Monthly Archives: November 2013

Newsletter Seven

This last Monday John Williams of “Let’s Talk Nevada” came to speak to our group. Their website began when a handful of Mesquite residents decided to fund an online forum promoting free speech.  The site is a place for an expression of opinion, any opinion— from discussions about water rights and city management to veterans sharing stories about Vietnam.

When one of our writers asked if it would be appropriate to post about their writing on the site (i.e. I can promote myself for free? Get published online for free?), John responded:

“Remember who we are. There’s nothing inappropriate… as long as it doesn’t get us sued.”

Some common sense guidelines:

*Articles should be relatively short, say under 500 words (if it’s over a thousand words, it should be split into a series of posts.)

*Weekdays tend to be more issue-centric, but on weekends the site features posts that are more author-centric. Each Sunday they run short stories by local authors. Yippee!

From the initial Mesquite site, the website has branched out to the entire state of Nevada. Henderson just got it’s own site, and they’re looking for local writers to post local material. If you’ve ever dreamed of writing your own column, here’s your chance.

If you haven’t already checked out their site, click on over to and subscribe. Start communicating with your own community through this great online forum.


Don’t forget to RSVP about our upcoming Holiday party at Tina’s house on December 16th. Email Tina at christina [at] bajabrody [dot] com.

SelfPubBookCovers has donated a cover for the raffle at our conference.


Congratulations to Judy Logan on the release of her book, Shelter Me, when friendship is all that remains. Heres a link to the page on amazon.

Congratulations to Gayle Nathan on the success of her family court video.

Congratulations to Ed Fuentes on receiving an Andy Warhol Grant to establish a blog.

Quote of the Night:

“I feel like half my body’s missing without the internet.”

Writing Tip from Jo Wilkins:

“When wrapping up the ending of your story, don’t forget to let the reader in on the changes and growth of your main character. Did he/she reach his/her goal? Has the story changed his/her emotional makeup? This is especially important in a coming of age story or one built around emotional upheaval.”

Interview with HWG Vice President Angelina Hill:
angelinahillYou started writing just a couple years ago. What was it that got you started? Had you planned to be a writer?
I read the entire Twilight series in five days–I couldn’t put them down. About two weeks later my main character, December started waking me up between 2-4 a.m. insisting I write her story. Before that moment I had never considered being a writer. I had considered writing a autobiography, but that was mostly just suppose to be for my kids. Because of learning disabilities I’d never considered myself capable of writing a book. Even while I was writing the first draft I got up just to get December to leave me alone. I never really thought it would turn into a whole book and I’m even more surprised that it’s turned into a career/lifestyle that fulfills me. The moment I finished the first draft I considered throwing it in the trash, but a comment my dad made a few weeks previously came to mind. He said, “You’re a better writer than I am.” My dad is the smartest person I know (I have never asked him a question he didn’t know the answer to) and he has written and published a dozen books.
Tell me about your writing process.
I’m a pantser, I write when and how I’m inspired to write. However, I am learning how to plot–I think it’s a more effective way. My husband had taken the writing journey with me and I LOVE when I can read parts of my book to him and he’ll stop me to  say, “he’d never say it like that.” or “what is the motivation here?” We as writer’s have to have other’s that know our books almost as intimately as we do to bounce ideas off of.
What have been some of your most valuable resources in learning about the craft of writing?
The most valuable resources have been other writers. For two years I turned to family and friends begging for help to fix my book. They did the best the could, and I appreciate each one, however, I received 100X more help in six months from fellow writers than I did from those outside the writing world. The HWG set me on the right path and my critic group of the most amazing five women push me every day to learn and improve, while showing me how.
When you’re not writing what do you do for fun?
I love almost everything outside–thus why I love living in Las Vegas. I enjoy biking, hiking, swimming (no running–I’d rather be tortured), skiing, and skating. I also love to read. In second grade I couldn’t read because I am dyslexic. The school offered prizes for every 50 books you read and a trophy for the child that read the most books that year. I’m competitive so I decided I wanted to win. I read over 800 books that year and won the trophy.
That’s a great story! I’m impressed. Does dyslexia affect your reading currently, or did the 800 books in second grade cure it?
I wasn’t cured of dyslexia in second grade, but I turned into a bookworm after that which improved my ability to not switch letters. I still struggled with numbers. This past year I’ve started a nutritional program and have not mixed up my letters or numbers at all…I think my brain just works better when it gets what it needs.
What are some of your favorite books or authors?
I love to read almost everything. I’m a classic girl. I love Jane Austin, CS Lewis, and Emily Dickinson. Nicholas Sparks is a genius at romance. I enjoy Dan Brown and Stephanie Meyer.
I’m also a sucker for biographies and non-fiction history books. I love to prove to myself that a quote my dad said in the first college class I took from him is true: “Every person who has or will ever live are more alike than they will ever be different.”
Those are words of wisdom. I also believe that our common humanity means more than our differences. Thanks for the interview Angelina!


