Category Archives: Speakers

Making Your Characters Leap Off the Page

Phyliss Miranda at Podium Good ShotWe’ve had an unusually long hiatus on this blog.  We’re still trying to work out some of the kinks to doing an multi-author blog.

I thought it would be a really nice touch to open our Program season with a guest post.  What will follow is a post by Phyliss Miranda, who will be speaking at our September 21, 2013 meeting.

A native Texan, New York Times and USA Today award-winning author Phyliss Miranda still believes in the Code of the Old West and loves to share her love for antiques, the lost art of quilting, and the Wild West.

Visit her at .

She blogs the first Tuesday of each month at

She blogs the first Tuesday of each month at  Come to our meeting at the Amarillo Senior Citizens’ Center at 1217 S. Tyler.  Sign in is at 9:00 and Phyliss will begin at 9:30.  If you sign up for a box lunch from Baker Bros. before 10:00 you can join us after that for a critique session.

Now I’ll let Phyliss take over.

Suzanne Bogue

I’m honored to introduce you to Nicodemus Dartmouth, my hero, in my September 5th eKensington release The Tycoon and the Texan.

Before we begin with the interview, I’d like to give you the background on both how I selected the plot and Nick’s last name. I truly believe it was a gift from above.

My husband and I have friends who we’ve known for over forty years and vacationed with since their boys and our girls were young.

In 2002, my DH and I were on our way to meet them in Florida when we received a call, thank goodness for cell phones, that Harry had emergency heart surgery. He was in a coma, and the future was uncertain.  We immediately turned our car north and headed for Dartmouth Medical Center where he laid critically ill for weeks.  We were determined not to leave until he and Pat were safely home under their own roof.  And, that we did.

One day while sitting in the waiting room, my attention was drawn to a show on TV, you know the ones up in the corner of the room you have to crane your neck to see and can barely hear, that pertained to a foundation’s auction of bachelors for charity.  That seeded the idea for a story about a strong, multi-millionaire who ends up buying an ugly duckling at his own foundation’s charity ball. Of course, she had to be from Texas and his name had to be as strong and willful as my character, so Nicodemus Dartmouth was born.

Now nearly ten years and many vacations together later, my story The Tycoon and the Texan came out recently andPhyliss Miranda Smaller TheTycoonAndTheTexan eBook needless to say I dedicated it to our dearest friends.

Let’s get on with learning more about Nicodemus Dartmouth. I’m gonna let him tell you about himself first, and then he’ll answer some questions.

I don’t really like being referred to as a tycoon because I see myself as just another hardworking man in his 30’s. I have to admit being a product of a wealthy, widowed mother, who I don’t always see eye-to-eye with, did have its benefits. I worked my fingers to the bone to establish one of the largest construction firms on the west coast, while being CEO of Mother’s charity … the Elliott-Dartmouth foundation.  I own a Double A baseball farm team and love to workout with my players.  Mother is pretty well appalled when I show up at the office with bloody road rash showing through a tear in my baseball pants.  By the way, Josie, the Foundation Director and mother hen, thinks I belong in the dog pound. I have one supporter in the organization, well most of the time, and that’s McCall Johnson, who used to be my secretary at the construction company until I transferred her over to the foundation when I found myself crawling up twenty stories of red iron thinking about her.

Now back to the charity auction that Phyliss mentioned. Mother thought it was a grand idea to auction off bachelorettes, while I told her from the start it was a bad, really bad idea.  She called me into the office to go over the final arrangements, including the table decorations.  I need to be out at the construction company offices arranging for a shipment of material we don’t need to be shipped to Habitat for Humanity, but no I’m standing here looking at a bunch of flowers stuffed in a vase. I won’t even tell you what I think about them because Mother sure didn’t approve of my description.

The auction was a nightmare, just as I had predicted, although it raised a lot of money for the foundation … a good bit coming from me.

The jinx I apparently put on the event began when one of the bachelorettes called in sick and our resident Texan McCall Johnson was forced to step in.  In an unexpected turn of events, and I have to admit a bit of jealousy on my part to boot, I ended up paying what McCall called “a vulgar” amount for a week-long date with her.

That began our adventures … seven days to Texas.

I wanted so badly to show her that our lives weren’t that much different, but at every turn, I hit a roadblock.  From nearly cutting my finger off trying to prepare dinner on my private boat for her to seeing a ghost on Harris Grade coming out of Lompoc, California, something got in my way of showing her that I don’t get everything I want, although she thinks I do.

