Tag Archive | Connie Cockrell

President’s letter – April 2023

President’s Page: April 2023

It’s nearly time for the Arizona Professional Writers Annual Conference. There are only 12 days before the conference! This is where we elect new officers, celebrate member accomplishments, honor those who have passed on, and hear some really good speakers! This doesn’t even mention the time we get to socialize with our fellow journalists, authors, poets, screenwriters, oh, well, you get the idea. Here is the info:

It’s time to register for our upcoming State Convention on May 6 at the Phoenix Indian School Visitor Center! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/arizona-professional-writers-2023-state-conference-tickets-601839336657

Speakers: We have two excellent speakers, lunch and a chance to see the venue – the Phoenix Indian School. Elena Selestewa will not only be speaking but will later answer more questions and give us a tour. Our other speaker, Debra Utacia Krol, is a dynamic journalist with the topic of “On the beat – through the eyes of an indigenous reporter.” See https://arizonapresswomen.wordpress.com/2023-apw-state-conference for our speakers’ photos and bios.

Business meeting at 9:15: APW members should plan to arrive in time for our 9:15 business meeting. We have exciting ideas to share for the upcoming year plus election of officers. Be there!

Lunch: Choice of 3 kinds of salad, water and cookies.

Register: Register at Eventbrite. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/arizona-professional-writers-2023-state-conference-tickets-601839336657 Members use APWmember10 as the promotion code to register for the member price of $50. Regular price is $60. Click on Get Tickets but then enter the code to receive the $50 price. If you’d prefer to pay by cash or Zelle QuickPay, contact treasurer RuthAnn Hogue at arizonaprofessionalwriters@gmail.com.Price at the door is $75. Students with student IDs are $25.

Share and publicize! Please share the APW FB post to your personal and writing or author pages as well as to any community or writing groups that you belong to. You can also help by asking them to post it on their calendar, if they have one. We also need your help posting copies of the flyer (attached) at your local library. If you have a relative that is a high school or college/university student here in AZ, ask them to take a copy to their English or Journalism teacher and invite their students to attend. The theme –Diversity – stories honor our many heritages– is a hot topic and could fit into many curriculums.

Location: The Phoenix Indian School Visitor Center is located in the Band Building, 300 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85012. Parking: free on the grounds. If you are coming from Payson, I have 2 seats left in my car. Call or text me at 928-951-0970 or email at connie.cockrell@gmail.com.

Morning coffee: Bring your own! Both some Starbucks and Dutch Coffee locations are within 3 or 4 minutes of the school.

For questions, contact Jaimie by email or by phone at 928-607-3181. (Text or leave a message) Contact RuthAnn Hogue at arizonaprofessionalwriters@gmail.com for questions about Eventbrite or to pay by check.

Go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/arizona-professional-writers-2023-state-conference-tickets-601839336657 to register now!

More information at https://arizonapresswomen.wordpress.com/2023-apw-state-conference

From Marie Fasano, an opportunity: Take a look at our facebook page for APW. This is a great place to announce your newest book, magazine article, or speaking engagement. This is just one of the many perks you, as an APW member have, so take advantage! https://www.facebook.com/groups/ArizonaPressWomen

Finally, A reminder that the Payson Book Festival, this year called the Authors and Artists Festival, is July 15th at the Payson Mazatzal and Hotel ballroom. 9am – 2:30pm. Bring a friend!

Thank you everyone for your continued support of this historic organization.

Everyone stay safe, enjoy the upcoming warm weather, and hope to see you at the conference!

APW Virtual Meeting 4/19/23 – How to do audiobooks

Connie Cockrell is inviting you to Rim Country Chapter’s Virtual Meeting on April 12. The topic will be “How to do audiobooks” with author Karen Randau. The Zoom link is posted below.

Topic: How to do Audiobooks with Karen Randau
Date: Wednesday, April 19, 2023
Time: 1 pm Arizona Time
Zoom link: Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us j/82494669743?pwd=YWFpNU9BNTVRNFpraWQ4dWN0cFd3UT09

Meeting ID: 824 9466 9743
Passcode: 965559
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kdBJdsj0a

Karen Randau is a lifelong writer—for as long as she can remember, she’s processed all of her major life events by writing about them. She earned a journalism degree from the University of Texas, but one semester on the school newspaper convinced her she didn’t want to be a journalist. Instead, she worked in marketing communications, first in the high-tech industry and then for 27 years for an international non-profit that helps people in developing countries pull themselves from poverty.

She began writing novels after she confessed a particularly strange thought to a co-worker and asked if the co-worker thought Karen was going crazy. The co-worker said, “No, I think you have a novel in you that is screaming to get out.”

