Thursday, July 2, 2015

Mark Coker, founder and CEO of Smashwords, is coming to Phoenix August 15, 2015

This year, Valley of the Sun Romance Writers is pleased to present an all-day e-Publishing Workshop, bringing in Mark Coker, founder and CEO of Smashwords, who is sharing inside tips on what it takes to become a best seller. 

Date: Saturday, August 15th, 2015
Place: Crowne Plaza // 2532 W. Peoria Avenue // Phoenix, AZ
Time: All day – 9am – 3pm
***Lunch Included***
Total Cost – $40.00 Lunch Included (if paying by check, please contact for instructions and to reserve your spot) or register with PayPal on the website at:

Open to the Public Deadline to register: August 7th, 2015

The topics covered: 

1. An Introduction to Ebook Self Publishing: How to Publish, Distribute and Sell Your eBook
The ebook revolution has taken the publishing industry by storm, and self-published authors are leading the charge. Self-published authors now grace the New York Times bestseller list on a regular basis. A few years ago, this was almost unheard of. In the future, it'll become even more commonplace. It's easier to self-publish an ebook than you might imagine. No technical experience necessary! In this introductory, jargon-free primer to ebook self publishing, Mark Coker will cover the basics. Mark will present an ebook publishing checklist covering everything you need to know to get started. Mark’s session will begin by providing an overview of the latest ebook market trends, and then will provide detailed guidance on ebook creation, pricing and marketing. Learn about ISBNs, copyright and what you need to know about piracy. Learn how to get your book distributed to libraries and major ebook retailers.

2. 16 Secrets of the Bestselling Ebook Authors: Best Practices for Ebook Publishing
In this segment, Mark Coker will share 16 best practices of the most successful self-published ebook authors. Learn how to self-publish with pride and professionalism. Learn simple, yet important strategies that will make your book more accessible, more discoverable and more desirable to readers. The session draws upon the best practices advice contained in Mark Coker’s free ebook, THE SECRETS TO EBOOK PUBLISHING SUCCESS, and includes new insights not covered in the book.

3. Hit the Ebook Bestseller Lists with Ebook Preorders
Imagine if you could press a magic button that would make your next ebook release land higher in the the bestseller charts. Imagine no more. The magic button is real, and it's called the ebook preorder. In this third section of Mark Coker's ebook publishing intensive, you'll learn how to use preorders to make your next book launch more successful. Learn case study examples of how Smashwords authors have used preorders to hit the top of the charts.

To register for the workshop, go to:

Upcoming Events | Valley of the Sun Romance writers of America

Monday, June 29, 2015

2016 Desert Dreams Keynote Speakers

Desert Dreams Conference dates:
April 7 through 10, 2016 - Scottsdale, AZ


Alexandra Ivy
New York Times and USA Today Best Selling author Alexandra Ivy began her career writing regency historicals under the name of Deborah Raleigh. Current series include, Guardians of Eternity, The Sentinels Series, The Rapture Series, The Rogue Series and her latest, The Bayou Heat Series.  She is currently represented by Evan Marshall Literary Agency.  You can find more information about Ms Ivy on her website,

JA JanceJ.A. Jance is the top 10 New York Times bestselling author of the Joanna Brady series; the J. P. Beaumont series; three interrelated thrillers featuring the Walker family; and Edge of Evil, the first in a series featuring Ali Reynolds. Born in South Dakota and brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona. You can find out more about Ms. Jance on her website

More information and registration HERE

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Reserve the dates for the Desert Dreams Writers Conference 2016 in Scottsdale AZ

The Desert Dreams Conference is coming sooner than you think, April 7-10 2016 to Scottsdale, Arizona. Although it's only every other year, you can check out the list of booked agents and editors, and keynote speakers HERE

Registration is now open and I advise you to register soon, especially if you want an agent or editor appointment, since these will be first come first served.

We will be back at the luxurious Chaparral Suites resort in Scottsdale. It promises to be the best Desert Dreams Conference yet

Vijaya Schartz
Desert Dreams Conference blogger 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

A geeky author at the Phoenix COMICON by Vijaya Schartz

I enjoyed signing my books at the Phoenix Comicon last year, and realized that's where my audience was. The sales were great, and I made new fans as well. So I shall be back on May 28 to 31st this year. A promise and a threat. Watch out, when I get my geek on.

As a sci-fi author, it's so exciting to see people walking around in costumes. These fans really do take their fiction seriously. They sometimes know more about your characters than you remember writing... and they do not take it kindly if you do not know the answer to their questions about your books. You wrote them, right? You brought these characters to life!

Yet, somehow, after a book is published, I move on to the next and seem to forget everything about their former story... unless I'm writing a series, and it's just like the continuation of a long saga.

Talking of saga, this year I will have print copies of my medieval fantasy series The Curse of the Lost Isle. Like me, these geeky fans understand that sci-fi and fantasy often mix, and if they can wear costumes, it doesn't matter whether they are at Comicon or at the Renaissance Fair.

So, if you happen to browse the main exhibition hall (last year it was in the basement), please stop by and say Hi. It's amazing how many friends I met there last year. It seems everyone loves the Phoenix Comicon.
Find out more about it HERE

Phoenix Comicon Official Website

In the meantime, back to writing My latest release is a box set for my medieval fantasy series, books 1-4, so if you are thinking of catching up before Book 6, Beloved Crusader, comes out this month, here it is. Book 5, Chatelaine of Forez, is out in kindle already.

Buy this box set here

Hope to see many of you at the Comicon FanFest.

Vijaya Schartz
Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Arizon Literary Awards Banquet was a success

Just a few pictures to whet your curiosity. You can see them all on the website at Click on CONTEST on the left, then banquet photos. If you are interested, you can also browse the list of winners.