Upcoming Meetings:

Our next weekly meeting is Monday, December 2nd, at the Coffee House in Henderson. Wednesday December 4th is the screenwriting meeting. The discussion will start with “Dog Day Afternoon,” so watch it if you haven’t already seen it. By the way, the movie has an outstanding pitch:

“The robbery should have taken 10 minutes. 4 hours later, the bank was like a circus sideshow. 8 hours later, it was the hottest thing on live TV.  12 hours later, it was all history. And it’s all true.”

Doesn’t that do what any great pitch should do? It makes us say “tell me more!”

Thanks for reading,

Jenny Ballif, Newsletter editor.

Newsletter Six

We enjoyed a full meeting at the Coffee House last week where we heard and critiqued seven readers.


We’ve set up a meetup page for the group, and last week we had several new people attend who found us through Here’s the link:

Don’t forget to RSVP about our holiday party on December 16th. It’s at Tina’s house, and you can respond at one of our next weekly meetings (where we will be passing around a sign up list), or by emailing Trina at christina [at] bajabrody [dot] com.

December 30th is a fifth Monday. We’ll be doing another First Chapter Read night. So email Gregory if you have a NaNoWriMo book you’d like to share, or any first chapter of a project that the group hasn’t heard yet.

The Spring Fling Book Fair is March 29th at the Clark County Library. The organizers want to have 150 local authors at the event. Email Julie Okabayashi (okabayashij [at] lvccld [dot] org) to participate. Our group will have a table, and we need five more volunteers from the group to staff our table. If you’re interested, contact gregory (gregory [at] kompes [dot] com).


Congratulations to Donald Riggio on the publication of his article “Where are they now” in e magazine. Also congratulations on an internet radio show with the songwriter who wrote “Bouncing a Kiss off the Moon,” inspired by Donald’s books.

Congratulations to Howie Erikson, who shared some cool license plates of his book title.

Congratulations to Judy Salz on her upcoming participation with the Las Vegas Masters concert on December 7th.

Quote of the Night:

“You’re using him to describe the character, it’s icky. That’s cheating.”

“Yeah, agents don’t like that.”

“They don’t like almost anything.”

Writing Tip from Jo Wilkins:

“Cliffhangers make a desirable ending for a chapter. They encourage the reader to turn the page, but in highly dramatic scenes you don’t want to diminish the drama by stopping to have the doorbell or phone ring. To break up the pattern, try varying your cliffhangers with a little foreshadowing to indicate indecision or a new direction for the character or situation.”

Upcoming Meetings:

Tonight (November 25th) we’re meeting at the Lutheran Church on Tropicana, in the downstairs room. John Williams from Let’s Talk Nevada will be speaking to the group.

This Wednesday (November 27th) is the West Side meeting at Skinny Dugans. For more information about our meetings see the calendar.


Newsletter Five

We enjoyed a good meeting this Monday. Darlien brought copies of the Las Vegas calendar featuring a paragraph she wrote about the city, and well as copies of her new book “Power and Action.”  We heard and critiqued six readers.


Fred Rayworth will be speaking to the group at our December 9th meeting. Scroll down to read an interview with Fred.

The Holiday Party is December 16th at Tina’s House. If you need the address or haven’t yet had a chance to RSVP, please email Tina (christina [at] bajabrody [dot] com). Potluck, BYOB, it’ll be a lot of fun! We hope to see you there.

This holiday season, keep our raffle at our conference in mind. Start thinking about what you might like to donate.

The Spring Fling Book Fair is March 29th at the Clark County Library. The organizers want to have 150 local authors at the event, if you want to participate (great venue to sell your books and promote your work!) then email Julie Okabayashi (okabayashij [at] lvccld [dot] org). The slots will be filled on a first come first serve basis. Our group will have a table, and we will need volunteers from the group to staff our table. If you’re interested, contact gregory (gregory [at] kompes [dot] com).


