley and Phoenix community colleges.
Contact Jessica McCann. (Glendale, AZ writer) McCann‘s book All Different Kinds of Free releases April.


Writing Goal #2: Publish My Book(s)
Next step
: Get out of overwhelm.

Ideas Resources/Action Items
Hang out with others who will support and encourage your efforts. Start with the Scottsdale Society of Women Writers.
Set up one next step and do only that. Then, set one more step and do that.
Listen, and ask for what you want. Interview authors, get to know others who already do what you want to do.
Protect your rights. If you wrote it, you own it. You may also copyright works legally, using online forms.
Find an illustrator. Ask other writers, visit illustrators’ association meetings, and participate in pertinent blogs.
Never give up! Example: Misty Hyman, Mesa-born swimmer who swam 22,000 miles to earn Olympic gold.


Life Goal #1: Buy cottage in Maine
Next step:
Find the money

Ideas How to apply the ideas to a writing goal
Visualize yourself in the place you want to be, in clear detail, and write it down. Visualize your writing goal, in clear detail, and write it down.
Create a picture board or three-ring binder with magazine cutouts showing what you want. Create a picture board or three-ring binder with magazine cutouts showing samples of other’s works or ideas representing what you want to create.
Never say never. Indeed!
Make a list of ways to obtain your cottage without money. Make a list of ways you can accomplish your writing goal, elements and resources you might need.
Rent a cabin/become part of the community. Immerse yourself in the community, connect with other industry people associated with what you want to do. Ask for input and ideas!
See what trades are available. See if you could create a mutual support system with someone else. You help them, they help you. Perhaps a critique partner.
Find a realtor/private person and switch places for a summer. Find a critique partner, agent, editor, publisher, writer’s group, or others with whom to swap information and skills.
Develop a pen pal in the area. Find a mentor who’s done what you want to do, and meet consistently.
Create a blog with entries about making the cottage purchase happen. Create a blog with entries about making your writing dream come true.
Start a savings account and fill it with change or any extra money. Divide the work into small, reasonable steps so you don’t get overwhelmed. Or collect needed notes or tools as you work forward.
Explore the costs and set a budget. Explore what’s involved in your next step and set aside the resources (time, money, people) to make it happen.
Keep the mindset, “I have enough.” (use play money) KNOW you can obtain anything you need to meet your goal.
Keep in mind what it represents to you. Picture yourself after accomplishing the goal and hold that image.


Life Goal #2 Manifest a Civics Program for inmates.
Next step:
Bring Sandra Day O’Conner into the movement.

Ideas How to apply the ideas to a writing goal
Contact Sandra Day O’Conner. Get to know other successful writers.
Tie in your contact to your book, or maybe the book she wrote with her granddaughter. Existing work can open doors. Think about how you can leverage what you’ve already done.
Andrea Beaulieu ( knows Dick Snell, who went to college with Sandra Day O’Conner. Ask others if they would be willing to make introductions with others in their network (an editor, agent, publisher, mentor etc.).
Just ask!
• Sandra Day O’Conner to participate
• Everyone around you to help
(What’s the worst thing that could happen?)
Just ask!
(What’s the worst thing that could happen?) 😀
Sandra Day O’Conner may simply be a stepping stone for you to get to the person who can’t wait to help you reach your goal. (Supreme Court Judge Rebecca Burch? Or someone else!) Keep your options open and listen for ideas to move you in the right direction with your writing.


Do you have other ideas or resources to share? Please comment.

Do you have a goal for which you’d like others’ help? Ask here and let’s see if we can’t get you moving forward with help from our “village.”