Board of Directors

Valen Cox, President
Email: Valen Cox

As the daughter of a US Army Veteran, Valen Cox grew up around the world. Most of those years were spent in Germany with numerous opportunities to wander sites and ruins steeped in medieval history. She attended proms in the spectacular Heidelberg Castle about which Mark Twain waxed loquacious in an 1880 travel book, and in the picturesque Strahlenburg Ruine, a fortress castle with a commanding view of the Rhine lowlands. She even graduated in the majestic Worms Cathedral, an imperial Romanesque structure dating back to 614 A.D.

It is no wonder then that Valen writes Historical Romance. Published in short fiction and non-
fiction, she is a multiple-contest winner in Historical Romance as well as Mystery Suspense, and she dabbles in Science Fiction as well. Her bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in English and American Literature provides a great foundation for her writing.

A longtime member of RWA, Valen has served as treasurer of the Pikes Peak Romance Writers Chapter, and Vice President as well as Programs Chair for the Desert Rose Chapter. She also serves as the Choir Director of her church, enjoys traveling and interior decorating, and lives in Goodyear, Arizona with her husband


Ariana James, Vice-President
EmailAriana James

Arianna's love of books developed at a young age. In fact, she was kicked out of preschool because she preferred reading to sleeping and her repeated trips to the bookshelf during naptime were considered disruptive to the other kids. Not long after, she began creating stories of her own in which the characters inevitably fell in love and lived happily ever after. She's never quite managed to stop.

Her manuscripts have finaled in multiple contests, including the 2015 and 2016 RWA® Golden Heart®. She is an active member in several local and online RWA® Chapters, and has served as a committee chair, contest coordinator, and on the Board of Directors.

When not typing dictation for the voices in her head, Arianna can be found trying out new baking recipes, consuming all types of fiction into the wee hours of the morning, and spending time with her husband and their genetically ambiguous rescue dog.


Leslie Jones, Secretary
Email: Leslie Jones

Award-winning and RITA®-nominated author Leslie Jones writes military romantic suspense. She loves alpha heroes and strong heroines. She is truly grateful to the men and women of our Armed Forces for their dedication and sacrifice. It is because of them that we sleep well at night.

She’s been an IT geek, graphics designer, Army intelligence officer, and Army wife. She draws on her military experiences when she writes.

She’s lived in Alaska, Korea, Belgium, Germany, and various other exotic locations (including New Jersey). She found her forever home in Scottsdale, Arizona. There aren’t many who understand her love for the raw, primal beauty of the Southwestern desert. It teems with vitality. It boils life down to its essence. Survive, or don’t.

A 2016 RITA® nominee for Best First Book, she’s been a member of the Romance Writers of America® and Desert Rose RWA since 2010. She serves on the Desert Rose Board of Directors and has chaired several committees over the years. Her books can be found at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and HarperCollins Publishers. She is represented by Sarah E. Younger of the Nancy Yost Literary Agency in New York.


Kris Tualla, Treasurer
EmailKris Tualla

Kris Tualla, a dynamic award-winning and internationally published author of historical romance and suspense, writes with a fast-paced and succinct style. Her plots are full of twists, passion, and very satisfying outcomes! Kris started in 2006 with nothing but a nugget of a character in mind, and has created a dynasty with The Hansen Series and its spin-off, The Discreet Gentleman Series. Norway is the new Scotland!

Kris is an active member of Romance Writers of America, the Historical Novel Society, and Sisters in Crime. She is an enthusiastic speaker and teacher, and created Arizona Dreamin' - Arizona's first romance-reader event: - and it's author-focused companion:

Committee Chairs 2017-2018

Communications Committee Chairs:

Chapter Historian: Ann Narcisian Videan
PAN Representative:
PRO Representative: Andrea Rittschof
Tucson RWA Liaison: Christie Gridley
VOS RWA Liaison: Tina Swayzee McCright
Website: Heather Sandusky

Program Committee Chairs:

Main Programs:
Raffle Baskets: Deloris Nash
Roses, Beads, & Quills: Andrea Rittshof
Table Topics: Terry Smith

Special Committee Chairs:

Arbitration: Kathryne Kennedy, Sandra Leesmith, & Conni Morabito
Critique Groups:
Desert Dreams:
Diamonds in the Desert Contest:
Golden Quill Contest: Stephanie Scott
Member Appreciation Dinner: Andrea Rittschof
Mentor Program: Laurie Schnebly Campbell
Scottsdale Library Workshops: Pamela Tracy & Cathy McDavid