Congratulations to Judy Logan on getting her author website up and running. Check it out at

Congratulations to Paul Atreides on his play Fusion being featured on the 911 memorial website.  It’s featured in the Artist Registry as a written piece until filming can take place.

Congratulations to Gigi Honour on getting back into writing again. The book “Walking on Aligators” helped her get writing again.


Quote of the Night:

“He had a long, narrow face and a jaw that came to a sharp conclusion, like an exclamation point at the end of his face.”

-From “Alabama Blue” by Toni Pacini


Writing Tip from Jo Wilkins:

“Flash backs are a useful tool to add missing elements to the plot, but can be dangerous to the pacing of your story. They should be short and to the point.”


Interview with HWG member Fred Rayworth:

Me Standing In Front Of Una LakeFred is one of our most regular readers, and I very much enjoy hearing from him each week. He’s retired from the Air Force, has two master’s degrees, and currently works as a medical biller for the government. His hobbies include writing, woodworking, music (rock and roll), and amateur astronomy. You can find him online at

1. Fred, what’s some of the best advice you were given about writing?

Keep my own name! Don’t use a pen name! Oh, and stop using so many exclamation marks. That screams melodrama.


2. Tell us about your writing process?


I used to have a lot of spare time at work. Now I have to write after work and on weekends. As with anything I write, I just sit down and do it. It comes out of the air. I’m not kidding. I sometimes thing a bit about it beforehand. As with ANY project, I know where I want to start and where I want to end. Everything else in the middle is a total surprise. I have a subject, I just start writing. Period. If I need to research, I do it when I run across something that needs it, otherwise, it comes out of the air. My Polka-Dot Sewer provides all I need.

3.In which genre do you write?

Adventure/thrillers, fantasy, science fiction, icky bug (horror), and occasional non-fiction (astronomy, music, reviews, personal stories-I hate the word memoir).

4.What’s your advice for new writers?

Follow your muse. ONLY write because you want to, not because you have to. ONLY write because you feel the need to (inside), not because you think you have to for external reasons. DO NOT write because you think you are going to make money. Write for your own satisfaction. No writer should suffer for their art. If you don’t enjoy every aspect of it, find another pursuit! It doesn’t get any better!

5. Tell us about your path to publication?

662 rejections, two publishing contracts for two of my novels, publisher is belly up, still under contract, but may never see them pubbed, still one agent query out there, one fantasy novel and the sequel being looked at, waiting for next conference to try again… Oh yeah, one icky bug with a publisher who’s had it for a year… No interest in self-pubbing except maybe e-pubbing but the math don’t add up. Etc…

6. When you’re not writing what do you do for fun?

Woodworking, observing under a dark sky with my telescope, listening to or playing music, gardening, reading other people’s books.

7. Who/what do you like to read?

Thrillers and icky bug (horror). Occasional mysteries.

Thanks Fred!

Upcoming Meetings:

Our next weekly meeting is Monday, November 18th, at the Coffee House in Henderson. Next Wednesday, November 20th, is the monthly poetry meeting at Skinny Dugans.  In two weeks, November 25th, we have a speaker, John Williams from “Let’s Talk Nevada.”

Newsletter Four

This Monday about twenty five of us gathered at the Coffee House to hear and critique five readers.


John Williams, host of the radio show “Let’s Talk Nevada,” will be talking to our group on November 25th.

Thank you to all those who submitted to the anthology. If you sent in a submission, and didn’t get a response from Audrey, let her know! If you didn’t get a reply back, chances are good she didn’t get it.

We’re having a Christmas Party for the group on December 16th, from 7 to 10 p.m. at Christina’s house in Henderson.  White elephant gift exchange and potluck. RSVP to christina [at] bajabrody [dot] com.

Lauren Tallman is interested in starting a critique group for those writing erotica. If anyone is interested, let her know. You can reach her at lauren.tallman [at] gmail [dot] com.

Did you know?

Two local radio stations (KOOL102.3 FM and KJUL 104.7 FM) are looking for writers. Submissions to will have the potential for a radio interview about the article. If you want more information about the submission process email myself or Tina at christina [at] bajabrody [dot] com, and we’ll forward you a longer description as well as application instructions.