Her first five books were published by Short On Time Books in Karen’s Rim Country Mystery series. She decided to go indie for the next three series and now has 13 published books. The most recent is From Chaos, book 2 in the Peach Blossom Romantic Suspense series, which reached an overall rating on Amazon of just under 2,800 and was in the top 10 in several categories. She worked with a producer through ACX to develop an audiobook for book 1 in that series, Into the Fog. That book is a current finalist for a Selah award.

For audiobooks, she’s tried everything from letting her publisher handle the whole process, to trying to narrate and produce it herself, to working with a professional narrator. She learned a lot along the way about production, distribution, and marketing audiobooks, which she’ll share with us on April 19.

APW State Board Meeting 3/18/23

APW State Board Meeting
Saturday, March 18 at 10 a.m. via Zoom. All members are invited to attend. Regular business plus planning for the State Convention. Contact Connie Cockrell for the zoom link. connie.cockrell@gmail.com 

President’s message – end of year

President’s Page: End Of 2022

Has a year gone by any faster than this one? I think not. We’re entering the U.S. Holiday Season and so much has happened.

November is what I call “gratitude” month. Every day I think about one thing I’m thankful for. It could be a rainy day, a meal out with friends, my husband, but whatever it is, I know individually and collectively, those little things are what make my life rich. So I’m wishing you all a wonderful holiday season full of gratitude for all of the things that make your life full and complete.

In December, the Southern Region will have a no-host holiday luncheon at noon on Saturday, December 10 at the Terraza Garden Patio and Lounge at Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort. Get details and to RSVP  contact Jaimie Bruzenak. Rim Country will have their holiday luncheon in the private dining room at the Mazatal Casino’s Cedar Ridge restaurant on Monday, December 12th, from 11am – 1pm. RSPV to Connie. All APW members are invited to either luncheon!

We need volunteers. As an official non-profit we must report to the Arizona Corporate Commission. At the moment, APW does not have a treasurer. That means we’re operating illegally. If a volunteer does not step up, we may have to close our organization.

In addition, the Payson Book Festival committee needs a new Media Manager as Marie Fasano must step down for health reasons. Our Program Manager (who puts together the paper program for the book festival, has also stepped down for family issues. New people bring fresh, new ideas and we want to keep our organization both active and relevant. Contact me at connie.cockrell@gmail.com to volunteer.

My calendar has Saturday, January 21st, 10 am, as our APW State Officer’s meeting. The meeting is open to all members, and it’s being held via Zoom. Contact me if you’d like to attend.

Join in the Movement to End Hunger and Homelessness

November 12 – 20 is Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. This is an annual program where people come together across the country to draw attention to the problems of hunger and homelessness. Find out how you can take action. Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

Register for our 28th Annual Conference in Mesa, AZ. https://www.azhousingcoalition.org/conference.html Early bird prices available until December 16.

Calling All Artists and Storytellers: Share your housing-related art or story and earn $100. Learn more about these opportunities to contribute your talents to the annual conference and to our public awareness campaign. https://www.azhousingcoalition.org/conference.html

Take a look at our APW Facebook page. This is a great place to announce your newest book, magazine article, or speaking engagement. This is just one of the many perks you, as an APW member have, so take advantage!

HOLIDAY BAZAAR – not too late!
We are also happy to announce our Holiday Bazaar at our website: https://arizonaprofessionalwriters.org/holiday-bazaar-2022/. This is a terrific perk of being a member. It’s not too late to get your book listed. Send Jaimie Bruzenak a link to the book you want to list along with a high resolution jpeg of the front cover and your website link and she’ll post it for you. Books make great presents!

And, it’s membership renewal time. If you have already renewed, thank you! If you’ve renewed via the National Federation of Press Women, let us know to look for your renewal there. If you still need to renew, see Join under the About tab for the form. Those renewing their membership should complete the form so we can be sure your information is up to date and complete.

Thank you everyone for your continued support for this historic organization.

That’s it for 2022. Everyone stay safe, enjoy the upcoming holidays, and hope to see you at the next meeting!

Connie Cockrell, Author
H (928) 951-0970

President’s Message – September, 2022

President’s Page: September

Hello and welcome to September. I do hope you all had a wonderful summer whether you did a stacation or you had the chance to travel. If you’re new, welcome to the Arizona Professional Writers!

July was a busy month for the Rim Country chapter as they held their book festival on July 17th. We had about 50% fewer attendees this year and fewer authors. However, everyone who did attend had a good time and there was a lot of feedback on how much both the attendees and the authors like the festival.

August had both the Central and the Rim Country chapters return to regular meetings, held on Zoom. The book club is also still meeting via Zoom. We also held our thank-you luncheon for the many volunteers for the Book Festival. We held it “picnic” style in Payson’s Green Valley Park. Sandwiches, salads, and drinks were provided and we discussed the volunteer’s suggestions for the festival.

