2022 Events

Upcoming Events
Desert Sleuths

An Organization for Writers, Readers, and Fans of Crime Fiction and Mystery 


Jan     Feb     Mar     Apr     May     Jun     Jul     Aug     Sept     Oct     Nov     Dec


January 2022

Jan 12* Meeting: Muddle in the Middle with Hank Phillippi Ryan

***Please note January’s Member Meeting is being held on the 2nd Wednesday of January and not the standard 3rd Wednesday of the month.***

You have a rocking first act to your novel, and you even have an idea of how to end your story with a twist and a bang and a shot at certain bestsellerdom. But now what? How will you get from that great beginning to the kickass ending? You’ve hit the muddle in the middle. Hank Phillippi Ryan will show you how these central pages can be made to intrigue and delight your readers–and have them turning pages as fast as they can. With practical advice and specific tips, Hank will show you how to make the magic in the middle.

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN is the USA Today bestselling author of 13 thrillers, winning five Agathas, the Mary Higgins Clark Award, and 37 EMMYs for investigative reporting. THE FIRST TO LIE (2020) garnered a Publishers Weekly starred review and is an Anthony and Mary Higgins Clark Award nominee. Her newest is HER PERFECT LIFE, a chilling psychological standalone about fame, family, and revenge with starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly, which called it “A superlative thriller.” HankPhillippiRyan.com

See you on Zoom January 12th! Meeting details will be in the monthly newsletter and sent in an email prior to the meeting to all chapter members. Please reach out if you would like to be a guest and check out the Desert Sleuths Chapter.

6:30p-7:00 pm AZ Time –  Business meeting and chapter check-in
7:00-8:00 pm AZ Time –  Speaker
Meetings are currently being held via Zoom. All members receive an email with the details in the monthly newsletter and a day or two before the meeting.

(Nonmembers please email desertsleuths at Gmail dot com to request a one-time guest pass.)


February 2022

February 16th: Marketing for Writers (Who Would Rather be Writing) with Lizbeth Meredith

Lizbeth Meredith is an author, speaker, and online teacher who recently relocated to Chattanooga from her home in Anchorage, Alaska. Her memoir, Pieces of Me: Rescuing My Kidnapped Daughters published by She Writes Press is now adapted for television as Stolen Hearts: The Lizbeth Meredith Story on Lifetime Television (spring 2022 release). Connect with her at lameredith.com or on her Facebook author page for live video on Fridays.

Author Photo of Lizbeth Meredith
Lizbeth Meredith

Marketing for Writers (Who Would Rather Be Writing)

You’ve heard the statistics. More than 1 million books are published annually. The vast majority sell less than 1000 copies over their lifetime.

So in the current climate of publishing, how can we develop the right mindset to stay motivated and find our books their forever homes without spending a fortune or feeling slimy in the process? What if you’re an introvert and bad at tech? And if you’re on your way to publishing your first book, what can you do to prepare the market for your book and your brand?

Indie author Lizbeth Meredith will give you pitfalls to avoid and tips that she teaches authors who now enjoy the practice of book marketing while budgeting their time and money.


March 2022

March 16th: Turning Medieval with Sarah Woodbury

Sarah Woodbury is a successful self-published author who will be sharing how she has drawn on her love of history to go from being a full-time mom to having sold over a million books and created a sustainable career as a historical fiction novelist. She will talk about both the creative and the business sides of writing, including research and her writing process, what has worked and what hasn’t, and strategies for sales and marketing.

Social media: 

Website: www.sarahwoodbury.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarahwoodburybooks/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/SarahWoodburyBooks

Ebooks for all retailers: https://books2read.com/ap/xqN2WR/Sarah-Woodbury

Sarah’s new book was released January 8, 2022.

The Welsh Guard Mysteries: Paladin novel by Sarah Woodbury
The Welsh Guard Mysteries: Paladin


April 2022

April 20th: Wrangling Your Plot

SJ RosanJoin SJ Rozan for a craft topic that could level-up your next writing project. Novels, short stories, plays, scripts, and epic poems—all require an element other art forms don’t: PLOT.