Starting with the welcome, this event is always a classic among the Arizona writing community. But each year, finalists and winners come from many other states to attend, breathlessly waiting for the announcement of the year's winners.

You can find all the details on the website, but my experience this year was particularly rewarding. The theme was the Great Gatsby and the Roaring Twenties, with music provided by Tom Brehm to create the historical atmosphere. Many of the guests wore costumes, long pearl necklaces, headbands with feathers, or feather boas. I enjoyed dressing up for the party (left).

The buffet was sublime, the food delicious, and the desserts... went straight to our hips.

Then came raffles, announcements, and our President Toby Heathcotte announced the winners, while our Vice President Lisa Aquilina presented their prizes. Lots of smiling faces that night. Nothing boosts a writer's confidence like recognition from a prestigious organization like the Arizona Authors Association. The overall winners will also be entered in the pushcart prize.

Here are the smiling faces of finalists and winners who attended. Congratulation to all.

You may also read the unpublished entries in the 2015 Arizona Literary Magazine, available from Amazon HERE

And if you want to test your skills, the new contest will accept entries from January 1 to July 1 for next year's winners. The categories include nonpublished works, with essays, poetry, articles, novels, short stories, as well as published categories for novels, nonfiction, and children's literature.

Hope to see you there next year.

Vijaya Shartz

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Free Fall Writers Workshops Nov.8 in Scottsdale AZ

Saturday November 08, 2014  - Time: 10 am to 4:30 pm
Scottsdale Civic Center Library - 3839 N Drinkwater Blvd - Scottsdale 85251 -Tel: (480) 312-7323

Southeast corner of Indian School and Drinkwater Blvd - Parking entrance on Drinkwater just south of the bridge. Two levels of parking available.

The workshops are held in the basement rooms and auditorium of the Scottsdale Civic Center Library.



10:30 to 11:15 am
Challenge your characters by Laurie Schnebly
Writing mysteries by Kris Tualla
Knowing your Genre by Virginia Nelson


11:25 am to 12:10 pm
Stereotyping and Native Americans by Melinda Elmore
The Fun Thing About Plotting by Vijaya Schartz
Motivation and Focus for Writing by Tara Taylor Quinn


12:15: Book Signing in the downstairs lobby and Lunch break

1:55 to 2:40 pm
Creating Unforgettable Characters by Jennifer Ashley
I Never Met a Cliche I didn't Like by Connie Flynn
Living the Live of a Writer by Tina Gerow


2:50 to 3:35 pm
Villains, an Author's Best Friend by Shelley Coriell
Setting by Erin Quinn
How I Started Writing by Pamela Tracy and Cheyenne McCray


3:45 to 4:30 pm
With Jennifer Ashley, Virginia Nelson, Erin Quinn, Vijaya Schartz, Pamela Tracy

Monday, September 29, 2014

Free WRITERS CIRCLE event October 11, in Phoenix AZ

Saturday October 11, 2014 Time: 9:30 am to 12:30 pm

Saguaro Library
2808 N 46th St
Phoenix, AZ 85008
Guest speakers: Laura Orsini and Carrie Morgan

Social Media For Authors: Life Beyond Facebook - Presenter: Laura Orsini 
Most authors know they should be incorporating social media into their book marketing efforts. The question is how to do it effectively. Whether you are a new author who is just releasing her first book or a prolific author with dozens of books to your name, the best time to begin your social media campaign is NOW! You will learn how to use social media to enhance your other marketing efforts; how to determine which social media platforms your readers are frequenting most often; how to time and schedule your posts for best reach; and how best to engage your friends, followers, and connections.

Laura Orsini is a self-publishing consultant who works with socially conscious authors to help them publish great books that change the world. With a BA in nonfiction from the University of Arizona, Laura has been working with local, national, and international authors since 2002. She runs the very popular Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion Meetup. Laura is an award-winning author, taking first place in the Global eBook Awards with 1001 Real-Life Questions for Women. She is the author of four books for authors: Social Media for Authors, The Author’s Media Tool Kit, Publish Your Book Already, and Blogging Success Tips for Authors. Her first novel is forthcoming this Fall.

Growing Your Platform Using Blogging & Content Marketing - Presenter: Carrie Morgan
Hoping to build an audience fast, establish your expertise and sell books? Blogging and content marketing are critical components that give authors an edge over those without these marketing skills. During this presentation, Top 1% Digital PR Influencer Carrie Morgan will discuss the differences between guest blogging and maintaining your own blog; how to identify, pitch and land guest blog post and article opportunities; and how to write blog posts that resonate with your readers and build loyalty. In the second half of the presentation, she will walk us through some basic professional tactics for building our blog- and content marketing strategy.

Currently writing her first book, Digital Haystack: Essential PR Tactics To Explode Online Visibility & Engagement, Carrie Morgan has 20+ years of agency and corporate experience, and has firmly established herself as influential in the marketing industry. She is a Kred Top 1% Influencer, a Klout Top 5% influencer and a LinkedIn Top 10% influencer who blogs at Morgan is also founder and moderator of #PRprochat, a Twitter chat that reaches millions of timelines each month, and a co-moderator of Phoenix PR Pros, a local Facebook group of 800 public relations professionals and journalists in Arizona. Carrie is a contributing author for industry leading publications including Social Media Today, MarketingProfs, PR Daily, Social Media Today, B2Community and Convince & Convert. She is President of the digital PR consultancy, Rock The Status Quo, with a client list that has included companies like Caremark CVS,, Keller Williams, American Express Financial, Cullum Homes, Fidelity National Title and Better Business Bureau.

For more Information: Questions: Kebba Buckley Button, Program Director,, 480-250-1177

Location Information:

Saguaro Library
2808 N 46th St
Phoenix, AZ 85008 - [View Mapquest Map]