Programs at a Glance


Aeon Igni

TOPIC: “The Ins & Outs of Genre Romances”

Join us for a fun, interactive workshop to kick off the New Year! We'll work together in genres and get different perspectives on our genres and our characters. You'll also get the chance learn more about the other authors writing in your genre, and learn from their experience. Don't forget to bring a pen and paper!

BIO: From spaceships to airships, captains to cyborgs, Aeon is always trying to reach for the life beyond ordinary in her writing. She grew up on an entertainment regimen of Art Bell every night and the X-Files on Sundays, which might have influenced her writing. Just a bit.

Aeon's non-fiction background includes teaching English abroad in Korea and China for over eight years. She taught all ages, from kindergarten to continuing adult education at private English schools and three universities. She learned that encouraging students to use their imagination to research, discuss and write about their interests is the best way to ensure academic and personal growth.

In fiction, Aeon writes predominately novellas and short stories, indulging in her passions for science fiction, romance, fast ships, and heroic men. When not writing, you can usually find her at Starbucks, Barnes and Noble, or trying to break into Area 51 - because you just *know* there is a UFO under there.


Andrea Parks, Psychologist, LAC

TOPIC: “The Languages of Love”

I'm an existentialist and often use messaging and the meaning we place on words and behavior in my marriage and relationship work. Each of us has unique personalities and we are all unique in what we find fulfilling and appealing when it comes to love. We also speak different love languages. Your love language is the way that you feel loved and cared for. Yet, most people love how they want to be loved, and it rarely coincides with how their partner needs to be loved. This is often created by misinterpreting messages and behaviors. The result? Conflict, both internal and external. Understanding the languages of love to include messaging and behaviors can lead to a successful resolution of conflict in relationships.

BIO: I received my education from ASU where I earned a Bachelors Degree in Child and Family Development, and spent a year involved in Autism Research. I then received my Masters Degree in Counseling.

I am passionate about working with individuals, families, adolescents and children to gently guide them through the process of change by working with beliefs, emotions, body and spirit. Recently, I have worked exclusively with adolescents in an Intensive Outpatient Facility who are dealing with substance dependency and addictions, trauma, anxiety, depression and self-injury. My background further includes individual and group counseling, and facilitating psycho-educational groups on topics such as Anger, Addiction, Grief, Parenting, Communication, and Childhood Development.


Jennifer Ashley, Caris Roane and Kris Tualla

TOPIC: "Heat: From Sweet to Sizzling" Panel

Jennifer, Caris and Kris will clarify and break down the levels of “heat” contained within the sub-genres of Romance. They will discuss appropriate verbiage to include specifics, will explore the whys and why-nots of why they incorporate a particular level of heat into a novel, and how they create believable relationships where the sex is not just perfunctory [part of the formula] but an essential element of the story. The authors will also share "readings" from their work by way of heat level examples.

Jennifer Ashley

BIO: New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Jennifer Ashley has lived and traveled all over the world, and now lives in the Southwest. She writes historical, paranormal, and contemporary romance as Jennifer Ashley; mysteries as Ashley Gardner; and paranormal romance and urban fantasy as Allyson James.

Jennifer’s/Allyson’s/Ashley’s more than 83 novels and novellas have won RWA’s RITA award, the Golden Quill, RT Reviewer’s Choice awards, and the Prism award, among others. Jennifer’s novels have been also been translated into French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese, Norwegian, Hungarian, Italian, Thai, and other languages.

Jennifer enjoys writing and reading above all else, but her hobbies include cooking, hiking, playing flute and guitar, painting, and building miniature rooms and dollhouses.

Caris Roane

BIO: Caris Roane is a New York Times bestselling author of paranormal romance fiction and loves every second of it. She began her career with Kensington Publishing writing Regency Romance as Valerie King. In 2005, Romantic Times Magazine honored her with a career achievement award. She's published thirty-two paranormal stories to-date, some self-published and some for St. Martin's Press, and has branched out into Contemporary Romance as well. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona, loves gardening, enjoys the lizards and birds in her yard, but really doesn't like scorpions!


Kris Tualla

BIO: Kris Tualla is a Kindle Top-100 author as well as a dynamic award-winning and internationally published author of historical romantic suspense. She 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 "The Discreet Gentleman Series."

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 is often asked to speak about her Norsemen:

“In the Historical Romance genre, there have been literally countless kilted warrior stories told. Well, I say it's time for a new breed of heroes! Come along with me and find out why: “Norway is the new Scotland!