We chooseto work in these forms, yet many of us find plot a difficult element to wrangle. S.J. Rozan, through a seminar given recently to the graduate students in the creative writing program at Lesley University, will explore why plot is difficult for some to wrangle and what to do about it. She’ll discuss:

  • story vs. plot;
  • the iterative process;
  • outlining vs. not;
  • plot and character;
  • 3-part structure and 5-part structure;
  • rising and falling action; and
  • plot devices.

Registration details coming soon…


May 2022

May 18th: Writing for an Anthology

You’ve been asked to participate in an anthology. Great! But now what? If you’re used to writing long form, how do you now create a piece that adheres to short story form, blends in with the tone and theme of the book and makes a big splash?! Mystery authors Heather Graham, Rick Bleiweiss and Jennifer Dornbush (Desert Sleuth member)  share their tips, advice, and personal anecdotes on what it’s like to create a piece for an anthology. Their anthology, Hotel California, based on The Eagles album releases June 12, 2022 with Blackstone.


Rick Bleiweiss

Rick BleiweissRick spent much of his career in the music industry as a recording artist, Grammy-nominated producer, recorded songwriter, and record label senior executive. He has been an educator, newspaper and magazine columnist and speaker, and is Head of New Business Development at Blackstone Publishing. His debut novel, Pignon Scorbion & the Barbershop Detectives, was published this February and is garnering rave reviews. He contributed the short story “The Last Resort” to Hotel California (Blackstone, 2022). He is a member of The Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and other literary organizations. Sign up for his newsletter at: www.rickbleiweiss.com  and connect with Rick on IG @rickbleiweissauthor.

Heather Graham

Heather GrahamNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Heather Graham, majored in theater arts at the University of South Florida. After a stint of several years in dinner theater, back-up vocals, and bartending, she stayed home after the birth of her third child and began to write. Her first book was with Dell, and since then, she has written over two hundred novels and novellas including category, suspense, historical romance, vampire fiction, time travel, occult, sci-fi, young adult, and Christmas family fare.

She is pleased to have been published in approximately twenty-five languages. She has written over 200 novels and has 60 million books in print. Heather has been honored with awards from booksellers and writers’ organizations for excellence in her work, and she is the proud to be a recipient of the Silver Bullet from Thriller Writers and was awarded the prestigious Thriller Master Award in 2016. She is also a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from RWA.  Heather has had books selected for the Doubleday Book Club and the Literary Guild, and has been quoted, interviewed, or featured in such publications as The Nation, Redbook, Mystery Book Club, People and USA Today and appeared on many newscasts including Today, Entertainment Tonight and local television.

Heather loves travel and anything that has to do with the water, and is a certified scuba diver. She also loves ballroom dancing. Each year she hosts a Vampire Ball and Dinner theater raising money for the Pediatric Aids Society and in 2006 she hosted the first Writers for New Orleans Workshop to benefit the stricken Gulf Region.  She is also the founder of “The Slush Pile Players,” presenting something that’s “almost like entertainment” for various conferences and benefits. Married since high school graduation and the mother of five, her greatest love in life remains her family, but she also believes her career has been an incredible gift, and she is grateful every day to be doing something that she loves so very much for a living.

Jennifer Graeser Dornbush
Jennifer DornbushRaised as the daughter of a medical examiner whose office was in their home, forensics is infused into Jennifer’s DNA.  She scribed Forensic Speak; Hole in the Woods, and mystery series The Coroner’s Daughter, also optioned by Lifetime TV and the true crime thriller, Hole in the Woods. Jennifer contributed to Hotel California (Blackstone, 2022). She is also a speaker and forensic specialist. Sign up for her newsletter at: www.jenniferdornbush.com Connect with Jennifer on IG @JGDornbush.

