Our Officers

Gregory A. Kompes, President

Gregory A. Kompes has authored Suddenly Psychic: Core Messages to Enhance your Psychic Journey, Message from The Three Sisters, Volumes 1, 2 & 3, the novels Sky PiratesThe Middle Man, Flash Mob, and First Dimension, the bestselling 50 Fabulous Gay-Friendly Places to Live, as well as the Writer’s Series that includes: Endorsement Quest, Creating Your Online Media Kit, and Should You Write an eBook. He has also penned hundreds of articles on writing, travel, dogs, author promotion, and psychic abilities and is included in a dozen anthologies, among them Chicken Soup for the Soul: What I Learned from the Dog. Gregory holds a BA in English Literature from Columbia University, New York, a Certificate in Online Teaching and Learning, an MS Ed. from California State University, East Bay, and an MFA in Creative Writing from National University.

Donald Riggio, Vice President

Originally from The Bronx, New York, now residing in Las Vegas, Donald has long been a fan of rock and roll music, especially the songs of the first decade of rock and roll, the 1950’s & 60’s. In 2007 he testified before the Nevada State Legislature alongside music luminaries including, Jon “Bowzer” Bauman of Sha Na Na, Sonny Turner of The Platters and Mary Wilson of the Supremes for the successful passage of the Truth in Music Bill, which protects original members of performing groups and their fans from fraudulent imposter acts. He is the published author of fiction and non-fiction works on both the local and national scene. Donald is the author of a series of rock and roll novels chronicling the evolution of the genre: Seven-Inch Vinyl (1953-1969), Beyond Vinyl (1969-1986). Both books were Kindle #1 best sellers in the music category. He is currently working on the third book in the series: When Gold Turns to Gray (1986-2002) is set for publication December 2015. Donald is the Vice-President of the Henderson Writer’s Group.

Darrah Whitaker, Treasurer

Darrah Whitaker has written five screenplays, one which was produced and another optioned. His short stories have been published in the Writers Bloc III, IV, and V anthologies. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers as well as the Henderson Writers Group in Las Vegas, Nevada, serving on its Board of Directors. His first novel, My Life as a Sperm, takes on notions of God and destiny in a most unusual way. He lives in Las Vegas where, despite the myriad temptations, he still finds time to write.

Audrey Balzart, Secretary

Audrey Balzart, a retired Air Force communications planner, writes YA, science fiction, and fantasy under her maiden name — A.L. Campbell. Her sci-fi short story, The Selection, is published in HWG’s own Writer’s Bloc III. The Round Up, a fantasy short story can be found in Nightfall Publications’ A World of Their Own. She is currently working on The Gift of Ancestors, her first novel in the young adult AJ Silver MisAdventure series.

Paul Atreides, Conference Coordinator

Paul Atreides is an author and playwright. He has an extensive 30+-year background in theatre and has written for a variety of periodicals, penned a monthly theatre column for Las Vegas Night Beat, has been a guest columnist and is currently a theatre critic for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Davenport Theatrical of New York City described his first play, Phallusies, as “very clever, funny, and meaningful.” It opened to good reviews and garnered Pick of the Week by Las Vegas City Life. New York City’s 9-11 Museum collections team described his ten-minute play, Fusion, as “a very powerful piece that is indeed thought-provoking and magnificently written,” and it has been posted to their website Artist’s Portfolios in written form until it can be filmed for future exhibition. His debut novel, (Marvin’s) World of Deadheads, which advanced to the semi-finals of the Amazon Breakout Novel Award contest, is now available in both print and Kindle editions on Amazon.com. His short stories have been published in various anthologies and a tiny collection, 5:4:99, has been published exclusively for Kindle. He is currently working on Sins of the Fathers, a new drama for the stage, a novel about domestic violence titled Monster in the Shadows, a collection of short stories about the human condition titled Voices From the Dead, and a World of Deadheads sequel. For more information and to follow his blog, log onto his website: www.paul-atreides.com

Christina Willis, Publicity Chair

Christina Willis is an Award winning Poet and Author, Entrepreneur, and Investor. A mother of five and a grandmother, spending time with her family is her greatest joy. She grew up in Central Point, Oregon and moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, where she currently resides with her family. Founded in 2007, JB Blakely, LLC., is an umbrella for all of her publishing products and business entities. Her children’s book series Baja Brody’s Adventures, keeps her time meticulously divided, working diligently to continue creating her brands. As the founder and co-creator of the whimsical website www.2brainyblondes.com (under construction.) A community in development of friends and family is being created to encourage some humorous writing for compilation books. Her most recent muse and newest release, the Basic Writer app found at www.basicwriter.com and at Apple iTunes and the Apple app store has quickly become a writer’s staple. An active member of the Henderson Writers’ Group, Christina holds the Publicity Officers chair, she handles all advertising and publicity for both the group and The Las Vegas Writer’s Conference. With limited spare time Christina enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading most genres, some of her favorites include memoirs, children’s stories, inspirational and educational books. Spending time freelance writing and traveling.

Barbara Lloyd, Education Chair

A published poet, Barbara now writes fiction. Her work in progress, the first of two crime thrillers, places protagonist Diane Bishop, a Nevada parole probation officer, in a fictitious Northern Arizona town between Flagstaff and Sedona. There she finds herself — like many of her crooks on her caseload would say— “in the wrong place at the wrong time.” The thirty-four-year-old traveled to Arizona to face her dying father who abandoned her and her terminally ill mother seventeen years before. Diane is viciously attacked the night of her arrival. While in the hospital, she learns that her husband is having an affair with their young babysitter, and her father is recovering and possibly involved with the pedophile who is killing little boys in the area. Barbara has been an active member of The Public Safety Writers’ Association and the Henderson Writers’ Group for several years. She just started her first year as Education Chair on the Board of Directors of the latter. Besides cooking, Barbara enjoys gardening. She loved ripping out caliche in her Las Vegas yard to make way for fruit trees, vegetables, herbs, honeysuckle and various jasmine vines. The resulting flowers attract Hummingbirds and smell wonderful. The vegetation provides hiding places for her two cats and greenery for her Yellow Labrador Retriever to trample.

Amanda Skenandore, Librarian and Historian

Amanda Skenandore is an infection prevention nurse and a writer. Her short fiction “Proving Ground” appears in Writer’s Bloc IV (2012) under the pen name A. R. Shenandoah. She writes fantasy and historical fiction and has completed two novels. A native of Colorado, she enjoys travel, being outdoors, and the sleuth-work of research—both for her novels and her own family history. Her favorite author is Zora Neale Hurston.

Alba Arango, Fundraising Chair

Alba Arango is a secondary school teacher of twenty-four years. With Bachelor’s degrees in both Education and History, a Master’s degree in American History, and an Associate’s degree in Creative Writing, Alba enjoys the telling of a good story and has decided to turn her attention and talents to the writing of middle grade fiction and short stories. She has multiple short stories published in anthologies and online, and her two middle grade fiction series, The Decoders series and JJ Bennett: Junior Spy series, are available in paperback and electronic form. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she loves the hot, desert weather (yes, it’s hot…but it’s a DRY heat), coffee (preferably with white chocolate or salted caramel), and chocolate (any variety, any form).