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PHOENIX — The Phoenix Desert Sleuths chapter of the national mystery writers organization Sisters in Crime will host a one day-conference, “Becoming the Writer You Were Meant to Be,” in September for aspiring and practicing writers of any genre.

The conference aims to be an opportunity for writers to learn the basics of captivating storytelling and crime writing from the best writers in the field. Events at the Embassy Suites by Hilton, 4415 E. Paradise Village Parkway in Phoenix, include:

A welcome reception is from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27,

  • to meet visiting authors. During the reception, the new 22-story anthology “SoWest: Ladykillers” will be introduced and the winner of the “Best First Line” contest will be announced.
  • The conference program is from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on


  • Sept. 28. The all-day session includes break-out workshops, talks by award-winning writers and the opportunity to pitch a project with an editor or an agent.

Award-winning speakers will be featured at the workshop and include:

  • Dennis Palumbo, screenwriter of “My Favorite Year” and author of five Daniel Rinaldi mysteries as well as other mystery fiction and non-fiction books based on his experience as a licensed psychotherapist. Palumbo’s “Head Wounds” was named “Suspense Magazine’s” Best of 2018 in the category of Thriller/Suspense.
  • Catriona McPherson’s Dandy Gilver historical mysteries have won two Agathas, and her contemporary novels have won two Anthony awards and were Edgar and Mary Higgins Clark finalists. She is also an Anthony Award winner of Best Paperback Original from an Independent Publisher.
  • Agatha, Anthony, and Lefty-nominated author of the critically acclaimed Mira James mysteries, Jess Lourey, spends part of her time as a professor of creative writing and sociology. She’s a recipient of The Loft’s Excellence in Teaching fellowship.

A literary agent, Abby Saul, and a senior acquisitions editor, Terri Bischoff, will meet with attendees to hear writers’ pitches. Saul is a founder of The Lark Group, with over a decade in publishing. Bischoff, of Crooked Lane Books, has signed multiple authors to publishing contracts.

Cost of attendance for members of Desert Sleuths is $145 in advance or $155 at the door. Admission for members of other chapters is $159 in advance or $165 at the door. Non-member admission is $169 in advance or $179 at the door. The cost for students is $99.

A continental breakfast and lunch on Saturday is included with the price of admission.

For more information, contact Yvonne Corrigan Carr at 602-334-7623 or Kate Herbert at 602-604-1827.