We need volunteers. Many of the APW officers have been serving for years. The Payson Book Festival committee needs a new Media Manager as Marie Fasano must step down for health reasons. The state organization needs a treasurer. New people bring fresh, new ideas and we want to keep our organization both active and relevant. You can contact me at connie.cockrell@gmail.com to talk about it.

My calendar has September 18th, 10am, as our APW State Officer’s meeting. The meeting is open to all members, and it’s being held via Zoom. Contact me if you’d like to attend.

Speaking of media, take a look at our Facebook page for APW. This is a great place to announce your newest book, magazine article, or speaking engagement. This is just one of the many perks you, as an APW member, have, so take advantage! https://www.facebook.com/groups/ArizonaPressWomen

While at the Payson Book Festival, I had a representative of the organization Recorded Recreational Reading for the Blind stop by my table. They can be found at ReadingForTheBlind.org. For our authors, they said they’d be interested in recording your book(s) in addition to needing narrators to read books into audio recordings. I know we have some people in the group who have media experience or otherwise beautiful voices. They are also interested in presenting to groups, so if you are looking for a speaker, try them out. You can contact Sarah Shew, 623-640-1219 for more info.

That’s it for September. Everyone stay safe, enjoy the upcoming autumn, and hope to see you at the next meeting!

Connie Cockrell, Author
H (928) 951-0970

APW August Virtual Meeting – 8/10/22 Dito Abbott

Connie Cockrell is inviting you to a meeting on Zoom.

Topic: APW Rim Country- Dito Abbott- When life Imitates Art
Date: Wednesday, August 10, 2022
Time: 1:00 PM Arizona
Zoom: Members have been sent the Zoom link. Nonmembers who would like to attend should contact Connie Cockrell at connie.cockrell @ gmail.com for the link.


“Adventure: When Art Imitates Life” is based on my experience in a wide range of creative disciplines, as well as incorporating my love for adventure.

In this presentation, I will talk about comfort zones and how they define our horizons, using examples from my artistic past, such as:

– Spending 3.5 years shooting a stop motion music video for my band, Too Many Drummers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5T0ZCpfSaIA
– Drawing on my sailing experiences to write a novel
– The important role failure plays in creativity

Dito’s debut YA Fantasy novel, Debunked, draws on his love for adventure, googly-eyed slime beasts, and sarcastic swords of legend.


President’s message – July 2022


I want to thank everyone who was able to for attending our 2022 Arizona Professional Writers conference. The venue was exceptional, and we had terrific speakers. We also held elections; many thanks to those who could stay on for another term. Thanks everyone as well for electing me as President. Many, many thanks to Bobbi Bennett, Marie Fasano, Jaimie Bruzenak, and everyone else who had a hand in organizing and putting on this wonderful event. I do hope you all can attend next year.

Treasurer needed: Most importantly, we are in need of a Treasurer. Our previous treasurer, Cheryl Kohout, has been an officer in the organization for decades now and has decided to step down. Of course the treasurer is a vital role in any organization and if you have some time, I promise you will not be overwhelmed with the role. You can contact me at connie.cockrell@gmail.com to talk about it.

June was the National Federation of Press Women annual conference. I had a great time in Fargo, N.D. It’s a lovely city and the venue was fantastic. Best of all, three of our APW members won or placed in the national Communication Contest. Let’s give hearty congratulations to Rebecca Goodrich who won a 1st place in her category, Jan Cleere who won a 2nd place, and Brad Graber with an Honorable Mention. I want to again honor the 9 members who won in the At-Large competitions, winning 15 awards total. These are stiffly competitive categories so all of our winners should receive a round of applause.

If you are thinking of attending next year’s NFPW Conference, it will be in Cincinnati, Ohio. The time spent with these fantastic, intelligent, and pretty darn witty women and men was a boon to my soul. The presentations were wonderful and one, on treating your customers as a non-profit treats their donors, was worth the price of the entire conference. Not saying the other presentations weren’t good, it’s just that that one had info that could be pressed into service that very minute. Don’t miss out on next year’s event.

July features the Payson Book Festival. It will be held July 23rd at the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino from 9am to 2:30pm. We have over 80 authors this year and an all-day, on-demand children’s program. In the Fireside room we have presentations by authors: Ditto Abbott, Jody Decker, Chrisann Dawson, Bryan Lee (aka Bullseye the Clown), and TJ Boyer. The topics range from poetry to bullying. I’m sure each one will be very interesting. I do hope you can make it to the Festival even if you aren’t a “seller.” It will be a great time to catch up!