Don’t miss out on Hotel California this June 12, 2022!Hotel California


June 2022

June 15th: Tips and Trade Talk from a Literary Agent

Josh Getzler
Literary Agent Josh Getzler
Josh Getzler, a partner at HG Literary in New York, represents more than 60 authors, many of them mystery writers, published by a wide variety of houses, including Flatiron Books, Penguin Random House, Pegasus, Amazon, Berkley Prime Crime, and Crooked Lane. His writers include S.A. Cosby (the multiple award-winning BLACKTOP WASTELAND and RAZORBLADE TEARS); Alex Segura (SECRET IDENTITY); Rob Hart (THE WAREHOUSE); SJ Rozan (FAMILY BUSINESS, and many of you will remember her as our April speaker on “Wrangling the Plot”); EJ Copperman/Jeff Cohen (the best-selling HAUNTED GUEST HOUSE series); EM Powell (The FIFTH KNIGHT series); and our own member, Karen Odden. Essentially, he handles everything from Dark Horror to Cat Mysteries, with police procedurals, rural noir, and historical adventures thrown in. 
In addition to his work as an agent, Josh currently teaches a Masters course in the Role of the Literary Agent at New York University. He will be speaking to Desert Sleuths about how an agent represents authors responsibly and successfully, and he will give some useful tips on querying, managing expectations, and the state of the crime fiction market in these uncertain times.
HG Literary Titles represented by agent Josh Getzler
HG Literary Titles represented by agent Josh Getzler


July 2022

July 20th: Make your Book Marketing Fun and Easy with Brook Brush featuring Kathleen Sweeney

Kathleen Sweeney
Kathleen Sweeney Marketing Manager of BookBrush

Stop dreading book marketing! Join Kathleen Sweeney for a fun live-walk through showing how to use Book Brush to create your own eye-catching marketing images, design book covers and create all things social media. We’ll explore animation tools, box set images and book trailers, too. Kathleen will share handy tips & tricks along the way and have time for Q & A, too. Learn why authors say Book Brush saves them both time and money.

Kathleen is the Manager of Marketing and Customer Service at Book Brush. She has over 20 years of marketing experience and has presented Book Brush How-To sessions to over 200 author groups. Kathleen thoroughly enjoys working with authors and helping them create eye-catching images and more with the Book Brush tools. She lives in central Illinois with her husband, three busy boys and two handsome cats. Her hobbies include eating tacos and turning socks right side out.


August 2022

August 17th: Set the Stage: Using Setting to Add Intrigue and Suspense

In this workshop, we’ll discuss how convert time and place into atmosphere. Time is more than an era and place is more than a physical location. Time and place reflect the culture, language, habits, standards, values, shared beliefs, customs, food, mores, pace of life, and so on—and most importantly, what your sleuth thinks of the setting. From cozies (typically a small town with a sweet and decent feel) to noir (dark and gritty, with a veneer of danger), each sub-genre of crime fiction comes with a set of reader expectations when it comes to setting. Think of your work here as world-building. We’ll also consider how to let decisions about your settings be driven by your characters’ behavior and personalities and how to use place to add intrigue and suspense.

Jane Cleland
Jane Cleland

Jane K. Cleland writes both fiction and nonfiction, including the multiple award-winning Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries [St. Martin’s & Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine] and the Agatha-award winning bestsellers, Mastering Suspense, Structure & Plot and Mastering Plot Twists [Writer’s Digest Books]. Jane Austen’s Lost Letters, the 14th in her series, was published last December. She is a member of the fulltime faculty at Lehman College, part of the City University of New York, a contributing editor for Writer’s Digest Magazine, and the chair of the Wolfe Pack’s Black Orchid Novella Award (BONA) in partnership with Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. She is a frequent workshop leader and guest author at writing conferences, association meetings, and MFA Residencies. Also, Jane offers free monthly virtual workshops on the craft and business of writing, and Mystery Masterminds, a series of small group virtual workshops. More details are available at www.janecleland.com.

Jane’s Social Media/Minotaur Books’ Social Media:
Website:  www.janecleland.com / https://us.macmillan.com/minotaurbooks/
Facebook: @JaneClelandBooks/@MinotaurBooks
Twitter: @janekcleland /@MinotaurBooks
Instagram:  @Minotaur_Books


September 2022

Write Now! Conference: Event Info TBA

Write Now Logo

Check back soon for more information…


October 2022

October 19th: TBA

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November 2022

November 16th: Event Info TBA

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December 2022

End of Year/Holiday Party! (Details TBA)

Check back soon for more information…