Arizona Mystery Writers- Murder, Mayhem and Drugs, workshops

      Next AMW Meeting- May 9, 2009, 10:00 am to 2 pm at Home Town Buffet at Oracle and River Roads.  Tucson, Arizona

       Workshop – First Annual Membership Meeting

       First Annual Membership Meeting (like no other) includes election and announcement of new Board of Directors, discussion of new organization for workshops and the future endowment fund writing contest.   This meeting is very important.   So much can be accomplished if all members give their input and support.

       Speaker – Murder, Mayhem and Drugs

      Tucson Police Detective Ben Jimenez to Speak at Arizona Mystery Writers Forum May 9, 2009

       By Carol Dee O’Mahony

       Murder, Mayhem and Drugs are on the menu at the May 9th Arizona Mystery Writers Forum. Detective Ben Jimenez, who spent 17 years in Homicide and the last 2 ½ years in street        Narcotics, will share with AMW members some of his experiences.

       Det. Jimenez, a 28-year veteran of the Tucson Police Department is a Tucson native.   He grew up on the west side, graduating from Flowing Wells High School, Pima College and the University of Arizona.   In addition to his police duties Ben also speaks to organizations and schools about TPD police procedures and historical cases.    Ben and his wife, a CPA, home-school their five children; the two oldest are now in college.  

       Join us at the Hometown Buffet at River and Oracle on Saturday, May 9th from 10:00 to 2:00. $12 includes the general meeting in the morning, lunch and Det. Jimenez’ presentation in the afternoon. Speaker only, no lunch is $5. Exact change or a check please, no credit cards.

     May Elections

     The ballot will be sent via email.    Please vote and return the ballot by e-mail ASAP in order to have your vote count.

      Review of April 11, 2009 Meeting

by Mary Bellin

      Business Meeting- April 11, 2009 

      Out of the 34 people who attended, eleven were potential members.

      Mary Ann reminded us that the monthly meeting fees will be going up to $12.50 beginning in September and that the meeting format will switch to having a speaker in the morning and the workshop in the afternoon.

      Our new Public Announcement System worked great.

     Review of April 11 Workshop

      Liz Gunn, Arizona Mystery Writers member and author of the Jake Hines mystery series and the new Sarah Burke Mysteries set in Tucson, conducted the most delightful workshop.    Before Liz spoke, the guests introduced themselves and many admitted to having a manuscript tucked away in a drawer for the past ten years.   Liz called herself the “Grandma Moses of Writing.”   The first Jake Hines novel got its start fifteen years ago when she visited her sister in Minnesota.   Her nephew, the chief of police, laughed when Liz suggested it would be ironic to put a homicide in the peaceful town of Rochester, MN.  Obviously, Liz hadn’t been home for a long while and things had changed.   She didn’t need to be invited twice to come to the police station the next day.   In writing police procedurals, Liz talked about how invaluable it is to go on police rides and visit the crime labs. The public and university libraries are also a source of information.   In police procedurals, the detective is the main character.   It is important that your facts be correct and your protagonists’ actions be in keeping with police policy.   His/her character quirks and wanting to know what he/she will do next is what keeps the readers turning the pages.

      Review of April 11- Speakers Mike and Tama White

       Mike White spoke on the process of publishing with his company Ghost River Images.   He doesn’t advertise and has published more than 300 books.   All of his customers come by “word of mouth” or from talks and classes he conducts at Pima College.   Anyone can buy the software and publish their book.   However, most authors don’t want to be bogged down with the details and that’s why they hire him.   Mike’s philosophy of why spend more money than is necessary was refreshing to hear.   He estimated the average 100,000 word novel would cost about $1,000 and then $5 a book afterwards.   Tucson is a good environment for self-published authors, the local bookstores, Borders and Barnes and Noble’s will sell your books.   Many authors enjoy getting income from about 1000 books each year.   In the current market when the big publishing houses are in financial trouble, self-publishing has seen an increase in business.   Tama is the primary editor at Ghost River Images.   She talked about editing books for authors and how that is a separate cost from publishing.  

       Visit their website at

       Liz Gunn’s new book

       By a happy coincidence, J. M.”Mike” Hayes and Liz have mystery novels coming out the first of May.    Liz  wrote the following message about her and Mike’s new books:

       We’ll be on Arizona Illustrated April 30, at 6:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m.May 1.

       We’ll sign at Poisoned Pen, in Scotsdale, at two p.m. on Saturday, May 2.

       And at Clues Unlimited, for the gala opening of the new store in Winterhaven Square, Fort Lowell and Country Club, at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 8.

       Also at Mostly Books, 6208 East Speedway, from 1 to 2 pm. on Saturday, May 9

       All the details are on my web site:

       COZIES –

       At the April meeting, the subject of mysteries known as “Cozy Traditional” came up.   The website, Stop You’re Killing Me.Com offers the following definition, along with an alphabetical list of authors who write them – from Barbara Allen to Rhys Bowen to Agatha Christie to Richard Yancey.   Check into the website, it’s definitely worth it:

Cozy (Traditional) Mysteries
       The genre is loosely defined as mysteries which contain no explicit sex or excessive gore or violence;
      And usually featuring an amateur detective, a confined setting, and characters who know one another. 


       We’re going to try something new beginning in September – the speaker will be presented in the morning and the workshop in the afternoon.   We may be able to entice more speakers who won’t mind giving up a morning, rather than interrupting a full Saturday. Let’s give it a try and see how it flies.

      Monthly meeting costs are going up to $12.50.   It’s the economy folks.   We’re lucky that the cost only rose by fifty cents.


       How would you like to begin a story in September, and be guided through all the steps it takes to make a story a good one?  That’s what we’re going to do.   Our workshops will focus on developing a plot, characters, point of view, and so on.   The goal?   By May 2010, you’ll have a story polished and ready to be published where you see fit.


  1. You’ll find more information at

      A really super deal is the annual conference, Wrangling with Writing.    The 2009 event is set for September 26th and 27th, at Holiday Inn Palo Verde.    If you want to learn about the newest trends in publishing, this is the conference to attend, fer shurr!   Interview with agents and editors and attend workshops and learn about your craft; meet and greet people with the same interests and enthusiasm as you have for writing.

      And, don’t forget the writing contest!    It’s open till June 1st.    There are four categories: short story, short story for children 6-12, poetry, and personal essay/memoir.    Three judges in each category provide a few lines of feedback; more detailed appraisals are also available.    The entry fee is just $10/piece, and there are cash prizes beginning at $300.00.    Head over to the SSA site for the rules and an entry form!


Enjoy your summer! AMW does not meet in June, July or August.


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