Spread the word! Speaking of the Book Festival, we’re doing a lot of posting on our Facebook pages for both APW and the Book Festival. Take a look at those pages and share the posts. Lots of people sharing creates a big boost in the number of people who get to see each post. It’s an easy way for you to get to know the authors appearing and to help us drive attendance to the festival.

https://www.facebook.com/PaysonBookFestival and


That’s it for July. Everyone stay safe, enjoy the summer, and hope to see you at the book festival!

Connie Cockrell
APW President

2022 State Conference is a wrap!

Our 2022 State Conference is over. It was special getting to see old friends in person; some we had only ever met on a Zoom call. We also had several guests plus our speakers and our 2022 scholarship winner and her father and brother.

President Connie Cockrell called the meeting to order. We accepted the slate of officers, welcoming Jody Sharpe to the Board and passed the budget. The winners of the At-large division of the NFPW Communications Contest who were in attendance were introduced.

Our morning speaker was Dr. Karen Bryson who spoke on “The Top Ten Reasons your Book Isn’t Selling And What To Do About It.” Everyone authoring a book should take these into account.  Find help at Karen’s newest Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/motivatethemuse.

During lunch, Marie Fasano and Jody Sharpe presented our 2022 Scholarship winner, Elena Morrison, with a certificate and a check for $1000 to pursue a career in journalism. Elena is a student at Coconino Community College in Flagstaff.

Brad Graber spoke after lunch on “The Stories We Tell Ourselves: The Importance of Shifting Our Mindset.” Using personal stories and humor, Brad shared how we can limit ourselves. His website is BradGraber.com.

The last activity was a tour of the wonderful Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. Their collection of all things Western is second to none. Put it on your list to visit if you never have. https://scottsdalemuseumwest.org

APW May Virtual Meeting – 5/11/22

Connie Cockrell and Susan Anderson are inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Arizona Inspiration with Roger Naylor
Date: Wednesday, May 11, 2022
Time: 01:00 PM Arizona
Zoom: Members have been sent the Zoom link. If you are a guest or need it, contact Susan Anderson at Susan.APW@hotmail.com. Members can also find the link in the Members Only section.

Arizona Inspiration with Roger Naylor

Arizona is the focus of almost all my books, from travel to history. Yet even my book of fiction uses Arizona as its unifying theme. Crazy for the Heat: Arizona Tales of Ghosts, Gumshoes, and Bigfoot is a collection of humorous short stories, all based in Arizona locations, utilizing the state’s history and legends. Cactus and roadrunners and red rocks and border towns and blazing sunsets and the perfume of rain and sun that screams are all woven into the fabric of the stories. I’m not sure I even know how to write anymore if Arizona is not involved.”

Roger will discuss a little of his process and encourage others to explore more of Arizona for their own inspiration.

Roger Naylor is one of Arizona’s premier travel writers. In 2018, he was inducted into the Arizona Tourism Hall of Fame. His most recent book, Arizona’s Scenic Roads and Hikes, was selected as Best Arizona Travel Book at the 2021 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. It also won as Best Arizona Book. His previous book, Arizona State Parks, also won in 2020 as best Arizona Travel Book.

Naylor is the narrator of Verde Canyon Railroad. His work appears most weeks in the Arizona Republic. He has also written for The Guardian, USA Today, The Week, Country Magazine, Arizona Highways, and dozens more. He is the author of several other books including The Amazing Kolb Brothers of Grand Canyon, Arizona Kicks on Route 66, and Boots and Burgers: An Arizona Handbook for Hungry Hikers. For more information, visit RogerNaylor.com.

APW January Virtual Meeting 1/12/22

Connie Cockrell and Susan Anderson are inviting you to a combined Zoom Meeting Wednesday, January 12th at 1pm.

TOPIC: Publicity with Jodi Decker
DATE: January 12, 2022
TIME: 1 p.m. Arizona time
ZOOM: The link for the Zoom Meeting has been sent to members. It is also listed in the Member’s only section. Guests are welcome and should email Susan.APW@hotmail.com for the link.

Bio: Jodi Decker, Ed.D, collaborated with her daughter Janelle Molony, MBA, (editor and publisher) on the anthology Poems From the Asylum. It is the true narrative of Martha H. Nasch’s seven-year stay in an insane asylum. Jodi, a college teacher, and Janelle, an author, researched family journals, poetry notebooks, history books, and interviewed the descendants of the neighbors about the life of Martha H. Nasch, as well as interviewed the museum docent at the St. Peter State Hospital for the Insane. Jodi is Martha’s granddaughter, and she is proud to leave this legacy on her behalf. Both Jodi and Janelle are Arizona residents and A.S.U. graduates.

Her Facebook page is Seven Years Insane