It took me the full seven days, plus some while visiting her Granny’s ranch in Texas, but I finally succeeded at showing the independent, spirited, uprooted Texan that our lives aren’t as different as it might seem, only to find that we are more alike than I ever dreamed … including our secrets.

I hope you’ll go buy The Tycoon and the Texan by native Texan, Phyliss Miranda, so you can learn more about me and Miss McCall Johnson.  By the way, if I have my way, she won’t be a Miss much longer.

Phyliss Miranda


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Filed under books, character arcs, characters, description, Speakers, techniques, Writing, writing advise

Panhandle Professional Writers Conference

Frontiers in Writing 2012 will open with a Thursday night book signing event held at Barnes and Noble, 2415 Soncy Road., 7:30 – 9:00 PM, June 28. Classes on Friday and Saturday will beheld at the CUB on the Amarillo College Washington Campus. The closing event with John Erickson as the keynote speaker, will be held in the Ordway Auditorium.

Just for Newbies! If this is your first writers conference ever, don’t be shy. We’ll have a short orientation in the Barnes and Noble Classroom just for you starting at 7:30 PM. You’ll be done in plenty of time to attend the autographing and meet some of this year’s faculty.

The Friday night banquet featuring New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jodi Thomas, will be held in the REC Hall at the FORT AMARILLO RV PARK located at 10101 Amarillo Blvd.  West, Amarillo. The REC hall is located on the corner of Amarillo Blvd and Helium Road, just behind Gander Mountain.

PPW is having a Book Fair at Barnes and Noble during this weekend. Every purchase made in store or online will benefit the organization. This gives us much needed funds for future conferences allowing us to keep registration fees as affordable as possible.

Print the registration form by going to

Hope to see you all there!

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Filed under books, Conference, Keynote, Speakers, Workshop

Using Poetic Language in Novels and Short Stories

May 19, 2012

Ever wish your prose read as lyrically as the masters do?

Guest speaker, Jenna Hodges Struble, will talk about the use of poetic language in novels and short stories.

Enhance your work to take the reader on a sensory journey that they will wish has no end. Learn how to write more descriptively with exercises and techniques from Jenna Hodges Struble.

Jenna has been writing for over 20 years, is a published poet and recording artist with her spoken word. She has taught creative writing to youth and adults for four years in the Amarillo area under the umbrella of the Writer’s Voice Program at the Amarillo YMCA. She has also been a guest instructor at the Austin International Poetry Festival and Y of the USA. Jenna has helped develop creative writing curriculum for several YMCA’s and youth poetry organizations around the country. Jenna is recently married to acclaimed creator and author for Image Comic’s Li’l Depressed Boy, S. Steven Struble.

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Filed under exercises, novels, poetic language, prose, short stories, Speakers, techniques, Workshop, Writing, writing advise

Five Reasons to Follow This Blog

Please forgive the lack of posts over the last month.  Sometimes life gets in the way of keeping up responsibilities.

Here’s are five reasons to keep following this blog.  These are some of the websites to visit for information about our keynote speakers and other presenters for this year’s Frontiers in Writing Conference to held June 29-30 here in Amarillo, TX.  Enjoy!


Candace Havens will be speaking at Frontiers in Writing June 29-30 and keynoting one of the luncheons. Follow this link to her blog:


Harvey Stanbrough, award winning poet and author, will be keynoting a luncheon and speaking at this year’s Frontiers in Writing, June 29-30. Follow the link to read his blog and learn more about Harvey’s work:


Phyliss  Miranda, New York Times Bestselling Author will be conducting session on characterization at the June29-30 Writers Conference. She blogs with several other western romance authors at If you’re a romance fan, you’ll enjoy the information posted by these award winning authors about all things cowboy!


Jodi Thomas will be keynoting our dinner at Frontiers in Writing Conference, June 29-30. Her book, JUST DOWNTHE ROAD, the fourth in her Harmony series, has just been listed as #15 on the New York Times Bestseller List!  You’ll get an opportunity to hear this inspirational author on Friday night.  We hope to see you there!


PPW member, Joe Trent, will be conducting a session on “Using Person, Tense and Depth to Frame Stories” at the June 29-30 Writers Conference. You can learn more about Joe and his work by visiting his website:


Nancy and Craig Keel will be conducting a first timers orientation for newbie writers who have never attended a writers conference before. Wanna-be authors who have registered for Frontiers in Writing, June 29-30, are invited to a special session on Thursday at Barnes and Noble. Ask Nancy and Craig anything, then follow your dream and become published!