Heather Sandusky

TOPIC: World Building 201: Using YouTube Educational Channels to Improve Your Worlds and Inspire

With the growth of the internet, nearly everything is now at your fingertips, if you just know what is out there and how to find it.  YouTube is a treasure trove of quick summary and deeper investigations into various topics, but can be overwhelming with distractions.  This presentation will focus on those channels that offer a wide array of topics to explore, to expose yourself to new ideas in history, science, and linguistics.

BIO: A lifelong nerd who grew into a geek, Heather started writing fiction because she missed writing research papers. A nerd is, according to her, a generalist of knowledge, knowing a bit about a lot of topics, where a geek is more specialized, having deeper knowledge in more specific topics.  When she isn't writing (which can span the gamut of genres) or working (where she listens to audio books), she reads, crochets, finds something to learn, and annoys her cat.

Heather has a bachelor's in psychology, is a certified pharmacy technician, and has taken many classes, both in person and online since she graduated, including classes in healthcare and computer coding as well as keeping abreast on topics as diverse as psychology, physics, biology, and archaeology.  She has worked in behavioral health, customer service, technical support, and pharmaceutical distribution (she is amused that she can say she is a drug dealer).


Conference Preparation for Desert Dreams 2017


Amy RosnerAmy Rosner, PhD

TOPIC: The Savage Subconscious: Opportunities for Creative Character Development

How do our limiting beliefs, negative emotion from past events and other stressors change our behavior in ways that aren’t always intuitive or expected? Our subconscious minds drive our thoughts, feelings and behaviors, whereas our conscious minds make up stories to make the world make sense and make us feel better. Because we often push away our true feelings and listen instead to our conscious stories, we can act in ways that don’t give us what we really want in life. This seeming contradiction greatly impacts how we develop as people as well as how we build and sometimes sabotage our relationships. I’ll share case studies and their happy endings.

BIO: Amy Rosner holds a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology and spent 15 years teaching college Psychology classes and doing brain research, specializing in the neuroscience of visual attention and memory and developing unique classes in the psychology of art and creativity. She has published research in the peer-reviewed journals Behavioural Brain Research, Perception and Psychophysics, and Psychopharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

An bestselling author, Amy helps people reprogram their brains, change their life stories and create new possibilities for success.


Larry BrooksLarry Brooks presents: Transform your novel from broken to brilliant
Bio: Larry Brooks is the author of six critically-acclaimed thrillers, and the guy behind, named by Writers Digest Magzine to their "101 Best Website for Writers" for the past six years. His latest novels are DEADLY FAUX and THE SEVENTH THUNDER, published by Turner Publishing, who has also re-released his four prior novels as trade paperbacks. He is also the author of three bestselling writing books, including his latest, "Story Fix: Transform Your Novel From Broken to Brilliant."
All three titles are published by Writers Digest Books, and have been #1 bestsellers in one or more categories.


Catherine Rogers Cook

What you wear is who you are: some thoughts about clothing history in creating characters.


My name is Catherine Rogers Cook, I attended the University of Oklahoma  (B.A. 1971) where I studied Old and Middle English with a minor in Anthropology and Drama, so naturally I became a book store manager and later a Legal Assistant in a bankruptcy law firm.  I retired early due to my parents' health and I've been unemployed ever since which I enjoy because it allows me to pursue my hobbies of reading about, researching and occasionally recreating historical clothing.  I've been crazy about clothing history since childhood, and because of my interest in anthropology, I am fascinated by the way that societies form people and the way that they use clothing to signal age, class and status and the way human beings use their age, class and status to influence the clothes they wear.


Member Appreciation Dinner (TBA)


Immortal Angel

Topic: A case study in serials and marketing

In this presentation, the two halves of Immortal Angel will discuss real strategies we've used over the past year to brand ourselves as an indie author. From KDP to the power of one-star reviews, we will discuss what worked and what didn't, tips and tricks, and the neverending uphill battle toward 'making it' as an indie author.

Bio:  Immortal Angel writes weekly serials in the hopes that she can open the doorway to new worlds for her readers. She grew up on scifi, fantasy, and romance, and gaming and Comicon are still an important part of her existence. If you’re like her, you’re always looking for stories with hot men, supernatural alphas, and maybe a few sexy aliens thrown in.



Holiday Party, TBD