Congratulations to Kathleen Mosko on her son’s upcoming audition for Master Chef, and to her singing in Masterworks.

Congratulations to me (Jenny Ballif) on getting a good start to NaNoWriMo.

Writing Tip from Jo Wilkins:

True, you must begin our story with a hook to capture the reader, but the pacing of your scenes throughout the story need not follow that pattern. A scene, especially one that follows an intense moment, can start on a slow beat. Exposition works well to start a slower scene as long as you keep the emotional tension taut. Let your POV character evaluate the situation or let him/her throw or accept insults, make or receive demands, or have an emotional eruption. Just remember, always ramp up the scene’s tension, no matter how gradually.

Upcoming Meetings:

Our next general meeting is this Monday, Veteran’s Day, November 11th at the Lutheran Church on Tropicana. Writer’s Pen and Grill meets the following Wednesday, November 13th.

Newsletter Three

Happy Halloween and welcome to November, National Novel Writing Month. If you haven’t participated in NaNoWriMo before, consider it. The structure can be a great way to get through a novel idea that has stumped you in the past, or a nice method to improve your skill and practice the craft of writing. Personally, I think it’s a fun exercise in writing.


A big thank you to Donald Riggio, who gave an excellent presentation at our last meeting about using facebook to promote and build an author platform.

All dues paid members should have received a username and password for the website. If you haven’t, email Gregory (gregory [at] kompes [dot] com).  Log in and check out the members-only forums.

If you would like an image of your published book on the webpage (this webpage), email the image and your domain name to Gregory.

Unfortunately, due to an oversight, the Henderson Writers’ Group will not have a booth at the Las Vegas Book Festival this weekend. But, of course, many of us will be there to hear the great speakers and participate in a wonderful book festival. For more details visit their site:


Congratulations to Wendy Randall on the upcoming performance of the Zion’s Youth Symphony and Chorus. Wendy is the Artistic Director and Script Writer for this production, which performs two back-to-back patriotic concerts this Sunday, November 3rd at The Smith Center (361 Symphony Park Ave.) at 5:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Both shows are sold out, but there will definitely be standby tickets available at the door. Admission is free.

Writing Tip from Jo Wilkins:

One of the most useful tools in self-editing is to hear someone else read your work out loud. If you don’t have a person to read to you, consider recording yourself and playing it back.

Interview with HWG member Darlien Breeze:

DarlienBreeezzDarlien has been a member of the Henderson Writers’ Group for more than ten years. She’s the author of several mysteries and the education officer of our group. You can learn more about her books on her website:

Here’s a short interview, eight questions with Darlien:

1. Tell us a little about your background?

My background is diverse. I lived on a copper & gold mine as a child. I taught school for about 20 years concurrently sold real estate, owned a tool & dye shop, a glass factory and a beauty shop. I owned and operated an import/export business for seven years.

2. Did you choose writing or did writing choose you?

Writing chose me. As a child on the desert we had no TV, radio reception was sketchy so reading and storytelling were our entertainment. I developed an entire fantasy world and later wrote these and other tales into my stories.

3. What are the biggest surprises you’ve encountered as a writer?

My biggest surprise came when I realized that I actually am a writer not just someone with a lot of imagination.

4. What is your proudest writer moment?

I think my proudest moment came recently when I was invited to speak at the Utah Book festival.

5. What are the sources of your creativity?

The sources for my stories come from all over, bits of conversations, jokes, newspaper accounts, things that have occurred in my travels and pure fantasy.

6. Any advice for new writers?

My best advice to new writers is to write, write, write, I believe it was Oscar Wilde who said, “The way to learn to write is to write.”

7. What do you read?

I’m a chain reader. When I put one book down, I pick up the next one. I like mystery and adventure. In a pinch, I’ll read matchbook covers.

8. What are you currently working on?

My latest novel A Twist in Crime just finished being edited. It will be published by Ink&Quill in 2015.

Upcoming Meetings:

Our next weekly meeting is at the Coffee House on November 4th at 6:30 p.m.

The HWG screenwriting meeting will be discussing the movie “Die Hard” at their next meeting. It’s at Skinny Dugans on November 6th, at 6:30 p.m.

For more information about our meetings, visit the calendar on this website.

Thanks for reading.  —Jenny Ballif, Newsletter editor