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A Mystery Writer Talks About Writing

Today A Guest Blog by Marcia K. Preston, Our March Meeting Presenter.  First a few words about Marcia:        

 Marcia Preston (M.K. Preston) grew up on a wheat farm in central Oklahoma. From her father she learned the art of storytelling; from her mother, a reverence for books; and from Oklahoma’s red earth, a love of wildlife and the outdoors.

          As a magazine writer for many years, she also edited and published ByLine, a trade magazine for aspiring writers. Marcia lives with her childhood sweetheart and first husband (it’s the same guy) beside a creek in central Oklahoma, where she gardens and dodges tornadoes.

          Writing as M.K. Preston, Marcia is the author of an Oklahoma mystery series featuring Chantalene Morrell, daughter of a Gypsy mother and a redneck father.  Along with her mystery series, Marcia has written four other novels.

          On Saturday, March, 17, at St. Stephen Methodist Church’s Western St. Campus, Marcia K. Preston will discuss writing mysteries in the morning session and conduct a workshop on creating believable dialogue after lunch.    

Here’s a few words from Marcia Preston    

          When my first novel was published, a mystery/suspense set in Oklahoma, I was privileged to sign books with mystery maven Carolyn Hart. She had some forty novels in print at that time. Between customers, I complained to her about the difficulty I was having with the second book in my series. “I thought the second one would be easier,” I said.

            “Oh, Marcia,” Carolyn said gently, “it never gets easier. On this last book, I came closer than I ever have to junking the whole manuscript and giving up.”

            I nearly cried.

            I’m sure I’ll never have forty books in print – I write too slowly, for one thing. But six books later, I have to say that Carolyn was right. It never gets any easier. And with the publishing industry in a forced revolution and marketing more difficult than ever, writers sometimes have to wonder: Why keep doing this?

            But we can’t quit. Like the sailor who loves the sea or the pilot who craves the wild blue sky, we need to write. It’s how we make sense of the world, or cry out against its senselessness. When something startling or tragic happens in my life, it doesn’t seem truly real to me until I write it down. That’s why I can’t write about a tragic event at the time it happens; I don’t want it to be real. Only later will the power of words help me transform the pain into something larger. Something better.

            Other writers understand this, and I’m excited to visit the Panhandle Professional Writers this March 17th. We’ll talk about writing mysteries and dialogue, specifically, but what we probably want most is the fellowship of others who understand.         

If you wish to learn more about Marcia or her books, please visit her website at:


Filed under M.K. Preston, Marcia K. Preston, Mystery Novels, Speakers, Workshop, Writing, Writing Dialogue

Keynote Speakers For June Conference

Frontiers in Writing 2012

June 29-30

Amarillo College So. Washington Street Campus

Let’s Write Weekend

 Something for Everyone: Every Level, Every Genre

Jodi Thomas and John Erickson

Jodi Thomas will keynote our Friday evening dinner. This New York Times and USA Today bestselling novelist has 35 books and is also a 5 time RITA award winner, the coveted recognition from the Romance Writer’s of America which earned her a place in their Hall of Fame. With a degree in Family Studies, Thomas is a marriage and family counselor by education, a background that enables her to write about family dynamics. Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Thomas enjoys interacting with students on the West Texas A & M University campus, where she currently serves as Writer-In-Residence. Jodi inspires and encourages writers to have courage and “put feet to your dreams”. She’ll be signing books on Thursday evening, June 28 at Barnes and Noble from 7:30 to 9:00 PM to kick off our Weekend of Writing!

John Erickson will keynote our Saturday afternoon closing session. Best known as the author of Hank the Cowdog series of books, audio-books, and stage plays, his stories have won multiple awards. While working as a ranch cowboy in Oklahoma and Texas, he wrote novels, short stories, articles, plays, essays, and book reviews. In 1982 he and his wife, Kris, started their own publishing company in their garage in Perryton and the first Hank book came out in 1983. Today, almost 30 years after its modest beginnings, Maverick Books is once again Hank’s official publisher, and is still located in Erickson’s hometown of Perryton. Also the author of WRITING CRAFT, Mr. Erickson will speak to FiW attendees about his writing process. Guest tickets are available and a book signing will follow sponsored by Barnes and Noble.

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